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42 Athens (Piraeus) Celestyal Cruises Celestyal Crystal Cruise Reviews

Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the ... Read More
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the moment they hit our shores for the season (looking at you, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity). Our family of four (parents, 19yo son and 17yo daughter) are experienced cruisers, so we are used to being cautious when booking our cruise holidays whether domestically or overseas. On this occasion, we were attending a family gathering in Europe and decided to extend our holiday by taking a cruise. Having done the Western Med several times, we were keen to concentrate on a different region. In October 2017, I cruised on Azamara Journey ex Athens return with my mother and had thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary, so I was keen to show my husband and children what Greece had to offer. Unfortunately, the choice for family cruising in the region is very limited, as many of the large, reputable cruise ships use Italy and Spain, rather than Greece, as their embarkation/disembarkation points, with limited Greek ports as part of their itineraries. Despite some research, we could find very little information from an Australian perspective on the quality of Celestyal cruising - even the travel agents we consulted had limited information and asked us to provide them with feedback if we went ahead with our cruise. (As we were to find out, most of the people cruising this line do not come from Australia, the UK or even the mainland of the USA; rather, they seemed to be from the Latin American countries and some European nations.) In the end, we decided to chance it, but played it safe by booking the best available cabins which, at the time, were a suite (Cat S) and an obstructed oceanview, both cabins being on deck 6. The total cost for the Idyllic Aegean itinerary (7 days), which included gratuities, selected drinks packages and three shore excursions, was in excess of AUD12,000. (We had hoped to upgrade both cabins onboard if this became an option, but it never eventuated as the cruise sailed at full capacity.) This price was in the ballpark of what I had paid per person for my 8 day cruise on Azamara in an oceanview cabin, so I was hopeful this cruise would be a decent one, though I wasn't naive enough to expect it would be up to Azamara's standards. My thinking was that it might equate to some of Royal Caribbean's older, smaller vessels, such as Rhapsody. THE GOOD: The ship is part of a Greek line and focuses on the islands, which is what we were looking for. We overnighted in Mykonos and stayed two full days in Santorini, which is not an option on larger liners. You can't take away from Celestyal that it offers unrivalled access to the Greek ports. Worth noting is that, at the last minute, the captain allowed all guests to disembark for an hour or so in Samos, while he picked up passengers who had attended an alternative shore excursion - this was unscheduled but appreciated and not something you could expect on larger liners. Our suite was very spacious, but had no opening windows or balcony. In fact, it was more like a very large oceanview, with just one large porthole. The shower stall was generously sized with a sliding glass door and the shower itself had the best pressure we'd ever experienced at sea. Fruit platters were provided each morning and canapes each evening (though the latter was often dry and tired) and there were complimentary toiletries for suite guests. These appeared to be the only privileges for this room category, with no advantages offered at embarkation/disembarkation, dining or for tender tickets. The cabin staff (Shafik and Teresa/Silvia) were excellent, which is usual on any cruise ship we've been on. They were attentive and keen to help with any requests. We ensured they received additional tips, accordingly. THE BAD: Our children's oceanview cabin was tiny - it was uncomfortably small for two adults and was sparsely appointed. The mattresses in both cabin grades were unusually firm and the pillows unusually soft, so we all ended up with sore shoulders when attempting to sleep on our sides. This was the first ship I have ever been on that didn't allow toilet paper in the toilets. As is the tradition in Greece on the mainland, all loo paper had to be disposed of in the bathroom bins. I found this off-putting. We have travelled diversely, from trekking in third world destinations to staying in five star resorts, however, this was the first time I felt the toileting facilities were substandard for the price we were paying. At home, we live on self-sustainable acreage with a biocycle septic system on the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet we have never had issues putting loo paper down the toilet in any system in our country, let alone on a cruise ship. I really think they could make more effort here. At the time of booking, our children were initially assigned an oceanview cabin on deck 2, however, I'd read the CruiseCritic review cautioning about the diesel fumes on this deck and I insisted on a deck change before final payment. Thank goodness I did. As it was, we still experienced occasional diesel fumes in the cabins on deck 6, as well as in the restaurants. Not terribly pervasive, but I can only imagine how bad it could be down on deck 2. THE UGLY: There is no polite way to say this - the food was appalling. We were looking forward to something more tempting than the usual American-influenced fare offered on the larger ships (which we sometimes find overly sweet and heavy). Celestyal claims to offer authentic Greek cuisine. Sorry, but last time I was in Greece, bland boarding school food was not part of the local experience. There were too many times that even the a la carte dinner in the restaurant was inedible (such as an Osso Bucco that was nothing but a bone chunk and fat swimming in packet-tasting gravy with no accompanying muscle meat to be found). Sadly, even breakfast offered little relief. If you strayed from the omelette and waffle station on the pool deck, there was only bland scrambled eggs and stale pastries on offer. The cereals, fruits and yoghurts were all poor quality; given the wealth of produce available in the region, it was unnecessary and very frustrating. The waitstaff in the restaurants were, almost without exception, terrible. They would forget entire courses, often provided the wrong meals to the wrong people and could not be bothered to apologise or seem at all concerned when their mix-ups became evident. Waitstaff on cruise ships are usually hard working and attentive - these guys were clearly not trained in the same manner as any others we've encountered over the years. It was like the Fawlty Towers of cruise ship restaurants. We had the 'all-inclusive' drinks package as part of our cruise and, at the time of booking, I asked our travel agent to find out how much it would cost to upgrade to premium drinks so that we could take care of this upfront. My experience is that included drinks packages with 'selected' drinks are never particularly good. After having some difficulty getting responses from the Australian wholesaler, our travel agent was told it would only be about an additional $5 per day to upgrade and we could do this onboard. The unpalatable truth is that it was an additional EUR14 per day to get the upgrade once on the ship. The included drinks were so poorly prepared that we decided not to risk throwing good money after bad. We found that as long as we stayed away from any drinks that involved mixers (viz. all the cocktails), then we could find something drinkable. Surprisingly (and fortunately), the house wines were not terrible. My husband, who is a whiskey drinker, simply purchased a bottle of Jameson from onshore and kept that in our suite for his drinks, rather than being forced to pay the premium upgrade for a watery version. We had a mixed experience with the included shore excursions. We didn't take the one offered in Oia, but did use the one offered in Heraklion. It was well run and very enjoyable. The shore excursion in Kusadasi was a travesty. When sailing on the Azamara, I did this port with a private guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the guide provided as part of Celestyal's excursion couldn't speak comprehensible English and ruined the whole experience. It was so frustrating to know how it could have been presented and to see the faces of so many people glazing over from the way it was presented. Then, to top it off, we were dragged to the unwanted rug sales pitch where a couple fell for the hard-sell and purchased a rug, holding up our entire tour group so that we got back to the ship within 5 minutes of departure. My husband had wanted to explore the options to purchase a leather jacket, but in the end there wasn't even time to shop independently for souvenirs. The whole shore excursion was unacceptable and I would strongly encourage people to use a private guide for this port. The final insult to this cruise was the disembarkation. We arrived in port at the same time as another of Celestyal's ships, holding up disembarkation so that many passengers were in a panic as to whether they would make their flights. Unlike any other cruise I have been on, there was no prior request for information about people's plans for the next stage of their journey and there was no priority offered to disembarkation of suite guests. Frankly, watching people argue with the crew and push and shove to disembark the vessel was a fitting end to this cruise. Not at all recommended. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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 ... Read More
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 45€ per visit! The pharmacy is not properly updated and you may be in danger during the cruise, if something health matter occures. I called the hospital of the ship and an ironical nurse came into my cabin. She gave me a medicine for diarroia, caused by bad food in the ship, that caused stomachache and breathing problem during the night. Also many members of the crew didn't speak greek, although the majority of the passengers of the ship were greek people. I obviously do not suggest that cruise to anybody. I left the cruise in Kos in the third day and I did not regret it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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 ... Read More
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 have to assume company, are by far the worst we have encountered. Avoid this company unless you are prepared for very poor service, food and tours. Here are a few of the events that caused four of us to come to that conclusion. 1. Food: The standard fare is buffet unless you can time your life to their inane sit down schedules. The food served in sit down is the same as the buffet.. Coffee is instant unless you pay for the upgraded beverage package. Getting a glass of water is via ONe small , very slow spigot at the bar. Que lines abound at the buffet with little thought given to flow. (folks wanting desert have to step through the line waiting for the main foods). Forgot your silverware? back to the line for you! Tables to sit to eat can be scarce. Institutional food is a description that gives more credit than is due. 2. This is a converted passenger ship and it shows. They like to tout that is is not like other cruise ships in that it is not "cookie cutter" but in reality the room selection is built to confuse and has no rhyme or reason as to the price and value. Our initial room was with limited view two beds and two chairs. On the second day out the ship was refuled. Somehow fuel oil got into our cabin. We asked to be moved since the odor was strong and affected our breathing. We were told nothing was available. They sprinkled some chemical around the room. No help. They cleaned the carpet. No help. On the fourth day we were given an option to take another room. We moved to clean air but a smaller cabin with two beds and no chairs. We had to crawl over each other to get in bed. All along I asked for a consideration to our expenses. I was told we were given an upgraded room. At the end of the cruise I asked to speak to a manager regarding our room experience. The person on duty refused to come out to speak to me. The messenger just kept saying we were treated fairly and should be happy we got an upgrade. So the bottom line here is if you have a problem during the cruise , you are not likely to get any sympathy or assistance. 3. Tours on our ship followed the food and cabin experience. Our first land cruise involved about 25 people. We were given head sets so we could hear the tour guide. At the first opportunity our guide asked us to turn on the head sets. My wife's did not work. She tried to stand close to the guide but there were many other guides in each area of interest and the guide kept moving around the group. Upon our return to the ship I advised the person taking the audio devices that my wife's did not work. He said that tomorrow they would give me better devices and threw the device in the pile of devices. I asked how they would know which one did not work. He said that was someone elses problem. I went to the land cruise desk and complained. They said they were sorry but nothing could be done. The next day we were one of the last groups off the ship. When I asked the tour guide where we could get audio devices , she said they were out of them. As an aside , I noticed other cruise lines had much more modern devices for their customers. Our third land tour had the same results for the audio plus they combined English and non English people on the same tour. Very difficult to understand what was being articulated. The good news! We hit every gift shop at each stop! Very normal activity for cruisers. 4. Entertainment and the hard working souls on the ship helped mitigate the otherwise very poor experience. Bottom line is to avoid this Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This cruise left a great deal to be desired- from staff that were unable to speak English to the pTassengers and the mis information they gave to passengers- probably because of language problems and poor training, the only staff that ... Read More
This cruise left a great deal to be desired- from staff that were unable to speak English to the pTassengers and the mis information they gave to passengers- probably because of language problems and poor training, the only staff that seemed to be happy and had a happy helpful attitude towards passengers were the restaurant waiters. However, the food served was very disappointing and also left a great deal to be desired. The only decent dinner was an 'extra-special' advertised at table on stand up card- which you had to pay extra for. The rooms were kept in good order by the hard working lady room attendants, but the shower was a total laugh- once you stepped in you could not move or bend and the plastic shower curtain stuck to your body for the entire shower. The Toilet- well unbelievably disgusting- supposedly the pipes were too small to take any toilet paper -so that had to be put in a tiny pedal rubbish bins on floor in front of Toilet for the poor room attendant to empty during the day! Entertainment- as there were only 250 - 400 passengers on this cruise and there was virtually nothing for them to do while at sea the only reprieve from boredom was the occasional evening show which consisted of a group of wonderful artists who danced and sang their hearts out to entertain the passengers. Oh yes there was Towel-folding and paper flowers instruction. The Pool was empty for nearly the whole cruise. Afternoon tea comprised of watery coffee, tea and scones that you could use for Cricket balls. I had just returned from a Carnival Cruise of the Caribbean which was more affordable than this cruise and absolutely wonderful in every way, which probably intensified the poor quality offered on this Greek Islands Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We selected the Idyllic Aegean 7 night cruise in early August 2019 aboard the Celestyal Crystal in an XB exterior stateroom. This was my second cruise (first was a western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian) and the dates and itinerary worked ... Read More
We selected the Idyllic Aegean 7 night cruise in early August 2019 aboard the Celestyal Crystal in an XB exterior stateroom. This was my second cruise (first was a western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian) and the dates and itinerary worked very well for our honeymoon plan. Unfortunately, that was one of the few enjoyable things about the cruise. First, the positives: -(Mostly) Great itinerary with overnight stops in Mykonos and Santorini -Our cleaning crew (Ernesto and Ayu) were very friendly and did a great job -Bartending staff were polite and fun The negatives: -Had to email customer support to even get my e-ticket for the cruise—I’ve received literally no email correspondence from them at any point (And yes, they had the correct email on file) -the boarding terminal had no signs or instructions for where/how to board. The ship was also very similar. We had to ask several times where to go/how to find things because of a lack of signs. This was especially true any time we tried to exit the boat at ports. -This cruise ship is old. The room/ship furnishings, restaurant, flooring etc could use a significant update -the rooms are TINY. The XB stateroom is a middle of the road option in terms of cost and we literally did not have enough room to put two normal sized pieces of luggage open on the floor. There was also no under the bed storage and very limited closet space which meant there was no where to store our empty suitcases. We ended up stacking them upright on top of each other so we could walk around the bed. As a 6’1” guy I banged my elbows against the shower repeatedly every morning. -Restaurant hours have significant restrictions (2-3 hours) for each meal and stop serving dinner at 2200. Some days, they didn’t even start serving lunch until 13:30 -Two a la carte restaurants with exactly the same menu as each other and very little variation in the buffet options -a la carte restaurant required pants for men at dinner and no flip flops but dress code was inconsistently enforced -the whole ship is on a relatively rigid “early bed, early rise” schedule. Good luck sleeping in during the 30+ minutes of morning announcements at 8am or before every morning. -a couple of the stops were not technically at a port and required lifeboat transport to the shore, sometimes taking 20-30 minutes or more. One stop required you to get in line prior to 8am to get a ticket and then wait for that number to be called, resulting in 2-3 hours of constant morning announcements on the intercom. -for a ship of 1200 passengers, the pool had a max capacity of 10 people and no poolside lounge chairs. I guess it didn’t matter anyway since the boat sailed so fast some nights that water was sloshing from the pool, all over the deck while people were trying to eat dinner. -drinks in the all inclusive package were incredibly watered down and served warm with 1-2 ice cubes. The drinks that were actually good were available to buy and with a much, much more extensive selection but it kind of takes away from the point of “all inclusive” -the last leg from Kusadasi to Athens was quite long which required the ship to travel at a VERY fast pace and rock severely the whole night. My wife and I had never been motion sick on a cruise before but were quite queasy and unable to sleep the last night due to the rocking and ridiculously loud squeaking of the entire boat because it’s too old to even withstand that kind of motion. -Our “honeymoon” courtesy was a printed sheet of paper on our bed the second night of the trip. They have many options to pay for champagne, extra dessert but basically no complimentary honeymoon extras on this “all-inclusive” trip Overall you should really only consider the cruise as a very cramped place to sleep with tons of rules and restrictions and have sub par food while going place to place on a good itinerary. For almost $2000 a person, we expected more. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We enjoyed the Buffett dining as the choice was excellent. The islands we visited lived up to our expectations. Especially Santorini. We had 2 excursions included in our package. 1 to Oia in Santorini and an historic visit in Kusadassi. Both were excellent. And the added bonus of a visit to Samos. Beautiful. BAD POINTS The ship needs a complete overhaul. It’s very dated. The pool is a joke. It’s tiny with a sign posted stating no more than 10 people at a time. Which was unbelievable on a ship with 12000 passengers. The pool is totally in the wrong place. There are no loungers on this level. Which means you have to come out of the pool. And either totally dry yourself off or walk up one level in a wet swimsuit to find a lounger. This level is also partially covered by glass. Making it unbearably hot to sit in. There are loads of underused areas on this ship. Many areas with nowhere to sit. And only 1 outdoor bar. Making it a rush every night to get a table. Yet the level directly above this area had no tables or seating. Surely it would’ve made sense to use this area as part of the bar. They could’ve installed furniture that screwed down. Then there was the dining rooms. A total joke. Both dining rooms had exactly the same menu as each other. Why.. That’s why we used the buffet every day. More choice. On the night of my birthday we decided to give one of the dining rooms a try. Wish we hadn’t bothered. There are notices delivered to everyone that smart dress is essential in the dining rooms. That meant no shorts vests or flip flops on men. And smart dresses for women. This was totally ignored. And the staff did nothing about it. The guys at the next table to us were in vests shorts and flip flops. We were sat right next to one of the clearing stations. And the noise plus the sight of leftovers was awful. It felt like a cafeteria. All you could hear was the scraping of plates and clattering of cutlery. And final straw was a waiter asking if he could take our plates, then dumping a tray with other peoples leftovers on our table. And scraping our leftovers onto it. I felt sick. This happened a lot. Even in the buffet restaurant. A fine dining experience it certainly was not. Although our room was nice and roomy (7009), the shower room was tiny. Thank goodness my husband and I are slim. Anyone any heavier would’ve struggled to sit on the loo. And finally. There was the “special evenings” eg the captains cocktail party. We were looking forward to dressing up and having an elegant evening. Another joke. The invitation specifically stated smart dress only. While most people made an effort, some didn’t. And were still allowed entry. To summarise. We won’t ever travel with Celestyal again. It was our first cruise, and has put us off cruising. It felt like a holiday camp on water. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we phoned Greece twice to try to pay for the cruise from Australia. The company certainly seems disorganised in this respect. On arrival at the ship the security staff were overzealous about small knives and scissors, which had cleared customs several times prior to arrival there. The reception staff were rude and abrupt when questioned about why a suitcase was missing when it had been checked onto the ship. While waiting in reception a non-english speaking passenger approached the manager of the reception staff to enquire about something, The manager told this passenger to go away as she couldn't understand the passenger. I found this attitude offensive in the extreme, and when I later enquired about a different cabin as I was not happy with mine, I was told to wait 5 minutes, however after 30 minutes nothing had happened about my request and I was ignored by this reception clerk. it took 2 days for anything to happen regarding my request, then it became damage-control on the part of "reception" and we were finally offered a suitable cabin. The ship is in fairly worn condition in many aspects, the smoke from the exhausts penetrates the ship including restaurants and cabins quite often, and the shower recess in our original cabin was so small the bathroom floor flooded each time you had a shower, and the shower curtain stuck to your back while in the shower. There are very limited TV channels. We found all staff except the reception staff to be very friendly and helpful, the food was mostly very ordinary, the restaurants were slightly better however the cafeteria presented plenty of sad, limp food with virtually no changes to the breakfast menus. if you would like bacon and warm toast for breakfast-forget it. There was an omlet and waffle centre where fresh food was cooked while you waited, this was excellent. The entertainment was also excellent with a very skilled compere and cruise director. The range of drinks was also to our taste, and the wait staff were truly excellent. The excursions to the islands were particularly well organised and the process of leaving and returning to the ship was great, smooth and efficient. Despite the security staff being overzealous at the beginning of the voyage, there was very little checking of what the passengers decided to bring back onto the ship from excursions, this inconsistency is an annoying reflection of ship management. The WIFI offered was very expensive, and the threat of paying SatPhone charges if you made or received calls while well offshore seemed petty and officious. The drinks on board could be on an unlimited basis which I thought was good value, however if you wanted a small bottle of water it is more expensive than at an airport! If you are prepared to put up with surly staff in reception and some petty rules, this can be a reasonably enjoyable cruse. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose this cruise as I had done the same cruise on the Crystal eight years ago and wanted to share the experience again with my partner as it was the most amazing experience. We have both cruised many time with other companies in the ... Read More
We choose this cruise as I had done the same cruise on the Crystal eight years ago and wanted to share the experience again with my partner as it was the most amazing experience. We have both cruised many time with other companies in the last eight years. We were very disappointed!!! The ship is quite shabby now, the entertainment in the evenings is very poor and never starts on time.there is no place for non smokers to relax without getting poisoned by the smoke, it is every where. No problem at all with the Itinerary as all the ports are really worth visiting. The cabin staff and the waiters at dinner could not be faulted! Perfect manners and decorum with friendly engaging personalities. Dinner in the evenings was an absolute high light for us. Our initial allocated cabin was definitely not for us. The reception did help us to upgrade though at a cost of another 500 euro (possibly our travel agents fault rather than Celestyal) Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I was expecting this cruise would not be up to the standard that we had enjoyed on other criuse ships and was not disappointed in my assumption. Meal times were a free for all when people had to queue up for the buffet (even though there ... Read More
I was expecting this cruise would not be up to the standard that we had enjoyed on other criuse ships and was not disappointed in my assumption. Meal times were a free for all when people had to queue up for the buffet (even though there were two buffet zones, only one was opened even for disembarkation breakfast time). If you elected to go to the main restaurant for "open sitting" you were always escorted to a seat at a table set for 8 people so which meant sitting with new people each time. The a la carte menu was really poor with little that could be called high quality food, and meals were often cold, particularly for breakfast. Water, tea or coffee was available only at mealtimes and had to be purchased at any other time of the day. There was no access to free drinking water during the day unless you were prepared to pay for it. Everything on board such as water, tea, coffee, drinks, use of the safety box in the cabin for example all came at a cost. I refused to pay 16.00 Euro's for the use of the safety box and was glad that i didnt lose one of the poor quality pool towels as that would have cost me 12.00 Euros for a replacement. The air conditioning in the cabin did not work well and we were advised that little could be done about it and just put up with it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from our vacation in Greece. While we were pleased with most of the trip, the cruise fell short of what we were expecting. Some problems were not serious - the food was hit or miss, and the "pool" was more like a kiddie pool. Our big issue, however, was with our cabin. The cabin was supplied with two twin beds, rather than one larger bed, which was not what we had hoped for our honeymoon, nor was the stale smell on the blankets and the torn carpet. The worst part was the bathroom. The toilet did not work when we arrived. It was fixed quickly, but had to be dealt with the second and the third day as well. The shower did not drain properly, flooding the bathroom floor when we showered. Above all, the smell in the bathroom was that of a backed up sewer, and would drift into the cabin if the door was left open for more than a second. The outside of the room also smelled strongly of diesel. After returning home and researching this cruise line, we learned that this was formerly a car deck. While not everything about the cruise was negative (the entertainment was good, the all-inclusive drink special was worth the price, some of the meals were tasty, and the overall itinerary was fun), the cabin left a sour taste on this trip. If we had known what the cabin would be like we would have preferred to stay on the mainland for a few extra days. We would not use this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We sailed around the Greek Islands and were pleased with most of the trip. The cruise liner did not meet our expectations at all. The food was hit and miss and it was stated that the A La Carte restaurant served breakfast, lunch and ... Read More
We sailed around the Greek Islands and were pleased with most of the trip. The cruise liner did not meet our expectations at all. The food was hit and miss and it was stated that the A La Carte restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was not correct. Breakfast and lunch were buffet and A La Carte was an option for dinner only. Our biggest issue was with the cabin. It was tiny and we had two single beds rather than one large bed. The bathroom was tiny and we had to put the beach towels on the floor to soak up the water as during showers the bathroom would flood. I would suggest another cruise liner for sure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My husband and I went with a group of people organized by a travel agent. The itinerary was perfect, and so were the excursions and guides. The majority of the crew was friendly, but some were not. We enjoyed the tours and the ... Read More
My husband and I went with a group of people organized by a travel agent. The itinerary was perfect, and so were the excursions and guides. The majority of the crew was friendly, but some were not. We enjoyed the tours and the destinations, but we were very disappointed with the food and the included drink selection, all 26 of us, which is our biggest complaint. Also, it forced us to eat on the Islands if you wanted to spend any additional time after the excursion because they cut off the lunch after 2 pm. I have never been on a cruise that did not offer many options for eating any time you wanted, but not on this cruise! It was our anniversary, so we chose the most expensive suite with a large balcony. The cabin was very nice and would recommend this option if you decide to go on this ship. This cruise was our first trip to Greece, and it was gorgeous. I recommend you go to the Islands as we did, but I cannot recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were absolutely gorgeous. There are several stops that were two days and that was too long. You’ll be shopped out after one day. That said I would not repeat this cruise. The negatives were of the ship. Smaller ship with small areas to gather. The ship staff was very courteous and extremely friendly. The only pool is super tiny and this pool area also serves as one of the places to eat. The food on board was marginal at best. The quality of the two buffets and the two al a cart restaurants were bad. Selections and quality were not good. For the price of the cruise the food was not to what we expected or experienced on other cruise lines. The price includes drinks but the list is limited on what is free. The cocktails were poorly mixed and even buying top shelf did not help with the case of a margarita. The last thing I’ll mention is that we’re from the U.S. and the majority of passengers were from counties like Iran and Turkey so we did get several cold shoulder treatments from these passengers. Just one persons opinion. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date June 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
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
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because we felt it was the best way to see multiple Greek islands with our limited time in Greece. Booking had several computer glitches, but customer service responded promptly. Embarkation was smooth, just as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we felt it was the best way to see multiple Greek islands with our limited time in Greece. Booking had several computer glitches, but customer service responded promptly. Embarkation was smooth, just as other reviewers wrote. Easiest ever for a cruise. You do leave your passports ( and you do get them back at them back at the end of the cruise), but I agree it makes me nervous. Once you get to your cabin, you bags are already there! Wow! We upgraded to a suite. This was 3x the price of the cheaper interior cabins. Not worth it! Overpriced! And you get nothing extra! no free water in your room, no free room service, no get off ship first for excursions, nothing except a larger room with a balcony that you will probably be too busy or too tired to enjoy. Food was good. Some days better than others. Never really hot always just warm. There was variety and I enjoyed trying new things. Just wish food was hot. They make you sit with other people in the dining room. Why? They did try to group people by preferred language, but if you asked to sit with just your party, you were told no! Other options for food were often not open so, you had no choice. Actually, we enjoyed sitting with people who did not speak our language, they were still friendly and they enjoyed their family and conversation and we enjoyed ours so, it worked out. I even learned a few words in new language. Did not attend most of shows except the one day we were not too tired because our excursion ended at 5pm and we were at sea the rest of the night. People smoked in the cabins and in non designated area on the ship, I did not see anyone doing anything about that. But, you ask to sit alone or just your spouse and they tell you "no". At times they were nothing open for food because I missed the dining room coming back from an excursion and I had to PAY for food. Excursions: Poor announcements, sometimes none. and if you are not part of a group, be prepared to be called to disembark ship last. Every day. The staff are by far some of the friendliest. We had nothing but positive interactions. Need more times for dining. Despite all the above, I would sail again. It was a large ship, friendly staff and easy to get around and see the different islands. But, I would stay in an interior or ocean view cabin and use my extra funds for shopping and excursions. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I was on the Aegean Sea cruise for 6 nights, boarding on August 26 in Athenas and disembarking in Kusadassi on September 1, 2019. My experience was excellent, a beautiful trip, an excellent itinerary, which includes two nights in ... Read More
I was on the Aegean Sea cruise for 6 nights, boarding on August 26 in Athenas and disembarking in Kusadassi on September 1, 2019. My experience was excellent, a beautiful trip, an excellent itinerary, which includes two nights in Santorini. The boat staff is excellent, the attention in the restaurant is incredible, especially by the waiters Abel, Arturito and Mario. The rest of the staff in the disco, theater, etc., the service was friendly & excellent too. The entertainment group is great (they are Cuban), which make you feel every night as if you were in a show in Las Vegas. The cleanliness of the room was very good, thanks to Ernesto and his work partner. Very good the boat that is small and somewhat old. However, they must renew the rooms a bit. And the only thing that is not good, is that breakfast is until 10:30 am and then lunch begins at 12:30 pm. If you wake up late and cannot go to lunch at breakfast time, you have no more food until 12:30 pm, The director of the cruise should consider having a buffet for those two hours. Otherwise I recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Very good experience in a cruise. It was recommend by travel agent. Ship is small but very comfortable. Embarkation and disembarkation was fast and smooth. We were a group of six people, the cabins are small but enough to sleep ... Read More
Very good experience in a cruise. It was recommend by travel agent. Ship is small but very comfortable. Embarkation and disembarkation was fast and smooth. We were a group of six people, the cabins are small but enough to sleep comfortably. Cabins environment was very good, air condition temperature was good. The breakfast and lunch buffet were varied and tasty, the buffet and food area is clean and the crew, helpful, friendly and lovely. The dinner was amazing, very good food, varied and tasty. The waiter was friendly and polite. Entertainment was excellent, every and each night there’s a new show, singers, dancers and some circus like shows. There are music to listen or dance in several public rooms of the ship. Enrichment activities were enjoyable. We didn’t use the fitness and beauty service. Excellent customer service. Shore excursion was very good, the guides are knowledgeable, polite and friendly I recommend the Celestyal Crystal for families, friends and couples. Read Less
Sail Date August 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
Sail Date June 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
Sail Date May 2019
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
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date April 2018
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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