Making Variety Cruises family-oriented force for good

Filippos Venetopoulos discusses how the brand is focusing on diving deeper into its destinations

Making Variety Cruises family-oriented force for good
Fillippos Venetoupolos (right) took over from his father Lakis as CEO of Variety Cruises in 2020

By Alice Chambers |

Variety Cruises, a family-run business that was founded in Greece in 1949, is refining its cruise offerings by going ‘deeper’ into its voyages.  

The line will visit more remote areas and create experiences that enable guests to immerse themselves in the history, culture and cuisine of the destinations. At the same time, it is also focusing on developing initiatives to ensure it has a positive impact on both the oceans it sails on and the people travelling and working onboard its ships. 

“We offer family-style cruising with authenticity at the heart,” says Filippos Venetopoulos, who is the third generation of his family to lead Variety Cruises. “We can safely say that Greek shipping hospitality heritage runs in our DNA and our loyal staff are a key part of our continued success – some of our crew have worked with us from the beginning. To further improve our offerings, though, we plan to fully immerse our guests within the destinations that they visit.”  

Variety Cruises’ ships have a yacht-like design and can host a maximum of 70 guests each. The brand is capitalising on the vessels’ small size by developing intimate and personalised itineraries that offer guests the opportunity to visit destinations that are difficult to reach on larger ships and ‘dive deeper’ into the cruise experience. For example, it began operating two new Tahiti itineraries in January 2023, enabling guests to hop between the islands in French Polynesia. These cruises mark the first time the brand has sailed in the South Pacific and, like every other Variety Cruises itinerary, allow guests to fully explore the cuisine, history and local culture of the destinations.  

“On our Tahiti itineraries, we offer events on private islands called ‘motus’ where guests can watch traditional cooking demonstrations and enjoy a fire dancing experience,” says Venetopoulos. “We’ll also invite an anthropologist and a member of the local community onboard the ship to explain how life on the islands has changed since the first inhabitants arrived all those years ago.” 

Variety Cruises will be the only cruise line in the world to visit the island of Makatea during its 10-day trip to the egion, depending on the weather. “There are only three islands like Makatea on the planet but what makes it really special is that it also looks like no other island in French Polynesia,” says Venetopoulos. “It is basically just the reef drop, which descends steeply.” The raised coral atoll, which is approximately 235 kilometres north from Tahiti, features untouched cliffs, beaches and caves for guests to explore.  

In addition, Variety creates insightful itineraries to multiple other destinations, some of which include Greece, the Seychelles, West Africa, Cape Verde, the Red Sea, Costa Rica and Jordan 

Variety Cruises will carry out a five-year, fleet-wide renovation project to reduce the carbon emissions its ships produce. “Sustainability is a core pillar of our brand identity and we aim to be carbon neutral by 2050,” says Venetopoulos. “To achieve this, the line is committing to carbon-offsetting programmes, reducing its mileage on itineraries and using sails to power its ships. Vairety has also joined forces with Sustainable Travel International as a guardian member exploring best tactics in achieving our carbon neutral goals.” 

Variety Cruises also strives to have a positive impact on its guests and crew, which is why it is actively involved in initiatives to promote diversity, inclusion and equality within both its shipboard and onshore teams.  

“We strive to educate staff and onboard crew members with equality in mind,” says Venetopoulos. “This includes mental health and LGBTQ+ training, so that our crew feel comfortable and included working on our ships, which has a positive effect on our guest experiences. We are also a proud member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, and we ensure that we are up to date with information and proactive strategies.” 

In addition, Variety Cruises offers guests the opportunity to join cruises led by LGBTQ+ allies. “Of course, they are inclusive so they’re open to everyone,” says Venetopoulos. “We also produce, create and support media initiatives that educate and promote equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community for both employees and guests. 

“We will put our energy into leaving this planet in a better shape than how we found it, one cruise at a time,” he adds, reflecting on the line’s sustainability and diversity initiatives. “We will do this by educating ourselves, staff, customers, suppliers and everyone else involved in our ecosystem, and work together to become a force for good.” 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.   

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