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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends ... Read More
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends with the crew. Celestyal want their staff to socialize with their guests so you would often see staff sitting having a quick chat with passengers. What surprised us was that we were greeted by name. Staff were excellent and everyone greeted you with a smile Crystal was awesome, catering for all our needs. the one positive was disembarking. Very quick and efficient and queues moved very efficiently. The entertainment was great and varied to cater for all types of passenger. Another positive we noticed was that were docked longer than other cruise liners so you could really experience the islands without the pressure of getting back to the ship in time and not seeing enough. We opted for a Junior Suite so we had our own balcony. This was great to be able to sit on our own deck and stair into ocean especially during sun rises. I would seriously recommend Celestyal Cruises to young and old alike. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was ... Read More
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was a hassle getting refund. Shore excursions said they couldn't credit our charge card immediately, yet they were able to bill charge card immediately for a substitute trip. Was told to expect refund 7-10 days post cruise. Didn't happen so I called and was told we were expected to go through our travel agent for refund, even though we booked the shore excursions directly on Celestyal website. Money has now been refunded, but a lot more hassle than necessary. Food and entertainment were good. Some of the shore excursions were a bit disorganized, but it was the first cruise of the season. Our bathroom smelled bad from the start of cruise and constantly leaked water under the sill of the shower, flooding the bathroom. We told the room steward. It was never fixed during the cruise. We should have been moved to another cabin since the cruise was not fully booked. I am rating shore excursions as poor due to management, even though most of the excursions themselves were OK. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director ... Read More
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director Danny was excellent. I am giving my review to tell readers what I would have found useful to know, and to also provide constructive feedback to Celestyal since I see they sometimes read this site. ITINERARY: First I want to say that the itinerary is extremely well thought out, especially the departure times from each island. You hear about cruisers having to rush back to their ship for concern they might miss the sailing. Not so with the Crystal. Our departure time from Mykonos was not until 7am the next morning, so people could stay out partying all night if they wanted. Departure times from Milos and Santorini were at midnight, so you could spend as much time sightseeing as you wanted, watch the sunset, have dinner in a restaurant on shore, and not be at all concerned about getting back to the ship on time. GETTING ON AND OFF THE SHIP: I had heard from people cruising larger ships that getting off the boat can be tedious. I’d also heard that if you don’t buy one of the ship’s excursions, it will be a problem getting off quickly. Not so with the Crystal. At four of the six ports we visited – Athens, Mykonos, Crete and Kusadasi – the boat pulls up to the dock and you simply walk off a gangplank. No issues getting off the ship when you want. At Santorini and Milos you have to use tenders (small boats that take you to and from shore). On the first day at Santorini was the included excursion for everyone, so you just went with your assigned group, took the next tender, and then got on the bus for your tour. On the second day at Santorini, you just got on a tender whenever you wanted. They were every half hour. And since the boat didn’t leave until midnight, there was absolutely zero worry about getting back in time. We had all the time we wanted in Santorini. On Milos we did NOT purchase an excursion, so had to get a tender ticket and wait for the booked excursions to leave first. In the end, we waited maybe half an hour to have our ticket number called to take the tender. And since the Crystal did not leave Milos until midnight, we had all the time we wanted on Milos. Absolutely no concern about rushing back. CABIN: I initially booked an interior cabin as I didn’t think I would care much about whether I had a view. However I later paid to upgrade to an exterior cabin in order to get a more space. (The website lists the square meters for every type of cabin.) However I was very glad I had changed to a windowed cabin, as I discovered I was prone to a touch of motion sickness the first few days. Looking out a window at the horizon is especially helpful with motion sickness, so I was glad I paid the extra money to have one. Also I really did appreciate the extra space. Our cabin stewardess Victoria was really sweet, constantly cleaning our room, and always greeting us so cheerfully when we got up in the morning and when we returned from excursions in the afternoon. She also made us adorable towel animals in the evening. I think I am pretty sensitive to smells but only noticed diesel fumes when outside on the lower decks. I did not notice any diesel smell inside our midship cabin on deck 4. There was sometimes a faint sewer odor coming out of the floor drain in our bathroom, but fortunately our bedroom did not have it. The shower worked perfectly. I loved the scent of the shower gel. I also want to warn: the deck 5 “exterior” cabins have a walkway running right outside their windows! I noticed this because I walked by them when I was exploring the ship. I am glad I did not have one of those cabins. You have a window but someone can walk by it at any time. I don’t think people walk there often, but in the end you have to be careful about keeping your curtains closed while getting dressed. As far as I could tell, for the rest of the exterior cabins on the ship, the window is truly on the outside of the ship. That was definitely the case for exterior cabins on deck 4. WHAT TO BRING: there were only 2 available plugs in our cabin, one for a Europlug and one for an American style plug. Whatever your nationality, I highly recommend you bring the appropriate adapters so you can make use of BOTH plugs. (If you are an American, bring a Europlug adapter. If you are European, bring an American plug adapter. If you are English, bring one of each type of adapter.) And if you have more than 2 things to plug in, bring a compact outlet multiplier as well. If you have compact binoculars bring them as well, it’s nice to be able to look at the islands you sail to and by. Bring miniature padlocks to lock your suitcases when you embark and disembark. Unlike airlines, you are allowed to lock your checked suitcases. My recommendation is to check pretty much everything. I embarked carrying just my purse and disembarked with just a small backpack containing my nightclothes and cosmetic kit. You CAN bring your roll-aboard to breakfast on the last day, but do yourself a favor and don’t. Just lock it and let the ship deal with it. Retrieving the luggage on disembarkation was well organized. WHAT NOT TO BRING: a lot of clothes and fancy clothes. The cabin doesn’t have much storage space in the closet for clothing. I had to store half my wardrobe in my suitcase stored under my bed. And I brought too many clothes because I mistakenly thought people had to dress up for dinner. You CAN dress nicer for dinner in the sit-down restaurant, but a lot of people did not. There was a rule against shorts, but any kind of pants are fine, even jeans. The “Captain’s cocktail party” was merely a presentation in the theater. Not really a “party” at all. I’m not sure of how to arrange things so that an entire ship could actually have a real cocktail party to meet and mingle with the crew... But what they DID have you really do not need to go to, much less dress up for. I brought a long dress to wear to that event, but it turned out I REALLY did not need it. And I’m really REALLY glad I didn’t insist my boyfriend bring a jacket, as he never would have used it. In the end, we found this ships's attire as casual as all travel generally is these days, so you can leave your nice clothes at home if you prefer to travel lighter. FOOD: After our first experience in the sit-down restaurant Amalthea on the 2nd day, I insisted on eating there every time. The food there was presented beautifully. I didn’t think everything turned out perfectly in taste, but there was plenty to eat with four courses offered at both lunch and dinner. And if you didn’t like what you had chosen, you could ask the waiter to bring you something different. In the end I was really pleased with the food and dining experience in Amalthea. By contrast, the buffet restaurants were not to my taste. Too hectic and the food presentation was a little too close to cafeteria-style for what I expected from a cruise. Our sailing was about 75% full, but only one of the two sit-down restaurants was open. That led to lines at dinner, although the line moved quickly. I don’t think we ever waited longer than 20 minutes. I don’t mind waiting, but I would prefer not to stand in line to do it. I would suggest Celestyal come up with a “take-a-number” scheme like at the deli, so we could at least sit and relax with a drink while waiting. Also, surprisingly, the buffet restaurant gave us LESS chance to socialize with other passengers. People are naturally reluctant to take their own initiative to join strangers already sitting at a table in the buffet restaurant. But in the sit-down restaurant you can ask the Maitre-D’ to seat you with other passengers speaking the same language. Instant introduction. I enjoyed talking with everyone we sat with. The largest number of passengers we met were from the UK. I also want to say that the Crystal varies the lunch times day to day so as to accommodate people who might be returning early or late from an excursion. Well thought out. DRINKS: The “all-inclusive” cocktail menu was really quite impressive. Lots of cocktails, lots of after dinner liqueurs, etc. We especially appreciated the chance to try SIX different Greek liqueurs for free. We liked some of them enough to buy them at the duty free shop at the Athens airport when we flew home. We also really liked a couple of the cocktails made with the Greek spirits. I will admit the “included” Greek wines were not great, but they were drinkable. If you are a very serious wine drinker, that might be a reason to use the “premium” menu. Or you can simply order a free cocktail with your dinner. We never once ordered off the premium menu and didn’t feel at all deprived. DAYTIME SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES: we only had time to go to one, the Greek cooking demonstration conducted by the assistant cruise director Tereza. It was very, very well done. Tereza could host her own TV cooking show, she has so much personality and love of explaining Greek food. If you see this class on the daily sheet, DO NOT MISS IT! Speaking of Greek food, this is one of my suggestions to Celestyal: offer more Greek dishes on the menu! In my opinion, they should try to offer one Greek option for every course. Greek food is wonderful and people visiting Greece should be given more opportunity to try it. WIFI: there was a long explanation in the information sheet in our room about why satellite wifi is so expensive at sea. OK understood, but how about offering free wifi while in port? I think passengers would really appreciate that. Also, how about having free access to an on-board website just for the Celestyal Crystal, listing the daily schedule, excursions, lunch and dinner menus, drink menus etc. I know from my friends that some other cruise lines do this. I ended up taking cell phone shots of the daily sheet and menus so I could refer to them. It would have been nicer to call this information up via an App. The ship could also use an App to manage the line at the sit-down restaurant(s). Go on to an App to say you want to eat now, number in your party, preferred table language. Then get a pop-up message when your table is ready. And if there were proofs of the professional photos available on a website, people might buy more of them. Other amenities: The casino was very small, just video games. Luckily I don’t care about gambling. Also the swimming pool was incredibly small; I never saw anyone swim in it. Luckily I didn’t care about that either. If those are things you care about, you might not be as happy with this ship. Finally, the excursions: we paid for one which was good, and then went on the three that were included for everyone. Unfortunately when you have a ship full of people all doing the same excursion at once – even a small ship that is only 75% full – it is going to be a bit crowded. The Crete excursion to Knossos and the Heraklion museum was disappointing to us. Our guide clearly tried to do her best with the limited amount of time and the over-crowding, but we were disappointed in not getting to see as much as we would have liked. We later talked to fellow passengers who had toured Knossos and the museum on their own and really wished we had done it that way too. The included excursion to Ephesus concluded by taking us to a rug “factory” out in the country and they managed to find enough such rug places to take EVERY bus to a separate one! That part was really well done. I thought I would find the rug factory tacky, but the one we were taken to was really enjoyable. Our tour of the rug factory concluded with a relaxing light lunch outside in the shade, with just the 25 or so people on our bus. That was really delightful, and my hat is off to the excursion organizer for coming up with this way to make that part of the excursion uncrowded. My sincere recommendation to Celestyal is to come up with ways to make the rest of the included excursions less crowded as well. For example, in Crete: take one third of the the buses to Knossos first, take one-third to the museum first, and take one-third to the walking tour of Heraklion first. Then swap around. Overall I thought the cruise was well done and would recommend it to other people. The itinerary is really good, and the ship is in my opinion very well run. The employees are hard-working and friendly. The food and drink were very enjoyable. I offer my complaints as constructive feedback to what could be made even better, or what my fellow cruisers might wish to know before booking and sailing. ------ Port reviews: Mykonos: we paid for the excursion for the island of Delos which we enjoyed. Afterwards we used the cruise-provided free shuttle buses to go between the port and Mykonos Town where we wandered around on our own. It was easy to see the town attractions on foot by ourselves. The ship does not sail until 7am the next morning so you can partake of as much nightlife as you want. MILOS: we rented a car at the port for the day and then drove around seeing what we wanted to see. It was very easy to arrange and much cheaper than an excursion. We heard from fellow passengers that if you are an American, some of the rental car companies will insist on an International Driver’s Permit. (These permits can be obtained in a few minutes at any AAA office in America. You don’t even need to be a member. Plan ahead and get a permit before you leave.) Europeans don’t need the international permit to drive in Greece. I don’t know about the rules for drivers from other continents. Driving in Greece is easy with a map app on your phone. Road signs are in English as well as in Greek. Google maps even has free parking lots listed. Sarakiniko beach on Milos is not to be missed! It was spectacular and one of my highlights of the cruise. If you go on your own you can spend as much time as you want there. Wear water shoes or hiking sandals you can get wet. SANTORINI: the included excursion to Megalochori, Oia and Fira was crowded. Everyone commented on how if Oia is this crowded in May, can’t imagine how it would be in July and August. On the second day in Santorini we hiked on our own along the crater rim from Fira to Oia. This was beautiful, but is only for people who are physically fit. It could take 5+ hours depending on how many pictures you stop to take. A lot of hiking up and down, sometimes in loose gravel. Good hiking shoes are a must! Carry a water bottle, wear a hat and use good sunscreen. We stopped along the way for lunch in the lovely and uncrowded town of Imerovigli in between Fira and Oia. We talked to fellow passengers who rented a car to visit beaches and wineries on Santorini. As long as you don’t want to park in Fira and Oia (both VERY crowded) car rental is a convenient way to visit Santorini at your own pace. Again, Americans were asked to show an International Driver’s Permit in order to rent. CRETE: we went on the included excursion to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum. We thought this excursion was too crowded and were disappointed in the limited time at each place. If I were to do it again, I’d pay out of my pocket to do it on my own. I read it’s easy to get to Knossos by taxi or bus, and the museum is easily walked to from ship. After the excursion we did our own walking tour of Heraklion. If you look at the bottom of “authentic Greek” gifts sold in shops in Santorini and Mykonos, you’ll see most of them were made in Crete. So we decided to do our major shopping in Crete, especially for olive oil. The stores are easily walked to from the port. KUSADASI: we did the included excursion to Ephesus and the rug factory. Ephesus was magnificent and our guide was really good. Although all the buses arrived at Ephesus at the same time, the guides were able to keep the groups spread out at the site well enough that we could enjoy it. The rug factory tour was surprisingly enjoyable. They took each bus to a SEPARATE factory, so it was completely uncrowded and relaxing. The rug place even provided us a light lunch of Turkish food. Our guide emphasized that no one should feel pressured to buy a rug, and no one in our group ended up buying. The Crystal also offered a late lunch timed for people returning from the excursion, but we had enough to eat at the rug factory that we just got some dessert on board. This was the best of the included excursions. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal ... Read More
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal Crystal . First the good - The staff mostly all willing to greet passengers with a smile and kind words. The room - we had an XC category room on level 4 - the room was quit spacious- the bed comfortable and while a bit dated always clean. The itinerary- one of the primary reasons we choose Celestyal was excellent. The Cuban entertainment team- one of the very best we have ever had on any ship we have been on - which is saying something as several of our previous cruises have been on lines like Disney and celebrity - vocally honestly very good . The Cruise director- Danny One word - Awesome! When have you seen a cruise director join the show to sing and dance? Shore excursions- For the amount of folks they had to take in the included excursions- they did a good job. The guides on the excursions were some of the best we have experienced Now to the klunky and quirky and not so good The bar service - unlimited drinks - do not imagine yourself in Cancun by any stretch of the imagination- they employ a method that requires staff to wait your drink- they say ‘so we can keep track of what we use’ - my guess is that the bar staff tips are tied to the amount of drinks they serve. Here is what that means - service is very unpredictable waiting 10 minutes for an espresso - not unusual. But if you learn the waiters who would not just take 8 orders it could be very prompt. Or as happened to me after waiting 15 minutes for a sparkling water they gave me someone else’s card - and I had to go back to get retrieve my card as I could never get back into my room :) Always double check that you got your card back :) The food - Unpredictable- sometimes quit good on other days just not good. I am a food snob but when the rice and chicken on American is not over cooked that’s saying something and the rice and chicken were better on my flight - good for American not sure how to explain mushy rice and dry chicken for most the week. Now we did have some really good dish’s but it was hard to know. It was midway through the week before we had what we would describe as a really good desert - kind of a first for us on any cruise. The staff - While some were great we had some who simple did not have language or competence for the task they were attempting to fill. At reception we had one amazing staff person who went out of their way to help and another who seemed to think his job was to smile and explain away the issues we were raising- in fact I’m pretty sure he straight up lied telling us the ship (1200 capacity) was at 100 percent and later to discover it was at 701? On another occasion when trying to share about a really bad tender experience waiting for over an hour - he told us the tender was every half hour. Again either a language or competence. The smell of diesel- Was present in the dining room almost every evening and in our room daily - I struggled with nasal congestion until I got off the ship Disembarkation- In over a dozen cruises on multiple lines all over the world I was quit surprised by how klunky and long it took - actually I’ve never taken this long to disembark To repeat? I am pretty unsure if I would repeat with Celestyal now that other major lines are picking similar itineraries. Also we are pretty sure we won’t be repeating Greece - it overall did not fully live up to the hype. Read Less
6 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact ... Read More
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact excellent. We loved having the luxury of time on Mykonos and Santorini. Of course we would have liked to have even more time, but that's for another trip. Embarkation was very smooth and pretty fast. Access to the ship started at about 2:00 pm. We arrived at the Piraeus port around 3:30 and we were on board by shortly after 4:00 pm. Our cabins were not ready, which was understandable, but there were lounges to wait in. The included excursions were: Santorini (visit to Oia), Heraklion (visit to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum, and Kusadasi (Ephesus).The first two were excellent. I skipped the visit to Ephesus because I'd been there before; my several travel friends who went on that excursion said the ancient site visit was excellent. That was followed, with the same guide, by an over-long visit to a rug factory which was so intensely pressured to make sales (thousands of dollars per rug) that these seasoned travelers felt intimidated and quite uneasy. It sounds easy to have walked away and boarded the bus, but they assured me that the bus wasn't going to leave until some sales had been fulfilled. We added on a ship's excursion to Delos (from the Mykonos port). Perhaps because it was the first excursion on the first day, but it was chaos at the beginning (bus assignments, ticket distributions, etc.) The guide my group was with, Yolanda, spoke incomprehensible English, and after a while we gave up trying. I suggest hiring a guide privately. The excursion we added on for Milos, Nostalgic Milos and the Beaches, was fabulous! We boarded an excursion boat, had an excellent guide, Natassia, who pointed out features of Milos that we could see from the boat, and we had a few opportunities to jump or climb from the boat to swim in the Aegean. Unforgettable! As expected, the ship is in need of an update. Nothing was dirty or shabby, just looking dated and tired. Our standard outside cabins (Deck 4) were fine. Not large, but we didn't expect that. The bathrooms were tiny, but not so very different from other cruises I have been on in standard accommodations. The wait staff tried their best, but they need more training--food orders were mixed up, requests were forgotten. They were very polite and friendly, but, with a couple of exceptions, they need more training and experience. Not sure if it was partly a language issue. They meant well. The shows were pretty bad, I thought, though with enough alcohol (a drinks package was included in our price), it was possible to smile and have a good time. The pool, located on the same deck as the food buffet, was tiny. See photo. We felt that the food was the weakest part of the experience. At best it was mediocre, especially the meat. A couple of times what was supposed to be steak was a sort of grey mystery meat and we sent it back. Breakfast options were repetitive but okay, and lunch options always included salads and vegetables if we didn't like the looks of the hot dishes. Coffee was labeled as Douwe Egbert, a European brand, but we thought it pretty bad. One of the advantages of having a few long days and late nights in port, was being able to have lunch and/or dinner off the ship. Disembarkation took longer than anyone wanted it to. We arrived back at Piraeus by 9:00 am, and my group did't get off the ship until slightly after 10:30 am. It was annoying, but I don't blame the cruise line for that--they are subject to the whims and rules of Customs and the Port Authority. Would I take this cruise again? Possibly. But I'd look into similar itineraries with higher prices, to at least ponder a more upscale experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every ... Read More
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every occasion, and reminding you "that's extra - not included", hence calling it the "SS Nickel & Dime." Embarkation was a disaster - the computers went down and we were kept waiting in line outside for an hour in 37 C heat . 45 minutes in the staff passed around paper cups with some sticky sweet green beverage - we passed. No apology offered, and no explanation. Only found out real reason because we overheard staff talking about computer access issues. My traveling companion was never able to get his credit card registered - some issue with computer. WiFI - not included! That's extra. And it's not cheap at 16 Euros for 3 hours. Other lines we have traveling on include WiFi as standard issue with fare. We kept phones in airplane mode and found wifi in port every day to keep up with email and calls. The included drinks package was a real disappointment because like other lines where you could use the average base cost of a glass of wine to pay extra to get something potable, we were reduced to drinking plonk and no-name budget beer and cordials. The drinks included in the package were sticky sugar laden things - the good cocktails were all at extra price. If guzzling pink zinfandel and Long Island Iced Teas is your idea of a great time to get drunk, you'll love this ship. If you have more sophisticated tastes, prepare for a week of sparking water and disappointment. It was farcical since the cheap stuff was all included that you had to present cruise card each time. It was for "Inventory control" purposes we were told. Staffing is "Soviet Full Employment" - one person takes your order with the card, then it goes to the bar, then a third person brings you the drink. Beware the Happy Hours where you can purchase for extra money potable cocktails and wine. Bars are understaffed and it took 20 minutes to get an Aperol Spritz one afternoon. Interestingly, the same drink is priced differently at different bars, even at happy hour. My account was also padded with some extra items I never ordered that I challenged the last night and had them removed. Specialty Coffees - come out of a machine using powdered milk, unless you go to one of the bars - by the pool and the rear deck on 5 have real espresso machines. Smoking Policy - unacceptable. Smokers have use of the best areas on the ship - all the decks and the rear deck bars. Even though the smokers are supposed to be on one side of the deck, they smoked anywhere they wanted to. Vapers thought they were excluded which made for smelly hallways and public areas. Smoking policy was not enforced. If being around smokers bothers you, this is another reason to skip this line. Ship photos - photographers are everywhere making the Selfie generation happy. One night they offered a photo stand where you put on ancient Greek costumes and pose that was good fun. Wait until the last night to buy photos when the package offers get better. Onboard Shopping: boutique (watches, jewelry, basic fashions, cosmetics, cigarettes, liquor and a few sundries) was open only when in international waters so shopping opportunities were intermittent. If you see something you want in handbags, scarves, rings or or gold chains by the inch, best to buy it the first time you see it as stock gets wiped out. They do have a sale the last night and I picked up two dressy blouses at 50% off that was a good value. Meals were monotonous and just average. Breakfast is a buffet even in dining rooms. Same items every day got boring in a hurry. Stick with Greek and Turkish food for best chance of having something that isn't frozen. Sad that all the fish/seafood was frozen, when you are surrounded by the Aegean Sea. In order to get a fresh fish you need to pay 25 to 35 Euros extra to sit at a special table for a Greek Taverna style meal. Not worth it, especially considering we ate well in Athens for 20 Euros a person average, including nice house wine/quarter litre. No room service included - not even for rolls and coffee in the morning - that's extra! Pizza and Ice Cream are available - but that's extra! Ship is a converted ferry boat. Conversion efforts were basic - lacking in decor, lots of rust around the edges and worn carpets, warped railings. It felt like a budget Las Vegas hotel. Smells of bilge and sewage were often wafting through the hallways. We kept the balcony door open a lot of the time to counter the unpleasant aromas. Beds were ok but topped with thick duvet that are not needed in 35 C heat. Mattresses are hard - not the pillow top type you find on Princess, Celebrity etc. Since it was so hot I slept on top of the duvet and asked for an extra sheet. We had a Junior Suite that was OK for ship cabin - slightly smaller than what we are used to on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America. No bedside tables available so we used upturned suitcases for bedside tables instead, wedged in between beds. The hangers are the annoying kind that you need to slide into a ring that is permanently attached to the rod. I brought two plastic hangers and clips to use to dry hand-wash items-very handy! Were told by other passengers that we were lucky to get bar soap and also individual bottles of shampoo and lotion. In standard cabins you access these via a dispenser on the wall. Hair dryer was adequate if you have short or thin hair. It is tethered to the desk area and cord is not very long so tiring to dry long hair - took 2X longer than usual to get the job done. Overall the staff were friendly, and our cabin staff were flawless. However there were some floaters among the group. At Santorini tender station the staff sat in the folding chairs eating ice cream while the passengers, some elderly with canes had to stand. There is no such thing as queuing in Greece - the tender boat approached in a different area, so passengers that dutifully waited in line were pushed aside and made to wait for another tender to arrive. It's every man for himself at port side tender stops! Three shore excursions were included: Mykonos tour, Crete/Knossos Palace and Kusadash/Ephesus and Turkish carpet weaving shopping stop. Tours were good, guides spoke good English and didn't have their hands out soliciting tips. Those who wanted to offer tips did so discretely. Ephesus was the most amazing Roman ruins - best preserved (not restored) I have seen in any country. Turkish carpet weaving stop was interesting until we became trapped by salesmen. Managed to evade them and get back to the bus. Turkey is a lot like Mexico - people chase and hound you to buy souvenirs and enter their shops. The Greeks are much more relaxed, they say hello and leave you to it so it's nicer shopping for souvenirs in Greece. Other shore excursions like beach trips and sporting activities were available - but that was extra! Bottom line - if you want to stop at Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Milos (boring, stay on ship unless you need to buy groceries or medicine), Kusadasi/Ephesus, this line has it covered. If you have basic tastes when it comes to food and beverage it will do. Otherwise skip this ship and this line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
In our decision to cruise on the Crystal, we focused on the opportunities to learn as we travel. This cruise ship and its destinations and excursions fit our plan perfectly! The fine dining, drinks, interesting fellow passengers and ... Read More
In our decision to cruise on the Crystal, we focused on the opportunities to learn as we travel. This cruise ship and its destinations and excursions fit our plan perfectly! The fine dining, drinks, interesting fellow passengers and friendly crew were added benefits we loved (but had not prioritized What a pleasant surprise!) Another priority for us was to have a fairly small ship. The amenities were many -- but not at all overdone or overcrowded. The schedule provided all the aspects of a cruise you'd expect, though: three dining locations; on board entertainment; etc. Each and every member of the crew was seemingly devoted to our enjoyable journey. What a great group! Particular highlights were excursions to Delos (from the Mykonos port), Milos (What a gem--The excursion to swim under volcanic tunnels was amazing!), Knossos in Crete, and Ephesus. Can you imagine walking the same paved path as Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and the Apostles Paul and John?? Of course, Mykonos and Santorini were gorgeous! Our family extends our deepest appreciation to the crew and management of the Crystal. We made so many family memories--and would love to do this all over again. Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 2.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 3.5 3.8
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates N/A N/A

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