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While Variety has earned its reputation for cruising with its unusual programs in Greece, the company recently brought the same approach of taking its guests to cruises on the rivers of West Africa from Dakar to Senegal, priced from $2,240. The eight-day Rivers of West Africa cruise onboard the twin-hulled, 49-guest Pegasus (renovated in 2009) embarks in Dakar, Senegal, and sails up the Saloun and Gambia rivers; the line is also offering an optional excursion package that takes guests deep into the history, culture and wildlife of this less-known part of Africa.
Another Variety Cruises’ itinerary, the roundtrip Athens Jewels of the Cyclades itinerary, priced from $1,700, combines such well-known places such as Santorini and Mykonos with off-the-beaten-track islands such as Paros, known for its dazzling white marble and archeological interests, and Folegandros, the Island of Peace, covered with thyme and oregano and offering some lovely beaches. Passengers particularly enjoy the shore excursions in Santorini and Delos, nighlife in Mykonos, the atmosphere of ancient Greece in Folegandros and swimstops in some secluded bays.
Variety Cruises owns 13 ships — motor yachts and sailing vessels accommodating anywhere from eight to 60 passengers — deployed on seven-night cruises in the Adriatic and Venice, the Red Sea and Egypt and the Black Sea from Odessa and Istanbul
Harmony Voyager, the company’s 30-cabin flagship, will sail in India during the winter 2011/12 season, moving to Southern Italy and the British Isles in the summer of 2012. Staterooms have private baths and climate control; some have flat-screen televisions, DVD players, mini fridges and safes. The line is affiliated with organizations including the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Ensemble, Vacation.com, TravelSavers and the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance.