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29 Athens (Piraeus) to Mediterranean Celestyal Cruises Celestyal Crystal Cruise Reviews

It is a terrible ship, old and tired. Tiny cabins single beds at right angles to each other, even for couples . Hardly any storage, we had our clothes on the window ledge. The Food is awful and monotonous. Same breakfast every day, ... Read More
It is a terrible ship, old and tired. Tiny cabins single beds at right angles to each other, even for couples . Hardly any storage, we had our clothes on the window ledge. The Food is awful and monotonous. Same breakfast every day, congealed eggs, over cooked bacon etc. Coffee foul. Buffets breakfast and lunch only occasionally a waiter served lunch. Dinner you had to queue for and no seats for disabled, standing for over 40 minutes until we complained. and if you are disabled just forget it. No room for a wheelchair, slippery ramps. Tenders impossible to get in unless able bodied. Never again . Hardly any entertainment. Excursion desk gives wrong advice, we had to advise them in the end. We did not see one happy face onboard, everyone was unhappy and complaining, from all different nationalities. We spoke to English, Dutch, Americans, Brazilians , Argentinians and we all felt the same Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,We have previously cruised with Celebrity and Cunard,so a smaller ship was a first.We really enjoyed the wonderful places we visited.Santorini was fabulous,Mykonos too..Kusadasi was very intetesting ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,We have previously cruised with Celebrity and Cunard,so a smaller ship was a first.We really enjoyed the wonderful places we visited.Santorini was fabulous,Mykonos too..Kusadasi was very intetesting also.Food on the cruise was lovely.Plenty of choice at breakfast,lunch and dinner.and staff were very pleasant and accomodating.Some people complained that restaurants weren't open all the time,but fine for usThe included shore excursions were really good and the guides very informative.Now the downside.We were in cabin 2006,don't choose it! It is so near the engine you can smell diesel as soon as you step into corridor,not pleasant.Also very noisy.We felt every move of the shipWe would cruise on Celestyal Crystal but choose a higher deck.Said it all really but must give a special mention to the great staff in the restaurant and our cabin steward,we were well looked after by Migiol in the cabin.Overall a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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
IMHO the Celestyal Cruise Lines get a bad rap by travel agents. I was told that the the experience was not "upscale" and discouraged to consider. I'm sure glad we booked a 7-day cruise in an outside cabin. I understand the ... Read More
IMHO the Celestyal Cruise Lines get a bad rap by travel agents. I was told that the the experience was not "upscale" and discouraged to consider. I'm sure glad we booked a 7-day cruise in an outside cabin. I understand the reservations of some TA's and some reviewers. The ship does not have all the bell and whistles of the newer mega liners. If you're expecting this type of cruise experience then the Celestyal Crystal isn't for you. Missing are the atriums, chandeliers, rock climbing walls, boardwalks and bright neon colors. But also missing are the long lines and the intimidation of learning a larger ship. What you do get on the Crystal is a smaller ship (900 or so passengers - depending on the fill of the cabins), a ship that has been lovingly maintained - no warn carpets or furniture, polished brass and wood and no rust! Something that I can't say for the other cruise lines we've been on. Think retro boutique hotel versus a large convention or resort hotel. Our cabin on Deck 5 with an outside large window was of adequate size for two people. The bedding was comfortable, bathroom had a glass shower door, and we had two drawers that were not used. Our roll aboard luggage easily fit under the bed. Steward service was twice a day with the customary animal shaped towels left at evening turndown. Despite having gratuities included, the staff was wonderful and accommodating. Service was top-notch. Breakfasts were buffet except for an omelette/waffle/pancake station. Lunch was a la carte, buffet or daily specials on deck; crepes, fajitas, wok etc. Overall the food was above average and sometimes bordered on the outstanding! All nicely presented, with varying menus each day. Dinner was accompanied by attentive wine stewards who continually refilled wine glasses. One memorable meal in the dining room was a North Atlantic Salmon that was flaky, firm, yet moist and served with asparagus over a bed of risotto noir, black colored with octopus ink. Vegetarian, gluten free and Greek selections were also available. Service in the bars was outstanding. The drinks were weak, the wine was not! Greek red, white or rose was served in the bars and dining room. The wine was not stellar, but palatable. Premium wines were available for purchase. Weaker drinks allowed us to indulge in one or two cocktails before dinner, ample wine with dinner and enjoy an after dinner cocktail or two during and after the shows without being hungover the next morning! There was some creative work arounds needed to satisfy arbitrary serving rules with the included drinks. For example I could not order a Rusty Nail cocktail but could order Drambuie and Scotch separately. An Americano Negroni became Gin and Campari. After the first few times the servers knew exactly what we wanted and the arbitrary rules seemed to vanish! The Entertainment consisted of a fresh production every evening. Sometimes accompanied by live music and other times canned. The theatre is set up like a night club rather than theater style adding to the ambiance. The cast was young, enthusiastic, athletic and talented. Shows ranged from singing and dancing to more cirque style acrobatics. The theater had the latest LED stage lights and sound systems. A special treat was a visit by a local troupe of dancers while in Crete with native musicians and traditionally costumed dancers. RCCL take note - no Vegas retread magicians, comedians or piano players! The included excursions were excellent, well organized with minimal lines. In the ports getting on or off the boat was either by tenders or on the dock. Santorini was a hasslewith 4 mega cruise ships plus the two Celestyal Ships. All the passengers in the narrow alleys made for a mass of humanity and long lines of over an hour waiting for the tramwayin the sun. Excursions would be a challenge for those who are mobility impaired. Most of the passenger demographics were aged 50+ with many early yet still mobile retirees. Wear comfortable shoes and be careful on the stone paths! Passengers were delightfully diverse and mostly from Europe, Australia and North America. There was a minimum of motorized wheel chairs and a refreshing lack of demanding and often obnoxious elite-status passengers, often found on the larger cruise lines. Embarkation was a breeze at 20 minutes. Passengers vacated cabins at 8:30 AM at the end of the cruise but left the ship at 10 AM. Food and drink service was available in the restaurants and bars. Taxis to an from the port were readily available. All in all the Celestyal Crystal met or exceeded our expectations and matched if not exceeded the level of service we've received from the major cruise lines. It was a wonderfully relaxing and efficient way to see the Greek Islands without having to pack and unpack and deal with the cattle herding of passengers onto the Greek ferries. We slept while being transported to the various islands. Can't get much better than that! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We traveled on the Crystal ship on Celestyal in September, 2019, to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, and Crete, and to Kusadasi, Turkey. It was exactly what we were looking for – comfortable transportation to the islands. ... Read More
We traveled on the Crystal ship on Celestyal in September, 2019, to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, and Crete, and to Kusadasi, Turkey. It was exactly what we were looking for – comfortable transportation to the islands. There were 915 passengers and 450 crew members. The ship is well-maintained, clean, and efficient. This is not a luxury cruise ship, but it is sufficient, very pleasant, and relatively inexpensive. Our room was nice and clean, and well-furnished, with an ample picture window. The room was cleaned or refreshed at least twice a day. Room staff was very friendly and helpful. The food selection for breakfast and lunch on the buffet was attractive, fresh, and tasty. There was plenty of seating available, indoors or outdoors, to enjoy your meal. Staff cleaned up dishes and tables very quickly. Dinner in the restaurants was lovely. Five-course meal selections were offered each night. The food presentation was excellent, and the food quality was very good. The wait staff was attentive and service was excellent. Entertainment in the main theater was similar each night, but thoroughly enjoyable. There was pre-dinner entertainment nightly in the lounge area, a pianist and violinist, and the music was delightful. I highly recommend cruising with Celestyal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
Since we live in Athens, and our last cruises were abreoad, we though it would be a great idea to combinbe cruising from our home port (no need for flights and hotels) and our summer vacations which we traditionally have in Greece. ... Read More
Since we live in Athens, and our last cruises were abreoad, we though it would be a great idea to combinbe cruising from our home port (no need for flights and hotels) and our summer vacations which we traditionally have in Greece. Emkarkation was quick taking into account the old cruise terminal of Piraeus port (about 40 minutes from baggage drop off until on board) and we were amazed that the cabins were ready and the luggage showed up 15 minutes later. So no walking around dragging carry ons. Crystal is an aged but very well aged and maintained cruise ship. it's better to thing of it as a mega-yacht rather than a small cruise ship. The itinerary is destination oriented meaning you get 24 hrs in Mykonos 10 hours in Milos, 48 hrs in Santorini, 12 in Heraclion Crete, and half a day in Kusadasi Turkey. The swimming pool is small, but it was not used most of the time so we actually had more personal space in the small pool rather than on the large pools in other cruise ships. So it was our ritual after coming back on board to have a quick shower and have a couple of drinks while dipping in the pool. Great! There was also a hot tub in the aft bar at deck 5 which we used once. All drinks are included (excluding premium spirits and wines, which are available at a nominal surcharge), and the included driks include wine by the glass (which is bottled wine of a respected Greek winery), draft greek beer (Mythos) and the most popular "middle shelf" spitits like Beefeater Gin, Stoli vodka, Cutty Sark scotch etc. The details on the brands included are availabel on Celestyal's website. Onviously they had some more generic/obscure brands available, so it is a good idea never to order a "gin & tonic" but rather a "Befeater & Tonic". This applies to any bar on land of course... The food in the buffet was nice, nothing spectacular, but the cooking stations i.e. custom omelletes for breakfast, and various other events during the cruise like a barbeque on deck, or wok cooking were great. What really surprised us was the quality and presentation of the food offered in the MDR's. There are 2 MDR's, with no set dining times or tables. You just show up and are seated according to preferred language, or can be seated alone depending on availability. One small area for improvement is that the dishes on offer might be too internnational and could use more greek cuisine (even though we enjoyed the curry offered one night, it doesn't really match with haveing a view of Santorini out of the window). However this is a matter of preference, and being Greek I did expect the Greek cuisine offerings to go a bit further than greek galad, tzatziki and moussaka...It's like goin to italy and being offered only pizza and pasta... Anyhow the food was great, and not one time did we leave the MDR disappointed. The service was absolutely fantastic, from all aspects. Entertainment was hit and miss (but this was expected since there were over 35 nationalities on board) so it was the usual variete shows with singing, dancing and some acrobatics. They were ueually about 50 minutes long, we did not attend all nights. Again however why spend your evening watching a show when you can relax with unlimited drinks on deck, enjoying the moonlight over the summer Aegean Sea? So in summary, do not book if you expect Oasis Class onboard experience and facilities, you will be disappointed, it is not a resort at sea. It is a small ship, with all the basic amenities and services of larger ships, but the whole point is the destination intensice itinerary with a lot of port time. So the ship is the place to eat, drink, relax and enjoy the view preparing for the next destination. The cruise fare includes 3 shore excursions, in Santorini, Heraclion Crete and Kusadasi. In Santorini it is the trip to Oia, the most famous village in Santorini, the one with the sunset. However it is in the morning so if you want to see the sunset, you have to take the 45 minute bus or taxi from Fira to Oia. Personally I don't hink it's worth it due to the amount of people. Better to watch from one of the villages that are closer like Imerovgli, or Fira (on top of the cliff from where the tenders drop you off, and you have to take the cable car - 6eur each way to go up/down Fira) which are less crowded. We watched both sunsets from the ship, and there were many places onboard where especially on the top decks where you were alone. In Heraclion it is the guided visit to anciant Knossos, and the Heraclion Archaeological museum (tickets are included). then you can either get back on the bus and back on the ship around 14:00 or stay as long as you like and take a 5 min / 5 Eur taxi back to the ship from the centre of Heraclion. In Kusadasi the excursion to ancient Ephesus is included. We opted to stay in Kusadasi and shop in the bazaar area (3 min walk from the ship), which is an experiance of it's own especially if you like haggling, and streed food. Always aim for a price 30% from the original one quoted. Note that the duty free in Turkey at the port has great prices on liquor and tobacco! In Mykonos and Milos we just renter a car (had arranged in advance) and went to various beaches, in Mukonos we also went out after dinner. Driving in Milos is just fine, and the ship tenders drop you off at the new port so it's a few minutes walk until the car rental offices (local ones, but with online booking available). We drove all around the island haveing spent 45Eur on car rental and 10Eur on fuel. Again, book in advance, don't expect to get of the ship and find available cars for rent especially during July and August. I do not reccomend driving in Mykonos, especially in July and August. Anyway most of the beaches have been unfortunately converted into high end and high cost "Beach Clubs" (focused on catering to very very wealthy people and their entourage of beautiful young ladies) so most times the beach cannot be even accessed. Not to mention the cost of (starting from 80 eur per set of sunbeds). The only free beach that is still accessible by bus is Kalafati beach. So my reccomendation for Mykonos is etiher: 1. Get the local bus or ship shore excursion to Kalafati beach 2. Get an excusrion to Delos island with very interesting ancient ruins 3. If you like partying (on the cheap), spend the morning walking in the old town of Mykonos. Buy a bottle of liquor (or more smaller ones) from a small super market, throw it in the bag or even better transfer it to half lt plastic water bottles. Then arouns 13:00 take the bus either to Tropicala Club or Super Paradise (about 20 mins). No entrance fee, beers at 6 eur, drinks at 8 eur. Get a nice spot at the bar, get a cold drink and swim in the sea. The afternoon parties start at 16:00 and go on until midnight more or less. No chance of getting a nice spot at the bar aftyer 16:00. As the pary goes on take advantage of your secret stash of booze!!!! Do not go out for lunch/dinner in Mykonos, and if you do ALWAYS check the menu and prices before. It is so expensive that it could ruin your holidays. If you must eat something at shore, and have not eaten enough already onboard have a (mediocre but acceptable) souvlaki at 4-5 eur. If you must eat out do it in Milos, it is much cheaper and better quality (after researching of course). Dinner is Santorini duing the sunset is a bucket list item (especially for someone that has flown all the way to Greece), but do your research and reservations in advance. It is expensive, but manageable (30-40 Eur per person compared to hundredes per person in Mykonos). We always ate at the ship... So back to Mykonos. Get back on the ship for dinner around 21:00, go out and stroll around int he old town. No need to actually go into a bar if you don't want to, its all about walking around the old streets, see and be seen. there are a lot of small shops that have cold beers, wine etc to cater to your every need. No need to rush to get back on the ship, since the ship arrvives at Milos at 13:00 on ther next day, so no getting up early. Obviously if you have th $$$ to spare the sky is the limit on high end clubbing in Mykonos! There are free shuttle buses from the Mykonos new port to the old town every 30 minutes until 00:00 and then every 1hr until 06:00 am. Ship leave at 07:00. We used the laundry service onboard, cheaper than on mainstream cruise lines. Note to Greek cruisers that might have an Aegean Airlines Miles card: you can redeem miles towards the cruise fare! We would definately go again, and next time probably try one of their 3-4 night cruises with the other -much larger- ship Olympia. The specific 7 night cruise is the most cost effective and comfortable way to get a good basic taste of these islands, decide which one you like before comitting on a dedicated vacation on one of them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
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
Sail Date July 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
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
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
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
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
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in ... Read More
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in Santorini, a day in Milos, another in Herculaneum, Crete and concluding with a half day visit to Ephesus, Turkey. A really good itinerary on this cruise if you like the best of the Greek Islands. The flights, transfers and hotel accommodation were all fine (Stewart Travel, Glasgow). The cruise was exceptional. Mostly because of the crew. Small comfortable ship (800 passengers). Extremely friendly and attentive staff (nothing was too much trouble for them). This was probably the best cruise we have been on to date. We were given cards when we arrived which entitled us to free drinks (alcoholic and soft) which covered all but the luxury brands of drink (18-year-old whisky etc.). It was fine for us only requiring beer, baileys, wine and coffee. We did have a lobster dinner one night and paid extra for that, but it was well worth it! The food was excellent. Ranging from the ‘Al A Carte’ restaurants to the buffets and bars. There was a wide range of dishes and choices to suite everyone. We didn’t have one meal we were not impressed with. The staff are very attentive, we didn’t wait long to be served ever. The entertainment on the ship was constant culminating with the two shows every night. The shows were excellent and varied, the dancers and acrobats extremely talented. The ship photographers were also very helpful, and their work was memorable. The easy pace of the island visits meant you had plenty of time to explore each destination properly. We were lucky with the weather and had clear blue skies and 23-25c most of the week. I cannot stress the friendliness and helpfulness of the Captain and his crew enough! They were all charming, went to great lengths to ensure the passengers were always happy and content. The safety and efficiency of the way the ship was run was impressive for me as an ex-seaman. Everything was properly done (we felt safe at all times). We had a magical holiday and would recommend this company, ship and staff unreservedly, everything was perfectly organised. We would cruise again with Celestyal without hesitation. They are an outstanding company (extremely impressed). Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free ... Read More
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free tours and no tipping quickly made this my top favorite cruise of all time. The guests themselves were 40-75 age group comprised mostly of Canadians and Europeans. No language barrier at all as the staff for the most part are fluent in 5 languages. Very few children which does not exclude families but there is not a huge children's program and the sheer amount of walking and exploring would be difficult for kids or seniors with mobilty issues. Having said that the ship herself does accommodate physically challenged passengers. The food was superb with a la carte and buffet style options. We had a pre reserved table every night and we loved getting to know the staff. The food was international style with a North American flair and every meal was different and presented in the most elegant way. They do offer upgraded menu items like Lobster and select wines but we didn't feel the need to upgrade. I can not say enough about the hard working and friendly staff. By day 2 they knew us by name and we were always greeted in a friendly way. The cabins were spotlessly cleaned and had all the special touches you would find on any other larger cruise ship. Towel service, turn down service, cute towel animals and chocolate on the pillows. Our cabin was a large picture window which was lovely arriving in each port. I would have upgraded to balcony except there were none to book last minute. The best thing about this cruise is that it actually overnights in many of the Greek ports which give guests a chance to experience day and nightlife without having to rush to get back on ship. It was great to be able to explore these destinations on our own. The tours were amazing and very informative, especially Turkey which was a wonderful surprise as we were slightly nervous about going there. At no time did we ever feel any port or locals were dangerous. Of course there were lots of vendors selling their wares and for the most part they were ready to bargain and the clothing, jewelry and trinkets were truly authentic. I would not travel in August again just due to the thousands and thousands of tourists in each port every day plus the heat which was in excess of 38C every day. I would highly recommend this cruise to any of our valued customers and do recommend a few pre/post nights to unwind before the cruise. I will be telling anyone who is willing to listen how fantastic this experience was. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently ... Read More
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently book a hotel for the night in Santorini. Having previously cruised with P and O and Royal Caribbean we did not want to spend too much time on the ship as we personally found that these larger ships are too rigid in their organisation for our needs. However The Celestyal Crystal in our opinion and experience as a smaller ship was the total opposite. Embarkation and disembarkation even when by tender ran smoothly with no queuing and minimum formality. Our inside cabin was clean, functional and had the most wonderful stewards who serviced the cabin at least three times daily. The dining choices...buffet and two formal restaurants were run by well trained and attentive staff. The food choices were good although at times the food served did not always match the description on the menu. The house wine was excellent. However the spirits and alcoholic cocktails although well presented appeared to be lacking in alcohol.The entertainment was excellent including twice nightly live shows, a live band ( a rarity these days on cruises ) and live music and dancing in the lounges. There was also a disco and karaoke bar which we did not visit due to lack of time on our part. The ports of call were excellent and the time spent in each port enabled us to visit historical sites, great beaches and local tavernas independently alongside three excursions which were included in the price of the cruise. We were unable to dock in Milos due to adverse weather conditions and the captain re arranged for us to visit Syros instead. As we arrived at a slightly later time in Syros the evening shows and restaurant times were rescheduled to start/finish at a later time. This is a fantastic example of how the customers were always put first on this cruise. There was a consistent happy, friendly, family atmosphere among the international passengers and crew. This was enabled by the excellent staff led by the cruise director Danny and his team. This cruise was all inclusive with three included shore excursions, a drinks package and all tips and gratuities. All the staff appeared happy in their roles and it was great to see crew members being given time off to explore various ports of call. We will definitely return and strongly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not ... Read More
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not saying it should be black tie etc, but sitting down next to persons in flip flops and shorts who have just come back on board from the shore visits is not great fun! if unable to dock, they do need a few more activities during the 'sea time'. would have liked a little 'tour' of the ship for example, just to show the hidden workings and to keep us out of trouble on the aft deck with the Mojitos! Being a smaller ship, we were on some of the smaller islands and away from the larger crowds from other ships. But- friendly, money's worth, and excellent, clean cabins and public areas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to ... Read More
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to mind: kindness! From the moment I boarded I found, as usual (I do this cruise every year) so much courtesy, everywhere! All crew , from the exquisite lady Guest Relation Manager to the very efficient cabin waiters , our table waiter Ali and the restaurant Manager Mr. Alex (a word for describe him: simply outstanding ! ) , just to name a few , all, really all of them , were ready to answer to all my needs with a smile , always offering an impeccable service. The ship : well, Crystal is my favorite Celestyal ship: It looks like a huge yacht, the optimum size to enter small ports but large enough to offer the services of a large ship but scaled down which means personalized service and more spaces Individual. The décor, a bit ' retro ' but bright and airy is the best you could possibly want to sail in the Aegean Sea. My cabin, the 7205 Junior suite, is not really a junior suite: it is actually comparable to a spacious balcony cabin of a today standard cruise ship. I have to open here a small parenthesis of "little disappointment" because a review, to be fair to be credible, must be fair, in good things ( and really MOST are very good ) but also in... not so good . The world’s cruise companies, when they have a less valid hardware (as in this case, a junior suite that is not) compensate with better service as ordinary and here is where Celestyal is wrong: this cabin is part of the “suite” price category (the other two main groups being the outside and inside cabins ) But, while costing just little less than other suites JS doesn’t enjoy any perk at all. Nothing at all. Everything in contrast to the other categories of suites that have excellent benefits ( well done Celestyal for these ! ) . Not even free breakfast service in cabin , and this is really simply unacceptable . Now, tell me, is out there a single company in the world not offering this service in Js ? The answer is: NO or , better YES : Celestyal. The price is certainly not cheap , suitesa are expensive and Celestyal should realize that this is correct at all. The Junior Suites customer thinks that they have booked a "Cinderella" suite. Having said that... everything else has been of my total satisfaction: the catering is much improved compared to past years , it was already good, but this year it was definitely better. Also noteworthy is the excellent presentation (and abundance) of the dishes. The presentation of the buffets has also considerably improved. The bar service is pretty well organized taking into account that on Celestyal there is the all inclusive formula which guests obviously take advantage of and the work of the bars for employees is hard . Well done. What else to say? The style : I mean, the Celestyal cruise style is a little...how to say, retro ? Perhaps, but retro ' in the best meaning of this world : lot of class and this makes it an almost unique product in the International cruise panorama. Hope they don't change because that makes them absolutely different. And, now, the best of the best: the evening shows ! The cabaret offered here is ( light years ) better than the insipid mega shows offered on the big ships, here there’s "pathos" and the result is that I enjoy myself crazy and try not to lose a single one. On premium ships, an example for all Holland America Line : I much prefer reading a book in my cabin than attending their shows . This says all ! The cruise director: Well, one of the best I've ever experienced ( and enjoyed so much ) and between other 122 cruises to compare with , I believe It says a lot. The itinerary is really nice, with the overnights in Mykonos and Santorini that allow you to enjoy all the excitement of these islands that become particularly alive and charming in the evenings (while almost all other cruise ships depart ). The ship had to cancel the call of Milos due to marine weather conditions and we made instead a call at Syros’s capital Ermoupoli , an elegant city that I particularly love and that I recommend to visit. Then Kusadasi , Turkey: apart from the amazing ruins of Ephesus, shopping here is absolutely not to be missed. What have I forgotten? Ah, the beautiful Crete: I have been there at least a dozen times and always I found something new to see, this time I visited a typical farm on the hills that produces oil, raki (the typical Cretan brandy) and typical wines and we were offered excellent local delicacies produced by the farm. Ah, I forgot! Early evening , while the ship was still anchored to Heraklion , came aboard a troupe of local dancers who offered us a show of typical cretan dances: again, a “bravo” to Celestyal . Such shows were once frequent on cruise ships but today they are almost gone. And now, just a little advice to enjoy the Celestyal hospitality at its best : try to "swim against the tide" while aboard . For example,If the mass of passengers likes to dine late in the evening, and this is the case here, try to dine sooner : you’ll enjoy a better restaurant service ! More quiet and relaxed . As soon as the ship arrives, don't rush to the ship’s exit : instead , wait a while and leave queues and stress to others. I do so and for me the cruise is nothing othen than relax as I like it. And when the cruise is over ? Nostalgia of course so the best… treatment ( ehehe  ) is booking immediately another cruise with Celestyal for 2019, so I can dream of a Celestyal cruise for a whole year ! I sincerely believe that with Celestyal you can’t go wrong: if every year I repeat this trip in the Aegean there’s a reason ( hope they will soon introduce new itineraries , for example alternate routes in order to allow passengers to make longer back to back cruises . ) . Of course Greek islands are full of charm but Celestyal Cruises will take you there in an absolutely special way , different from all other cruise companies in the world : the “Greek way” with its special food, its music and its wonderful people which means, simply, a totally different , and far superior experience ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily ... Read More
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily program or you just can relax in sun bath. I've have chosen 7 nights in Greek island with spectacular views; the atmosphere on the ship was like in (a big) family. The services was really good, the crew was very nice and we have really pleased with the overall atmosphere. Very nice live bands with Greek traditional music or from international . Danny, the cruise director, was a man of pleasant surprises every night with really good shows, that cover professional dance, good music, acrobatics, ballet and so on. The entertainment team was really good and interactive with peoples. Finally I spend very nice time on Celestial Crystal and I will back next year for a new experience. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 ... Read More
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 passengers), so that you have plenty of space and time to enjoy, no hurries, not being pushed by the herd of passengers coming behind you. Compared with the Costa and MSC ships (5000 passengers) where you just feel another number, and were you may not find a place for breakfast or lunch during rush hours (specially if you go to the buffet, instead of the restaurants), the atmosphere is much more relaxed on the Celestyal ships, And the staff is 10 times friendlier, not completely stressed like in other ships. Just make a simple calculation: in a 5000 passengers ship you have 1000 crew: on crew member every 5 passengers. On the Celestyal ships, you have 1000 passengers and 450 crew members: one crew member every 2 passengers, A huge difference!!. 100 percent recommend Celestyal Cruises. When we wanted to change an excursion from Efeso for another one in Samos (the same day), no problem, no extra charge. Good cruise company!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
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
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
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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