• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Dismiss
Small Greek Line Variety Cruises to Add Another Ship For Eastern Med Sailings
Callisto (Photo: Variety Cruises)

Small Greek Line Variety Cruises to Add Another Ship For Eastern Med Sailings

Small Greek Line Variety Cruises to Add Another Ship For Eastern Med Sailings
Callisto (Photo: Variety Cruises)

July 29, 2020

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
By Adam Coulter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
(10:10 a.m. EDT) -- Variety Cruises is planning on adding a second small ship in the Eastern Med this season, due to increased demand.
The Greek line of small ships plans on adding the 34-passenger
Callisto
for the remainder of the summer season, The line is already operating the 49-passenger
Galileo
, which resumed operations July 24, becoming the first cruise line to do so in the Eastern Mediterranean since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Both ships are limited to a maximum capacity limit of 60 percent, meaning Galileo can carry a maximum of 31 passengers and Callisto would only be able to carry 20.
But demand is coming from large groups, who have booked Galileo, so the line needs to add the second ship to keep up, according to Ioannis Terdimos, EVP of Hotel Operations.
"We have some large groups booked onboard Galileo," he said. "Groups that are bigger than we are allowed to carry onboard because of the new health protocols.
"Some people are hoping that the
60 percent
protocol will change, but if not we will have to add a second ship and split the group."
As a small ship that is treated more like a yacht than a cruise ship, Variety had permission to restart on May 24th, but a lack of flights and the need to reassure passengers about enhanced health protocols meant they delayed their restart until last Friday.
""We wanted to restart much earlier but circumstances did not allow us to do so," Terdimos said. "It didn't depend on us, so much as the rest of the world wanting to cruise again."
Galileo (Photo: Variety Cruises)
Galileo usually sails with three quarters of passengers hailing from the U.S., but not so this year as U.S. citizens are barred from entering Greece.
The line has had to pivot towards the domestic market, as well as French, Germans and Spanish, all of whom are onboard this first sailing.
"We are still hoping we will see Americans this season," Terdimos added. "Perhaps as soon as September."
Both ships will operate in the Eastern Med, offering Greek islands cruises until November 8th.
The Greek government announced this week that Greece is open for cruise travel, as of August 1.
has reported that cruise ships will be allowed to homeport in Piraeus (Athens), Rhodes, Heraklion, Volos, Corfu and Katakolon, and that ships will be able to make transit calls at other Greek ports on their itinerary.
But with local line Celestyal Cruises suspending all operations until March and no other large line operating in the area, Variety has the Eastern Med to themselves.
"This season is over for the large ship lines," Terdimos said. "Even if they were given permission to restart tomorrow, the ships are not in the right place, the crews are not onboard and there simply isn't enough time to make arrangements with suppliers, tour operators and ground operations."
Variety has another ship --
Harmony G
-- operating charter cruises in Saudi Arabia, and is planning on resuming services in the Seychelles on the 44-passenger
Pegasus
.
Terdimos said he hoped to resume services in Costa Rica and Panama in December on the 49-passenger
Panorama
and in Tahiti on the 49-passenger
Panorama II
.
"We are hoping to get the entire fleet back into operation by the end of the year," he said.
How was this article?
Popular with cruisers like you
Which Cruise Ships Will Be Scrapped Or Taken Out of Service Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

(Updated 1:28 p.m. EDT) -- Faced with declining revenues and a lack of passengers during the global COVID-10 pandemic, some cruise lines are taking an unpopular but necessary step: Selling off older vessels for scrap.

Most modern cruise ships have service lives of 40 years or more. While it is not uncommon to see cruise ships built in the 1970's and 1980's go to the breakers, older vessels are usually transferred first to another, smaller cruise operator -- a market that is often referred to as "secondhand tonnage."

It's more unusual is to see relatively young vessels head to the breakers. Yet that is precisely what is beginning to happen, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  On June 25,

Early Efforts To Resume Cruises Fall Prey to COVID-19, Lessons Learned

(2:15 p.m. EDT ) -- Last week was a discouraging one for cruisers, with COVID-19 cases popping up on the few small ship and international lines that have resumed service.

Norway, where cruising had re-emerged first from the pandemic, has put a two-week docking ban on ships with more than 100 people after Hurtigruten spawned an outbreak that is now past 50 infected passengers and crew. SeaDream I passengers were also forced to quarantine, after a passenger from a previous sailing tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite French Polynesia having some of the most rigorous COVID-19 testing requirements for entry, an American passenger turned up positive, forcing

Royal Caribbean Releases Q2 Earnings; New Cruise Ships Delayed 10 Months

(2 p.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean Group released its second-quarter earnings results on Monday, detailing a net loss of $1.6 billion and announcing that most newbuild projects will be delayed by approximately 10 months.

The Group, which counts Azamara, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Silversea among its portfolio of cruise line brands, also gave an update on its Spanish subsidiary Pullmantur and revealed that demand for bookings across the Group remains "within historic ranges" for 2021, particularly for the second quarter and beyond.

"We continue to take substantial actions to bolster our financial position," said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group executive vice president and CFO. "We

MSC Given Green Light To Restart Cruises In the Mediterranean This Month

(12:15 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises has been given the green light by Italian authorities to resume limited cruises in the Mediterranean this month aboard MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica.

MSC's flagship, MSC Grandiosa, will return to service on August 16, offering voyages to the Western Mediterranean from Genoa. The slightly-smaller MSC Magnifica enters service from Bari on August 29, where it will sail primarily to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Both vessels will initially offer cruises only for Schengen (European Union) residents and will travel throughout Italy, Greece and Malta. The Greek and Maltese governments have also reviewed and signed-off on MSC's restart plans, according to the co

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Has No Plans to Sell Its Ships

(1:05 p.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) President and CEO Frank Del Rio announced it has no plans to sell any of its ships from its three cruise brands, as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"We absolutely have no plans to divest of any of our vessels," Del Rio said during NCLH's second quarter earnings call with investors and media Thursday morning.

The corporation, which counts Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas as its brands, reported an adjusted net loss of $666.4 million in its second quarter. Due to the complete suspension of sailings during the quarter, revenue decreased to just $16.9 million across all brands, compared with $1.7 bi

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.