Celestyal Crystal Review

Call our partner agents at 866-501-2339 to book your cruise.
57% of cruisers loved it
89 reviews | Write a Review

Why Choose Celestyal Crystal?

  • Only cruise ship to offer round-Cuba sailings
  • Authentic Cuban cuisine and entertainment
  • Deployed in Cuba year-round

Celestyal Crystal Overview

by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor

Editor Rating
4.0

Celestyal Crystal was the first ship to offer round-Cuba sailings (in 2013), operating seven-day Havana-to-Havana itineraries, stopping at five Cuban ports and Montego Bay, Jamaica. For three years it has operated seasonally (November to March), redeploying to the Greek islands for the summer. However, from November 2016 it will be based in Havana year-round due to the huge increase in demand from passengers keen to see the island before it changes permanently.

The ship 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.

In late 2015, Crystal went through a significant drydock refurbishment which saw the addition of 43 new balconies (increasing the number to 53), as well as new carpets and furnishings in the converted cabins.

Celestyal Crystal Fellow Passengers

Passengers are predominantly Canadian and Swedish, though the number of Americans is increasing due to the thawing in relations between the two countries. The rest of the clientele is drawn from the U.K., Germany and Japan. Americans are onboard, generally as part of an officially sanctioned, legal tour group (primarily the People to People Program). The average age is around 55 to 65, with a smattering of younger people and a handful of children.

Celestyal Crystal Dress Code

The dress code is casual, with one night suggested as elegant, but it's not strictly enforced.

Celestyal Crystal Gratuity

The Canadian dollar is the official currency onboard. The suggested amount for gratuities is $10 per person, per day. 

Next: Celestyal Crystal Cabins
Print this section

Start your review of Celestyal Crystal

Click to rate

Celestyal Crystal Member Reviews

Great Greek Cruise mckrakken
09/16
I personally loved this cruise! The crew were excellent, the entertainment was great, the excursions were great too. I loved everything about the cruise. We had an Olive Oil thematic. This meant a few interesting presentations by an olive oil ... Read more
So not go! Jimakos
08/16
I chose this cruise, because I wanted to have fun with my wife. I hoped I would find a clear and fresh cabin but I didn't. So I don't suggest it to anonybody. Besides doctor does not appear, if you call him. A nurse is sent in order not to pay ... Read more
08/16
I have a nice trip in Celestyal Crystal to discover Greek Islands.The ship has a few years but is very well preserved. The food is excellent and the staff is very friendly. The places I visit are very nice and I feel it is a good way to met some ... Read more
1 - 3 of 89 Reviews

Celestyal Crystal Ratings

Editor Rating 4.0 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
3.0
3.2
Public Rooms
4.0
3.7
Cabins
4.0
3.3
Entertainment
4.0
3.8
Spa & Fitness
3.0
2.9
Family & Children
2.0
0.8
Shore Excursions
5.0
3.8
Enrichment
3.0
3.4
Service
5.0
4.0
Value-for-Money
5.0
3.7

Explore This Ship

Ship Stats
Crew:
400
Launched:
1980/1990/1994
Decks:
10
Tonnage:
25,611
Passengers:
1,200
Registry:
Malta
CDC Score:
Not Yet Inspected

Community

Join the Forums Get answers from real cruisers on the forums

Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?