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84 Celestyal Cruises Greece Cruise Reviews

This cruise was part of a Globus land tour of Greece. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever experienced I'm sure because the Ship was only 3/4 full. We enjoyed the free drink package at no extra cost which was a real treat. ... Read More
This cruise was part of a Globus land tour of Greece. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever experienced I'm sure because the Ship was only 3/4 full. We enjoyed the free drink package at no extra cost which was a real treat. You had a great selection of beer, wine and spirts. The service aboard was both professional and extremely friendly. The food was fantastic! We ate in the main dinning room 2 nights and enjoyed a great steak and a wonderful Chicken Kiev. Lots of choices with really great service. As others have reviewed, the excursions were a bit rushed. We were lucky to be on the first tinder to Santoriani, so we were able to get the photos we wanted. There were 5 ports of call on this sailing, so you were pretty busy! I really was surprised in how much I enjoyed this cruise. I've cruised many times before on much larger ships. Don't be afraid to try it! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I'll start by saying we travel a lot, but aren't "cruise people". We've only been on one other cruise. Most of our travel is self-booked, no groups, tours, etc. That said, we were looking to do something out of the ... Read More
I'll start by saying we travel a lot, but aren't "cruise people". We've only been on one other cruise. Most of our travel is self-booked, no groups, tours, etc. That said, we were looking to do something out of the ordinary and special for our 35th anniversary cruise, and had our sights set on exploring a few greek islands. After looking at options including cruises, flights, and water taxis, we decided on the 3-night Celestyal Olympia cruise. We figured that if it didn't agree with us, 3 nights would be OK. We liked the smattering taste-test of the islands, and we liked that two excursions were included. Embarkation was a breeze for us, but read the cabin details for possible explanation. Yes, the ship is old, but it's been refurbished quite nicely. It was perhaps a little nicer than expected. I think we had 1,000 passengers, so quite a bit under capacity. That may have helped with things for our cruise. Staff was exemplary! Every single staff member we interacted with was just so nice and helpful. There were no exceptions to this: from the Master (captain), who told us how to find our room (we didn't know who he was at the time), to the people who gave out towels as we came back aboard, 100% of them were just great. The food was better than expected. We like greek food, but were certainly not limited to that. The Texas BBQ night was superbly executed and very popular. Entertainment was OK, but we didn't really pursue that at all. We really enjoyed both of the included excursions in Turkey and Crete! A lot. Really added value for us. We did not book any other excursions. Yes, some of the island stays are very brief, but we knew that going in. They were long enough to learn where we might want to return some day. Getting off the boat for island visits seemed very organized to us, and went smoothly. Again, some of this was due to our cabin selection. We learned that people who booked excursions got off first (!), then cabins by rank/number, then people who were staying at the location (not getting back on the boat). We didn't even look at any other excursions, so I don't know what the options or cost were, but worth considering if you want to get off the boat first. Lastly, I should mention I was fighting a nasty kidney stone the entire cruise, and it really compromised my ability to enjoy food, drink, and a couple of the excursions. This is no reflection on Celestyal at all; on the contrary, the staff were very understanding and supportive of my situation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in ... Read More
I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in different cruises before and I figured it was alright since the port destinations would make up for it. I was wrong, the excursions available were very unorganized. Staff was rude and unfriendly. There was no planned activities. Staff was not knowledgeable on instructions. They would announce meeting points at a certain time and they would be late. Food was terrible. Not much to do in she ship. I was traveling with 7 family members and we all felt the same way. I tried expressing my concerns to the cruise staff, but it was a waste of time. They simply didn't care. Never traveling in this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It started with watching the guys throwing our bags on the conveyor belt and when we received our bags the handle was broken , the bag was brand new bought for this trip now the extension handle is broken. The food was very poor especially ... Read More
It started with watching the guys throwing our bags on the conveyor belt and when we received our bags the handle was broken , the bag was brand new bought for this trip now the extension handle is broken. The food was very poor especially the 2 bbqs the food was cold and all the meat so dry and tough , the corn was terrible as well we left a whole plate full of food. The entertainment was very average they had Greek dancers at on the pool deck dancing which went for about 30 minutes each dance seems the same. The islands themselves were great we totally enjoyed them, Thank God there was something to look forward to. We even ate there to get a decent meal as we could not rely on the food of the ship.being our first cruise we were so looking forward to it as our friends have talked them up. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was good, the service was excellent, and the staff were pleasant, attentive and efficient. We chose a suite and we had ample space. The bed was comfortable and the AC functioned perfectly. We experienced some difficulty with the toilet and the maintenance crew came immediately, worked hard and remained until they had fixed the problem, which turned out to be a stuck air valve. The after dinner shows were a bit cheesy and Celestyal could do a little better in terms of the calibre of their artistes, but the days were so packed with activities that it didn't matter. All in all it was a wonderful cruise. Everything worked on the boat and it was clean, modern and well outfitted. There was no musty odour or unpleasant smell. Boarding and disembarkation was smooth and our luggage came off and on the boat with no problems. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major ... Read More
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major cruise lines, the third on Celestyal. The Celestyal cruise gets my prize for least annoying cruise. First, the ship is run like a finely tuned machine, and when you have so much to do in a short period of time, it is a good thing that it is. The staff were incredibly accommodating and friendly, unlike my first two cruises. These people seem to really like their jobs! The ship itself was beautiful in an awesome retro kind of way. It was meticulously maintained and the lounges were beautiful. They seemed to have restored the perfect retro vibe. Meal service was a well executed military operation as were the frequent disembarkations. It is not a small task to get all these people on and off that ship, usually twice per day. The food was a-ok, not a foodie paradise, but serviceable with nice variety and two enjoyable bbq's on the pool deck. The number of ports visited was truly remarkable, but it really was nothing more than getting a taste of the islands. Now we know where we want to spend more time. We had one whole day in Rhodes, which was blissful because we finally got to enjoy some beach time -- something we did not get in the other ports. The two included excursions were excellent. In other ports we simply rented a car for a couple of hours and got a feel for the islands. Another wonderful aspect of this cruise is that there is not a constant push to spend, spend, spend. The included drinks were great. We only ordered a few extras on the trip -- a much needed brow wax, a couple of smoothies for the kid, and a couple of knick-knacks. Our tab at the end of the cruise was around $39. On our other cruises we were greeted every morning with a stack of coupons and advertisements for art work, jewelry sales, photo packages, and on and on and on. There was none of that here. Everyone on the ship was genuinely concerned with our comfort and ease. We paid for the cruise and that was that. If you can manage the frenetic pace of frequent disembarkations and we want to see many places, this is a great option. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Looking for tremendously attentive hospitality and service levels? Celestyal Olympia gets 6 Stars out of 5! The service, the kindness, the attitudes of the staff were A-1 throughout the cruise. This was a condensed time frame to see 6 ... Read More
Looking for tremendously attentive hospitality and service levels? Celestyal Olympia gets 6 Stars out of 5! The service, the kindness, the attitudes of the staff were A-1 throughout the cruise. This was a condensed time frame to see 6 islands, with 2 in some days. That was both good and bad as it was a great introduction to many of the Cyclades, but not as much time as one might have wanted in each. A 7 day cruise would take care of that, but we chose the shorter and figured we would return to the shorter locations like Mykonos. The cabins were older and smaller but as a single, the window cabin worked great for me. Space worked fine but with 2 persons, probably would not. Bought the upgrade XB Deck 6 cabin 6042, convenient to Deck 5 (shows, gatherings prior to disembark, etc) and 4 (dining) where much took place. Cabin stewards were wonderful. The unlimited drink package was included and such fun as so many bars to choose from, including the 360 degree views from the Horizon Bar up top on Deck 12. It was gorgeous night and day, pulling into or out of ports. The evening shows were fine. A young Cuban dance team worked hard to give us nice shows, but did not attend all of them. We were in ports 3 nights so did not get to experience more than one dinner at the ala carte dinner restaurant, but it was very good. Also was confused about a special 36Euro dinner as thought it was the ala carte option til nearly the end of the cruise. Service just couldn't be better and nearly always with a smile. Breakfasts there were buffet but added items and cappucinos were easily ordered with the drink pass. Could have done the pool deck also but it was chilly and windy in mid May. Disembarkations were handled efficiently, though disliked having to go to the lounge an hour early many days to get the tickets to get off in group #1 to have time on land if not on a tour sold by the ship. That was not welcomed and should be done differently. Overall, I loved this ship. Have been on many cruises, but rarely do you find the unique hospitality of the Greeks thoroughly emphasized by what must be the training by Celeystral to staff from many parts of the world. Tips were already included so that was even better. They were doing their jobs and hopefully were all rewarded well. Enjoyed the Greek cooking class, the variety of locations on the ship to go, the shops and most of the time, the food. It felt rather sad to leave this Happy Ship and get off in Athens. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director ... Read More
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director Danny was excellent. I am giving my review to tell readers what I would have found useful to know, and to also provide constructive feedback to Celestyal since I see they sometimes read this site. ITINERARY: First I want to say that the itinerary is extremely well thought out, especially the departure times from each island. You hear about cruisers having to rush back to their ship for concern they might miss the sailing. Not so with the Crystal. Our departure time from Mykonos was not until 7am the next morning, so people could stay out partying all night if they wanted. Departure times from Milos and Santorini were at midnight, so you could spend as much time sightseeing as you wanted, watch the sunset, have dinner in a restaurant on shore, and not be at all concerned about getting back to the ship on time. GETTING ON AND OFF THE SHIP: I had heard from people cruising larger ships that getting off the boat can be tedious. I’d also heard that if you don’t buy one of the ship’s excursions, it will be a problem getting off quickly. Not so with the Crystal. At four of the six ports we visited – Athens, Mykonos, Crete and Kusadasi – the boat pulls up to the dock and you simply walk off a gangplank. No issues getting off the ship when you want. At Santorini and Milos you have to use tenders (small boats that take you to and from shore). On the first day at Santorini was the included excursion for everyone, so you just went with your assigned group, took the next tender, and then got on the bus for your tour. On the second day at Santorini, you just got on a tender whenever you wanted. They were every half hour. And since the boat didn’t leave until midnight, there was absolutely zero worry about getting back in time. We had all the time we wanted in Santorini. On Milos we did NOT purchase an excursion, so had to get a tender ticket and wait for the booked excursions to leave first. In the end, we waited maybe half an hour to have our ticket number called to take the tender. And since the Crystal did not leave Milos until midnight, we had all the time we wanted on Milos. Absolutely no concern about rushing back. CABIN: I initially booked an interior cabin as I didn’t think I would care much about whether I had a view. However I later paid to upgrade to an exterior cabin in order to get a more space. (The website lists the square meters for every type of cabin.) However I was very glad I had changed to a windowed cabin, as I discovered I was prone to a touch of motion sickness the first few days. Looking out a window at the horizon is especially helpful with motion sickness, so I was glad I paid the extra money to have one. Also I really did appreciate the extra space. Our cabin stewardess Victoria was really sweet, constantly cleaning our room, and always greeting us so cheerfully when we got up in the morning and when we returned from excursions in the afternoon. She also made us adorable towel animals in the evening. I think I am pretty sensitive to smells but only noticed diesel fumes when outside on the lower decks. I did not notice any diesel smell inside our midship cabin on deck 4. There was sometimes a faint sewer odor coming out of the floor drain in our bathroom, but fortunately our bedroom did not have it. The shower worked perfectly. I loved the scent of the shower gel. I also want to warn: the deck 5 “exterior” cabins have a walkway running right outside their windows! I noticed this because I walked by them when I was exploring the ship. I am glad I did not have one of those cabins. You have a window but someone can walk by it at any time. I don’t think people walk there often, but in the end you have to be careful about keeping your curtains closed while getting dressed. As far as I could tell, for the rest of the exterior cabins on the ship, the window is truly on the outside of the ship. That was definitely the case for exterior cabins on deck 4. WHAT TO BRING: there were only 2 available plugs in our cabin, one for a Europlug and one for an American style plug. Whatever your nationality, I highly recommend you bring the appropriate adapters so you can make use of BOTH plugs. (If you are an American, bring a Europlug adapter. If you are European, bring an American plug adapter. If you are English, bring one of each type of adapter.) And if you have more than 2 things to plug in, bring a compact outlet multiplier as well. If you have compact binoculars bring them as well, it’s nice to be able to look at the islands you sail to and by. Bring miniature padlocks to lock your suitcases when you embark and disembark. Unlike airlines, you are allowed to lock your checked suitcases. My recommendation is to check pretty much everything. I embarked carrying just my purse and disembarked with just a small backpack containing my nightclothes and cosmetic kit. You CAN bring your roll-aboard to breakfast on the last day, but do yourself a favor and don’t. Just lock it and let the ship deal with it. Retrieving the luggage on disembarkation was well organized. WHAT NOT TO BRING: a lot of clothes and fancy clothes. The cabin doesn’t have much storage space in the closet for clothing. I had to store half my wardrobe in my suitcase stored under my bed. And I brought too many clothes because I mistakenly thought people had to dress up for dinner. You CAN dress nicer for dinner in the sit-down restaurant, but a lot of people did not. There was a rule against shorts, but any kind of pants are fine, even jeans. The “Captain’s cocktail party” was merely a presentation in the theater. Not really a “party” at all. I’m not sure of how to arrange things so that an entire ship could actually have a real cocktail party to meet and mingle with the crew... But what they DID have you really do not need to go to, much less dress up for. I brought a long dress to wear to that event, but it turned out I REALLY did not need it. And I’m really REALLY glad I didn’t insist my boyfriend bring a jacket, as he never would have used it. In the end, we found this ships's attire as casual as all travel generally is these days, so you can leave your nice clothes at home if you prefer to travel lighter. FOOD: After our first experience in the sit-down restaurant Amalthea on the 2nd day, I insisted on eating there every time. The food there was presented beautifully. I didn’t think everything turned out perfectly in taste, but there was plenty to eat with four courses offered at both lunch and dinner. And if you didn’t like what you had chosen, you could ask the waiter to bring you something different. In the end I was really pleased with the food and dining experience in Amalthea. By contrast, the buffet restaurants were not to my taste. Too hectic and the food presentation was a little too close to cafeteria-style for what I expected from a cruise. Our sailing was about 75% full, but only one of the two sit-down restaurants was open. That led to lines at dinner, although the line moved quickly. I don’t think we ever waited longer than 20 minutes. I don’t mind waiting, but I would prefer not to stand in line to do it. I would suggest Celestyal come up with a “take-a-number” scheme like at the deli, so we could at least sit and relax with a drink while waiting. Also, surprisingly, the buffet restaurant gave us LESS chance to socialize with other passengers. People are naturally reluctant to take their own initiative to join strangers already sitting at a table in the buffet restaurant. But in the sit-down restaurant you can ask the Maitre-D’ to seat you with other passengers speaking the same language. Instant introduction. I enjoyed talking with everyone we sat with. The largest number of passengers we met were from the UK. I also want to say that the Crystal varies the lunch times day to day so as to accommodate people who might be returning early or late from an excursion. Well thought out. DRINKS: The “all-inclusive” cocktail menu was really quite impressive. Lots of cocktails, lots of after dinner liqueurs, etc. We especially appreciated the chance to try SIX different Greek liqueurs for free. We liked some of them enough to buy them at the duty free shop at the Athens airport when we flew home. We also really liked a couple of the cocktails made with the Greek spirits. I will admit the “included” Greek wines were not great, but they were drinkable. If you are a very serious wine drinker, that might be a reason to use the “premium” menu. Or you can simply order a free cocktail with your dinner. We never once ordered off the premium menu and didn’t feel at all deprived. DAYTIME SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES: we only had time to go to one, the Greek cooking demonstration conducted by the assistant cruise director Tereza. It was very, very well done. Tereza could host her own TV cooking show, she has so much personality and love of explaining Greek food. If you see this class on the daily sheet, DO NOT MISS IT! Speaking of Greek food, this is one of my suggestions to Celestyal: offer more Greek dishes on the menu! In my opinion, they should try to offer one Greek option for every course. Greek food is wonderful and people visiting Greece should be given more opportunity to try it. WIFI: there was a long explanation in the information sheet in our room about why satellite wifi is so expensive at sea. OK understood, but how about offering free wifi while in port? I think passengers would really appreciate that. Also, how about having free access to an on-board website just for the Celestyal Crystal, listing the daily schedule, excursions, lunch and dinner menus, drink menus etc. I know from my friends that some other cruise lines do this. I ended up taking cell phone shots of the daily sheet and menus so I could refer to them. It would have been nicer to call this information up via an App. The ship could also use an App to manage the line at the sit-down restaurant(s). Go on to an App to say you want to eat now, number in your party, preferred table language. Then get a pop-up message when your table is ready. And if there were proofs of the professional photos available on a website, people might buy more of them. Other amenities: The casino was very small, just video games. Luckily I don’t care about gambling. Also the swimming pool was incredibly small; I never saw anyone swim in it. Luckily I didn’t care about that either. If those are things you care about, you might not be as happy with this ship. Finally, the excursions: we paid for one which was good, and then went on the three that were included for everyone. Unfortunately when you have a ship full of people all doing the same excursion at once – even a small ship that is only 75% full – it is going to be a bit crowded. The Crete excursion to Knossos and the Heraklion museum was disappointing to us. Our guide clearly tried to do her best with the limited amount of time and the over-crowding, but we were disappointed in not getting to see as much as we would have liked. We later talked to fellow passengers who had toured Knossos and the museum on their own and really wished we had done it that way too. The included excursion to Ephesus concluded by taking us to a rug “factory” out in the country and they managed to find enough such rug places to take EVERY bus to a separate one! That part was really well done. I thought I would find the rug factory tacky, but the one we were taken to was really enjoyable. Our tour of the rug factory concluded with a relaxing light lunch outside in the shade, with just the 25 or so people on our bus. That was really delightful, and my hat is off to the excursion organizer for coming up with this way to make that part of the excursion uncrowded. My sincere recommendation to Celestyal is to come up with ways to make the rest of the included excursions less crowded as well. For example, in Crete: take one third of the the buses to Knossos first, take one-third to the museum first, and take one-third to the walking tour of Heraklion first. Then swap around. Overall I thought the cruise was well done and would recommend it to other people. The itinerary is really good, and the ship is in my opinion very well run. The employees are hard-working and friendly. The food and drink were very enjoyable. I offer my complaints as constructive feedback to what could be made even better, or what my fellow cruisers might wish to know before booking and sailing. ------ Port reviews: Mykonos: we paid for the excursion for the island of Delos which we enjoyed. Afterwards we used the cruise-provided free shuttle buses to go between the port and Mykonos Town where we wandered around on our own. It was easy to see the town attractions on foot by ourselves. The ship does not sail until 7am the next morning so you can partake of as much nightlife as you want. MILOS: we rented a car at the port for the day and then drove around seeing what we wanted to see. It was very easy to arrange and much cheaper than an excursion. We heard from fellow passengers that if you are an American, some of the rental car companies will insist on an International Driver’s Permit. (These permits can be obtained in a few minutes at any AAA office in America. You don’t even need to be a member. Plan ahead and get a permit before you leave.) Europeans don’t need the international permit to drive in Greece. I don’t know about the rules for drivers from other continents. Driving in Greece is easy with a map app on your phone. Road signs are in English as well as in Greek. Google maps even has free parking lots listed. Sarakiniko beach on Milos is not to be missed! It was spectacular and one of my highlights of the cruise. If you go on your own you can spend as much time as you want there. Wear water shoes or hiking sandals you can get wet. SANTORINI: the included excursion to Megalochori, Oia and Fira was crowded. Everyone commented on how if Oia is this crowded in May, can’t imagine how it would be in July and August. On the second day in Santorini we hiked on our own along the crater rim from Fira to Oia. This was beautiful, but is only for people who are physically fit. It could take 5+ hours depending on how many pictures you stop to take. A lot of hiking up and down, sometimes in loose gravel. Good hiking shoes are a must! Carry a water bottle, wear a hat and use good sunscreen. We stopped along the way for lunch in the lovely and uncrowded town of Imerovigli in between Fira and Oia. We talked to fellow passengers who rented a car to visit beaches and wineries on Santorini. As long as you don’t want to park in Fira and Oia (both VERY crowded) car rental is a convenient way to visit Santorini at your own pace. Again, Americans were asked to show an International Driver’s Permit in order to rent. CRETE: we went on the included excursion to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum. We thought this excursion was too crowded and were disappointed in the limited time at each place. If I were to do it again, I’d pay out of my pocket to do it on my own. I read it’s easy to get to Knossos by taxi or bus, and the museum is easily walked to from ship. After the excursion we did our own walking tour of Heraklion. If you look at the bottom of “authentic Greek” gifts sold in shops in Santorini and Mykonos, you’ll see most of them were made in Crete. So we decided to do our major shopping in Crete, especially for olive oil. The stores are easily walked to from the port. KUSADASI: we did the included excursion to Ephesus and the rug factory. Ephesus was magnificent and our guide was really good. Although all the buses arrived at Ephesus at the same time, the guides were able to keep the groups spread out at the site well enough that we could enjoy it. The rug factory tour was surprisingly enjoyable. They took each bus to a SEPARATE factory, so it was completely uncrowded and relaxing. The rug place even provided us a light lunch of Turkish food. Our guide emphasized that no one should feel pressured to buy a rug, and no one in our group ended up buying. The Crystal also offered a late lunch timed for people returning from the excursion, but we had enough to eat at the rug factory that we just got some dessert on board. This was the best of the included excursions. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I were on a Globus tour of Greece and this 3-day cruise was included. Unfortunate thing is that neither cruise ship nor Globus told us what TIME we would arrive at each of the islands. This was a 'once in a ... Read More
My wife and I were on a Globus tour of Greece and this 3-day cruise was included. Unfortunate thing is that neither cruise ship nor Globus told us what TIME we would arrive at each of the islands. This was a 'once in a lifetime' trip for us, as we had always wanted to see Greece and some of the islands. The wonderful windmills of Mykonos - we arrived after 7:00PM (!!!!). My first photo on the island showed 7:12pm. Now, I ask you - how much of the island can you enjoy when you arrive at that hour. Our tour guide showed us where the windmills were - yep, there it was in the distance, barely discernible and if you stared hard long enough, you MIGHT be able to make out the shape. I mean, give me a break! THIS is how we were supposed to enjoy Mykonos? We did spend about 2 hours walking around Mykonos. Not my idea of spending time visiting Mykonos. The main church that we wanted to see, Church of Paraportiani (Our Lady of the Side Gate) was closed by the time we got there, and it would have been a far walk. We did see Church of St. George, an Orthodox church, and it was pretty inside, though small. Ephesus was great! We enjoyed it - our SECOND time since 2011. Daytime! Rug company taking up 1-2 hours of selling / twisting arms was totally unnecessary as it delayed cruise ship sailing on. Patmos - the ship made another stop at Samos at 2:30, picking up people via tender, causing us to be a bit later when we finally arrived at Patmos. There we took a tender to the port, arriving AFTER 6pm. First stop was the Grotto. To be honest, it was … nothing. A cave in which one thinks of everything very spiritual. This is where St. John of Patmos was said to have written the Book of Revelation. It is a fortresslike, 11th century monastery dedicated to the saint. 5 minutes there was more than enough. Next stop was the Monastery, a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 1088. It had more displays and most interesting was the Museum. The details in … embroidery, jewelry, carvings were phenomenal, and you really need to look hard to see the tremendous details. It is named after St. John of Patmos. 1-2 hours is good for the Monastery. To be honest, I don’t think Patmos would be anything if it weren’t for these two sights. It’s dry and windy, and water is scarce. Tourism is needed for this island to survive. Tourist season is around Easter time to mid-October. Our ship was the only one at port the last two days. Crete: Knossos, center of the 300 BC Minoan civilization. This was a good tour, as we got to see a 4,000 year old palace, rumored to be that of King Minos. The bull if the symbol of Crete, so there are plenty of myths about Minotaurs, etc., including one of the 12 Labors of Hercules was to kill a Minotaur. There was quite a lot to see among the ruins, but unlike other ruins (Really - now I understand why many people say 'You've seen one ruin, you've seen them all."), many of these were still in relatively decent condition, considering their age. Afterwards, we went into the center of Knossos. We visited the Morosini Fountain. The place we spent the most time was at Church of Titus, and although there was a service going on, we did manage to take a few photos. The skull of St. Titus is preserved in a domed relic on the left of the entrance to the church. We walked down to the shores and saw the Venetian (they were here for 400+ years) fortress of Castello a Mare, built in 1541. It guards the inner harbor. Walking back to the bus, we took some photos of the Nike statue, symbolizing victory with help from many countries. Crete: Santorini. Our tour guide prepped us and told us what to do and got us set up, as the daylight time wouldn't be very long. The ship docked and we boarded the tender about 4:00. The tender was already starting out when it had to return, due to another group not being there on time to board! That took another 10 minutes, and the tender took 20 minutes to reach Santorini. Then we quickly boarded the bus and it took 45 minutes up a narrow 2-lane winding road all the way to the top. We can’t figure out WHY the tender takes us to the furthest part of the island on one side in order to reach the top at the other end of the island. Anyway, sun sets at 5:17 and we arrived at the bus parking area at 5:12. We had broken out into 2 groups: Speedy and slow. I was in the speedy one and we raced up to the top and I got my shots just about when the sun was setting. It's at that famous shot that everybody sees when they see photos of Santorini. Within 15 minutes, the sun was gone and it was fairly dark. We wandered around the town a bit until 7:15 when the bus left for the tender and back to the ship. When booking this Globus tour, no mention was made of the TIME that we would reach the islands. I don't blame Globus for us, but the cruise ship. If they KNOW when sunset is, wouldn't they PLAN to arrive at the island at least ONE hour before the sun sets? I don't mean, arrive and then have the tender take you to the island and/or then bus you to the appropriate site... I mean, actually BEING on the island and able to wander around at least ONE hour before dark. This should not be THAT hard for experienced cruise lines to figure out and plan accordingly. Cruise ships should be able to put scheduled arrival times at various ports. When we asked our Globus tour group if they would have taken this tour knowing the arrival times at the islands, not ONE person said they would. All 40 of us would NOT have taken this cruise. AND knowing that DST was going to happen ... really NO excuse from the cruise line at all. I am really ticked off at the cruise ship. I didn't plan to see the 3 islands in darkness, which is what all 3 islands wound up, except for about 15 minutes of daylight at Santorini. ----- Service personnel on board were VERY nice and helpful. That was not a problem with us. ----- Meals at the buffet line: Average Meals at the ala Carte restaurant: Very good ----- We had bought the Drinks package, so got bottled water as much as we needed. One item that stuck in my craw: There was a bottle of mineral water, clearly marked that it costs. There were 2 bottles of regular water, no sign that it costs. We took 2 of them one day - the rest of the time, we got the cold water from the bar -- AND we were charged for the 2 bottles from the cabin! When we protested this, and that we did have the Drinks package, it was shrugged off as "That's the way it is." It left us with another bad image and impression of the cruise line.... ALL in all, I would NEVER take this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We could not have asked for a more seamless, fun, educational and entertaining time on the cruise. We boarded in Mykonos (we had been there 4 nights), spent 3 nights on the cruise, and disembarked in Santorini (where we stayed 4 ... Read More
We could not have asked for a more seamless, fun, educational and entertaining time on the cruise. We boarded in Mykonos (we had been there 4 nights), spent 3 nights on the cruise, and disembarked in Santorini (where we stayed 4 nights). The ports were AMAZING! Our first port was Kusadasi, Turkey. Had this not been on the itinerary, we would have never gone there. It was THE HIGHLIGHT of our entire trip. We are not history buffs, by any means. Ephasus was the most breathtaking and educational archaeological site we have ever seen. The marble streets were breathtaking, and words cannot describe how awe inspiring the excavations were. Our tour guide was superb! It is a must see. The port town of Patmos was great (food, shopping), and the Medieval City in Rhodes with the Street of the Knights were also excursions we would highly recommend! Life changing for sure! The part that made the entire time on the ship the most fun was time spent at the Argo bar with Ajit, Ernie, and another bartender who's name I can't remember (not because of the drinks, but because I couldn't pronounce his name). They were energetic, poured a mean cocktail, and overall made us feel like part of the family during our short 3 night stay. They also gave us tips on where to visit in the ports we visited. Without them, this cruise would have simply been a taxi from one port to another. Ajit and Ernie are the best! Because of them, we would go again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Some good points but don't expect the ship to be the same standard as a more luxury cruise ship e.g. Cunard The size of the ship is good with only 9 floors and plenty of lifts which arrive quickly. Our inside room was small so only ... Read More
Some good points but don't expect the ship to be the same standard as a more luxury cruise ship e.g. Cunard The size of the ship is good with only 9 floors and plenty of lifts which arrive quickly. Our inside room was small so only twin beds available with a small table in between. No tea and coffee in the room and room service is charged for. Some areas are tatty but we saw this ship as more of a means to reach a lot of destinations in a short (4 days) period Staff were mostly very helpful and all spoke reasonable English despite not many British people on board, mostly Greek, American, Japanese, Spanish etc. Food and drinks were good with a reasonable selection of drinks in the all inclusive basic package. We enjoyed the cocktails with a varied menu Nice buffets on deck such as a Greek night and a BBQ buffet. Food in the main restaurant is also good with self service for breakfast and lunch and waiter service at night. Now to our disappointment, we booked because of the itinerary and especially the all inclusive tours. You don't have any choice about these and we enjoyed Ephesus very much. Our second tour was cancelled due to a bus drivers strike. We were then offered a walking tour of Rhodes instead with a visit to the archaeological museum. We chose not to do this as we had visited Rhodes last year and seen most of this town. We were disappointed not to be able to do the bus tour so we went to ask if we could have a replacement tour the next day. They totally refused any kind of refund or replacement stating that it was not their fault the strike happened and they had put on the walking tour. We explained that we had paid for an 'all inclusive' cruise and the cost of the cancelled tour was 150 Euros. We only booked with Celestyal because of the different destinations. We also paid extra for the Patmos visit. There was no way they would give us any kind of replacement tour or refund and they claimed that the tours were 'complimentary' even though we paid more for this cruise than for a Cunard one the year before. It was such a shame because it really spoilt what had been a nice holiday up to that point and especially as we had booked this for our 40th anniversary and spent a little more than usual. Sad to say that I can't recommend this, I have now done almost 20 cruises and it is the only one where I have felt let down by the attitude of the excursion staff and policy of the company Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this trip by chance, and I had the most wonderful 3.5 days in the cruise. Before the trip begins I know there will be little time on the islands and Athens, but this was what I've chosen and approved before payment. ... Read More
We chose this trip by chance, and I had the most wonderful 3.5 days in the cruise. Before the trip begins I know there will be little time on the islands and Athens, but this was what I've chosen and approved before payment. Everything was just perfect. We've stayed in juniour suite, which was quite big room for a cruise, everything was clean, and whenever we stop at the islands and come back, we found our room cleaned just perfectly. Dining was much better than I've expected, service was very rapid and kind in the restaurants. All the staff was friendly, kind and with smiling faces.Night shows were excellent, and luckily among 1600 people, around 700 of them from World Cruise Party and it was very entartaining to watch them partying around the pool. Pool was very small but who wants to swim in a pool when you are in endless seas!.. I adored our ship, the rescue boats hanging near the sides make the ship a bit nostalgic and cute. You may take your time while crusing, in your cabin to rest, in different lounges to listen to music or drink something, eating, sunbathing at the pool side, gambling in casino, walking at the deck, watching the waves from the deck and etc. In Patmos, Santorini and Mykonos boats got us from the ship to the ports which was very fun since to watch our ship from a boat was very exciting. Our turkish guide was excellent. I'll remember this cruise with very lovely memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a ... Read More
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a dinner nothing special but drinkable Excursions rather long and padded out with relatively uninteresting visits like carpet factory in Kusadasi which was interesting initially but not the 1 hour plus of resisting the sales pitch. Disappointed that so many cruisers chose to ignore the dress code , tea shirts and sandals even on captains night. Having given all the negatives, we enjoyed our cruise, food in Olympia was excellent and we were well served by Angelo Geny and Elisabeth the wine waitress. Lounge areas were comfortable and really enjoyed the shows which were very professional. Small groups playing in lounges were also good. Overall although Cristal is showing her mature years this is made up for by the really excellent crew, always smiling and helpful. Next cruise will be with a larger more modern ship but I think we will miss the size and friendliness of Criistal and her crew. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The cruise was disappointing in that we stopped on the islands for very short periods. We were very rushed and at times it felt like we were herded like cattle. The food was mediocre and the ship is very dated with extremely small cabins ... Read More
The cruise was disappointing in that we stopped on the islands for very short periods. We were very rushed and at times it felt like we were herded like cattle. The food was mediocre and the ship is very dated with extremely small cabins even after we paid for an upgrade. The cruise was not my idea of fun and relaxation but more stressful and chaotic. Never again!! The pool was extremely small and uninviting. The room smelled like sewage and the toilet ran constantly. The ship was not very clean and the staff were inattentive. I am sure you could get a much nicer cruise elsewhere for the price paid. Make sure to do your research as there is an up charge for drinks, WiFi, and excursions. We definitely felt like we were not provided with the best service and accomadations for the mine up tjt was spent. Upon disembarkation we were all dismissed at one time cause a chaotic confusing crowded mess at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have choosed this cruise to see as many islands as possible. It was organized by agent. Our group did embarked at Pyrineis. Cruise was a pleasent suprise for us. Overall we have enjoyed our trip. There have been some things they could ... Read More
We have choosed this cruise to see as many islands as possible. It was organized by agent. Our group did embarked at Pyrineis. Cruise was a pleasent suprise for us. Overall we have enjoyed our trip. There have been some things they could be improved but there is too many people to please. We didn't like pools apeal so we decided to swim in sea whenever possible. Our early breakfast and early dinners have paid off. We did beat crowd. Cabin has been cousy and nice. Gym I have used, need some equipment adjustments. Program was great and enjoyable I wish to use this opportunity to say a specal thanks to housekeepers who did keep our room spotless. Then to the bar staff especially to Ajit who was very professional and friendly. Finaly to all of you who did make our trip memorable as you provided excellent and friendly aproch.   We would like to travel again with Celestial cruises and will recommend it to our family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We boarded on Friday June 22nd. We entered our room (2039) and realized the floor was wet and there was an odor of mold. We called the front desk and they sent someone with a blower to dry it. I then realized the lower bed was wet. Not ... Read More
We boarded on Friday June 22nd. We entered our room (2039) and realized the floor was wet and there was an odor of mold. We called the front desk and they sent someone with a blower to dry it. I then realized the lower bed was wet. Not sure if this was related to the problem on the floor or if someone sat on it with a wet bathing suit and the housekeepers never bothered to put fresh sheets on the bed! Unacceptable either way!! My son then decided to take a shower and the entire floor was sopping wet! I called again asking to be moved to a new room and they repeatedly told me there was nothing! We decided to handle the problem in person so went down to the desk and said we would not stay in that room as our son has asthma that could be triggered by his mold allergy. We were told again and again there was nothing available but we refused that unacceptable room adamantly!! Finally they found an interior cabin (2114) which was fine and they told us we could have it until Sunday at 7:00am . Friday night at 11pm just as I was ready to go to bed in our new room they put a note under my door saying room 2039 was ready any time I wanted to return to it. Luckily I didn't move. The next morning we went to 2039 and a man was in there working on a broken pipe!! How that is ready to go back to I don't know! The odor persisted. We probably went to the desk 3 times on Saturday trying to get an answer as to where we would go on Sunday at 7am, everybody including Oksana gave us the runaround and wouldn't tell us. We told them there was no way we were going back to 2039! What they didn't seem to understand is that the carpet needed to be ripped up and replaced. Mold is something that should be taken very seriously and obviously they didn't get it. Saturday evening as again I was just going to bed at 11pm they put a note under my door saying I had to vacate 2114 by 7am. I was furious! All day I tried to get an answer to no avail. We had an excursion planned and had to be off the ship by 6:45 am on Sunday. At close to midnight on Saturday we found ourselves once again arguing with them at the front desk. They made us pack our bags and said they would move them to a new room by the time we got back from our excursion. This was a huge inconvenience at midnight!! We came back from our excursion and they said now we could stay in 2114 until our stop in Santorini. No one seemed to know what they were doing!! Meanwhile everything was packed. We came back from Santorini at 10pm on Sunday night and the general manager I believe Zlata Dukic or Martine Barbier ( the passenger services supervisor) finally got ahold of what was going on and put us in a suite. Earlier that day they gave us a pass to the more upscale dining, free wifi, and a bridge visit if we wanted it . Although it was a nice gesture at this point the damage was done. They had ruined our vacation with the constant fighting and begging with the front desk. I felt as if we spent more time fighting with the front desk than enjoying our vacation. We moved rooms 3 times during a 4 day cruise. We spent less than 12 hours in the suite because we had to vacate our rooms by 7am on Monday to disembark. One of the most upsetting parts was being informed via letter at 11pm that we had to move rooms. I can't imagine poorer customer service. It was as if on Sunday they finally realized they had failed at basic service quality standards. A dry clean room would be one of them. I will never set foot on a cruise run by them ever again !! I will be posting my experience on trip advisor because the public needs to be aware. I guarantee you they put some poor unsuspecting passenger back in to 2039 mold and all! This was my 11th cruise and never have I experienced conditions like this! Celestyal needs to be made aware that people pay money expecting comfort and satisfaction, they failed miserably!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The rapport price/benefits was very good. Very good organization, all the personal very kind. The islands to stop were good chooses. The food was very good, the same the entertainment. The fact that it was all-inclusive (also the ... Read More
The rapport price/benefits was very good. Very good organization, all the personal very kind. The islands to stop were good chooses. The food was very good, the same the entertainment. The fact that it was all-inclusive (also the alcoholic beverages) was a good point. The shore excursions were overrated, to expensive, but if you don't want to have an excursion, you have what to do by your self at the shore destinations. The breakfast could be more variate. The cabin that we had was nice, great enough for two persons, with all that you need in it: safe-box, bathroom, hair-dryer, TV. The cleanliness in the cabin was very good, sometimes in the public areas was not the same, but overall it was OK. A la cart restaurant was nice, the service prompt and the food very good and variate. Embarkation and disembarkation go very smoothly, even when it was by tender-boats. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We sailed on the Iconic Aegean cruise for four nights. It was great value for money. We had 2 nights first to explore Athens. The embarkation went very smoothly, well organized. This is the first time we have been on a cruise ship and we ... Read More
We sailed on the Iconic Aegean cruise for four nights. It was great value for money. We had 2 nights first to explore Athens. The embarkation went very smoothly, well organized. This is the first time we have been on a cruise ship and we were impressed with the variety of on board activities. There was something happening all the time and the musicians were very professional. We selected this cruise because it had our desired island itinerary. There were three shore excursions offered but only elected to do one. We had organised our own Ephesus guide as we wanted a private tour. The ship was well organised and there was a service desk open 24 hours for an inquiry. There was plenty of entertainment and a variety of restaurant choices. The food buffets offered a huge variety of cuisine. Our package included a food and drink package which was very good value for money as it included unlimited cocktails, wine, beer etc. There was a convenience shop on board which was handy. Our cabin was small but adequate. We spent little time in the cabin as there is so much to do onboard as well as island sightseeing. Our cabin steward was very helpful and attentive. I found all the crew went out of their way to make it an enjoyable cruise. The internet was expensive but no really an issue for us. We would have liked more time in Turkey but appreciate the logistics of the ship trying to coordinate passengers and tour groups disembarking and arriving as well as the port accessibility and ship safety. We traveled with two adult children and they found the cruise just as enjoyable. They cater for all ages. It was a little overwhelming trying to fit in all the ship experiences set out in the daily programe. The Rhodes excursion was excellent as we were hosted by a local woman who was very knowledgeable and friendly. We disembarked at Santorini as we wanted to fully explore this island for a few days and the itinerary only allowed four hours. Because we were disembarking we had the wait while the excursions passengers disembarked. This meant we didn't reach the island port until 6pm, we then had to wait for the tenders to go back and collect our luggage. However I can appreciate that Santorini is very popular and there are only a few tenders operating. Given the difficult logistics the crew did their best to get us off the ship. I would recommend Celestyal cruises. I would stay on the islands next time and use the ferry between island groups as there wasn't enough time for the excursions and we were aware that we must be back on board at the designated time. I would highly recommend this cruise. It was a wonderful experience. The Greek islands are outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I saw this cruise mentioned in a national paper, the baseline price looked very reasonable and so I checked out the website. It was an all inclusive deal and, even with an upgraded outside window view, was good value. I really enjoyed the ... Read More
I saw this cruise mentioned in a national paper, the baseline price looked very reasonable and so I checked out the website. It was an all inclusive deal and, even with an upgraded outside window view, was good value. I really enjoyed the cruise. The organisation is excellent. They manage lots of people off the boat for tours in a quick fashion. The guides on the tours were excellent, very interesting. I found the staff to be very friendly and they are hardworking. The whole boat was kept very clean. I thought the food was good too, enjoyed the BBQ night and Greek night. There is no shortage of food and plenty of choice. The greek wine that comes with the package was fine. We mainly used the buffet restaurant on top deck, nice to be outside.If you use the restaurant on deck 4 for breakfast and dinner, you will be seated with strangers but it was good to chat to other people from other countries and hear about their travels. There is plenty of entertainment if you want to join in. We took in a couple of shows in the evening which we enjoyed. The cabin was fine, the shower is a tiny space but works well. It was very clean and serviced twice a day. The window was nice to have but we really didn't spend too much time in the cabin so might not do that in the future. I have no complaints regarding this cruise and would happily take another. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Cruise was part of a tour package and things started off well. My experience is definitely colored by the air conditioning not working in my cabin until the last night despite numerous maintenance requests. I would try to find a much ... Read More
Cruise was part of a tour package and things started off well. My experience is definitely colored by the air conditioning not working in my cabin until the last night despite numerous maintenance requests. I would try to find a much smaller ship if I did it again, most ports are in small towns and getting everyoneon and off the ship is quite an adventure. Given these difficulties, they did do a fantastic job in this respect. The shore tours were for the most part amazing and were done through local guides. Service and food onboard was abysmal! You know that clear crust that forms on fried eggs if you don't clean breakfast before work? On the second day, I noticed this on them and it got progressively worse. You have no choice either you are seated, so unless you go to breakfast in groups of 10, you will be mixed with random people unless you're lucky and get a smaller table. Wait staff was always so busy cleaning, that little waiting was ever done. Very few drinks are included in you drinks included so plan on an extra 14 euros per day per person. You will also have to find a water every time you need water. Give them your card and they will bring it back with 300ml bottle. Plan on chronic dehydration or buy your own larger bottles on shore somewhere. Don't plan on having wifi even though it is technically available. It is sold a few hours at a time (no option to buy amounts of data so you can stay connected with friends and family). Not that it would help since wifi is only available in public areas, not your cabin! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was the first experience on a cruise ship. It was an extraordinary experience. About the ship, the organization or the conditions offered can only speak to the superlative. Everything is very well organized. The entire crew is very ... Read More
It was the first experience on a cruise ship. It was an extraordinary experience. About the ship, the organization or the conditions offered can only speak to the superlative. Everything is very well organized. The entire crew is very welcoming, civilized, smiling and eager to help you if you need support. The food is tasty, varied, and covers even the pretentious tourists' claims. It is quite difficult to mention the names of only a few of the crew members, without offending the unnamed, out of a total of 550 people who are at the disposal of the tourists. However, I would like to thank Ion Lazarescu, Dani, Ricki and Haifei or the two cooks preparing pasta, or Golinda, who took care of the recovery of my baggage, mistakenly taken by another tourist. I recommend to all of this experience and especially this cruise ship. Hope see you again on the next vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 ... Read More
We participated on a tour with Gate 1 Travel embarking on a 4 nights cruise in the Aegean Sea leaving from Athens Our ship was the Celestyal Olympia we had an unlimited drink package , you cannot order 2 drinks unless you have 2 cards. this includes water and sodas The do not spray your hands with sanitizer before meals or when you re-enter the ships like most. To disembark, the process is fairly fast , but you better have your card out to keep up the pace as there is only 1 line on and off ship. Excursions were good, but they could have picked up the pace a bit. lots of walking, too slow for some. We were at Mykonos and Santorini both at sunset, definitely wish we had more time on Santorini. Overall , I enjoyed the cruise, and the islands visited. I would just want a larger cabin. Married couple or 2 single women Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Best price great destination . They offer high standard food very good service, the cabins were excellent. The entertainment team offered a great show. We had a fantastic time. The staff was excellent the were very organized with the ... Read More
Best price great destination . They offer high standard food very good service, the cabins were excellent. The entertainment team offered a great show. We had a fantastic time. The staff was excellent the were very organized with the embarkation and debarkation. They had a big choice of drinks , cocktails, milkshakes. They offered a big selection of catering grill night greek cosine mediterenian , Chinese. Choice of food for children pizza burgers hotdog. The entertainers were great they offered a very well organized and directed shows the dancers were excellent. They offered a disco after 11 also greek music. The offered a big choice of shore excursion . The destination were excellent. I suggest that the ship should stay night at Mykonos and reduce the time in Rhodes island. The ship person ell was helping passengers in disembarkation. The price include excursion in efesos. The guide was very good she gave us a lot of information about efesos. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
AUGUST 2017 MY CELESTYAL OLYMPIA REVIEW : Returning from another incredible experience with Celestyal ! I had originally booked the 7 night itinerary of the Nefeli, but the ship was then exclusively dedicated to the Turkish market ... Read More
AUGUST 2017 MY CELESTYAL OLYMPIA REVIEW : Returning from another incredible experience with Celestyal ! I had originally booked the 7 night itinerary of the Nefeli, but the ship was then exclusively dedicated to the Turkish market for August and so we made the two combined 3 and 4 nights itineraries of the Olympia, in this month of August. Someone would say they are identical (with the addition of Rhodes for the longest cruise) : true but in these islands there are so many things to do and see, and the stops in port necessarily short, that doing twice these ports not only is pleasant but even advisable if you want to know a little more in deep the islands. Then… lets say the truth, staying 7 nights on the Olympia is just pure pleasure! About the ship... what to say? It was the Song of America of the Royal Caribbean, a revolutionary ship for the time when it was built and always had , under the RCCL flag, the maximum rates of guest’s satisfaction . I would say what I already said here once : these were the times when ships were built by the shipping companies for the pleasure of the passengers, today it’s very different, and there would be a lot to say, but this is another story. Coming back to us... great spaces, ample walking promenades with real teakwood decks , an unthinkable luxury today on modern ships. Many external staircases, even these very large to pass easily from one deck to another always enjoying the surrounding sea and islands, a characteristic now almost disappeared. Interior design... like a true liner , the ship’s experts knows what I mean. Elegant, incredibly spacious and chic . Maybe I belong to another era, but I find this design infinitely more elegant than the one of the standard modern ships that in my opinion is too... american style. In a word , too "glitzy” ! So... what I can say about “my” Olympia experience ? In my life I have done almost 100 cruises in the span of 60 years . Yes, because I made my first one in 1957, aged five years. I liked cruising and crossing seas so much that it become my job ( owning an agency specialized both in cruises and cruises for groups ) : I write this simply to say to those who read my review that my judgement, having been a professional in this sector is less subjective, probably perhaps more objective tha n it would the one of a regular passenger. Well, I can say that Celestyal, from the time of Louis cruises, has come a long way ! Before to make any assessment: the category of the ship. Celestyal is in the standard cruise segment. To clarify : for example, the type of catering of Celestyal, which I judge absolutely positive if not great for a ship of the standard segment , would certainly not receive the same judgement if the same was offered on a luxury ship. It seems obvious but it is not so, sometimes many expect services that it is absurd to expect for a certain category, so the next judgement is appropriate to the category of the ship ( but remember that MOST cruise lines belongs to this group ). About the ship I already spoke and the 2 cruises I was on were totally fully booked, so I can say that, at full capacity, I have never, but really never had the feeling of crowding and this means that the project of the ship was very good. Ah... another important thing: the maintenance of the ship is so great ! She is now 35 years old and she really does not show her age, except for her design, of course. No rust marks, everything is fully functional, outside and inside. The restyling of the cabins and in general of her interiors, made in the last 2 years, have updated the ship in a modern and elegant way . And that “Thalassa” bar up at the top of the Zeus Bridge (Greek Trattoria Style) is so amazing to enjoy departures and arrivals !!! The cabins : in the times when the ship was built the idea was that the passenger only needed the cabin just to shower , changing clothes and sleep a few hours so the space was limited. Today this concept evolved and cabins have become more spacious ( many love to consider their cabin as a sort of they home at sea ) but, anyway, the needs vary, depending on cruise styles, sea days, duration of cruise etc. . I can say that the Olympia’s standard rooms are rather compact but very well furnished on the shades of light blue and with modern new bathrooms and therefore perfectly suitable for cruises lasting 3 and 4 days. I had a junior suite on deck 7: simply beautiful !!! Ample as I like it , comfortable, with two large windows overlooking the promenade , big closets and drawers, a nice living area and a spacious bathroom. Another positive is the location : few meters and you are right on the promenade, that means continuous and immediate contact with the sea and the islands where the ship sails. I also saw the suites with balcony : just gorgeous , spacious and very well decorated with fresh and bright colors ! And with very deep balconies. Nothing to envy to ships of the award winnig companies. And now we come to the... software: and here, again, I was positively impressed. This year the all inclusive system has been introduced for the first time and my fear, indeed my fears, were two : firstly the quality ' of the drinks. In many all inclusive hotels , even quite expensive, I found the drinks quality rather poor and the service too slow while here the service was prompt and the quality of drinks absolutely good , they even offered alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails : a cheer to the bar crew, friendly and efficient ! And how much effort they did always with a smile all the time ! Just good ! Bravo ! Same for dining. It is buffet everywhere , both in the restaurant and at the self service: wide choice, fresh food , wella presented but, above all, tasty ! And this, believe me, it's not obvious. Douglas Ward, the author of the cruise guide Berlitz, the "gospel" of the cruises, often laments that the "banquet catering" of the standard cruise ships offer foods with a bland, unsavory taste. Not here at all !!! The food is good and fresh but , above all, it has a Greek imprint, absolutely amazing for a ship sailing in the Aegean . Positive, positive, positive! Ok, I admit , I enjoyed the special attention of the the just exceptional Maitre D' Mr Sozos Sorros but, believe me, it was really outstanding in his job ( many luxury vessel’s Maitre D’s would have so much to learn from him ! ), well , I can say that even in the restaurants of the Cunard’s Grill class (and experts knows what I’m speaking about ) I wasn’t treated at this level of service ( I speak of course about service , not food that was always very good but don’t expect the impossibile : filet a’ la Wellington or caviar ,Cunard is in the luxury market ! ). A small detail, just for those interested in suites : guests occupying suites also have priority in the restaurant for the table request , for example a table for two or for a quieter area. Dining quietly on holiday is important, here's another reason for me to prefer a suite : if your budget allows go for a suite, you’ll not be disappointed, it’s well worth it ! Ah... I forgot: here there are no restaurant sittings , everyone eats when he wants during opening hours ( another feature typical of premium and luxury ships ). Even the afternoon tea is served here and you’ll find scones with dotted cream and strawberry jam in the purest tradition of the British afternoon tea : another positive point. And, always talking about positive things that are no longer commonly found, at least on standard ships, are barbecues and themed open-air buffets on decks , another fine maritime tradition nearly disappeared but not on Celestyal’s ships. Another important positive point: the absolute efficiency in the landings with tender boats: the greeks of Celestyal would have so much to teach the americans ! Super organized and super efficient , for me the best in the world! Drawbacks ? Sincerely, for the category of the ship, very few . Personally, staying in a suite, I find that this is probably the only company that still does not offer benefits like the others do, for example, priority tickets for tender operations or free breakfast in the cabin, all important things for a more demanding clientele who, obviously paying more, expects certain premium services . But these are details who don't affect the overall impression of quality. Shows: Funny ! And quite original ! I was so amused seeing their shows that I was happier here than assisting to the grand “musicals” of the american ships which, in the end, seems to me all similars and indeed linked to the anglo-aaxon tradition. In the Greek islands I like to "feel" and experience the great tradition of the Greek culture, not the anglo-saxon one ! Besides, I forgot... Greek music, a lot , pleasant to hear , everywhere , so enjoyable : this is the beauty of travelling with a Greek company like Celestyal ! About the ports of call I don't speak, too much has already been said and written. And then , everyone has his tastes and preferences on things to do and see ashore . I would only say that time ashore is never enough so doing the same cruise twice is a real treat ! Possibily as I do every year. That's why, for the next year, I will book the new, beautiful 7 nights cruise of the ( yachtlike ) Celestyal Crystal: long hours ashore to enjoy the islands and, especially, 2 entire days and one night to "get lost" , is just the case to say, in the unique Santorini. And a full day and an entire night to spend in Mykonos too ! Summarizing... a very positive experience I can suggest to experience to everyone ! And BRAVO to Celestyal Cruises , with capital letters ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
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