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14 Celestyal Cruises Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were absolutely gorgeous. There are several stops that were two days and that was too long. You’ll be shopped out after one day. That said I would not repeat this cruise. The negatives were of the ship. Smaller ship with small areas to gather. The ship staff was very courteous and extremely friendly. The only pool is super tiny and this pool area also serves as one of the places to eat. The food on board was marginal at best. The quality of the two buffets and the two al a cart restaurants were bad. Selections and quality were not good. For the price of the cruise the food was not to what we expected or experienced on other cruise lines. The price includes drinks but the list is limited on what is free. The cocktails were poorly mixed and even buying top shelf did not help with the case of a margarita. The last thing I’ll mention is that we’re from the U.S. and the majority of passengers were from counties like Iran and Turkey so we did get several cold shoulder treatments from these passengers. Just one persons opinion. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
It is definitely Much More than Cruise. Tours and benefits are making your vacation unforgettable, because when you reach to Athens and Islands you are having simple tours and some transportation included to your Cruise rate that giving ... Read More
It is definitely Much More than Cruise. Tours and benefits are making your vacation unforgettable, because when you reach to Athens and Islands you are having simple tours and some transportation included to your Cruise rate that giving you tips about areas. And also you can learn something about history with the expression of Vasili. He is also giving you all detail about the public transportation and places you may wish to visit. Music was great, we always had good time with live music was playing during lunch and dinner time. Food in the ship was delicious, Housekeeping employee was great as well, they give us at least two times serves a day. Thank you to Tressa and Tony. Thank you to all service persons and entertainment team. I am definitely recommend Celestyal Crystal to all my friend and family and also who is planing to have Cruise experience. Thanks again to all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every ... Read More
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every occasion, and reminding you "that's extra - not included", hence calling it the "SS Nickel & Dime." Embarkation was a disaster - the computers went down and we were kept waiting in line outside for an hour in 37 C heat . 45 minutes in the staff passed around paper cups with some sticky sweet green beverage - we passed. No apology offered, and no explanation. Only found out real reason because we overheard staff talking about computer access issues. My traveling companion was never able to get his credit card registered - some issue with computer. WiFI - not included! That's extra. And it's not cheap at 16 Euros for 3 hours. Other lines we have traveling on include WiFi as standard issue with fare. We kept phones in airplane mode and found wifi in port every day to keep up with email and calls. The included drinks package was a real disappointment because like other lines where you could use the average base cost of a glass of wine to pay extra to get something potable, we were reduced to drinking plonk and no-name budget beer and cordials. The drinks included in the package were sticky sugar laden things - the good cocktails were all at extra price. If guzzling pink zinfandel and Long Island Iced Teas is your idea of a great time to get drunk, you'll love this ship. If you have more sophisticated tastes, prepare for a week of sparking water and disappointment. It was farcical since the cheap stuff was all included that you had to present cruise card each time. It was for "Inventory control" purposes we were told. Staffing is "Soviet Full Employment" - one person takes your order with the card, then it goes to the bar, then a third person brings you the drink. Beware the Happy Hours where you can purchase for extra money potable cocktails and wine. Bars are understaffed and it took 20 minutes to get an Aperol Spritz one afternoon. Interestingly, the same drink is priced differently at different bars, even at happy hour. My account was also padded with some extra items I never ordered that I challenged the last night and had them removed. Specialty Coffees - come out of a machine using powdered milk, unless you go to one of the bars - by the pool and the rear deck on 5 have real espresso machines. Smoking Policy - unacceptable. Smokers have use of the best areas on the ship - all the decks and the rear deck bars. Even though the smokers are supposed to be on one side of the deck, they smoked anywhere they wanted to. Vapers thought they were excluded which made for smelly hallways and public areas. Smoking policy was not enforced. If being around smokers bothers you, this is another reason to skip this line. Ship photos - photographers are everywhere making the Selfie generation happy. One night they offered a photo stand where you put on ancient Greek costumes and pose that was good fun. Wait until the last night to buy photos when the package offers get better. Onboard Shopping: boutique (watches, jewelry, basic fashions, cosmetics, cigarettes, liquor and a few sundries) was open only when in international waters so shopping opportunities were intermittent. If you see something you want in handbags, scarves, rings or or gold chains by the inch, best to buy it the first time you see it as stock gets wiped out. They do have a sale the last night and I picked up two dressy blouses at 50% off that was a good value. Meals were monotonous and just average. Breakfast is a buffet even in dining rooms. Same items every day got boring in a hurry. Stick with Greek and Turkish food for best chance of having something that isn't frozen. Sad that all the fish/seafood was frozen, when you are surrounded by the Aegean Sea. In order to get a fresh fish you need to pay 25 to 35 Euros extra to sit at a special table for a Greek Taverna style meal. Not worth it, especially considering we ate well in Athens for 20 Euros a person average, including nice house wine/quarter litre. No room service included - not even for rolls and coffee in the morning - that's extra! Pizza and Ice Cream are available - but that's extra! Ship is a converted ferry boat. Conversion efforts were basic - lacking in decor, lots of rust around the edges and worn carpets, warped railings. It felt like a budget Las Vegas hotel. Smells of bilge and sewage were often wafting through the hallways. We kept the balcony door open a lot of the time to counter the unpleasant aromas. Beds were ok but topped with thick duvet that are not needed in 35 C heat. Mattresses are hard - not the pillow top type you find on Princess, Celebrity etc. Since it was so hot I slept on top of the duvet and asked for an extra sheet. We had a Junior Suite that was OK for ship cabin - slightly smaller than what we are used to on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America. No bedside tables available so we used upturned suitcases for bedside tables instead, wedged in between beds. The hangers are the annoying kind that you need to slide into a ring that is permanently attached to the rod. I brought two plastic hangers and clips to use to dry hand-wash items-very handy! Were told by other passengers that we were lucky to get bar soap and also individual bottles of shampoo and lotion. In standard cabins you access these via a dispenser on the wall. Hair dryer was adequate if you have short or thin hair. It is tethered to the desk area and cord is not very long so tiring to dry long hair - took 2X longer than usual to get the job done. Overall the staff were friendly, and our cabin staff were flawless. However there were some floaters among the group. At Santorini tender station the staff sat in the folding chairs eating ice cream while the passengers, some elderly with canes had to stand. There is no such thing as queuing in Greece - the tender boat approached in a different area, so passengers that dutifully waited in line were pushed aside and made to wait for another tender to arrive. It's every man for himself at port side tender stops! Three shore excursions were included: Mykonos tour, Crete/Knossos Palace and Kusadash/Ephesus and Turkish carpet weaving shopping stop. Tours were good, guides spoke good English and didn't have their hands out soliciting tips. Those who wanted to offer tips did so discretely. Ephesus was the most amazing Roman ruins - best preserved (not restored) I have seen in any country. Turkish carpet weaving stop was interesting until we became trapped by salesmen. Managed to evade them and get back to the bus. Turkey is a lot like Mexico - people chase and hound you to buy souvenirs and enter their shops. The Greeks are much more relaxed, they say hello and leave you to it so it's nicer shopping for souvenirs in Greece. Other shore excursions like beach trips and sporting activities were available - but that was extra! Bottom line - if you want to stop at Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Milos (boring, stay on ship unless you need to buy groceries or medicine), Kusadasi/Ephesus, this line has it covered. If you have basic tastes when it comes to food and beverage it will do. Otherwise skip this ship and this line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were a large group on our golden jubilee reunion tour (all alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India - class of 1969) who after a 11 day tour of the Greek mainland decided to round it up with the 4 nights cruise of ... Read More
We were a large group on our golden jubilee reunion tour (all alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India - class of 1969) who after a 11 day tour of the Greek mainland decided to round it up with the 4 nights cruise of the Greek Islands and Ephesus. Knowing that the ship, although refurbished not too long ago, was old had made us a bit apprehensive. However, the moment we boarded, we found everything spick and span and "all ship shape". The cabins were pleasant and spotlessly clean. The entire guest contact staff was extremely pleasant, friendly and efficient. Food choice was generally good although some strict vegetarians did face a few problems but then the service staff solved this by serving us specially prepared Indian meals at the restaurant on Deck 4. We truly felt like royalty, getting to eat not only the general buffet (or a la carte) meal but the additional superbly prepared Indian cuisine as well. I must make special mention of Mr Roy, Head Waiter, Mr Fenimo, steward, who took all of us under his wing and really looked after and pampered us; and of course, young Mr Yohan, who was amazing - like a magician he would smilingly present some good Indian delicacy for us to savour and make us feel truly at home. While the ship has multiple restaurants, we chose, except on barbecue night, to always dine at the Deck 4 Aegean Restaurant and get pampered! The optional shore excursions were rather expensive but nevertheless enjoyable. The two included shore excursions were exceedingly enjoyable in every way. The disembarkation was a revelation - I was convinced there would be chaos and confusion, but things went so smoothly, it was totally amazing. Would I recommend Celestyal to my friends? - absolutely and without any hesitation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted a cruise that included the Greek Islands, leaving from Athens, for around a week, in August. This cruise fitted the bill. After booking and visiting the agents in Auckland, NZ to confirm our cabin, we then read some of the ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that included the Greek Islands, leaving from Athens, for around a week, in August. This cruise fitted the bill. After booking and visiting the agents in Auckland, NZ to confirm our cabin, we then read some of the reviews which were less than flattering! We had cruised with our 4 children years ago and so decided we would make the best of maybe a bad choice. We were very happy with our choice. From the moment we stepped on board we felt comfortable - the service was always with a smile, the food was good, the included excursions on shore were excellent, we had no real complaints. We ate each night at the restaurant on deck 5 and my wife and I were escorted by Dimitrius or Angelo to our table which always had the reserve sign on it. We found the food very good with the various selections and the house wine was very acceptable. The breakfast buffet was typical of a good resort except the pastries were disappointing. The bar service was excellent - you just needed to order right. I took a bottle of brandy on board as it was not showing on the list of spirits in the drinks package but it was there, so you order a brandy and a bottle of your mixer, ice, and then make your own drink! They do not serve doubles, fair enough. Getting numbers of people off the boat for excursions was done very well and the three tour guides we had were excellent. We only watched one show which was good as we tended to retire early and then be up for the next days activities. The only negatives were the men eating in the restaurants at night in shorts when there were many notices to advise not to. The restaurant staff we spoke to said they thought it was disrespectful to them as they dress up in white jackets etc and most of the passengers make the effort but there are always a few spoilers! Very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We selected this cruise after seeing a UK TV show with Jane Mcdonald on board this very ship. It is a relatively small ship 1200 passengers. We loved it, having cruised with Carnival (12 times) MSC (1) and PO (1), we consider ourselves ... Read More
We selected this cruise after seeing a UK TV show with Jane Mcdonald on board this very ship. It is a relatively small ship 1200 passengers. We loved it, having cruised with Carnival (12 times) MSC (1) and PO (1), we consider ourselves experienced cruisers and therefore a bit critical. No worries this is the most delightful ship I have ever sailed on, her crew of 26 different nationalities were a delight, nothing was too much trouble to make our holiday perfect. The food was great the entertainment out of this world . There were 36 different nationalities of passengers onboard all harmonised with each other making it one of the friendliness cruises we have been on. Our cabin was a Junior suite with a balcony, which was excellent. The Crystal and her crew have real style and we will return! We hope to cruise again with her in 2019. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see as much of the islands as possible in just a few days. This is exactly that happened and rather successfully, as now we wish, we had stayed longer. I' ll state first the negatives: long queues ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we wanted to see as much of the islands as possible in just a few days. This is exactly that happened and rather successfully, as now we wish, we had stayed longer. I' ll state first the negatives: long queues on first embarkation and on each disembarkation, which means much wasted time. The ship offer in the price just one excursion on Ephesus (but the guide was not very fluent on the language). The ship management does not explain what is included in the price as far as drinks is concerned and they don't give directions about shore activities. They could have more activities for children and teens. The positives: when asked the crew give useful information and are very helpful and gentle. Their proportion to the clients is amazing, they are everywhere, eager to serve. The buffet food is average, but in the dining room on deck four it is excellent, especially when served a la carte. Prepare to gain some weight. The best of all is Mohamed from Alexandria, the head – waiter, who helped us with gluten allergies and to whom we are grateful and hope to meet again in another cruise. All in all, in this cruise, you see a lot in just 4 days. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We choose this cruise because it was the only cruise that took place on Easter,and moove to Aegean sea. This was out 3rd cruise so we knew what to expect. The ship is old but only on papers,and i mean that it looks so fresh and well ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was the only cruise that took place on Easter,and moove to Aegean sea. This was out 3rd cruise so we knew what to expect. The ship is old but only on papers,and i mean that it looks so fresh and well maintained that is was a big posotove surprise for us. The previous 2 cruises were on Costa cruise ships that they are very new.The main difference (and the disavandase of this ship) is the number of elevators.The public areas are in good contition,and the staff is kind.Our room was super clean and very relaxig. The coctails that we drink at the sundecks were medium to low quality. We try different coctails and always was the same feeling of poor quality. In order to be sure that the guy at one of the bars have no idea about making coctails ,i do this: i check the drinks menu and looking for any coctail that is not on the catalog. I notice that there is not Miami Vice. So i order a Miami Vice and the barman prepare for me a coctail that is not on the catalog,it was red colored instead of white,and of course it was ipmossible to pay for it because it was not a price for this drink!!! But anyway.....we hope that we could do a cruise with ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Super cruise. Lovely boat with superb crew. The company looks after their clients with care and respect. Of course there is some ground for improvement concerning embarkation/disembarkation procedures but I guess these are restricted by ... Read More
Super cruise. Lovely boat with superb crew. The company looks after their clients with care and respect. Of course there is some ground for improvement concerning embarkation/disembarkation procedures but I guess these are restricted by the port authorities; out of the company's controls.Furthermore, It would be advisable to have a kind of "business class" arrangements for such passengers. Some passengers travelling in groups appeared to fail to respect the ship and its procedures, hence causing certain problems. The cabin we had was very nice, cleaned twice a day and quiet. The stewart was very nice, polite and extremely helpful. In some destinations some more time ought to be allowed, e.g. the islands of Symi and Chios. The dining was next to none. The entertainment and activities were very well thought, organised and performed. My wife and I will go back to a Celestyal cruise next year. We had a lovely time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our recent cruise aboard Celestyal Olympia was really amazing, from the first day we boarded did we feel like we where part of a family. They really go above and beyond to please you as a guest. The food was mostly Greek but amazingly ... Read More
Our recent cruise aboard Celestyal Olympia was really amazing, from the first day we boarded did we feel like we where part of a family. They really go above and beyond to please you as a guest. The food was mostly Greek but amazingly great and tasty, we also ordered the grilld lobster in the main restaurant. Cruising with Celestyal Cruises brought us to two ports each day but that was not a problem for us. You have the feeling to have a seaday and portday in one. The cost of the drinks in the bars was also great and what we got was great and lots to chose from. We stayed in Grand Suite 9001 and was spacious and newly revitalised. Our cruise in two words: great and amazing. The entertainment was Greek inspirated and was nice to see some of the local dances. We sailed with our 14 months old girl and she also enjoyed her selfs and was loved by all the staff, she even walked with one of the officers on the hand. Really great to see. Our embarkation was amazing with a greating of 4 of the senior officers at the gangway. Disembarkation was even smooth with also a farewell from five members of the crew. Hospitality is a keyword of Celestyal Cruises and you can take this in the biggest sence of that word. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Cruising the greek waters in summer is always a great pleasure for me.This is classical cruising ald style, when the pleasure of the destinations,the symbiosis with sea and sorrounding nature were paramount.If you want a luxury cruise on a ... Read More
Cruising the greek waters in summer is always a great pleasure for me.This is classical cruising ald style, when the pleasure of the destinations,the symbiosis with sea and sorrounding nature were paramount.If you want a luxury cruise on a superliner or a "sterylized "ambiance don't ever think about booking with Celestyal . If you want an old fashioned ( but clean and updated ) ship and love to experience a classical cruise on Greek islands this is for you.The ambiance is greek, it is exactly as vacationing in a greek island, greek atmosphere,greek music,greek food. In a 7 days cruise you get 10 destinations, the ship is nearly always at pier. And yes, there's also smoking people onboard ( but you can manage not to be disturbed by this,there are separated areas : here EVERYTHING is authentic, as is ashore ). NOTHING is similar to big american style mainstream cruise lines except kindness of the crews ,cleanliness of the ships and freshness of the food ( no,this is much better,everything is embarked fresh in many of the ports visited ) . And nothing is specially geared to american tastes : why it should ? This is Greece, not America ! At least, this is what I enjoy while travelling : the differences ! I want all true American...in America ! Wonderful and enjoyalble cabaret style evening entertainment ( they really exceeded my expectations who were adeguate to ship's style,simple ) and lot of music to dance : in a word, fun ! I was SO happy at the end of the cruise that I already booked same cruise for 2017 : there are so many beaches, so many activities , so many true and authentic experiences that awaits you in these islands that you could easily repeat this cruise every summer . I nearly forgetted has was pleasurable cruising in the 70's,80's etc. on reals ships, not on standardizex condominum-styled Hyatt-like ships. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We wanted to sail the Aegean and visit Istanbul and Ephesus, and this was the perfect cruise. We sailed from Lavrion, which is about a half-hour from Athens Airport. It's far-less crowded than Piraeus, and our embarkation was fast, ... Read More
We wanted to sail the Aegean and visit Istanbul and Ephesus, and this was the perfect cruise. We sailed from Lavrion, which is about a half-hour from Athens Airport. It's far-less crowded than Piraeus, and our embarkation was fast, easy and stress-free. The Crystal is a lovely ship, spotless, with plenty of great open spaces. Our cabin was on the 7th deck, so we had a view! It was small but comfortable and cozy, and the housekeeping staff checked in and put everything in order twice a day - they were absolutely lovely. We enjoyed the food immensely - it was delicious. The buffets were endless and offered plenty of healthy options, and we loved the restaurant, the Amalthia, particularly after a hot active day - it was elegant without being stuffy, and the staff was wonderful, particularly as we usually had an exhausted five-and-a-half year-old with us. As for this particular five-and-a-half year-old, the activities were great (paper flowers, fruit carving), as was the music, both Greek and Latin - he was constantly dancing. The service was impeccable - we felt like royalty, and everyone was fantastic, and genuine, with our son. We did and saw so much, and it was organized and safe. Our stops included Istanbul, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Chios, Santorini, Rhodes, Crete (Agios Nikolaos and Heraklion), Symi (incredible!) and Mykonos. The highlights? Oia in Santorini, Knossos, Old Rhodes, Mykonos Town, Symi and the villages of Mesta and Pyrgi in Chios, hidden spots that astonished everyone on our excursion. Back on board, the gym and sauna were great. Would we go again? Absolutely! Opa. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I am not an experienced cruiser and I am not a big fan of cruise ships so that may color my evaluation. However, I feel that this ship was adaquate for taking me and my wife to a number of Greek islands. The sea food was good. The ... Read More
I am not an experienced cruiser and I am not a big fan of cruise ships so that may color my evaluation. However, I feel that this ship was adaquate for taking me and my wife to a number of Greek islands. The sea food was good. The deserts were good. The breakfasts were fine. My wife and I traveled independently and did belong to a tour group. The instructions and communications onboard were not all that clear. We had some aggravation trying to find out what was going on with regard to disembarking etc. Most of the cabins were rather small and without balconies. The cabins were sufficient but not luxurious. Some of the cabins had recently been refurbished which was nice. The seating at meals was ona first come, first serve basis. There was no seating by language so sometimes we were sitting next to people who did not speak english. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Did deceide for this cruise because of the destinations (Greek Islands Mykonos, Santorin, Simi, Chios, Crete, Istanbul and Kusadasi - Ephesus). Did know that the ship was a bit outdated and could coop with that. - Cabin was ok, but ... Read More
Did deceide for this cruise because of the destinations (Greek Islands Mykonos, Santorin, Simi, Chios, Crete, Istanbul and Kusadasi - Ephesus). Did know that the ship was a bit outdated and could coop with that. - Cabin was ok, but bath room a bit small and aged. Cleaning staff did a great job. - Service in the Service Restaurant (not Buffet Rest.), Bars was very good. Reception people where a bit cool. - Entertainment and shows where ok (opinion of myself as a german !). - Small covered pool, surrounded by tables (part of buffet restaurant) not too nice. - Expensive wellness area. Gym equipment could be better. - Enough room to relax away from bars. Not good: - Safety drill after embarkation in Rhodes was a joke!!!! It took place in the show lounge. How to wear the life west and were to find the meeting spots was all! No assembly at the dedicated areas, no calling of names. - Pollution!!!!!! Everytime after leaving the harbours and switching to cruide oil it did rain "Tar - Flakes" on the rear decks. Not to mention the a mount of smoke and Co2 all over. Even the air con did blow smoke into the cabin. - The offer of the selfservice buffet was below average. Very little taste and vegetables out of cans. Breakfast buffet was acceptable. Restaurant feeling was like in a canteen. We had always dinner in the service restaurant which was quite good incl. the staff. - We took the optional "Drink Package with alcohol". Was a bit disappointing as only one choice of red/white (by the glas) house vine was included as well as just standard drinks/cocktails. No fresh juices and "Cocktails of the day" included. Water in the cabin one had to pay for. - We only booked one excursion, Ephesus. With 68 € p. person expensive; however we had a guide and an exciting tour. But, after 1 1/2 hours sightseeing we ended up in a carpet store and have been bored by a sales event. A nightmare!!! 1 1/2 hours of suffering. Paying for the very interesting Ephus excursion is ok but sponsering a carpet dealer is a shame! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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