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13 Variety Cruises Dubrovnik Cruise Reviews

We were expecting a luxury cruise. We paid good money for a luxury cruise. The boat Callisto is very old and not well maintained. The noise was that loud that we were offered earplugs by the crew. The boat shuddered while under way and ... Read More
We were expecting a luxury cruise. We paid good money for a luxury cruise. The boat Callisto is very old and not well maintained. The noise was that loud that we were offered earplugs by the crew. The boat shuddered while under way and made sleeping very challenging. The beds were extremely hard. Bathrooms were very tired. The staff did keep them clean.This was not a luxury cruise and had I known I certainly wouldn’t have paid that price. There shore excursions were so expensive. We ended organising ours from shore and paid a third of the price. There was only hot water for the first two days and then the last. The positive was that the crew were excellent. They couldn’t be faulted. Think carefully before booking your cruise. Callisto certainly wasn’t value for money. Embarkation was was very poor. We were given a number to ring to find where the boat would be docked. The number was never answered. This happened to all guests. We were lead to believe we could swim from the boat. This only happened once and not in a lovely bay like on the brochure but where we were anchored just out of the harbour with strong currents. If you were expecting Wifi. Check what they offer. It was not what I expected. The food was good and we met some lovely people and the staff on board were great. This was not a luxury cruise and certainly not value for money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We choose this cruise believing it was high end. It was extremely expensive so we thought it was the cruise of a lifetime. I wish people would write reviews so you can make and informed decision on whether this is the cruise for you. ... Read More
We choose this cruise believing it was high end. It was extremely expensive so we thought it was the cruise of a lifetime. I wish people would write reviews so you can make and informed decision on whether this is the cruise for you. The boat was very old. I wouldn’t pay that sort of money to sail on this boat. The noise was unbearable at night and they offered everyone ear plugs so I guess that tells you something. The boat vibrates continuously under sail. You are trying to sleep and your whole body is shaking. The beds are rock hard. The cabins are old but I didn’t mind that. There was no hot water for most of the trip. Not to much of a problem because the weather was warm but when you pay such a high price for the trip you expect hot water. Don’t sail on Callisto. The crew were wonderful and there service excellent. It was just the age of the boat and the price we paid. Be honest Variety so people can choose if this is the right boat for them Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Cruise: Adriatic Odyssey: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Greece Cruise Company: Variety Cruises Cruise Ship: Callisto Cruise Dates: August 26 – September 2nd. 1. The ship  Callisto is a very old boat and it shows its ... Read More
Cruise: Adriatic Odyssey: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Greece Cruise Company: Variety Cruises Cruise Ship: Callisto Cruise Dates: August 26 – September 2nd. 1. The ship  Callisto is a very old boat and it shows its age. But it is clean and runs well. Few negatives: The sun deck has no shade. There were four loungers, and no chairs or umbrellas. Category A cabins have no direct access to the deck. The beds are very hard.  2. The crew The captain had no interaction with the passengers. Even on the last night that was themed” Meet the Captain” he showed up for five minutes said three sentences and disappeared. His decisions about the schedule did not take passengers’ interests into account. He was only concerned about making it from port to port without trying to make it a little more pleasant experience for his guests.  The housekeeping staff was very nice and accommodating. The servers and the bar attendant were also extremely nice if not very efficient. Hotel director went out of his way to be helpful. 3. Cruise director  While he was very approachable, he lacked the knowledge of the places we visited and was unable to offer any suggestions on what there was to do, except for pushing the excursions offered by the ship. He was also not very forthcoming about the itinerary changes and was not really advocating on passengers’ behalf when his help was needed negotiating with the captain. Which in itself should never have been an issue.  4. Boarding No information was given of the location where the ship was docked or on the procedures for boarding. The phone numbers provided did not work. Most passengers spent close to two hours trying to find the ship. No assistance was offered with the luggage by either the cruise or by port officials. No luggage cards were available. The suitcases had to be manually dragged to the ship which was at least 15 minutes walk from the terminal building. Cannot even imagine how some of the older passengers were able to manage. 5. Departure time There was conflicting information about the time of departure from Dubrovnik. Website mentioned the next morning departure with the swim stop before reaching Korcula. Some passengers were told that the ship would depart that afternoon. In reality, it left at night reaching Korcula early in the morning and skipping the promised swim stop. 6. Itinerary The first night on the ship we were told that the big storm was coming. The ship had to leave early to get to Bar, Montenegro and then make a 20 hours journey to Paxos , part of which would be through the storm.  Bar is the destination that has nothing to offer. The ship spent the morning there with the short excursion to the archeological site that was neither interesting nor important. We also stopped to look at the old olive tree and at the Orthodox Church, and were back on the ship by lunch. At that time, the passengers were given pills for motion sickness and were told to expect a storm with strength of 11 on the scale of 1 to 10. Everyone went to sleep drugged. The storm never happened but apparently caused a delay in our schedule.  Originally, the ship was supposed to stop at Corfu first for an hour to go through customs, then have a 5 hours swim stop at some beautiful beach, then arrive at Paxos at around 7 pm and go back to Corfu the next morning. None happened as planned. We were stuck on the boat for 30 hours. Instead of 5 hours on the beautiful beach we had 45 minutes swim off the boat and did not arrive to Paxos till 9 pm at which point it was already too dark to see anything at all.  We had to beg the captain who, by the way never introduced himself or talked to the passengers once, to add at least one more swim stop since we already missed two (in Korcula and in Paxos). At 7:30 am the next morning we were allowed to swim off the boat near Corfu. Most passengers were still asleep and were not able to take advantage of this opportunity. In Saranda, Albania the ship docked right next to the beach that was fenced and impossible to get to directly unless we swam to it off the boat. Again, the passengers needed to beg to let us do it before it was finally allowed. The itinerary made no sense. First, why instead of going to Bar not to stop at some place that has something to offer?  Secondly, why stop at Corfu for an hour, then go to Paxos, get there after dark and then go back to Corfu? Why not spend time in Corfu first and then go to Paxos, so we can see and enjoy both places?  Having passengers on the small boat for 30 hours without stopping is unacceptable. No Bloody Mary’s or fruit platters can compensate for the time wasted and for the discomfort it caused. We basically lost two out of seven days of the cruise for which we paid significant amount of money.  The captain should have made arrangements to avoid this from happening.  7. Food Good but boring, no real variety. Felt like we are the same things every day of the week.  8. Arrival Originally arrival time was given as of 9 am. Travel arrangements have been made based on that time. Since no afternoon flights were available on the day of arrival we had to spend one extra day traveling. However, on the last night we were told that the ship will be back in Dubrovnik at 3 am. If we have known that, we could have saved time and money and left that morning. No assistance was offered with the luggage just like it was not on the day of departure. The ship was docked at the very back and everyone had to drag their suitcases to the terminal on their own. Overall, I would rate our experience with Variety cruises as below average. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I wrote to Variety cruises with my feedback and you do not get answer - only put on the email list for advertising. This has prompted me to put a review on Cruise Critic. Afraid even the travel agent did not want to know. We had ... Read More
I wrote to Variety cruises with my feedback and you do not get answer - only put on the email list for advertising. This has prompted me to put a review on Cruise Critic. Afraid even the travel agent did not want to know. We had previously done a Variety Cruise "Jewels of the Cyclades" on the Galileo and loved the cruise so much that I wrote in a rave review on tripadvisor saying it was perhaps the best holiday I had ever had. Afraid it was not the case with the Adriatic Odyssey and the Callisto. On the Galileo on my previous cruise we have decided to try the rooms below and found out they were fine. Unfortunately on the Callisto the downstairs rooms are so noisy and the boat rattles so much that sleeping is most difficult to near impossible. Even when the boat is moored there is a noise going on and off 24 hours a day making it more like a form of torture. Admittedly the hotel manager did move us to the other side of the boat (still on the same level) and the noise could still be heard but not as bad. When I agreed to be downstairs I thought I was just getting a port hole instead of a window but I didn’t bargain for no sleep - it was not mentioned in your advertising that there would a constant on and off noise. The array of patches and dents on the hull are an indication of the tired state of the boat. I feel embarrassed that I encouraged friends to go with us. 1. I really think that when you pay 517 euros per night for a cabin that internet should be included. These days you get free internet with a 2 euro cup of coffee so Variety stop being so tight. 2. The optional tours were just a rippoff . (like 80 euros each for a walking tour) We had just left another small cruise from Split where there was a walking tour each day (included) – wonderful! Internet was also included and gratuities on that previous cruise. 3. This cruise had a stop in Bar in Montenegro. Bar is not worthy of a stop. Maybe it really it is meant to be just a refueling stop. 4. I know I agreed to this itinerary but I didn’t realise that Corfu is too far from Croatia and Montengro and 20 hours of very very loud rattling boat from Bar to Paxos is too long. 5. We had one beautiful stop called anti-Paxos and then Paxos and these two places were exceptionally beautiful and yet we had no time there. Only for a quick swim and then 2 hours at Paxos. It would be better to leave out Corfu and put more time in these beautiful places. 6. The staff (bar and room staff and chef) were excellent and could not be faulted. The Hotel manager- think that was his title - was not the right person for this job. The remaining staff who were doing a fabulous job were finding him impossible to work with. 7. Food was fabulous and too much. 8. Our tour guide was very good. Afraid I wont travel on Variety again unless I know the boat is much better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were ... Read More
This sailing was incredible from start to finish! The staff were all friendly, helpful, and couldn't do enough for you. The ship was an older classic style yacht, very comfortable but definitely a dated look to it. The cabins were small but comfortable, the beds were a little on the hard side for my taste but were still cozy enough to get a good night's sleep. The food on board was wonderful! The kitchen staff outdid themselves at every meal. I swear we barely ever stopped eating on board, as soon as breakfast was cleared, someone was out offering fresh slices of watermelon, then lunch, then a dish of sorbet on the sun deck, then an amazing dinner and cocktails, definitely overdid it but everything was impeccable. The cruise director was always knowledgeable about our ports, giving us plenty of insight on what to do while in each country (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece). I do think the excursions could be improved upon though, they only offered a couple excursions in each port, and they were participation based, so if the one you wanted didn't have enough guests, it didn't happen. That being said, the only port I think an excursion is truly necessary is Albania. My favorite stops were Korcula, Kotor, Anti-Paxos and Paxos (Anti-Paxos had the best beach and bluest waters I've ever seen in my life!). I would gladly travel with Variety in the future, and look forward to the day I get to sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Great crusie ! Always wanted to go to Croatia and this looked like a lovely way to see it! Classy older yacht, well maintained and very comfortable. FOOD and CREW were 1st class!!! 5 star all the way! Leija was a fabulous cruise director, ... Read More
Great crusie ! Always wanted to go to Croatia and this looked like a lovely way to see it! Classy older yacht, well maintained and very comfortable. FOOD and CREW were 1st class!!! 5 star all the way! Leija was a fabulous cruise director, the captain was friendly, and the wine was freeflowing. Good combination of excursions and free time, crew was willing to be accommodating to special requests for food, excursions, etc. Our cruise was not full and it felt very small and custom. Nice other passengers, plenty of time to meet the others too. I was in a bottom cabin, with just a porthole, but it was exactly the same size or even a bit larger than the top floor cabins, just not a big window! You could hear the drone of the motor when night crusing, not sure if that was based on my cabin location or not. LOTS and LOTS of closet and shelf space, comfortable beds too! Always hot water, good shower, very nice toiletries, nightly turndown - the best! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I can't complain about anything. Our trip in Pan Orama through the Adriatic sea (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece) was absolutely amazing. The crew is incredible, everyone was super nice to us and we felt really ... Read More
I can't complain about anything. Our trip in Pan Orama through the Adriatic sea (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece) was absolutely amazing. The crew is incredible, everyone was super nice to us and we felt really well-treated by everyone. Absolutely everyone was super kind. The service is amazing, you get your room done twice a day. THE FOOD IS AMAZING!!!!!! The cabins are really well equipped, and they provide you some toiletries. It has a bar and a coffee table, where you can help yourself with coffee, infusions, tea, cookies or fruit 24/7. Its super peaceful and I am looking forward to go on board again. I was scared of being dizzy all day long, but the ship doesn't move that much and you feel in perfect conditions all the time. The shore excursions are really interesting and we went to really beautiful places ashore. The swim stops are one of the most amazing things I've ever done, it's amazing to swim in open sea.The activities on board are really entertaining and they were scheduled in the perfect moments. We relaxed and had the best vacation of our lives. I seriously hope to be back again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We chose this cruise because of its destination, the size of the boat and the fact that it was vetted by Wilderness Travel, an excellent US travel company. Eight of us traveled for a week along the Dalmatian coast and had a wonderful time ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its destination, the size of the boat and the fact that it was vetted by Wilderness Travel, an excellent US travel company. Eight of us traveled for a week along the Dalmatian coast and had a wonderful time thanks to the great crew and the really nice ship. The embarkation was the only little problem we encountered: no one answered the phone earlier that day so we did not know where to go on the pier. Turns out you have to go through a customs office first, which was not mentioned in the instructions. But everything after that was great. All of us would recommend this heartily for people who like low-key vacations in smallish vessels. The only reason some of the ratings below (Enrichment activities, Entertainment, Fitness & recreation) do not get "excellent" is that they refer to large cruise ships and we were very very glad not to have them available. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority ... Read More
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority of our fellow passengers were a happy, well travelled group. Entertainment on board is fine, but with our travel group we were able to dial it up. The Crew read the group well and adjusted to making fun loving , action pack trip . The food was fresh and good. I would not say a gourmet , but well presented. If you had a special request they did there best to accommodate. We found the all the staff eager to help and learned individual request quickly. The Captain was engaging and available at any time. You could see he was well respected, and his leadership skills were evident thru out. Would most definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Returning to our favorite ship , "Panorama", with our favorite cruise company, "Variety", we were as delighted as ever , and so happy , to find many of the same wonderful staff on board. It felt as if we were ... Read More
Returning to our favorite ship , "Panorama", with our favorite cruise company, "Variety", we were as delighted as ever , and so happy , to find many of the same wonderful staff on board. It felt as if we were returning into a big family. From start to finish everything was excellent . The welcome aboard, the comfort and cleanliness were all very good....... Well done to all the smiling faces. Considering how small the galley is on this beautiful ship, the food was extremely good, we couldn't' believe the variety and standard produced. The excursions always well run and interesting. We were, as before, fortunate to have such a great group of like minded people sailing with us and there was a really happy atmosphere.... The Captain and all his crew were charming and competent. We never wanted for anything from the barman to the cleaning staff to the waiters and waitresses, the cruise coordinator , the manager ,all so very friendly and helpful. As you have probably guessed by now, we had a wonderful holiday. Thank you everyone ! We really look forward to the next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our first ever cruise and followed us watching the Panorama sail into Santorini's caldera while we were on holiday there in 2015 - we did some research after we got home and the 2016 Adriatic Odyssey itinerary from Variety ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and followed us watching the Panorama sail into Santorini's caldera while we were on holiday there in 2015 - we did some research after we got home and the 2016 Adriatic Odyssey itinerary from Variety Cruises looked very appealing - covering Croatia-Montenegro-Albania-Greece (calling at Dubrovnik, Korcula, Bar, Sarande, Paxos, Corfu, Kotor, before returning to Dubrovnik). We subsequently booked this 'cruise only' through Blue Water Holidays in Yorkshire, as this gave us a bigger discount than booking direct with Variety. We arranged pre and post cruise overnight stay and flights ourselves, as we are used to making our own bookings and wanted some leeway at the beginning or end of our cruise to avoid any problems caused by delayed flights or return into Dubrovnik. Blue Water provided some information prior to departure but we would have appreciated more. Points to note: * Although we rung the boat beforehand to check which dock it was in, neither Blue Water or the contact on the boat mentioned that we had to access the boat via the international terminal next to the bus station, (the boat was treated as an international departure so passport checks were required before we could get to the relevant part of the dock). This led to us being dropped off in the wrong part of the port by a taxi, having to ask another boat's crew how to find the Panorama and a hot walk with our luggage along the length of the dockside. * Shortly after embarkation we had a comprehensive briefing from the Captain and Variety representative, this explained most of what we'd been wondering about, specifically that no tips are to be made during the cruise, guests would instead be provided with envelopes on the last evening for a cash tip (in Euros) which would then be divided among all of the crew. * The briefing also explained that drinks would be on account for each cabin, with the accounts being settled on the last night of the cruise using either cash (in Euros) or a debit/credit card. * We were asked to book for excursions by lunchtime of the preceding day, to allow time for the necessary transport to be arranged. The cost per person increased for small groups and as there were only 17 passengers in our cruise the excursion groups were almost always in the smallest viable group size, which made them more expensive. We still booked for every excursion offered as we felt this was the best way to get the most out of our itinerary. All of the excursions were either good or excellent, with knowledgeable and personable guides, comfortable transport and some enjoyable tasting (and drinking) sessions included. * The onboard wifi cost 20 Euros for 500mb, I didn't bother as I had 3G coverage for almost all of the time onboard, even when sailing down apparently uninhabited areas of the coast. * We were very fortunate to have very benign weather during our cruise, except for one period of around 12 hours when we sailed through gale force 5/6 winds. Our response to this was to drink a little more that evening but 3 or 4 of the passengers skipped dinner and were a little unwell. It was a little unsettling at first when lying down but we slept ok without needing to take any seasickness / motion sickness medication. * Almost all of the cabins are twin single beds, and as we are used to a king size bed this layout was probably better than us sharing a small double bed. Cabins are cosy but well designed and the small ensuite shower room was perfectly adequate. * Some of our fellow passengers were unhappy with the wine selection offered onboard. We did think it was unfortunate that we were tasting excellent local wines on shore, yet the onboard winelist had some unappealing wines at rather full prices. Our response was to have the Mateus rose every time at 18 Euros a bottle, the most reliable, most palatable and cheapest wine on the menu. * We had 3 or so swim stops during the week, not as many as I had hoped for but generally at least 2 hours for a dip off the boat in warm (for us anyway) Adriatic water. * The sails were raised twice during our week onboard, they can only be used when the boat and wind follow a very specific range of direction but they are very attractive feature of the boat. * Our fellow passengers included two couples below 40 and the majority were between 55 and 65, plus one slightly older. Nationalities were British, American, Australian, New Zealand and Polish. For some reason there was a disproportionately large proportion of passengers who worked in the oil and gas industry. * Our lower deck level cabin (category B?) porthole didn't open (probably best on the windiest section of our trip) so fresh air was from a ceiling vent directly above my head, this was a bit noisy and draughty at times. * Service was excellent throughout - Captain George and Dietmar both deserve a very favourable mention - having just 17 passengers may have given us a much better service experience than if the boat had been closer to its 49 passenger capacity. * The onboard entertainment was limited to 'Greek night' while docked in Corfu, this was great fun and the Corfu Zorbas had us dancing enthusiastically. * The cruise includes breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. We were very happy with the quality of the food but it would have been nice to have eaten onshore a few times as there were so many appealing restaurants and bars - perhaps two days could be offered without lunch and dinner to allow this? Overall the Adriatic Odyssey itinerary was an excellent way to see this section of coast, I don't see how the itinerary could be replicated on land within a week and we got some fantastic views along the way. The Panorama may not be as luxurious, pampering or boutique style as some had expected (based on their previous big ship experiences) but it completely met our expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so will be looking for similarly sized boats for cruises in future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was my first cruise ever and I really loved it. It's amazing to be sailing with a small ship. There were only 17 guests on board so you had a feel of having the ship for yourself. We did the adriatic cruise and visited 4 ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever and I really loved it. It's amazing to be sailing with a small ship. There were only 17 guests on board so you had a feel of having the ship for yourself. We did the adriatic cruise and visited 4 countries in 1 week: croatia, montenegro, albania and greece. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a close spot in the harbor/port in every city so sometimes you need to walk or take a bus/cab to get to the nearest city center. The crew is extremely nice and helpfull! Every day (except for one) we were able to do an excursion on shore to see the sights. I could really recommend the excursion to Butrint in Albania, the palace of queen elizabeth of austria (sissy) in corfu town and the city of Budva in Montenegro. The other cruises were not really worthwhile. Due to the fact that the ship arrived early in the morning we were able to avoid the big cruise ship masses. That's another advantage of a small cruise ship. On the minus side: * The food is okay especially breakfast and lunch but for dinner we only had 2 buffet style dinners and the rest was a strict menu (you could choose between fish or meat). I prefer buffet type of dinners. * You can buy wifi access on board (€20 per 500Mb). The data limit is a problem because lots of people have their smartphone settings tuned to wifi (to transfer photos etc). I also use a travel app to inform family and friends which I was unfortunately not able to use due to the limit. * We had less guests on board which is great but on the other hand you pay the max price for the excursions which made it very expensive. * During dinner/breakfast time the servants grabbed your plate out of your hands and brought it to your table (even if you were one step away). This felt extremely awkward for all of the guests and although they must have felt it (guests were saying no) they kept on doing that. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
For the 3rd time we chose to make a cruise with Variety Cruises. This time we sailed the Adriatic and Ionic Seas. Again we had a great experience. A very friendly and helpful cruisedirector, captain, hotelmanager, crew, comfortable ship, ... Read More
For the 3rd time we chose to make a cruise with Variety Cruises. This time we sailed the Adriatic and Ionic Seas. Again we had a great experience. A very friendly and helpful cruisedirector, captain, hotelmanager, crew, comfortable ship, well-equiped cabins and delicious diners, buffets and drinks. We visited 4 countries: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, where we did almost all the offered excursions, to get a closer look of each one of them. You also could go your own way if you wanted. The number of guests was 17 and during this week we had so much fun together! Being on a smaller cruiseship means: having a swimstop near a beautiful bay (they can bring you to the shore with the Zodiac if you want to), arriving before the big cruiseships so less crowded in places you're going to visit, getting to now the other guests (if you want to) is easy becouse of te small number, a very luxurious experience. As I said: this was the 3rd time, but it certainly won't be the last. Looking for a next destination... Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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