Variety Cruises: 7 day life enriching experiences at Sea

Cruising Journal’s exclusive interview with Filippos Venetopoulos, president and CEO of Variety Cruises, reveals details of a revamp of the company and the opening to a series of exclusive itineraries in the coming seasons.

Imagine living a unique experience on board a yacht. Imagine the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean, the bays of Greece or the magic of the Seychelles. Service on a human scale, intimacy and hospitality. These are just some of the ingredients of a Variety Cruises cruise.

We asked Filippos Venetopoulos, president and CEO of the company, for some details about Variety Cruises‘ cruising style and what to expect from its fleet in the coming months.

First of all, what sets Variety Cruises’ ships apart? What are the company’s strengths?

“We have a fleet of diverse boats dedicated to scheduled adventure cruises and charters,” says Venetopoulos. The maximum capacity on board is 70 guests and we devote attention and privacy to those who decide to treat themselves to a cruising experience with us.”

How have you dealt with the pandemic and what do you plan to promote during this restart period? 

I took over the business about two years ago, following the passing of my father. It was a challenging time for a number of reasons. Our fleet was pulled back to Greece and we had to put our operations in hybernation until it was possible to resume like so many other companies. We are proud that we were able to apply our fleet to create positive impact during this challenging time via our foundation VARIETY CARES: we were able to make our fleet available to the United Nations and we were able to provide an important repatriation mission returning a group of stranded individuals safely back to their home to Cuba. In regards to our cruises we were the first cruise line to have safely returned to the Mediterranean Seas following specific safety protocols, while allowing our loyal guests to return to travel…

Have there been any changes in your customer base during the pandemic? What are your target audiences now in terms of nationality and market? 

Yes, we’ve tried to open ourselves up to new guests of different nationalities, mainly because of the difficulty of welcoming Americans during the height of the pandemic, who are an important component of our market. We’ve tried to move closer to Europe and also to market ourselves to a lower age audience, a trend we’re also moving forward with our rebranding process. The one thing we learnt from this pandemic is that younger demographics began to grow as a market of small ship cruises and we have been working on catering for this market with our soft adventure rebrand. 

What do you mean by rebranding? What do you have in mind?

We refer to it as rebranding but in reality what we are doing is finessing our story. We are working towards our vision of creating a better world at Sea and we are branding accordingly. We have a history dating back to 1949 when our founder created our first travel programs, with a rich history of growth by my father Lakis. As we enter our 3rd generation we decided to have a clear brand identity that looks into the future, while honoring our heritage. We are additionally trying to cater our exclusive itineraries to widen the demographic of our guests to a younger age demographic, as we think our product is very suitable for dynamic individuals who want to explore small ports and exclusive islands. We are working to propose ourselves in new markets, our brand lends itself to international guests as we expand our notoriety.

Explain to us in a few words the exclusivity of your fleet and the itineraries you propose, Filippos, and some anticipation about what you have planned.

Instead of exclusive we would like to say inclusive. We aspire for our cruises do be a hub of diversity with our teams, our guests, and the communities we visit. Although the price range of our experiences may be out of the reach of some demographics, we offer discounts for last minute cruises as well as donate some of our cabins for artists, and activists who help make create a better world at sea. Our Traveling with Variety Cruises is a cruise experience that is completely different from the ordinary. It’s about living as you would on a private yacht, smaller boats, where the staff is always at your disposal and discovering remote areas otherwise not reachable by larger cruise ships. We dock in small harbors and even more often we stop at roadsteads and let our marinas live the beach experience. A deeper knowledge of the places, out of the most frequented destinations and confusion. Our moto is GO DEEPER; deeper into the destination, deeper into the culture, deeper into the communities, deeper into the joy”.

What is Variety Cruises offering for 2022/2023? 

We will have introduced our limited collection series on board  our entire fleet. These allow our loyal repeat clientele to experience something new. We have planned ahead until 2024. There are many new features: Seychelles, Cape Verde and West Africa, Greece, Dubai and Oman. We have also forged important partnerships such as those with Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism so that our guests can fully enjoy the cruise and stay experience.”

A fleet of small boats to be discovered; that of Variety Cruises, and above all a fleet that makes you discover, unique itineraries and dream destinations. The commitment of Filippos Venetopoulos seems to give new impulse to the company that will certainly reserve us many surprises starting from this spring/summer 2022 season, which inaugurates a fabulous itinerary to the Seychelles Islands.

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Gabriele Bassi