Set Sail for RomanceWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Variety Cruises A cruise is a great way to introduce yourself to traveling abroad – you and your hubby (or your destination wedding party) can experience lands thus far unknown, but without the stress of having to plan every logistical detail. Variety Cruises is a global line with a fleet of small ships and luxe mega yachts which travel to popular, but off-the-radar destinations like the Mediterranean, Adriatic, the Seychelles and West Africa.
Variety Cruises is the fastest growing small ship cruise line in the World, and has thus launched new destination wedding and honeymoon packages. Charters vary from an extended weekend to an entire week and vessel capacity ranges from 44-72 passengers. These packages offer you the opportunity to sail off into the sunset in style post-nuptials, or have the most unique destination wedding you and your guests will ever experience.
The company’s new honeymoon package also caters to couples renewing their vows (executed by the ship’s captain) and includes:
- 25% price reduction for the bride
- Cabin with a double or king bed
- Welcome honeymooner’s treatment, including a complimentary bottle of Champagne and fresh fruit amenity
- Candle lit dinner on a private location on board, or in a preferred restaurant in Santorini or Mykonos for Greek cruise programs
- 10% discount for the couple’s future anniversaries on board Variety Cruises’ ships
- Automatic access to the Variety Club membership
- “Our Memories” gift as a disembarkation
- A complimentary massage for two if on board the Harmony V, Variety Voyager, or Seychelles program vessel
- Greek Cruises include Santorini, the Mecca of honeymooners, Mykonos and several lesser-known ports islands, exclusive to Variety Cruises
- Romantic Rivieras, sailing the French and Italian Mediterranean coasts on the line’s newest yacht, the M/Y Variety Voyager
- Cruises in the Garden of Eden, hopping between islands of the Seychelles to explore rainforests and effervescent marine life. (7-nightcruise only)
- The Adriatic Odyssey, exploring Corfu, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro
- The Rivers of West Africa, cruising from Dakar to Senegal on the Gambia River
Classical Greece Itinerary
Day 1 (Friday): Marina Zeas (Piraeus) – Kea
Embark from Marina Zea. Depart via Cape Sounion to Kea. Enjoy leisure time to explore Kea’s tiny port, Korrisia after dinner. Departure in the early hours for Delos, spending overnight at sea.
Day 2 (Saturday): Delos (anchorage) – Mykonos
Optional morning tour to the unique archaeological site of Delos, antiquity’s most sacred island. On to the port of Tourlos in Mykonos, with a swim stop on the way. Free afternoon and evening to enjoy the island’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. Overnight in Mykonos.
Day 3 (Sunday): Santorini
Noon arrival in Santorini (anchorage at Fira). Experience the stunning natural drama of the volcanic caldera. Optional tour to archaeological sites and typical villages with unique views over the Aegean Sea. Overnight sailing to Crete.
Day 4 (Monday): Rethymnon/Crete
Morning arrival at Crete’s famous and lively port of Rethymnon. Optional tour to the ancient city of Knossos near Heraklion. Late departure for Kythira. Overnight at sea
Day 5 (Tuesday): Kythira
Late morning swim stop and afternoon arrival to Kythira, a less known island gem now fast becoming a favourite among visitors to Greece. Evening at leisure to visit the picturesque main town of Chora and experience the subdued charms of this peaceful island. Overnight in Kythira.
Day 6 (Wednesday): Monemvassia – Nafplion
Early morning sailing to Monemvassia. Discover a remarkable medieval fortified town, with leisure time to explore the uniquely preserved Byzantine and Venetian architecture and experience the beauty of the natural setting. Depart for Nafplion in the early afternoon, with a swim stop on the way. Evening arrival at Nafplion. The old quarter is charming, with narrow streets and characteristic period architecture. Also, impressive medieval fortifications can be seen in the port and crowning the hills above. Overnight in Nafplion.
Day 7 (Thursday): Nafplion - Hydra or Spetses
Optional tour to Mycenae, the powerful walled palace of Agamemnon, the Homeric Achaean king. Early afternoon departure for the islands of Hydra or Spetses. Leisure time to explore this picturesque port town. Stay overnight in port.
Day 8 (Friday): Marina Zeas (Athens)
Departure in the early hours for Marina Zea, Piraeus. Arrival and disembark after breakfast.
Romantic Rivieras Itinerary
Day 1 (Saturday): Nice - St. Tropez/France
Embark and enjoy a short sailing trip to St Tropez. St. Tropez is a glamorous playground for the wealthy, but anyone can spend an afternoon at a sidewalk café, watching the spectacle unfold. The south of France played a role in the history of modern painting, its clear light inspiring artists, so that even today many live and work here.
For mesmerizing views, head up to the 16th century Citadel. Or take a stroll through the old town, overflowing with restaurants, trendy boutiques, and galleries. Late in the evening we leave St. Tropez and cross to Corsica. Overnight at sea to Corsica.
Day 2 (Sunday): Ile Rousse/Corsica Island – France
With its palm trees and promenades, Ile Rousse has more common with the French Riviera than with Corsica. The beach is a short walk from the port and near the Paoli Square, the heart of the city. Your optional walking excursion will take you to the covered market, to the Church of Immaculate Conception.
Later we will reach Ile de la Pietra by a causeway. The afternoon optional half day excursion will take you to Calvi and to some of most striking "fortress" like villages of the Haute Balagne as well as Calenzana, Montemaggiore and Pigna. Overnight at sea to Bonifacio.
Day 3 (Monday): Bonifacio/Corsica Island – France
Excursion: Today you stroll down the narrow, twisting lanes of this lovely walled cliff-top medieval town and admire the ancient buildings where native son Napoleon walked when he commanded the local garrison in 1773. Visit stunning churches like St. Marie-Majeure, a 12th-century structure with a fountain that collects rainwater, and the old market. Overnight at sea to Elba Island.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Elba Island - Portovenere/Italy
We reach the island of Elba in the morning. Elba was settled by the Greeks in the 10th century BC, and later became known as the home to the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte. Your optional 1/2 day excursion includes a visit to the Palazzina dei Mulini, the home he shared with his sister in 1814 and much more can be seen in the villa of San Martino and the Demidoff Museum. The excursion also includes a stop at a local winery. After lunch we cross over to mainland to Portovenere. Late evening arrival at Portovenere. Overnight in port.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Portovenere/Italy
Today your optional full day excursion brings you to Cinqueterre, five villages clinging to the Ligurian cliffs on the west coast of Italy at nearly the same distance from one another (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore). See these sites as the ancient mariners had seen from the sea. Depart from the pier northward and marvel at the views as you approach the beautiful coast with villages suspended above the sea, almost defying gravity. Five picturesque locations of pastel colored houses and terraced vineyards alive with the aroma of olive trees. Arrive at the village of Vernazza, where you disembark the vessel for a guided walking tour of this 1st century village. Notice the richness of its architecture, which evinces a wealthier standard of living than that of other villages. Following your tour, free time is afforded to browse the local shops or enjoy a cafe. The next stop is at the most westerly village and Cinque Terre's beach town, Monterosso. The town is divided into two distinct parts, San Cristoforo Hill and the old maritime village protected by a rock spur. At sea to Portofino.
Day 6 (Thursday): Portofino/Italy
Picture a tiny town of pastel houses lining the shore of a small harbor full of sleek yachts, crowned by a castle and backed by verdant hills dotted with villas. Throw in charming waterside restaurants specializing in seafood, and a national park with miles of hiking trails among chestnut and olive groves, where you can work off the pasta that in Italy is just the first course, between the antipasto and the main. Now you know why this quaint little fishing village became a playground of the rich and famous. Our optional walking excursion will show the insights of this beautiful little town. Late at night we leave Portofino for an overnight sailing to Monte Carlo.
Day 7 (Friday): Monte Carlo
Today we reach Monte Carlo or Monaco, land of the rich and famous and of the Grimaldi reigning family, its F1 race and its Palaces. Our morning excursion will start with a drive along the famous Grand Corniche with its stunning views of Monaco and the Old City, and then stroll through this marvelous quarter and its pink Grimaldi Palace where a section of the Prince’s quarters is open to the public.
After lunch, the excursion to the colorful and no less famous villages of Grasse, St Paul de Vence and Eze, home of the greatest painters in history is not to be missed. Overnight in Monte Carlo.
Day 8 (Saturday): Monte Carlo - Nice/France
Early morning sailing to Nice. Disembarkation at 9 - 10 am.
Cruises in the Garden of Eden
Day 1 (Saturday): Mahe (Victoria) - Beau Vallon Bay
Embarkation 15:00 to 16:00 pm. After the welcome cocktail and safety drill, we leave port Victoria and sail north along Mahe northern coast line to reach Beau Vallon Bay to spend the night. Welcome evening at anchor.
Day 2 (Sunday): Aride - Anse Lazio (Praslin)
We leave Mahe Island early in the morning to reach to Aride, a striking granite island north of Praslin. Unlike her name, the island has a dense vegetation and is home to colonies of birds. Our optional excursion will take you all the way to the top of the island for an amazing view of the island. The island is home to the Wright's gardenia found nowhere else on earth and to bird species like the Audubon's shearwater, the Seychelles warbler. In the afternoon we sail to Anse Lazio (Praslin), one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Time for water sports, snorkeling or optional diving. Evening at anchor.
Day 3 (Monday): Cousin Island - Curieuse
This morning we leave Anse Lazio and sail to Cousin Island. Optional excursion to the Bird sanctuary which is in the care of Bird Life International. A quarter million birds breed on Cousin which also has several nesting beaches for turtles. In the afternoon we sail to Curieuse Island. Overnight at anchor.
Day 4 (Tuesday): Curieuse
This morning we visit this uninhabited island, once a leper colony and home to giant tortoises. Our walking excursion with a park guide will bring us to the farm, along mangrove forests. Our day includes BBQ on the beach, a variety of water sports and a spectacular creole night.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Praslin – Baie St. Anne (or Anse Possession)
This morning we leave Curieuse and reach Praslin, Baie St Anne or Anse Possession. We disembark for an optional excursion to the famous Vallee de Mai Reserve, a world heritage site. You will explore the pathways under tall palm trees which produce the famous Coco de Mer and you might sight a black parrot only found in Praslin. Afternoon at leisure for snorkeling or optional diving excursions.
Day 6 (Thursday): Sister Islands/Coco Island - La Digue
This morning we reach Sister Islands or Coco Island, all uninhabited and offering great snorkeling in crystal clear waters. After lunch we arrive in La Digue, a quiet island community where time is standing still: no cars, just bicycles and oxcarts. Our optional oxcart tour will take us to the picturesque Anse de Source d’ Argent for a sunset swim. It is said that this is the most photographed beach in the world.
Day 7 (Friday): La Digue – St. Anne Island
After a lazy morning in La Digue we sail back towards Mahe and reach St. Anne Island. There is a last opportunity for snorkeling and swimming before our farewell captain's dinner. Later in the evening we reach port Victoria.
Day 8 (Saturday): Mahe (Victoria)
Disembarkation at 9:00 am.
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