Variety Cruises Pushing Global Expansion

Variety Voyager

Variety Cruises launched its year-round Tahiti program in January, offering mainly weeklong departures targeting the American market, said Filippos Venetopoulos, CEO.

With small ships, repositioning vessels is not an easy task, so the company shipped its ship on a ship, loading the Panorama II on a vessel for transporting yachts for the journey.

“It cost 30 percent more to send it that way, but it was a better way to get the ship and staff there, and reduce our carbon emissions,” Venetopoulos said. “It also opens up access to send
our vessels into other destinations.”

Other key deployment areas for 2023 include regular crossings of both the Suez and Panama Canals on weekly cruises. Venetopoulos said that guests should take advantage of this
sooner rather than later as canal fees were up and the company anticipates trimming these for 2024 and beyond.

We’ve also seen a boost in demand for our Italy and Malta sailings,” Venetopoulos added.

Sailing the Harmony G with capacity for about 40 guests, the vessel docks next to yachts and stays away from the big cruise terminals, he said.

“Guests swim off the back of the ship on the Italian coast and in Malta,” Venetopoulos continued.

The company has added theme voyages in the Mediterranean too, with hiking cruises, and wine and gastronomy sailings.

“We are growing our unexplored Greek Isle itineraries. These have been a massive success and we are considering adding them on a weekly basis.”

Also on the docket are wellness sailings featuring yoga, Pilates and more. One of those departures will be led by Venetopoulos.

The Greek-family-owned business is back in West Africa and Gambia too, where it plans to help build a small museum. As the brand plans deployment, it also works with its charter
partners, offering its small ships to tour operators for both short- and long-term deals. This summer the plan is to charter out a ship for operations in Canada/New England.

Venetopoulos hopes to trim repositioning sailings, as he said they could not sell them due to the small size of the ships.

“It’s not good for the environment and not good for our profitability,” he said.

Long transit times hurt too, so his hope is to be able to leave ships in certain geographic areas. Expansion will come soon, he said, hinting at “more inventory” and also adding that the company was looking to get into the polar regions.

 

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