Today’s megaships grab headlines with the sheer grandeur of their size and their array of dazzling activities, while smaller ships counter with their focus on personalized attention and luxury amenities, touting a “yacht-like” experience. Taking it one step further with actual megayachts, two companies — Variety Cruises and Emerald Waterways — set sail to under-the-radar destinations, blending an intimate cruise spirit into cultural and geographical immersion.
The takeaway from this type of cruise experience is that it provides a gratifying sample of the yacht lifestyle minus the exorbitant cost of ownership. It’s more than the mirage of caviar and champagne sizzle — it’s a dose of destination fantasy spiced with small-ship intimacy and well-deserved pampering.
Egyptian Cruising in Perfect Harmony
Variety Cruises’ sleek-looking 49-passenger M/Y Harmony V doesn’t flaunt outrageous excess, but offers a unique opportunity to dabble in the rich and famous lifestyle. Sailing out of Haifa, Israel, on a 7-night voyage through the Suez Canal and along the Egyptian coastline serves up a tasteful appetizer of small-ship affluence.
After the departure from Israel and a superb welcome aboard dinner, the vessel sails for the initial port of Port Said, Egypt, gateway to Cairo and the Suez Canal. Although the city itself has lost some of its former luster, its long-held appeal is on full display with the bustle of life along the Corniche and inner-city market area.
By Steve Leland
Photo: SRDJAN PAVLOVIC / GETTY IMAGES