InsightNew York-based Variety Cruises is expanding its offerings to the gay community and to cruisers interested in yoga.

Variety operates a fleet of 11 megayachts, sail cruisers and private luxury yachts that accommodate between 12 and 75 passengers.

The company also expanded its fleet in May, when it introduced the 72-passenger Variety Voyager.

Constructed at Perama Shipyards in Greece, the vessel cost $37 million, said Variety.

Yiannis Vontas, Variety senior partner and executive vice president of development and marketing, called the line’s investment in the yacht “a testament to the increased demand for small-ship cruising.”

Its latest itinerary catering to the gay community is a seven-day Gay Aegean Life cruise aboard the 49-passenger Panorama II sail cruiser.

Port calls will feature Santorini and Mykonos as well as lesser-known Greek islands such as tiny Folegandros.

“On the heels of last year’s success of [our] Full Moon Greek Islands cruise in partnership with Source Events, Variety Cruises is proud to continue offering gay-themed cruises and solidify the company’s offerings to this growing market,” said Constantine Venetopoulos, Variety’s director of sales.

“The intimate yachting experience is the core concept of our brand, and the privacy and customized itineraries we are able to offer are ideal for gay lifestyle cruising, furthermore providing a welcome antidote to mainstream, large-ship gay-themed cruises,” he added.

Variety Cruises is a member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. Partial proceeds from the Gay Aegean Life cruise will benefit the Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

The cruise, roundtrip from Athens, departs Aug. 24.

In addition to gay-focused itineraries, Variety is widening its theme and custom group charter offerings to include interests such as archaeology, food and wine, history and yoga.

A new seven-night cruise, for example, Yoga Retreat in the Riviera, operates aboard the new Variety Voyager twice in August, on the 11th and 18th, roundtrip from Nice.

An introductory yoga class will be held the first morning of each cruise. An hour-long “Solar Gathering” session will be held each day, and a “Lunar Salutation” session will be held each sunset.

Meditation sessions will also be offered daily, said Variety, and half-hour lectures throughout the cruise will focus on topics such as “The Miracle of Prana, Breathing on Life,” “Why Yoga? How Yoga Can Help Your Body Posture and Activate Your Chakras” and “Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle through Yoga and Diet.”

Yoga instructor Konstantina Maridaki, a student of well-known yoga instructor Shiva Rea, will lead the sessions.

Port calls will include Saint Tropez, Elba Island, Portovenere, Portofino and Monte Carlo.

Variety Cruises was established in 2006 following the merger of Zeus Tours & Yacht Cruises and Hellas Yachts.

Zeus Tours & Yacht Cruises was a unit of Zeus Tours, which was founded in 1949 by Diogenis Venetopoulos, who owned a Greek travel agency.

Itinerary details and pricing is online at www.varietycruises.com.

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