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Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek Isles sail to/from Italy and Athens with various stops along the way in Sicily, Naples, etc. This seemed to be the most economical cruise that sailed in/out of Athens and only visited the islands. The biggest benefit of this cruise/itinerary is the long time the ship docks in Mykonos and Santorini, and we took advantage of this. So many of the cruises we looked at only had half a day+ on the islands and that doesn't give you much time to do more than get off/on the ship and walk around a bit. We toured Mykonos by taking the ship's bus to the old town early, walked around and shopped a little, took some pictures at the windmills, and then caught a bus for like 5 Euro round-trip to Paradise beach where we stayed for 4-5 hours eating/drinking/swimming and had a great time. It was a nice, relaxing day. We also planned our own excursion on Milos (speedboat tour around the island with swimming/snorkeling). We left the ship and spent the night on Santorini to be able to do a 5-hour sunset catamaran cruise that Thurs night so we didn't do the ship excursion. You can get a room a few blocks back from the caldera rim for under 100 Euro in June. The next day, some of us did the hike from Fira to Oia while the rest of the party rented a van and met us in Oia where we did more walking, shopping, and eating. Finally, we drove to the Venetsanos Winery for a wine tasting/food pairing before heading back to the ship for dinner. Santorini is amazing. We did the ship excursions in Eraklion/Crete and Kusadasi/Ephesus and they were fine. Ephesus is an amazing site and a must-see! However, by the time we got there it was crowded and then the whole rug factory tour/sales pitch at the end was a bit over-the-top. I didn't hear anything about any of the other ship-based excursions, but I'm not a big fan of riding around on a bus on someone else's schedule and priorities when it's easy to plan day-trips/activities in port independently. The staff was great, our room stewards took care of us, and embarking/disembarking was pretty seamless although the disembarking took a while. For whatever reason we never heard the "all clear to get off the ship" notification before we saw people on the dock leaving the ship. The ship is perhaps slightly dated and smaller than most, the pool is small, I think there's just 1 hot tub, and the buffets don't have a lot of variety day-to-day. The restaurants had a different menu each day and were fine. I would highly recommend this cruise for the purposes of seeing the Greek islands, but know in advance this is not a luxury cruise and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture window. We were on level 5 at the end of the corridor. It was quiet enough but we could hear a buzz from either the generator or air con during the night. This didn't bother my husband but I am a light sleeper & had to wear ear plugs to block out the noise.The cabin was small but we had enough room to move about. We both found the bed too hard & missed not having a small fridge to keep our water cold. The shower was fine & we always had plenty of clean towels. We enjoyed dinning in the main restaurants. The food was of a good standard & there was plenty of choice if you were gluten free like me. I didn't find a great deal of choice at breakfast time. The cereals were of poor quality & thought the scrambled eggs were horrible. It was daunting having to ask for gluten free bread & dairy free milk ( soya only) at breakfast time, especially as the waiters were always busy. I am not a lover of cooked breakfasts but my husband thought he had had a better breakfast elsewhere. The buffet at lunch time in the evening was good, although the choice was similar each day. The gluten free bread was ok when warm but I pre ordered sandwiches one day & the bread was so bad I had to throw them away. I found the day time activities a bit run of the mill but as we were at a port each day it didn't bother us. The evening entertainment was a bit amatureish but the staff were so enthusiastic that it made the shows entertaining. My favourite was the Greek night & the Abba tribute. The entertainment staff put a lot of work into each show as there were no other acts on board. The entertainment manager was very friendly & had a good manner with the guests onboard. The service we received on board was good & we found most of the staff very friendly & helpful. Our favourite port of call was Santorini & we enjoyed the free included trip to Oia. it was lovely to have the overnight stay to spend two days on this lovely island. The other two free included trips were fine. The organisation of the trips was very good & there was no problem when having to get to port by a tender. The ship was smaller than others we have sailed on & therefore maybe not as much choice as on a larger ship. I liked the fact that it was smaller & there seemed to be less hussle & bustle. It was an older ship but still very clean & comfortable. However, I felt one of their failings was that they didn't always push the guests to use the hand sanitizers when returning to the ship, going into the theatre or even going into the buffet at lunch time or tea time. This didn't seem to be a priority like on larger ships. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise. There were a few minor short comings but this didn't spoil the our trip & we would use this cruise line again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a ... Read More
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a dinner nothing special but drinkable Excursions rather long and padded out with relatively uninteresting visits like carpet factory in Kusadasi which was interesting initially but not the 1 hour plus of resisting the sales pitch. Disappointed that so many cruisers chose to ignore the dress code , tea shirts and sandals even on captains night. Having given all the negatives, we enjoyed our cruise, food in Olympia was excellent and we were well served by Angelo Geny and Elisabeth the wine waitress. Lounge areas were comfortable and really enjoyed the shows which were very professional. Small groups playing in lounges were also good. Overall although Cristal is showing her mature years this is made up for by the really excellent crew, always smiling and helpful. Next cruise will be with a larger more modern ship but I think we will miss the size and friendliness of Criistal and her crew. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Norwegian, Holland, Celebrity and Oceania in the past, as well as been on board very small cruise ships in Alaska and Patagonia. We selected this cruise via a Friendly Planet booking based ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Norwegian, Holland, Celebrity and Oceania in the past, as well as been on board very small cruise ships in Alaska and Patagonia. We selected this cruise via a Friendly Planet booking based on previous very favorable trips with them and due to the itinerary that would take us to Mykonos, Santorini and Crete in addition to Kusadasi in Turkey. We booked over a year in advance with three friends that travelled with us on this cruise. Embarkation was very easy. It is a small ship. Our tour manager also had us check in at 4 p.m. in the afternoon for a 9 p.m. sailing. This worked out very well. No one was in line ahead of our group (a total of 19 people) and we sailed easily through the process. Bags were delivered to the cabins within 30 minutes of getting on board. First glitch was upon arrival in the cabin. I have used in room safe deposit boxes at least a zillion times. The instructions for the in room safe deposit box left out key information. Everyone in our party could not figure out how to use the darn thing which resulted in a call to reception. An hour later, no one came to fix the problem. With the life boat drill starting in 10 minutes, we were much more insistent and finally a nice member of the staff came and gave us the missing information that resolved the problem. This was the beginning of our understanding that if you have a problem, calling reception is a total waste of time. The public areas of the ship have been updated and are fine. Nothing fancy, but it basically works. The cabins are another story. Luckily, we upgraded as far as Friendly Planet would allow us to (outside, XF cabins with lower beds, a couch and a table - no balcony). This gave us a much larger room than is standard on this ship. The furnishings are outdated and there is limited storage space. Storage space in the bathroom consists of a single shelf under the sink. There were plenty of hangers in the closet at least. Furnishings look to date to the 1980s. Basic, not attractive, but it works. For some reason, they never seem to clean the windows on the ship and seeing out is through a streaked pane of glass. Beds were comfortable. Keep your curtains closed during the day! Cooling system needs to be upgraded. We sailed in late April. In the heat of summer I cannot imagine how long it would take to cool down the cabin to an acceptable level. We kept the curtains shut when we were out of the cabin and in 24 hours we achieved a decent temperature. Food is okay and can be good at dinner but is problematic at breakfast. My advice would be to get a cappuccino from the bar (far better than the coffee that is offered) and a bowl of the very good Greek yogurt with some fruit. Bread is stale and seems to be leftover from dinner service the night before. One of our friends saw the French toast being fixed the night before for reheating the next morning; he avoided it from that point forward. We were only on board once for lunch. We ate as many meals as possible off the ship. Dinner was hit and miss. Some items were good, others a miss. Staff is nice and efficient. Sommeliers were very helpful in selecting Greek wines. Do not drink the wine on the drink package - just awful! You can get the wine list from the sommelier and "upgrade" for around 15 Euros or so to a better bottle or glass. Unfortunately, this is not allowed anywhere other than in the main dining rooms. Every night we upgraded to avoid the standard wine offerings. Cocktails are a bit of a nightmare. Very light hand on the alcohol pourings which resulted in our ordering a shot of whatever liquor we were drinking in addition to the drink to get the drink to taste right. Results in a substantial time delay, but solved the problem. Ask for additional ice as well if you want a cold drink. Drink menu is a bit strange, but we found things to keep us happy. Again, avoid the wine by the glass. The best thing by far about this ship is the itinerary. This is the sole basis of my "Very Good" overall rating. I care far more about where I am going than the ship I am on. At the last minute, they altered the itinerary to allow us an overnight in port in both Mykonos and Santorini. This was simply fantastic. To visit these towns that are packed with tourists during the day after 5 p.m. when they are all gone is magnificent. We had dinner on shore both nights (the ship departed around 11 p.m. on day 2) and walked the empty streets. Milos was also substituted for Ios at the last moment and we very much enjoyed this infrequently visited island. Book a tour in Milos to get you to the beautiful volcanic landscapes and the small towns. Do not just stay in the port area. We had delicious dinner at a restaurant on the harbor as we sailed out late. The late sailings (except in Ephesus) are a signature of this cruise and is a very good reason for booking. We had tours organized through the ship for Santorini to get us to Oia (essential to do this in my opinion), Mykonos, Milos, Crete (Knossos), Ephesus and Athens. All the local guides were very good and the tours operated efficiently and without problems. The ship handles tenders and embarking on the tours efficiently. The big cruise lines filled with American passengers have all abandoned going to Turkey due to the situation in Syria. Celestyal is registered in Malta and has passengers from all over. All announcements are in English, French, Spanish, German and Russian. We were informed that Celestyal is the only cruise line visiting Kusadasi this year. I was there in 1993 and wanted my husband and friends to see this magnificent place. It was wonderful to be able to go back. We did not feel threatened therein any way. Some Americans on the ship refused to get off in Turkey however. So, if you want an excellent itinerary through the primary Greek islands and are not insistent on a well appointed ship with luxury accommodations, this is the line for you! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Overall it was a good experience. However, some of the islands we visited could be removed completely as there was nothing to see there (like Ios island, or even Sirios), and they could make a longer stop at Santorini. The pool water ... Read More
Overall it was a good experience. However, some of the islands we visited could be removed completely as there was nothing to see there (like Ios island, or even Sirios), and they could make a longer stop at Santorini. The pool water was very very cold and the pool itself very small, while situated in the middle of a bar and a restaurant. The sun beds were on different floors, so there was no way to use the pool at all. Dishes , food trays and coffee mugs at he buffet need proper cleaning, as they were often dirty. The stuff in general was polite and helpful. Specially the waitress Mina at Thallasi bar is very nice. The excursions at Efes and Izmir were very nice choice, but the visit at the leather factory was not necessary. Also the Wi Fi price made no sense at 7 Euro / hour. Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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