As well as an overnight stay in Athens’ most elite hotel, Lee had the luxury of setting sail on one of Variety Cruise’s very own cruise ships – the newly rebuilt Mega-Yacht, the Harmony V. This cruise ship is a modern, elegant yacht with a sleek high-tech look, very similar to the private yachts to be found in many famous ports of the world. The 56 metre long 8.4 metre wide Mega-Yacht was launched back in June 2009 and complies with Eurosolas safety regulations while its powerful engines, generators and state of the art twin stabilisers allow for safe and comfortable cruising.
Onboard, a spacious lounge with classy seating and an American Bar leads into a dining area, decorated with warm colours. Both areas offer large windows, providing the most beautiful views of all destinations the ship cruises to. The 200m-squared sundeck offers a shaded outdoor area for all day dining, and an additional bar as well as sun chairs and loungers. The swimming platform on the Harmony V stern allows for easy access to the ship and for a wide range of sea-related activities.
Lee took the pleasure of lapping up all that the country and its surrounding islands had to offer…
“My adventure started on August 18th when I flew from the UK to Athens. I’d been to Athens before, but knowing l was about to embark upon a completely new experience made the whole process a lot more exciting. In usual circumstances, I would have flown out on the Friday, being transferred to Marina Zea by direct road transfer. However, I decided that I was going to take full advantage of the trip by staying at one of Athens’ most impressive hotels; Hotel Grande Bretagne, where I rested up on the Thursday night. Friday morning came around very quickly and, after a sound night’s sleep, I was prepared to embark on my week-long adventure. I made my way to Marina Zea – admiring the beautiful Greek views along the way – where I was to board the luxury yacht and start my adventure in the afternoon. There wasn’t a huge amount of people on board, making the experience all the more intimate and, knowing everyone was in the same boat (no pun intended) it was easy to make friends with my fellow cruisers.
“On board the ship was Joseph Serafimidis, Director of Operations, who I became very fond of throughout the week. When on a small ship like this, or on any cruise for that matter, everyone on board is given a daily briefing, informing the passengers of the schedule and what to expect from each destination. Joseph was incredibly humorous and lightened the mood during these briefings, making it a lot easier for everyone to take in the information. Joseph was also a talented man, speaking in English, Spanish and Greek, showing the true versatility of the Variety Cruises staff and how they adapt to cater to the needs of their passengers. The staff on board were incredibly attentive throughout the week.
With trips like this, and cruising in particular, it’s expected that things might go wrong. For example, sometimes the weather prevents you from certain stops or activities, yet the Variety Cruise employees almost always found ways around these issues to ensure everyone on board had a great time regardless.
“So we set off on our journey to the island of Kea, departing via Cape Sounio. I must say, the whole boarding and setting off process was quick, efficient and frankly, stress-free, leaving me with nothing but faith in Variety Cruises for the remainder of the week. On our way to the island, I spent my time admiring the beautiful views that surround Greece; calm blue waters, the blinding sun blurring my view of the horizon, and everyone on board taking pictures of the landscapes with their smartphones and digital cameras.