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Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek Isles sail to/from Italy and Athens with various stops along the way in Sicily, Naples, etc. This seemed to be the most economical cruise that sailed in/out of Athens and only visited the islands. The biggest benefit of this cruise/itinerary is the long time the ship docks in Mykonos and Santorini, and we took advantage of this. So many of the cruises we looked at only had half a day+ on the islands and that doesn't give you much time to do more than get off/on the ship and walk around a bit. We toured Mykonos by taking the ship's bus to the old town early, walked around and shopped a little, took some pictures at the windmills, and then caught a bus for like 5 Euro round-trip to Paradise beach where we stayed for 4-5 hours eating/drinking/swimming and had a great time. It was a nice, relaxing day. We also planned our own excursion on Milos (speedboat tour around the island with swimming/snorkeling). We left the ship and spent the night on Santorini to be able to do a 5-hour sunset catamaran cruise that Thurs night so we didn't do the ship excursion. You can get a room a few blocks back from the caldera rim for under 100 Euro in June. The next day, some of us did the hike from Fira to Oia while the rest of the party rented a van and met us in Oia where we did more walking, shopping, and eating. Finally, we drove to the Venetsanos Winery for a wine tasting/food pairing before heading back to the ship for dinner. Santorini is amazing. We did the ship excursions in Eraklion/Crete and Kusadasi/Ephesus and they were fine. Ephesus is an amazing site and a must-see! However, by the time we got there it was crowded and then the whole rug factory tour/sales pitch at the end was a bit over-the-top. I didn't hear anything about any of the other ship-based excursions, but I'm not a big fan of riding around on a bus on someone else's schedule and priorities when it's easy to plan day-trips/activities in port independently. The staff was great, our room stewards took care of us, and embarking/disembarking was pretty seamless although the disembarking took a while. For whatever reason we never heard the "all clear to get off the ship" notification before we saw people on the dock leaving the ship. The ship is perhaps slightly dated and smaller than most, the pool is small, I think there's just 1 hot tub, and the buffets don't have a lot of variety day-to-day. The restaurants had a different menu each day and were fine. I would highly recommend this cruise for the purposes of seeing the Greek islands, but know in advance this is not a luxury cruise and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact ... Read More
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact excellent. We loved having the luxury of time on Mykonos and Santorini. Of course we would have liked to have even more time, but that's for another trip. Embarkation was very smooth and pretty fast. Access to the ship started at about 2:00 pm. We arrived at the Piraeus port around 3:30 and we were on board by shortly after 4:00 pm. Our cabins were not ready, which was understandable, but there were lounges to wait in. The included excursions were: Santorini (visit to Oia), Heraklion (visit to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum, and Kusadasi (Ephesus).The first two were excellent. I skipped the visit to Ephesus because I'd been there before; my several travel friends who went on that excursion said the ancient site visit was excellent. That was followed, with the same guide, by an over-long visit to a rug factory which was so intensely pressured to make sales (thousands of dollars per rug) that these seasoned travelers felt intimidated and quite uneasy. It sounds easy to have walked away and boarded the bus, but they assured me that the bus wasn't going to leave until some sales had been fulfilled. We added on a ship's excursion to Delos (from the Mykonos port). Perhaps because it was the first excursion on the first day, but it was chaos at the beginning (bus assignments, ticket distributions, etc.) The guide my group was with, Yolanda, spoke incomprehensible English, and after a while we gave up trying. I suggest hiring a guide privately. The excursion we added on for Milos, Nostalgic Milos and the Beaches, was fabulous! We boarded an excursion boat, had an excellent guide, Natassia, who pointed out features of Milos that we could see from the boat, and we had a few opportunities to jump or climb from the boat to swim in the Aegean. Unforgettable! As expected, the ship is in need of an update. Nothing was dirty or shabby, just looking dated and tired. Our standard outside cabins (Deck 4) were fine. Not large, but we didn't expect that. The bathrooms were tiny, but not so very different from other cruises I have been on in standard accommodations. The wait staff tried their best, but they need more training--food orders were mixed up, requests were forgotten. They were very polite and friendly, but, with a couple of exceptions, they need more training and experience. Not sure if it was partly a language issue. They meant well. The shows were pretty bad, I thought, though with enough alcohol (a drinks package was included in our price), it was possible to smile and have a good time. The pool, located on the same deck as the food buffet, was tiny. See photo. We felt that the food was the weakest part of the experience. At best it was mediocre, especially the meat. A couple of times what was supposed to be steak was a sort of grey mystery meat and we sent it back. Breakfast options were repetitive but okay, and lunch options always included salads and vegetables if we didn't like the looks of the hot dishes. Coffee was labeled as Douwe Egbert, a European brand, but we thought it pretty bad. One of the advantages of having a few long days and late nights in port, was being able to have lunch and/or dinner off the ship. Disembarkation took longer than anyone wanted it to. We arrived back at Piraeus by 9:00 am, and my group did't get off the ship until slightly after 10:30 am. It was annoying, but I don't blame the cruise line for that--they are subject to the whims and rules of Customs and the Port Authority. Would I take this cruise again? Possibly. But I'd look into similar itineraries with higher prices, to at least ponder a more upscale experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal ... Read More
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal Crystal . First the good - The staff mostly all willing to greet passengers with a smile and kind words. The room - we had an XC category room on level 4 - the room was quit spacious- the bed comfortable and while a bit dated always clean. The itinerary- one of the primary reasons we choose Celestyal was excellent. The Cuban entertainment team- one of the very best we have ever had on any ship we have been on - which is saying something as several of our previous cruises have been on lines like Disney and celebrity - vocally honestly very good . The Cruise director- Danny One word - Awesome! When have you seen a cruise director join the show to sing and dance? Shore excursions- For the amount of folks they had to take in the included excursions- they did a good job. The guides on the excursions were some of the best we have experienced Now to the klunky and quirky and not so good The bar service - unlimited drinks - do not imagine yourself in Cancun by any stretch of the imagination- they employ a method that requires staff to wait your drink- they say ‘so we can keep track of what we use’ - my guess is that the bar staff tips are tied to the amount of drinks they serve. Here is what that means - service is very unpredictable waiting 10 minutes for an espresso - not unusual. But if you learn the waiters who would not just take 8 orders it could be very prompt. Or as happened to me after waiting 15 minutes for a sparkling water they gave me someone else’s card - and I had to go back to get retrieve my card as I could never get back into my room :) Always double check that you got your card back :) The food - Unpredictable- sometimes quit good on other days just not good. I am a food snob but when the rice and chicken on American is not over cooked that’s saying something and the rice and chicken were better on my flight - good for American not sure how to explain mushy rice and dry chicken for most the week. Now we did have some really good dish’s but it was hard to know. It was midway through the week before we had what we would describe as a really good desert - kind of a first for us on any cruise. The staff - While some were great we had some who simple did not have language or competence for the task they were attempting to fill. At reception we had one amazing staff person who went out of their way to help and another who seemed to think his job was to smile and explain away the issues we were raising- in fact I’m pretty sure he straight up lied telling us the ship (1200 capacity) was at 100 percent and later to discover it was at 701? On another occasion when trying to share about a really bad tender experience waiting for over an hour - he told us the tender was every half hour. Again either a language or competence. The smell of diesel- Was present in the dining room almost every evening and in our room daily - I struggled with nasal congestion until I got off the ship Disembarkation- In over a dozen cruises on multiple lines all over the world I was quit surprised by how klunky and long it took - actually I’ve never taken this long to disembark To repeat? I am pretty unsure if I would repeat with Celestyal now that other major lines are picking similar itineraries. Also we are pretty sure we won’t be repeating Greece - it overall did not fully live up to the hype. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture window. We were on level 5 at the end of the corridor. It was quiet enough but we could hear a buzz from either the generator or air con during the night. This didn't bother my husband but I am a light sleeper & had to wear ear plugs to block out the noise.The cabin was small but we had enough room to move about. We both found the bed too hard & missed not having a small fridge to keep our water cold. The shower was fine & we always had plenty of clean towels. We enjoyed dinning in the main restaurants. The food was of a good standard & there was plenty of choice if you were gluten free like me. I didn't find a great deal of choice at breakfast time. The cereals were of poor quality & thought the scrambled eggs were horrible. It was daunting having to ask for gluten free bread & dairy free milk ( soya only) at breakfast time, especially as the waiters were always busy. I am not a lover of cooked breakfasts but my husband thought he had had a better breakfast elsewhere. The buffet at lunch time in the evening was good, although the choice was similar each day. The gluten free bread was ok when warm but I pre ordered sandwiches one day & the bread was so bad I had to throw them away. I found the day time activities a bit run of the mill but as we were at a port each day it didn't bother us. The evening entertainment was a bit amatureish but the staff were so enthusiastic that it made the shows entertaining. My favourite was the Greek night & the Abba tribute. The entertainment staff put a lot of work into each show as there were no other acts on board. The entertainment manager was very friendly & had a good manner with the guests onboard. The service we received on board was good & we found most of the staff very friendly & helpful. Our favourite port of call was Santorini & we enjoyed the free included trip to Oia. it was lovely to have the overnight stay to spend two days on this lovely island. The other two free included trips were fine. The organisation of the trips was very good & there was no problem when having to get to port by a tender. The ship was smaller than others we have sailed on & therefore maybe not as much choice as on a larger ship. I liked the fact that it was smaller & there seemed to be less hussle & bustle. It was an older ship but still very clean & comfortable. However, I felt one of their failings was that they didn't always push the guests to use the hand sanitizers when returning to the ship, going into the theatre or even going into the buffet at lunch time or tea time. This didn't seem to be a priority like on larger ships. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise. There were a few minor short comings but this didn't spoil the our trip & we would use this cruise line again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was ... Read More
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was a hassle getting refund. Shore excursions said they couldn't credit our charge card immediately, yet they were able to bill charge card immediately for a substitute trip. Was told to expect refund 7-10 days post cruise. Didn't happen so I called and was told we were expected to go through our travel agent for refund, even though we booked the shore excursions directly on Celestyal website. Money has now been refunded, but a lot more hassle than necessary. Food and entertainment were good. Some of the shore excursions were a bit disorganized, but it was the first cruise of the season. Our bathroom smelled bad from the start of cruise and constantly leaked water under the sill of the shower, flooding the bathroom. We told the room steward. It was never fixed during the cruise. We should have been moved to another cabin since the cruise was not fully booked. I am rating shore excursions as poor due to management, even though most of the excursions themselves were OK. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends ... Read More
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends with the crew. Celestyal want their staff to socialize with their guests so you would often see staff sitting having a quick chat with passengers. What surprised us was that we were greeted by name. Staff were excellent and everyone greeted you with a smile Crystal was awesome, catering for all our needs. the one positive was disembarking. Very quick and efficient and queues moved very efficiently. The entertainment was great and varied to cater for all types of passenger. Another positive we noticed was that were docked longer than other cruise liners so you could really experience the islands without the pressure of getting back to the ship in time and not seeing enough. We opted for a Junior Suite so we had our own balcony. This was great to be able to sit on our own deck and stair into ocean especially during sun rises. I would seriously recommend Celestyal Cruises to young and old alike. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
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
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
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
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in ... Read More
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in Santorini, a day in Milos, another in Herculaneum, Crete and concluding with a half day visit to Ephesus, Turkey. A really good itinerary on this cruise if you like the best of the Greek Islands. The flights, transfers and hotel accommodation were all fine (Stewart Travel, Glasgow). The cruise was exceptional. Mostly because of the crew. Small comfortable ship (800 passengers). Extremely friendly and attentive staff (nothing was too much trouble for them). This was probably the best cruise we have been on to date. We were given cards when we arrived which entitled us to free drinks (alcoholic and soft) which covered all but the luxury brands of drink (18-year-old whisky etc.). It was fine for us only requiring beer, baileys, wine and coffee. We did have a lobster dinner one night and paid extra for that, but it was well worth it! The food was excellent. Ranging from the ‘Al A Carte’ restaurants to the buffets and bars. There was a wide range of dishes and choices to suite everyone. We didn’t have one meal we were not impressed with. The staff are very attentive, we didn’t wait long to be served ever. The entertainment on the ship was constant culminating with the two shows every night. The shows were excellent and varied, the dancers and acrobats extremely talented. The ship photographers were also very helpful, and their work was memorable. The easy pace of the island visits meant you had plenty of time to explore each destination properly. We were lucky with the weather and had clear blue skies and 23-25c most of the week. I cannot stress the friendliness and helpfulness of the Captain and his crew enough! They were all charming, went to great lengths to ensure the passengers were always happy and content. The safety and efficiency of the way the ship was run was impressive for me as an ex-seaman. Everything was properly done (we felt safe at all times). We had a magical holiday and would recommend this company, ship and staff unreservedly, everything was perfectly organised. We would cruise again with Celestyal without hesitation. They are an outstanding company (extremely impressed). Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free ... Read More
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free tours and no tipping quickly made this my top favorite cruise of all time. The guests themselves were 40-75 age group comprised mostly of Canadians and Europeans. No language barrier at all as the staff for the most part are fluent in 5 languages. Very few children which does not exclude families but there is not a huge children's program and the sheer amount of walking and exploring would be difficult for kids or seniors with mobilty issues. Having said that the ship herself does accommodate physically challenged passengers. The food was superb with a la carte and buffet style options. We had a pre reserved table every night and we loved getting to know the staff. The food was international style with a North American flair and every meal was different and presented in the most elegant way. They do offer upgraded menu items like Lobster and select wines but we didn't feel the need to upgrade. I can not say enough about the hard working and friendly staff. By day 2 they knew us by name and we were always greeted in a friendly way. The cabins were spotlessly cleaned and had all the special touches you would find on any other larger cruise ship. Towel service, turn down service, cute towel animals and chocolate on the pillows. Our cabin was a large picture window which was lovely arriving in each port. I would have upgraded to balcony except there were none to book last minute. The best thing about this cruise is that it actually overnights in many of the Greek ports which give guests a chance to experience day and nightlife without having to rush to get back on ship. It was great to be able to explore these destinations on our own. The tours were amazing and very informative, especially Turkey which was a wonderful surprise as we were slightly nervous about going there. At no time did we ever feel any port or locals were dangerous. Of course there were lots of vendors selling their wares and for the most part they were ready to bargain and the clothing, jewelry and trinkets were truly authentic. I would not travel in August again just due to the thousands and thousands of tourists in each port every day plus the heat which was in excess of 38C every day. I would highly recommend this cruise to any of our valued customers and do recommend a few pre/post nights to unwind before the cruise. I will be telling anyone who is willing to listen how fantastic this experience was. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently ... Read More
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently book a hotel for the night in Santorini. Having previously cruised with P and O and Royal Caribbean we did not want to spend too much time on the ship as we personally found that these larger ships are too rigid in their organisation for our needs. However The Celestyal Crystal in our opinion and experience as a smaller ship was the total opposite. Embarkation and disembarkation even when by tender ran smoothly with no queuing and minimum formality. Our inside cabin was clean, functional and had the most wonderful stewards who serviced the cabin at least three times daily. The dining choices...buffet and two formal restaurants were run by well trained and attentive staff. The food choices were good although at times the food served did not always match the description on the menu. The house wine was excellent. However the spirits and alcoholic cocktails although well presented appeared to be lacking in alcohol.The entertainment was excellent including twice nightly live shows, a live band ( a rarity these days on cruises ) and live music and dancing in the lounges. There was also a disco and karaoke bar which we did not visit due to lack of time on our part. The ports of call were excellent and the time spent in each port enabled us to visit historical sites, great beaches and local tavernas independently alongside three excursions which were included in the price of the cruise. We were unable to dock in Milos due to adverse weather conditions and the captain re arranged for us to visit Syros instead. As we arrived at a slightly later time in Syros the evening shows and restaurant times were rescheduled to start/finish at a later time. This is a fantastic example of how the customers were always put first on this cruise. There was a consistent happy, friendly, family atmosphere among the international passengers and crew. This was enabled by the excellent staff led by the cruise director Danny and his team. This cruise was all inclusive with three included shore excursions, a drinks package and all tips and gratuities. All the staff appeared happy in their roles and it was great to see crew members being given time off to explore various ports of call. We will definitely return and strongly recommend. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not ... Read More
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not saying it should be black tie etc, but sitting down next to persons in flip flops and shorts who have just come back on board from the shore visits is not great fun! if unable to dock, they do need a few more activities during the 'sea time'. would have liked a little 'tour' of the ship for example, just to show the hidden workings and to keep us out of trouble on the aft deck with the Mojitos! Being a smaller ship, we were on some of the smaller islands and away from the larger crowds from other ships. But- friendly, money's worth, and excellent, clean cabins and public areas. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to ... Read More
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to mind: kindness! From the moment I boarded I found, as usual (I do this cruise every year) so much courtesy, everywhere! All crew , from the exquisite lady Guest Relation Manager to the very efficient cabin waiters , our table waiter Ali and the restaurant Manager Mr. Alex (a word for describe him: simply outstanding ! ) , just to name a few , all, really all of them , were ready to answer to all my needs with a smile , always offering an impeccable service. The ship : well, Crystal is my favorite Celestyal ship: It looks like a huge yacht, the optimum size to enter small ports but large enough to offer the services of a large ship but scaled down which means personalized service and more spaces Individual. The décor, a bit ' retro ' but bright and airy is the best you could possibly want to sail in the Aegean Sea. My cabin, the 7205 Junior suite, is not really a junior suite: it is actually comparable to a spacious balcony cabin of a today standard cruise ship. I have to open here a small parenthesis of "little disappointment" because a review, to be fair to be credible, must be fair, in good things ( and really MOST are very good ) but also in... not so good . The world’s cruise companies, when they have a less valid hardware (as in this case, a junior suite that is not) compensate with better service as ordinary and here is where Celestyal is wrong: this cabin is part of the “suite” price category (the other two main groups being the outside and inside cabins ) But, while costing just little less than other suites JS doesn’t enjoy any perk at all. Nothing at all. Everything in contrast to the other categories of suites that have excellent benefits ( well done Celestyal for these ! ) . Not even free breakfast service in cabin , and this is really simply unacceptable . Now, tell me, is out there a single company in the world not offering this service in Js ? The answer is: NO or , better YES : Celestyal. The price is certainly not cheap , suitesa are expensive and Celestyal should realize that this is correct at all. The Junior Suites customer thinks that they have booked a "Cinderella" suite. Having said that... everything else has been of my total satisfaction: the catering is much improved compared to past years , it was already good, but this year it was definitely better. Also noteworthy is the excellent presentation (and abundance) of the dishes. The presentation of the buffets has also considerably improved. The bar service is pretty well organized taking into account that on Celestyal there is the all inclusive formula which guests obviously take advantage of and the work of the bars for employees is hard . Well done. What else to say? The style : I mean, the Celestyal cruise style is a little...how to say, retro ? Perhaps, but retro ' in the best meaning of this world : lot of class and this makes it an almost unique product in the International cruise panorama. Hope they don't change because that makes them absolutely different. And, now, the best of the best: the evening shows ! The cabaret offered here is ( light years ) better than the insipid mega shows offered on the big ships, here there’s "pathos" and the result is that I enjoy myself crazy and try not to lose a single one. On premium ships, an example for all Holland America Line : I much prefer reading a book in my cabin than attending their shows . This says all ! The cruise director: Well, one of the best I've ever experienced ( and enjoyed so much ) and between other 122 cruises to compare with , I believe It says a lot. The itinerary is really nice, with the overnights in Mykonos and Santorini that allow you to enjoy all the excitement of these islands that become particularly alive and charming in the evenings (while almost all other cruise ships depart ). The ship had to cancel the call of Milos due to marine weather conditions and we made instead a call at Syros’s capital Ermoupoli , an elegant city that I particularly love and that I recommend to visit. Then Kusadasi , Turkey: apart from the amazing ruins of Ephesus, shopping here is absolutely not to be missed. What have I forgotten? Ah, the beautiful Crete: I have been there at least a dozen times and always I found something new to see, this time I visited a typical farm on the hills that produces oil, raki (the typical Cretan brandy) and typical wines and we were offered excellent local delicacies produced by the farm. Ah, I forgot! Early evening , while the ship was still anchored to Heraklion , came aboard a troupe of local dancers who offered us a show of typical cretan dances: again, a “bravo” to Celestyal . Such shows were once frequent on cruise ships but today they are almost gone. And now, just a little advice to enjoy the Celestyal hospitality at its best : try to "swim against the tide" while aboard . For example,If the mass of passengers likes to dine late in the evening, and this is the case here, try to dine sooner : you’ll enjoy a better restaurant service ! More quiet and relaxed . As soon as the ship arrives, don't rush to the ship’s exit : instead , wait a while and leave queues and stress to others. I do so and for me the cruise is nothing othen than relax as I like it. And when the cruise is over ? Nostalgia of course so the best… treatment ( ehehe  ) is booking immediately another cruise with Celestyal for 2019, so I can dream of a Celestyal cruise for a whole year ! I sincerely believe that with Celestyal you can’t go wrong: if every year I repeat this trip in the Aegean there’s a reason ( hope they will soon introduce new itineraries , for example alternate routes in order to allow passengers to make longer back to back cruises . ) . Of course Greek islands are full of charm but Celestyal Cruises will take you there in an absolutely special way , different from all other cruise companies in the world : the “Greek way” with its special food, its music and its wonderful people which means, simply, a totally different , and far superior experience ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily ... Read More
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily program or you just can relax in sun bath. I've have chosen 7 nights in Greek island with spectacular views; the atmosphere on the ship was like in (a big) family. The services was really good, the crew was very nice and we have really pleased with the overall atmosphere. Very nice live bands with Greek traditional music or from international . Danny, the cruise director, was a man of pleasant surprises every night with really good shows, that cover professional dance, good music, acrobatics, ballet and so on. The entertainment team was really good and interactive with peoples. Finally I spend very nice time on Celestial Crystal and I will back next year for a new experience. Thank you! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 ... Read More
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 passengers), so that you have plenty of space and time to enjoy, no hurries, not being pushed by the herd of passengers coming behind you. Compared with the Costa and MSC ships (5000 passengers) where you just feel another number, and were you may not find a place for breakfast or lunch during rush hours (specially if you go to the buffet, instead of the restaurants), the atmosphere is much more relaxed on the Celestyal ships, And the staff is 10 times friendlier, not completely stressed like in other ships. Just make a simple calculation: in a 5000 passengers ship you have 1000 crew: on crew member every 5 passengers. On the Celestyal ships, you have 1000 passengers and 450 crew members: one crew member every 2 passengers, A huge difference!!. 100 percent recommend Celestyal Cruises. When we wanted to change an excursion from Efeso for another one in Samos (the same day), no problem, no extra charge. Good cruise company!! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
11 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the ... Read More
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the moment they hit our shores for the season (looking at you, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity). Our family of four (parents, 19yo son and 17yo daughter) are experienced cruisers, so we are used to being cautious when booking our cruise holidays whether domestically or overseas. On this occasion, we were attending a family gathering in Europe and decided to extend our holiday by taking a cruise. Having done the Western Med several times, we were keen to concentrate on a different region. In October 2017, I cruised on Azamara Journey ex Athens return with my mother and had thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary, so I was keen to show my husband and children what Greece had to offer. Unfortunately, the choice for family cruising in the region is very limited, as many of the large, reputable cruise ships use Italy and Spain, rather than Greece, as their embarkation/disembarkation points, with limited Greek ports as part of their itineraries. Despite some research, we could find very little information from an Australian perspective on the quality of Celestyal cruising - even the travel agents we consulted had limited information and asked us to provide them with feedback if we went ahead with our cruise. (As we were to find out, most of the people cruising this line do not come from Australia, the UK or even the mainland of the USA; rather, they seemed to be from the Latin American countries and some European nations.) In the end, we decided to chance it, but played it safe by booking the best available cabins which, at the time, were a suite (Cat S) and an obstructed oceanview, both cabins being on deck 6. The total cost for the Idyllic Aegean itinerary (7 days), which included gratuities, selected drinks packages and three shore excursions, was in excess of AUD12,000. (We had hoped to upgrade both cabins onboard if this became an option, but it never eventuated as the cruise sailed at full capacity.) This price was in the ballpark of what I had paid per person for my 8 day cruise on Azamara in an oceanview cabin, so I was hopeful this cruise would be a decent one, though I wasn't naive enough to expect it would be up to Azamara's standards. My thinking was that it might equate to some of Royal Caribbean's older, smaller vessels, such as Rhapsody. THE GOOD: The ship is part of a Greek line and focuses on the islands, which is what we were looking for. We overnighted in Mykonos and stayed two full days in Santorini, which is not an option on larger liners. You can't take away from Celestyal that it offers unrivalled access to the Greek ports. Worth noting is that, at the last minute, the captain allowed all guests to disembark for an hour or so in Samos, while he picked up passengers who had attended an alternative shore excursion - this was unscheduled but appreciated and not something you could expect on larger liners. Our suite was very spacious, but had no opening windows or balcony. In fact, it was more like a very large oceanview, with just one large porthole. The shower stall was generously sized with a sliding glass door and the shower itself had the best pressure we'd ever experienced at sea. Fruit platters were provided each morning and canapes each evening (though the latter was often dry and tired) and there were complimentary toiletries for suite guests. These appeared to be the only privileges for this room category, with no advantages offered at embarkation/disembarkation, dining or for tender tickets. The cabin staff (Shafik and Teresa/Silvia) were excellent, which is usual on any cruise ship we've been on. They were attentive and keen to help with any requests. We ensured they received additional tips, accordingly. THE BAD: Our children's oceanview cabin was tiny - it was uncomfortably small for two adults and was sparsely appointed. The mattresses in both cabin grades were unusually firm and the pillows unusually soft, so we all ended up with sore shoulders when attempting to sleep on our sides. This was the first ship I have ever been on that didn't allow toilet paper in the toilets. As is the tradition in Greece on the mainland, all loo paper had to be disposed of in the bathroom bins. I found this off-putting. We have travelled diversely, from trekking in third world destinations to staying in five star resorts, however, this was the first time I felt the toileting facilities were substandard for the price we were paying. At home, we live on self-sustainable acreage with a biocycle septic system on the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet we have never had issues putting loo paper down the toilet in any system in our country, let alone on a cruise ship. I really think they could make more effort here. At the time of booking, our children were initially assigned an oceanview cabin on deck 2, however, I'd read the CruiseCritic review cautioning about the diesel fumes on this deck and I insisted on a deck change before final payment. Thank goodness I did. As it was, we still experienced occasional diesel fumes in the cabins on deck 6, as well as in the restaurants. Not terribly pervasive, but I can only imagine how bad it could be down on deck 2. THE UGLY: There is no polite way to say this - the food was appalling. We were looking forward to something more tempting than the usual American-influenced fare offered on the larger ships (which we sometimes find overly sweet and heavy). Celestyal claims to offer authentic Greek cuisine. Sorry, but last time I was in Greece, bland boarding school food was not part of the local experience. There were too many times that even the a la carte dinner in the restaurant was inedible (such as an Osso Bucco that was nothing but a bone chunk and fat swimming in packet-tasting gravy with no accompanying muscle meat to be found). Sadly, even breakfast offered little relief. If you strayed from the omelette and waffle station on the pool deck, there was only bland scrambled eggs and stale pastries on offer. The cereals, fruits and yoghurts were all poor quality; given the wealth of produce available in the region, it was unnecessary and very frustrating. The waitstaff in the restaurants were, almost without exception, terrible. They would forget entire courses, often provided the wrong meals to the wrong people and could not be bothered to apologise or seem at all concerned when their mix-ups became evident. Waitstaff on cruise ships are usually hard working and attentive - these guys were clearly not trained in the same manner as any others we've encountered over the years. It was like the Fawlty Towers of cruise ship restaurants. We had the 'all-inclusive' drinks package as part of our cruise and, at the time of booking, I asked our travel agent to find out how much it would cost to upgrade to premium drinks so that we could take care of this upfront. My experience is that included drinks packages with 'selected' drinks are never particularly good. After having some difficulty getting responses from the Australian wholesaler, our travel agent was told it would only be about an additional $5 per day to upgrade and we could do this onboard. The unpalatable truth is that it was an additional EUR14 per day to get the upgrade once on the ship. The included drinks were so poorly prepared that we decided not to risk throwing good money after bad. We found that as long as we stayed away from any drinks that involved mixers (viz. all the cocktails), then we could find something drinkable. Surprisingly (and fortunately), the house wines were not terrible. My husband, who is a whiskey drinker, simply purchased a bottle of Jameson from onshore and kept that in our suite for his drinks, rather than being forced to pay the premium upgrade for a watery version. We had a mixed experience with the included shore excursions. We didn't take the one offered in Oia, but did use the one offered in Heraklion. It was well run and very enjoyable. The shore excursion in Kusadasi was a travesty. When sailing on the Azamara, I did this port with a private guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the guide provided as part of Celestyal's excursion couldn't speak comprehensible English and ruined the whole experience. It was so frustrating to know how it could have been presented and to see the faces of so many people glazing over from the way it was presented. Then, to top it off, we were dragged to the unwanted rug sales pitch where a couple fell for the hard-sell and purchased a rug, holding up our entire tour group so that we got back to the ship within 5 minutes of departure. My husband had wanted to explore the options to purchase a leather jacket, but in the end there wasn't even time to shop independently for souvenirs. The whole shore excursion was unacceptable and I would strongly encourage people to use a private guide for this port. The final insult to this cruise was the disembarkation. We arrived in port at the same time as another of Celestyal's ships, holding up disembarkation so that many passengers were in a panic as to whether they would make their flights. Unlike any other cruise I have been on, there was no prior request for information about people's plans for the next stage of their journey and there was no priority offered to disembarkation of suite guests. Frankly, watching people argue with the crew and push and shove to disembark the vessel was a fitting end to this cruise. Not at all recommended. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We enjoyed the Buffett dining as the choice was excellent. The islands we visited lived up to our expectations. Especially Santorini. We had 2 excursions included in our package. 1 to Oia in Santorini and an historic visit in Kusadassi. Both were excellent. And the added bonus of a visit to Samos. Beautiful. BAD POINTS The ship needs a complete overhaul. It’s very dated. The pool is a joke. It’s tiny with a sign posted stating no more than 10 people at a time. Which was unbelievable on a ship with 12000 passengers. The pool is totally in the wrong place. There are no loungers on this level. Which means you have to come out of the pool. And either totally dry yourself off or walk up one level in a wet swimsuit to find a lounger. This level is also partially covered by glass. Making it unbearably hot to sit in. There are loads of underused areas on this ship. Many areas with nowhere to sit. And only 1 outdoor bar. Making it a rush every night to get a table. Yet the level directly above this area had no tables or seating. Surely it would’ve made sense to use this area as part of the bar. They could’ve installed furniture that screwed down. Then there was the dining rooms. A total joke. Both dining rooms had exactly the same menu as each other. Why.. That’s why we used the buffet every day. More choice. On the night of my birthday we decided to give one of the dining rooms a try. Wish we hadn’t bothered. There are notices delivered to everyone that smart dress is essential in the dining rooms. That meant no shorts vests or flip flops on men. And smart dresses for women. This was totally ignored. And the staff did nothing about it. The guys at the next table to us were in vests shorts and flip flops. We were sat right next to one of the clearing stations. And the noise plus the sight of leftovers was awful. It felt like a cafeteria. All you could hear was the scraping of plates and clattering of cutlery. And final straw was a waiter asking if he could take our plates, then dumping a tray with other peoples leftovers on our table. And scraping our leftovers onto it. I felt sick. This happened a lot. Even in the buffet restaurant. A fine dining experience it certainly was not. Although our room was nice and roomy (7009), the shower room was tiny. Thank goodness my husband and I are slim. Anyone any heavier would’ve struggled to sit on the loo. And finally. There was the “special evenings” eg the captains cocktail party. We were looking forward to dressing up and having an elegant evening. Another joke. The invitation specifically stated smart dress only. While most people made an effort, some didn’t. And were still allowed entry. To summarise. We won’t ever travel with Celestyal again. It was our first cruise, and has put us off cruising. It felt like a holiday camp on water. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
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