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

Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the ... Read More
Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the included excursions, we decided to repeat the cruise this year. Celestyal offered a fantastic Black Friday cruise deal including drinks, gratuities, and three paid excursions. I thought it was the same package as last year as the excursions included Ephesus which I really wanted to see. Turns out this package included Cairo, Cyprus, Rhodes, Ashdod, and Kuchidassi (Ephesus). After a day at seas we disembarked in Alexandrea, Egypt for our excursion to the pyramids in Cairo. The twelve tour busses were accompanied by an armed escort with an armed guard on the bus. This is told not to frighten you, but to show the Egyptian government is serious about protecting tourists. We lunched at the Meridian Hotel near the pyramids (included). I will admit to being surprised at how much civilization has encroached on Giza, and even more surprised at the aggressiveness of the hawkers trying to sell their wares and services at the pyramids. The Cairo Museum was very interesting with more than you could possibly take in for a limited amount of time. There is an immense new antiquities museum to be opened soon near the pyramids. I can only imagine the undertaking this will entail in making the move of all the artifacts from the Cairo museum. Two more busses joined our convoy back to Alexandria and it was interesting to me (my wife was a bit unnerved) to see the coordination between the bus drivers and our escort. Getting back to the ship, we found out Israel had denied docking to the ship so our excursions to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv were out. Amazingly, Celestyal gave all the passengers a E100 shipboard credit for something that was really beyond their control. We spent another extra day in Alexandria and we elected to stay aboard. Those who took excursions to the Library of Alexandria or Tel El Armin reported enjoyable excursions. A side note: they aggressiveness and rudeness of the pyramid hawkers somewhat diminished the pyramid experience, but putting it into perspective, that's how they're trying to make a buck while they can. My wife sat next to a fellow whose work took him to Egypt and he told her not to judge the Egyptians by our experience at Giza. He said the Egyptians were warm, friendly people eager to show the real side of Egypt. Next stop, Cyprus. We used some of that E100 credit to purchase a tour of Tombs of the Kings and the nearby ancient Roman manors and their mosaics. It was also enjoyable and we found Cyprus to be very beautiful. I hear the island has been closed in the week since were their. Next stop, Rhodes to see the acropolis of Lindos and the medieval part of the city of Rhodes. It is a steep walk up to the acropolis and with a bum leg and hip, I got half way up and decided to give my wife the camera and see the ruins through her eyes. Back in the old part of Lindos, I found the need of a restroom. I came across this charming little tavern, the Captain's House to use the restroom (BTW the cleanest of anywhere off the ship) and enjoy a local Cypriot beer. Like many of the building in the old village, part of the walls of this tavern were of medieval vintage, adding to the beauty and charm. Back in Rhodes, we wandered the old walls and buildings from the times of the crusades, in very remarkable condition. From Rhodes, it was on to Kuchadassi for a tour of Ephesus and a hand woven rug factory and lunch. Ephesus was certainly a highlight of the excursions, very well preserved and still undergoing archeological discovery. Our tour guide, Tuba was very interesting and informative. Next, the rug making coop and lunch. This was an unexpectedly interesting tour, seeing these works of art spring to life from the silk cocoon to the beautiful soft finished product. Had I not known how my retirement accounts nosedived in the past two weeks, it would have been tempting to give into the desire for one of those beauties. Thankfully, there was no pressure to buy anything and we made our way back to the ship. If you've gotten this far, and forgive my verbosity, let me tell you about our shipboard experience. Had never heard of this cruise line 'til last year. I'm surprised Celestyal didn't cancel the cruise. There were 347 passengers on a ship able to carry 1200. The crew outnumbered the passengers and yet, Celestyal honored their commitment. Every other cruise we've been on, the crews and food have altogether been great. This cruise, the crew added a level of warmth and friendliness like never before. I think of the cruise director, Danny; funny, fluent in many languages, and approachable. He even participated in some of the evening entertainment as a singer or actor. Our cabin stewards were sweet and sincere. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and surprisingly roomy. The service desk manager, Thiago, sunny disposition and humorous even remembered my wife from last year's cruise (honest). The wine steward, Rafael, knowing I didn't like dry wines, brought a bottle of sweet wine to our supper table after I mentioned at a wine tasting class my distaste for dry wines. The young lady who greeted us each morning at breakfast with a smile and sincere greeting. The food was very good. These all added to one of the best cruises we've ever had the pleasure to be on. Celestyal went above and beyond in caring for their passengers and their crew for that matter. We spoke to some of the crew members who told us they had nothing but good to say about their employer, some of them who had worked for other cruise lines and decided they found a home with Celestyal. I hope this coronavirus thing is just way overblown and things return to a semblance of normality. I hope this does not sink such a fine company as Celestyal (or any of the cruise lines or hospitality industry for that matter). Mr. Chris Theophilides runs a great company. Without hesitation I would recommend a cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the ... Read More
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the offerings you'd find on larger luxury boats but we found the Crystal to be very adequate for this type of cruise. Clean and well maintained throughout, friendly and responsive staff, enjoyable entertainment (great dance group and Dani is awesome). Each day we had very good experience with the shore excursions, guides, transportation arrangements. Well organized. Appreciated the included drink package as well as 3 excursions (a big reason this cruise is a value). No serious negatives. I found getting coffee in the morning buffet too challenging (one machine was broke most of the week...traffic jam). Also this trip and ship is geared for the adult experience, boring for kids. Been on eight previous cruises, lots of fun experiences, but I am thinking this was my favorite. Primarily due to the ports we visited but the whole experience was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), ... Read More
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), gratuities and drinks (albeit you could also pay for “premium drinks”). We had read the reviews on the Celestyal Crystal and had “lowered the bar” for our expectations slightly - and we were not disappointed! PORTS Cairo We had an early arrival in Alexandria and then travelled as an 18 bus convoy complete with armed military escort on the bus and with the convoy for the 3 hour trip to Cairo and later up to Port Said. Cairo is not an overly impressive city - lots of traffic and chaos. We first stopped at the Egyptian Museum for about an hour with our guide rushing through an explanation of the mummies and artifacts. The guide was difficult to hear on our hearing devices and despite the short visit and difficulty in hearing was still interesting. Then a stop at a large hotel for a 45 minute buffet lunch and off to the pyramids. There were many hawkers and vendors there and one had to be firm to say NO. We did have a boy of around 18 offer to help take our pictures which lead to taking more pictures which seemed quite innocent enough. Then he encouraged us to get on some camels for a picture and I remembered being told if you get on a camel you would have to pay to get off. Anyways after being asked for something from Canada we gave him 5 Euros - but be on guard! After this we went to the Sphinx - very interesting and then a papyrus and gift shop before the 3 hour trip to Port Said where our ship was waiting. LONG day but enjoyable. Jerusalem/Bethlehem We were delayed leaving Port Said and missed our slot into the Suez Canal and ended up getting into Ashdod 3 hours late. Because of this our ship excursion had to be shortened and we didn’t do lunch. We had a trip to Bethlehem but as usual because of long line ups we were unable to visit the grotto where Jesus was born but had a good explanation of the surrounding buildings and area. Then to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to the wailing wall. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and we felt we learned more than on previous trips there. Cyprus Because the 2 previous days were supposed to have been quite long we chose to take the bus into Limassol for EUR 1.50 each. When the bus got to town the driver announced there would be a tour at 2pm for EUR 10. So we walked around town, had something to eat and took the tour which for what we paid to visit some historic castles and digs was fine. Rhodes This was our third time to Rhodes - a place we always loved. This time the excursion. Went to Lindos an old castle about 45 minutes from the port. Again a wonderful guide and some time to explore then back to the downtown of Rhodes for a walk about. Great day! Ephesus A wonderful 3 hour tour with a fantastic guide and great explanations. CREW The friendliness of the crew was unbelievable. The cruise director - Danny was absolutely phenomenal- he spoke something like 5 languages, was always full of energy and up and also participated in some of the shows! MEALS The food was good - maybe not quite as good as on other ships or not the variety but still quite palatable. The waiters worked very hard to serve and please and we’re awesome. Buffet is also served for lunch and dinner and the variety is a bit lacking. Conclusion Yes this is a 40 year old ship and yes there are a few things that might not be quite as good a standard as bigger ships but lower your standards a little bit and go with an open mind. The mix of passengers is mostly European (Danny’s announcements were first in English and then Bulgarian! followed by Spanish, German). The value for what you pay far outweighs anything where the standards might be a bit lower and we can only HIGHLY recommend the Celestyal Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband is a travel consultant and found out about this cruise at a training. We have always wanted to visit these amazing destinations...Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Rhodes. The ship was not the newest, but extremely ... Read More
My husband is a travel consultant and found out about this cruise at a training. We have always wanted to visit these amazing destinations...Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Rhodes. The ship was not the newest, but extremely clean. The people working on the ship were extremely friendly. Although there were people from many countries on the ship English was used for announcements, entertainment, etc. Many excursions were included in the price. They all were escorted by a guide who was very well educated in the destinations. Drinks were included in the cruise fare and they were extremely generous. The cabin was more than adequate, as we were very Port intensive. There were many choices of where to eat. Buffet was available for all meals and also two sit down restaurants. In the bar areas you could order pizza, burgers, sandwiches for a small fee. We were very pleasantly surprised by the cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. The 7 night 3 Continents tour leaving from Athens did not disappoint in any way. We'll certainly use Celestyal again. Flying into Athens on the day of the cruise departure was a risk, ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. The 7 night 3 Continents tour leaving from Athens did not disappoint in any way. We'll certainly use Celestyal again. Flying into Athens on the day of the cruise departure was a risk, but we'd seen Athens a few times before, and weren't keen to stay over. A 1 pm arrival was delayed by half an hour but we still made the 2.09 train direct to Pireaus and we were queuing to board the ship by 3.30. The embarkation took about an hour overall. Quite busy. Once on board we took to the ship immediately. Small and old but a great way to travel. Cabin was fine, nothing special but all you could need, and the staff were excellent. Dining was of the turn up and be seated variety. If we wanted to sit alone we got a table for two, if we felt like company we we placed at bigger tables and every evening worked out fine. The bars might have lacked a bit of atmosphere but they were more than adequate, inside and on deck. Bar and restaurant staff were the most pleasant we have ever encountered, the girls from Turkistan on the rear deck bar were so enthusiastic about working on this ship, compared to others they'd served on, so it looks like they were treated ok. The weather was good to us, just one shower as we arrived in Turkey but dry by 10.00 am and sunny again. Cairo- excursion included in the fare. 16 buses in convoy (with armed guard) to the Archaeological museum and then the Pyramids at Giza. We were about 90 mins late docking in Alexandria, so the trip was a bit rushed, but what an experience. The long bus journey is not for the faint hearted, and an obligatory shopping halt prolonged the day. Highlight of the trip. Ashdod - we paid for the ships excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. About an hour to Jerusalem, Gethsemene, Western Wall, Holy Sepulchre Church, Via Dolorosa and then on to Bethlehem. Another compulsory visit to a local outlet. Cyprus - we needed a day off so just took the free shuttle into Limassol and had a very pleasant few hours wandering about. Plenty of tours were offered but we didn't feel the need. Rhodes - trip to Lindos and Rhodes included in fare. We were revisiting the island after 40 years and it was interesting to see the changes. Rhodes old town was empty and we had the streets to ourselves in the late afternoon, and many shops were closed. Stunning town. Kusadasi- Great trip to Ephesus which surely rivals Pompeii in its appeal? again, we were here 40 years ago and much more is to be seen now. Fantastic place. Athens - Docked at 8.30 and we ignored the queuing instructions as we only had hand luggage and sneaked off the ship ahead of being called, there was no queue and we just walked off. Had we waited it might have been 11.00, as the luggage undergoes inspection before passengers are allowed to collect but we had none. We caught the metro to Monastiriki left our cases in a bag b'n'b and has a tour of the Ancient Agora. Sunny and warm in December. Quick bite to eat in the 'flea market' area and off to the airport. Lovely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My mom and I opted to the Three Continent Cruise on the Crystal because of the ports visited for my mom’s birthday. We were overall pleased with the cruise and I don’t regret the extra expenditure for the Grand Suite. With that said, ... Read More
My mom and I opted to the Three Continent Cruise on the Crystal because of the ports visited for my mom’s birthday. We were overall pleased with the cruise and I don’t regret the extra expenditure for the Grand Suite. With that said, there were some really great features and some areas that you should be aware may fall short of some people’s expectations. Embarkation notice for suite guests: We got to the cruise terminal early and I am glad we did. Suite guests are offered priority check-in but when the boarding line opened, there was no separate line and poor sign directions for suite guests. Guests began queuing up well in advance of official boarding time and the general boarding check-in line quickly encompassed the entire entryway to the terminal, so it was impossible for suite guests to know that there is actually a separate desk (across the room from the general check-in). In fact, I asked a cruise ship security/line attendant for where suite guests should check-in and he told me to go to the back of the general boarding line. If this is supposed to be a benefit of paying extra for suites, Celestial needs set up a separate line. Once we got to the right place, check-in was quick and did not have to go through the general queue. Cruise ship positives: The dining room food was always good and well presented (suite guests receive free room service from the dining room menu and we used it a couple times and were always pleased with the quality). The on-board activities were hit or miss but the evening entertainment was good and I would rate it as just as good as evening shows on some larger mega cruise ships. The cruise director, Danny, was fantastic and entertaining. While it is a smaller ship, it offers almost all of the same key amenities as larger ships. Being a smaller ship, we never had to wait to be seated and there was always plenty of room in dining and lounge areas. The ship, while older, is also immaculately cleaned. The disembarking process (for both excursions and final disembark) was smooth and well organized. There was only one instance when lines became congested and unruly (the first port of call). Negatives: The buffet was mediocre and you could count on basically having the same choices every day. Aside from a lack of diverse food choices, I was also dismayed to find there were virtually no traditional Mediterranean choices. I heard from many of my Greek friends before taking the cruise that I would love the food (I do), but was disappointed that a Greek cruise line cruising the Mediterranean offered basic choices like rice, pasta, potatoes, spaghetti and similar foods but only once that I noticed did they offer a regional cuisine (dolmades). Suite benefits: If you can afford it, this is one time a suite may be actually worth the upgrade cost (although a lot of time is spent in port on this cruise so that may be a countering argument for some). Suite guests receive complimentary room service (all meals) and we also received a welcome basket of fruit and wine and every morning fresh cut fruit and bottled water was delivered, every afternoon canapes were delivered, and every evening cookies/treats were delivered. We had a Grand Suite room and the view and larger deck facing the front of the ship (right below the bridge) was an excellent vantage point. We had two gentlemen who were concierges and two gentlemen who were housekeeping for our room, and all of them went above and beyond to provide us with absolutely outstanding service. Excursions: One of the best features of the Celestial’s cruises are the free included excursions in some of the ports with options to purchase alternatives. We took excursions in all of the ports and the contract companies in each were all top of the line. The buses used were comfortable and the guides were knowledgeable. The excursion in Egypt was fascinating but we were late getting into port and the tour company had to cut back time at various locations. There was very little time for shopping, except and one shop “approved by the cruise line”. Beware at the pyramids there are numerous of people trying to aggressively sell merchandise and it was also sad as an animal lover to see so many malnourished stray dogs throughout Egypt. In Israel, we paid for the Jerusalem/Bethlehem excursion and got to see most all of the advertised spots except going down into the grotto at the Church of Nativity due to long lines as that excursion also got started late due to the ship docking late, which also caused the tour company to cut back on tour locations and rushed us past shopping. We were only able to stop at one “cruise line approved” store, which was terribly over-priced. A couple of the other excursions started late as well but were generally shorter days so they didn’t seem as rushed. I’m not entirely sure why so many of the port days got us in late or off the boat late, resulting in the tour companies to have to condense the tour, but it was the first visit by the Crystal on this route (3 Continent Cruise) so it may have been just working through new logistics but hopefully they get it worked out so future cruisers don’t have their tours cut short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
7 Nights Cruise 3 Continents – Celestyal Crystal Ship – the ship is more like a ferry, very old & worn, basic and casual. We expected a very basic cruise and didn’t pack any evening clothes. Although there was the usual ... Read More
7 Nights Cruise 3 Continents – Celestyal Crystal Ship – the ship is more like a ferry, very old & worn, basic and casual. We expected a very basic cruise and didn’t pack any evening clothes. Although there was the usual captain’s gala night, so there’s a dress code for that evening if participating. Cabin – the cabin was an ok size but the bathroom was tiny and much smaller than other ships. The cabin comes with twin beds as standard and you need to call reception on-board to arrange it into a double. Entertainment – the same in-house entertainment team each night which was really bad. We went twice and didn’t return – it’s more enjoyable looking out to sea! We usually love on-board entertainment but this was disappointing. Dining – there are 2 dining rooms which have the same menu. Flexible dining yet had no problems with queues. There are 2 sides to the buffet. The food was bad. We expected a smaller cruise to provide better quality food but it was the worst we’ve experienced. If you have dietary requirements i.e. vegetarian, vegan you will not be catered for. The ship was not informed of our dietary requirement so the maitre’d and staff were not aware and they had no provision on-board. They just improvise when you’re on-board i.e. remove the meat from Bolognese, which then isn’t a sufficient meal. Don’t expect starters, desserts or to be able to eat anything from the buffet if you have a dietary requirement. Drinks package – all inclusive is very limited with only 1 house red, white and beer. When booking we were informed the drinks package included everything except premium brands but this wasn’t the case. We’re used to a wide selection of wines included in drinks packages. Spirits and cocktails were as expected. A charge for bottled water and sodas as normal. Juices incur a charge. Excursions – the excursions were awful. The tour guides gave us hours at souvenir shops which were outrageously priced, at the expense of visiting sites on the itinerary. For Cairo, we had about 30-45 minutes at the pyramids and sphinx sites. The tour was around 7am until 10pm with the majority spent driving and little food at approximately 3pm. It was not a proper tour, there were not enough headsets to go around, the guide left half the group at the museum’s security gate so we missed the tour and also left us to try to find the entrance to the inside of the pyramids. It was interesting that we were accompanied by police escort and roads were blocked off for our passage. For Israel, we did not visit the birthplace of Jesus. The tour guide would shout at us, not allow us to shop or go to the toilets, and would say we didn’t have time to visit places on the itinerary, yet allowed 2 hours for a buffet lunch and souvenir shop. The Israel tour was almost as long, around 8am until 9pm. Everyone was asked to wait in the theatre for the tours, rather than asking groups to arrive at different times as would be expected, which was very unorganised. Check-in process – from 2pm. Very unorganised and stressful, a free for all with no queue. Overall – we booked this cruise for the stops in Cairo and Jerusalem, which we wouldn’t have felt safe visiting on our own, and liked the idea of a 1-day trip with a cruise company. The excursions were awful and missed some of the key attractions on the itinerary. The ship, food and entertainment were poor. The price was cheap and a basic cruise was expected, however the excursions, which should have been the highlight of the trip, were awful, so it was overall disappointing. We will not cruise with Celestyal again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
One must accept the premise that this is a smaller ship. Everything is scaled down. But it has some incredible offerings that other lines don't have. First, what might disappoint some: The buffet is small. It is not sumtuous. ... Read More
One must accept the premise that this is a smaller ship. Everything is scaled down. But it has some incredible offerings that other lines don't have. First, what might disappoint some: The buffet is small. It is not sumtuous. It is just adequate. There are supplements on the deck with omlette stations, BBQ etc. But this cruise line is not all about the food. The restaurants have a menu selection like other cruise lines. The restaurant food is above-average for what you might find in a standard port-side restaurant. But what is Great: Destinations, including shore excursions: We were off the ship every day. One day included two islands. Don't cruise with this line if your idea of cruising is at-sea days. The onboard offerings are scant during port time. The included excursions have great guides. Tours were available in various languages. (An unexpected highlight of the cruise was an excursion to the hanging monasteries near Volos. It was a last-minute decision that was worth the expense.) Entertainment: The ship has a Cuban-based cirque-style troupe that is outstanding. The nightly shows are not to be missed. They have energy, voices, acrobatics, and just wonderful performances. I compare this to my last Carnival cruse which generally consisted of dancers lip-syncing tunes. The Crystal's performers are so much better. Its a small ship, it was off-season, there were reportedly about 700 passengers, so getting on and off was a breeze, including at every port. The cruise director: Danni speaks 8 languages, and he used all of them in his daily introductions and thank yous. Finally, the ship may be older, but it is well-cared-for. It is not threadbare. I'd recommend this ship for active people who want to get off the ship and see as much as possible! I will also say that "gratuities are included." But consider that in Greece, tipping is not really a thing. The servers are not overpaid. We did tip (in Euros) and I believe it was apprciated. Please consider tipping the staff that serves you well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise because of its destinations but all a bit rushed and often late arrival. We had a drinks package that I can only describe as penny pinching as many drinks not available and waters and mixers were from large bottles ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its destinations but all a bit rushed and often late arrival. We had a drinks package that I can only describe as penny pinching as many drinks not available and waters and mixers were from large bottles and often were very flat and had to be returned often, you could purchase mixers and water if you wanted better quality which we did, Coffee on board was abysmal very weak and dreadful quality unless you paid for coffee pods, A number of passengers complained about the quality of cocktails. Food in restaurants was frequently well and truly overcooked although some of the ingredients were good, Seating arrangements were so poor and disorganised that almost every night you had to queue for considerable time which caused the crew to get unwarranted abuse from a number of passengers. The complimentary wine was a choice of 3 low quality wines unless again you purchased wines and drinks from their premium (I question this use of the word) list Pool - only 10 people allowed in at a time with possibly 1200 passengers. Public rooms looked sad and in need of a bit of tlc Staff either very good or very poor but overall very pleasant It took 21/2 hours to embark for us, other clients said 3 hours and disembarkation was a farce as we were asked to vacate our cabins at 8am and then we sat for 2 hours 20 minutes with no further information before they started disembarkation and of course everyone was then in a rush to get off so it became chaotic as passengers did not follow their laid down procedures. Excursions that we went on were of poor quality and very crowded, In Santorini we set anchor slightly late and had then got approximately 5 hours to go on tender, coach for excursion, get cable car down to tenders, last tender 12.30pm, The destinations were a real exiting part of the cruise. We did complain a few times about parts of the above but found it futile as things did not improve and we then decided why spoil our holiday so just accepted the situation, We could say more but it then makes it seem as though you are just moaning The penny pinching by this company ensures that we will not be sailing with them again Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Carbin - We had a 4 bed carbin, it was designed in a strange L shape. Although we booked a double bed, we ended up had 4 single bed. We had to sleep in a head to toe position. With the 2 ladders that goes up to the top bed, I had to ... Read More
Carbin - We had a 4 bed carbin, it was designed in a strange L shape. Although we booked a double bed, we ended up had 4 single bed. We had to sleep in a head to toe position. With the 2 ladders that goes up to the top bed, I had to squeeze and climb out of my bed everyday. Keep in mind, I am a petite 5.3' girl. The room was very tight, bathroom is even smaller. the corner shower with a shower curtain was a nightmare, the water temperature was either too cold or too hot. Food - Food was average, nothing fancy but ok until one day I found stainless steel scrub pieces in the pasta inside the buffet tray. After pointing it out to the serving staff, they simply picked the metal pieces from the tray and gave the tray a shake then said ' it's ok now madam.' I totally can NOT believe what just happened, this is certainly not ok. Some of the fruits don't taste fresh, after speaking to some of their staff who used to serve on other international brand, we were told this ship didn't really have a 'go off' date for the fruits, as long as they seem ok, they are OK. Unlike other cruise we have been on, there are no free flow snacks during the day, you have to follow a strict meal time. Outside of the meal time, you will have to pay for snacks such as pizza, salad. Swimming pool - it's about 10 meters long, more like a dipping pool, definitely not for swimming. Embarkation - For such a small- medium size ship, we waited in line for almost 2 hours to get on board, they were very inefficient. Disembarkation - This was the worst part. We were told to vacant the room by 8am . 7.55am while I was in the toilet getting changed, my children were changing in the carbin at the same time. The male cabin service staff broken into the room and shouted at us to leave while I was in my pajamas! When I heard him knocking on the door, I clearly told him we are almost ready! This was the very same person who had been smiling at us from day 1 till day 5. Day 5 was the day when we completed their customer service survey and that's the same day all the friendly smiles started disappearing from their face. On the last day, all the staff just didn't seem to be interested anymore, no smiles, nothing, they can't wait for us to go. Ports and Shore excursions - We picked up this cruise mainly because it's Ports of calls. Last day Santorini was supposed to be the highlight of the trip. We were told to get ready and wait for the shore excursion at 7.15am, we didn't leave the ship until 8ish .When we arrive Santorini that's 9 am and we had to Tour guide cancelled our 20 mins stop at Fira town took us directly to Oia where we were given 2 hours to look around. 11.20 we rushed back to the bus that took us to the cable car station where we waited for another 25 mins. The ship sailed another 6 hours in the afternoon, we arrived mykonos at 7pm. Everywhere is closed except souvenir shop, most of the people I spoke to all agreed 1 day 2 destination was a very poor planning and it doesn't make any sense at all. There is a reason they don't have a loyalty program, maybe they never expected for any returning customers ? Entertainment team - They were they only people still managed to smile at us even on the last day. I won't recommend this cruise for young families as there were very very limited children families and activities on board. Lots of smokers on board, I have seen people smoking on different decks. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I did a 7 day cruise aboard the Celestyal Crystal on October 21 - Eclectic Aegean. Neither of us are travel agents. It was their first cruise to include Istanbul and that was the main draw for us. I was a bit apprehensive ... Read More
My husband and I did a 7 day cruise aboard the Celestyal Crystal on October 21 - Eclectic Aegean. Neither of us are travel agents. It was their first cruise to include Istanbul and that was the main draw for us. I was a bit apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews, so boarded with low expectations. We have cruised three times before - Royal Caribbean (Symphony of the Seas to Mexico), Princess - Diamond ( to Alaska) and Norwegian Jewel (Baltic). It is true that the cabins are smaller than average, so we booked a junior suite and it was very comfortable for the both of us. In fact we found the cabin to be very conveniently configured and it was clean, well maintained and looked new. Our cabin steward, Shafique told us that the junior suites had been remodeled just a year ago. The food was good - it could have used a little more variety but we never went hungry. The chef went out of his way to prepare some special Indian meals for us and a few other passengers, which we appreciated very much. The shows were good and there were plenty of onboard activities to keep us all entertained. There were excellent singers, musicians and the on-board lecturer - Caroline was outstanding and we enjoyed her lectures very much. The included shore excursions were also quite good and we could not really complain. There is a very small room for children's activities but I don't really think there was anything worthwhile for the kids to do. We had no children with us and there were very few on board. I don't think this is cruise for you if you want a really good children's program. This is NOT a cruise for you if you are looking for midnight buffets etc. In fact, for passengers wanting ice cream, pizza or anything outside of the what is served during mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner) costs extra. Which was a first for us. But we were not hungry in-between meal times so this did not upset us in the least. This is also not a cruise ship if you want to use the pool. The pool is very small. The gym is also quite small, I used it once but the rest of the time we were docked and out sightseeing. Our itinerary was port intensive. The embarkation process at Pireus was a nightmare but the disembarkation was a breeze! The staff were wonderful and did their very best to accommodate everyone and take care of their passengers. I would not hesitate to sail on the Celestyal Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The first point to note, and this will become relevant as this review progresses, is Celestyal’s core market seems to be organised tour groups. Beginning with embarkation. This was our 11th cruise and was by far the worse embarkation ... Read More
The first point to note, and this will become relevant as this review progresses, is Celestyal’s core market seems to be organised tour groups. Beginning with embarkation. This was our 11th cruise and was by far the worse embarkation process I have ever encountered. Check-in took us two hours, which we thought was bad but fellow passengers we spoke to endured a two and a half and in one case a three hour embarkation debacle. This is the first cruise we have been on where luggage labels for your checked baggage are not provided in advance. This means a long queue to drop off your bags, in our case over half an hour and we arrived half an hour before the official arrival time. Passengers behind us had to wait up to an hour to drop their bags off. Annoyingly, passengers travelling in organised tours had been issued with baggage labels and were able to drop their bags off as soon as they arrived and effectively jump the queue. Once the bags are dropped off you have to then join a queue to pick up your cruise card, this took 45 minutes and was not the end of the process as having gained your cruise card to actually check in – other cruise lines do the card issuing and check-in at the same time, why can’t Celestyal. The final delay, and I accept this is not Celestyal’s fault, was passing through immigration control, which was probably the biggest contributor to the delay. With near on 1,000 passengers there were just two immigration officers and with most passengers being American it was a slow process. I said there were two immigration officers, at one point, despite there being massive queues, one of them disappeared for 20 minutes, leaving the other guy on his own. Once past immigration Celestyal staff then take your passport off you and you don’t see it again until the last night of the cruise – something I don’t particularly like myself. By the end of check-in my mood was, shall I say, somewhat tense. On board we went straight to our cabin, described as a Junior Balcony Suite which was, in reality, just like any standard balcony cabin on other cruise lines At least, with the delay our bags were outside our room when we reached our cabin. Time to explore the ship and, frankly it didn’t take long, I’ve been on larger cross-channel ferries, indeed this ship began life as a car ferry. For us the size wasn’t an issue, small is good and this ship makes a pleasant change from the impersonal mega ships. We did have concerns the ship may have been too small for the number of passengers but those fears were unfounded. The safety briefing was a farce. First of all you had to arrive at your muster station wearing our lifejacket. The briefing, well what it was, was conducted in several languages – however passengers not speaking the language currently being broadcast carried on speaking when their language wasn’t being used, so you couldn’t hear the announcement. We were then given a demonstration of how to put on a lifejacket – excuse me, we were all wearing our jackets already because we had been told to. The ship has most of the facilities you expect on a cruise but on a smaller scale. The swimming pool is small but then again this was a destination cruise with stops every day so it wasn’t the type of cruise for lounging by the pool. The “theatre” is more of a lounge with a stage but it was adequate for the numbers. Danny the cruise manager was very good, a great sense of humour without going over the top. There was the usual issue with a broad cross section of nationalities on board that the announcements being made in multiple languages but it gave you the chance to swot up on your basic French and Spanish. There are two main restaurants and two buffets. The main dining rooms operate on an open dining system, for us it worked well as we like to eat early. Those wanting to dine later did sometimes have to wait for a table to become free. The restaurants / buffets only open for breakfast / lunch / dinner so midnight buffet on board, which is no bad thing – it takes the temptation away. Breakfast is buffet style whether in the restaurant or buffet – the advantage of using the restaurant for breakfast is you have a table before you get your food. The breakfast buffet was the same every day but with a large selection you could still vary what you had. Dinner in the restaurants was three courses, which was enough. You could order specials like steaks or lobster at an extra charge, and the charge was reasonable – I ad a decent fillet steak one evening and it was only €13.50 extra. There is a small speciality dining room with about six tables which charged around €37.50 for a meal but I don’t think it was worth the money as the menu was basically the same as the extra menu in the main restaurant, which would have worked out cheaper. There are a few tables for two in the main restaurant, which are like gold dust – we managed to get one twice Otherwise it’s shared tables of eight. You are supposed to be put on a table with people speaking the same language – good in theory but not in practice. One night we were on a table with Chinese speakers another with German speakers. There is an all inclusive drinks package on board. OK there is a limited wine choice but unless you’re a wine snob the choice is adequate. The all inclusive drinks menu is quite extensive, running to 12 pages. There is a premium drinks menu as well and unlike other cruise lines the cost of the premium drinks and cocktails is very reasonable. For example €3.50 to upgrade to a premium gin, or €4.50 for a premium cocktail. The cruise includes three excursions in the price of the cruise. A generous offer in theory but an unmitigated disaster in practice, I’ll cover that in the excursions section of this review. Paid for excursions are grossly overpriced. The crew were friendly, although the only time the Captain was seen or heard was at the Captains Cocktail Party and he looked as though he really didn’t want to be there Ships photographers are impossible to escape, either onboard or ashore. Their photo prices, whilst still expensive, are cheaper than most other cruise lines. Disembarkation was slow but that actually suited us as we wanted to get off as late as possible, for those with earlier flights it was an issue. Cabins had to be vacated by 08:00 but the first passengers were not allowed off until 10:15. This was a good cruise but not perfect. Their interpretation of time is, shall we say, fluid. The included excursions were a good idea but badly executed …. we were in Istanbul two days, so why send everyone on the included cruise as soon as we arrived, why not split it. A final word of warning and this is nothing to do with Celestyal, but if disembarking at Pireaus be careful if taking a taxi into Athens. Our driver claimed his meter wasn’t working and tried to charge us double what the fare should have been. It was only when I took his photo and threatened to call the police that he charged the correct fare. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The dining was average, it just started to get repetitive after a while. For breakfast, it was the same options for seven days. There were hot food items (eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The dining was average, it just started to get repetitive after a while. For breakfast, it was the same options for seven days. There were hot food items (eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french toast, omelets), a yogurt section with many toppings, fresh fruit, bread and pastries. For lunch and dinner, the buffet was similar each day. There was a salad section, some deli meats and cheeses, usually there was a chicken, fish, and pork entree, but sometimes beef or lamb. There was often a potato, rice, or pasta option as well. There was always bread and a different soup each day and there was always dessert. Also, each day there was a special lunch station, such as tacos, pasta, or fajitas. This really helped with the variety and I wish that they did something similar with breakfast and dinner. There was usually a table available in the buffet areas and a long wait for a table during dinner in the restaurants. The earliest breakfast started was 7 am and I wish there was an option to start even earlier. At least the option of having fruit and pastries available and have the hot food come at 7 am. I did not go to many activities other than the big nightly shows at 9 pm, which were wonderful. There was a special group of dancers who came onto the ship in Crete and I really enjoyed that performance. Mykonos: The ship had a shuttle bus from where the ship docked in the "New Port" to the "Old Port." It was then an easy walk to Mykonos Town to see the windmills and Little Venice. We took an excursion to the island of Delos from a company outside of the ship because it was a better price. Milos: The tenders dropped us off in Adamas. We took a cab to Papafragas beach. It was definitely a dangerous descent to get to the water there. We walked a short ways to nearby Pachena beach and that was a much safer place to get into. We took the Milos bus back to the ship. There was shopping and dining in Adamas near where the tenders left us. Santorini: The ship's excursion took us to three locations, Megalochori, Oia, and Thira. You had the option to leave the excursion at Oia if you wanted more time there. Oia was ridiculously crowded and I think the excursion gave plenty of time because I did not want to spend lots of time in the "tourist trap." Thira was less crowded than Oia, but still crowded. The ship's excursion gave you a ticket for the cable car to return to the port and take a tender back to the boat. The second day in Santorini we took a tour with a private excursion. Crete: Like in Santorini, the ship sent everyone on the excursion at the same time, so it got very crowded at the Palace of Knossos and we had to wait in line a lot. It was unfortunate because Celestyal could have staggered the departure times a bit to help with the crowds. The tour then took you to the museum and gave a guided tour of the Minoan section. We chose to leave the guided tour then and saw the rest of the museum on our own. We walked from there to the Koules Fortress then walked to see the Morosoni Fountain and Agios Titos Church. It was about a 20 minute walk back to the ship from near the Morosoni Fountain. You can also stay on the tour and the tour bus will bring you back to the ship. Kusadasi: Ephesus was amazing, we had a really great guide! It was crowded, again the ship could have staggered all of the buses better. After Ephesus you were required to go to the carpet co-op. They also had pashminas, jewelry, and leather goods for sale. Our guide made it clear that we were not obligated to buy anything. Although I did not want to buy a carpet, I was okay with this stop because at least they gave us a meal! A lot of Celestyal buses stopped here, I would recommend that they let the shoppers stay and send the non-shoppers back to the ship on an earlier bus. We had to wait for the last person on our bus to finish shopping, which took a while. There was no set time that people had to finish shopping, I think if there was going to be a sale, they wanted to get it!! We walked around Kusadasi for a bit and it was beautiful, I really wish we had more time there! There were a lot of little beaches along the shore within walking distance from where the shore was docked and I wish we had time to go swimming. Embarkation and disembarkation from the ship were quick and went smoothly. Overall a great cruise due to the itinerary. The food would benefit from more variety, like more theme options each day for each meal. 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
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.2
Family 2.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
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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