Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Celestyal Crystal Review

Celestyal Crystal
Celestyal Crystal - Louis Cristal Casino Celestyal Crystal - La Scala Restaurant Celestyal Crystal - Show Lounge Celestyal Crystal - Theater
59% of cruisers loved it
47 reviews | Write a Review
  • Only cruise ship to offer round-Cuba sailings
  • President George H. W. Bush is a past passenger
  • Range of balcony cabins

Celestyal Crystal Overview

by Adam Coulter, UK Editor
Editor Rating
Celestyal Crystal has had a colorful life: It started off as a passenger ferry in 1980 before being converted into a cruise ship in 1986. It was destroyed by fire in 1990 and completely rebuilt; partially sunk in 1994 and rebuilt again; renamed five times; and owned by five different lines, including Norwegian Cruise Line (where it sailed as MS Leeward), before ending up with its current owners as Louis Cristal in 2007. The name changed to Celestyal Crystal in 2015 when Louis Cruises rebranded. Past passengers include Sweden's Royal Couple, who stayed onboard during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and President George H. W. Bush, who stayed onboard in November 1995.

It's a small ship by modern standards, but it has a big-ship feel. Holding 1,200 passengers on 10 decks, it has everything you would expect on a big ship, but it's scaled down. You'll find a casino, kids facilities, a library, a spa and gym, a pool and hot tub, three bars, a main dining room, a self-service buffet and two specialty restaurants. It's just all in miniature -- except, that is, for the main theater, which could rival that found on any big ship in terms of atmosphere and design.

Celestyal Crystal harkens back to an earlier age of cruising. The corridors are wide, as are the cabin doors, which are solid and aluminum-clad. There are 12 cabin types, and all have a distinct style, as opposed to a modern cookie-cutter one. The ship boasts large picture windows with huge screws and thick metal frames; triangular-shaped balconies cut from the superstructure, rather than jutting out; and lots of polished mahogany decks and banisters.

It's the second-largest ship in the Celestyal Cruises' fleet of four, and it spent the whole of 2012 out of service before being chartered by Canada-based Cuba Cruise to start the first-ever round-Cuba cruise service. Launched in December 2013, Cuba Cruise spends December to March operating seven-day Havana-to-Havana itineraries, stopping at five Cuban ports and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The ship spends the rest of the year in the Mediterranean, offering seven-day and four-day itineraries in and around the Greek islands.

While chartered to Cuba Cruise, the hull is repainted to reflect where it is, and restaurants reflect the Cuban itineraries.

Celestyal Crystal Fellow Passengers

On the Cuba sailings, passengers are predominantly Canadian and Swedish. The rest of the clientele is drawn from the U.K., Germany, Japan and Jamaica. Americans are onboard, generally as part of an officially sanctioned, legal tour group. The average age is around 55 to 65, with a smattering of younger people and a handful of children.

On Mediterranean cruises, the demographic changes significantly, with European passengers -- particularly Greeks -- making up the largest percentage. The average age drops, and there are far more families onboard as it sails through the school holidays.

Celestyal Crystal Dress Code

On Cuba itineraries, the dress code is casual, with one night suggested as elegant, but it's not strictly enforced. When in the Mediterranean, daytime dress is "country club casual," which means "a relaxed yet elegant presence and respect toward the onboard areas and your fellow passengers is ensured." There is one formal night per seven-day cruise, which means cocktail dresses for women and suits and ties (no tuxedos) for men.

Celestyal Crystal Gratuity

The Canadian dollar is the official currency onboard on Cuba cruises. The suggested amount for gratuities is $10 per person, per day. Tips are included while the ship is in the Mediterranean, when the currency onboard is the euro.
Next: Celestyal Crystal Cabins
Print this section

Celestyal Crystal Member Reviews

Worst Cruise ever Mike the Elder
We are seasoned cruiser's and world travelers. We fully understand that places outside the USA can be quite different since we have traveled to China (lived there for a total of 12 weeks) , Russia and many other countries. This cruise ship, and I ... Read more
The Celestyal Crystal ain't no Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth (but nor are you paying their fares!), not of their ilk is the CC. It is however an old girl pretty efficiently run with a seemingly happy and friendly crew who all work damn hard and ... Read more
This was a cruise booked for a group of 42 of us. The ship was smaller than most cruise ships and therefore, much more movement than expected (6 floors). Our cabin was located above the motor, 5th from the back, and all items were vibrating on ... Read more
1 - 3 of 47 Reviews

Celestyal Crystal Ratings

Editor Rating 4.0 Member Rating
Public Rooms
Spa & Fitness
Family & Children
Shore Excursions

Explore This Ship

Ship Stats
CDC Score:
Not Yet Inspected

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.