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Variety Voyager

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Onboard Activities
Main Lounge on the Variety Voyager

The main lounge on the Variety Voyager contains the reception desk, bar, 24-hour coffee, and lots of comfortable seating.

Variety Voyager (c) Linda Garrison
Like many very small cruise ships, the Variety Voyager doesn't offer much in the way of onboard entertainment. However, this deficiency is certainly offset by the opportunity to explore charming, off-the-beaten-path ports of call. The ship also offers two onboard activities you will never find on a large ship.

The mega-yacht (72 guests) has an onboard keyboard player and DJ who entertains in the main lounge before dinner and outdoors in the Oceans Bar after dinner. Guests on our warm, sunny, western Mediterranean cruise to the French and Italian Rivieras frequented this outdoor bar a lot, enjoying drinks or just socializing with new friends.

The Variety Voyager has comfortable sun lounges on the Oceans Deck for those who love the sun, but there is also some shaded seating on the outdoor decks and in the al fresco dining area.

Indoor activities include socializing, reading, or having a coffee and snacks in the lovely main lounge. This beautiful spot has a bar, and coffee/tea/snacks are also always available. The reception desk is in one corner of the lounge. Sometimes when the Variety Voyager was anchored or at the dock, there was a diesel fuel smell in this lounge coming through the aft door. It was unpleasant, but didn't seem to keep most of the guests from using the lounge.

The Variety Voyager has a small spa, beauty salon, and indoor fitness center on the Marina deck. Also on the Marina deck are the small library and Internet Center with three desktop computers. As on most ships, the Internet service is not as fast as onshore, but the Variety Voyager has WiFi that worked well for me on my netbook computer in both the main lounge and in our cabin, which was located near the lounge.

What are the two onboard activities you won't find on large ships? First is the opportunity to visit the navigation bridge almost any time. Just drop in, and the friendly captain will give you a personal tour. The Captain and crew on the Variety Voyager are all very approachable, adding to the private yacht-like experience. The second activity you won't find on a large cruise ship is swimming directly from the ship. On two occasions, while we were at anchor and not in a busy harbor, the Captain allowed us to climb down the ladder (or jump in) and go swimming in the brilliant blue Mediterranean. It was great fun for us all!

Conclusion: The Variety Voyager is a beautiful mega-yacht and is well designed for sailing to ports that are inaccessible to large cruise ships. The small ship experience allows travelers to get to know their shipmates and crew better. The international flavor of this ship, with guests from many different countries, also adds to the memorable cruise experience.

I love meeting new people and visiting new places. My friend and I really enjoyed getting to know some of our fellow travelers much better than we might have on a large ship. I've traveled a lot, and although the Variety Voyager stopped over in a few ports I had visited before, they seemed different without the thousands who would be ashore from a large ship.

I hate standing in line, and with only 72 guests onboard, there was never a line.

Who might not like to travel on a tiny ship like the Variety Voyager? Anyone who loves cruising because of the entertainment, gambling, or diverse dining and lounge venues, might miss those activities on the Variety Voyager. Anyone with mobility issues might also have a problem. On our "Romantic Rivieras" cruise, we had several ports that required tendering ashore. Although the ship has covered lifeboats much like those seen on large cruise ships, the Variety Voyager crew used two Zodiacs to tender the guests ashore. One of these is a stable RIB (rigid inflatable boat) that holds at least a dozen people, and the other is a small dinghy that carries about four guests. A few of our fellow travelers had some difficulty in boarding these Zodiacs (especially the smaller one), although having two crew members assist helped a lot. No one stayed on board because of using these inflatable boats to go ashore, but several guests were somewhat hesitant each time they had to get into the boats.

While on our cruise, I asked most of our fellow cruisers how they enjoyed their experience on the Variety Voyager. Most, like us, loved this tiny ship and felt like we were sailing on a private yacht. Many were already planning their next Variety Cruises experience. That speaks well of the ship and cruise line, doesn't it?

M/Y Variety Voyager

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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