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4 Celestyal Cruises First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

We received this cruise as Christmas gift... my brother and me. We was afraid if the weather will be ok, because the previous week was too cold, but in Mediterranean was perfect... It was a luck that the ship embarked from Piraeus, ... Read More
We received this cruise as Christmas gift... my brother and me. We was afraid if the weather will be ok, because the previous week was too cold, but in Mediterranean was perfect... It was a luck that the ship embarked from Piraeus, was easy to access with airplane/taxi. Decent hotels was available very close to the port... a walk distance.. The cabin was decent, larger than expected. The personnel was very well trained, polite, helpful. The food was very good, a lot of entertainments- it was an origami club, Greek language lessons and many others.. The excursions was interesting, we learned a lot for the local culture and traditions. Compliments to the staff, and thank you for the amazing trip :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise as we only had a limited amount of available time to visit the islands during our stay in Athens. I had done a lot of research and was a little nervous based on my findings on the internet. I wanted to write this ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we only had a limited amount of available time to visit the islands during our stay in Athens. I had done a lot of research and was a little nervous based on my findings on the internet. I wanted to write this review to inform people that this cruise was an amazing experience overall!! I booked online directly with Celestyal rather than use a tour group and was able to book at a 15% discount early booking rate. The process of booking was very easy and I was able to select my own cabin while booking. I chose to upgrade to a balcony suite (Cabin 9003) and it was fantastic! The cabin was very large (I think about 300sqft) with a large balcony, a nice sized bathroom with bathtub, a king-sized bed, lots of cabinet space for our clothing, and a small living room area. I feel that the selection of an upgraded cabin helped to make this cruise very enjoyable as we were able to escape there to enjoy our balcony in peace. We booked the 3 day excursion package which included: 1. KUSADASI - Ancient Ephesus and the Terrace Houses, 2. PATMOS - Religious visit to St John's Monastery -Grotto of Apocalypse, 3. CRETE - Minoan Palace of Knossos - 1st European Civilization, 4. SANTORINI - Spectacular Oia Village perched on the caldera rim. Overall, the excursions are great! We could have saved some money and tried doing these on our own, but I liked having everything ready to go for me when we reached the port and it was worth the extra bit of money to not have to worry about how we would get to all of the sights on our own. There is also the benefit of being first off on the tender boats when the ship did not dock. It was also nice to have the tour guides to explain the history to us. The only downside was not having enough time in Santorini. Oia was stunning and we really only had a total of 3 hours there after you tender boat in. I will certainly make another trip back and spend more time in Santorini in the future!! Mykonos was beautiful and we did this on our own and I would say that you do not need to book an excursion here. The dining was quite enjoyable for us. My husband and I went to the Aegean restaurant several times for lunch and dinner and were always placed with other people. We were able to meet people from all over the world and we really enjoyed this. The food was always good and we found the staff very friendly. We also went to Leda casual dining for breakfast and lunch and it is buffet style. The food here was good. We did sit on deck by the pool a few times and they always had an activity going on, but we did not really partake in any of the activities. This is a really port intensive cruise and we just wanted to relax when we were at sea. There was always entertainment in the evening and we did take in a couple of shows which were good, but again, because it was so port intensive, we tended to relax in the lounge or in our room on the balcony. We did purchase the all inclusive drinks package, which is worth it if you want to enjoy a few beverages. Overall, our cruise with the Celestyal Olympia was fantastic! For anyone who is looking to enjoy the islands in a short amount of time, this cruise is for you. The ship is a bit older, but the experience of the Greek Islands was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I booked this cruise, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, in a hurry, it was a last minute idea I had and didn't read any reviews, it just matched my available dates so I went for it, and am very glad I did. Even though it was ... Read More
I booked this cruise, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, in a hurry, it was a last minute idea I had and didn't read any reviews, it just matched my available dates so I went for it, and am very glad I did. Even though it was our very first cruise experience ever, I knew that cruises through the Greek isles are supposed to be smaller and less luxurious than those in the Caribbean for example, so I set my expectations accordingly. Yes, it's an old ship, but very well maintained and with an excellent crew on board. All crew staff was great: the waiters always making sure if you're in need of a refill, the entertainment crew was absolutely brilliant, most of them multilingual and always with a smile on their faces. The shows on board were quite nice, really. The band in the theater was great, believe me, it was a Greek rock band that could nail Pink Floyd classics and make it look easy (great guitar player). Food was sometimes good and sometimes very good, not great. And to be honest, cruising through the Aegean is all about the destinations, we visited Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Crete and Santorini. My only complaints: The weather was very bad, sea was very rough for the last two days of our journey, so bad that hale was falling in Crete and we couldn't disembark in Santorini due to the high waves. We were later refunded for the cancelled tour in Santorini. Cabin is outdated and not very comfortable to be honest. The Cuban band in the Latin bar, really sucked. Trust me on this one, I am latino and know perfectly the difference between good and bad Latin music. This bar was always empty, so clearly I was not the only one with this opinion. All in all, I can recommend this cruise, we had a great time, and would book in Celestyal again, not a 5 star, but definitely a 4. Recommendations: Don't go for the all-inclusive alcohol drink package unless you're a really serious drinker/drunken; you won't get your money's worth even if you spend all 4 days drinking till unconscious. Don't buy the Video or the Photographs, not worth it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise ... Read More
We arrived in Havana around 1 pm, the funny thing was, since we purchased the air/flight packages, pretty much everyone on our flight from Toronto was going on the Cuba Cruise! Once we arrived, there were representatives with Cuba Cruise signs, showing us where to go to catch the bus to the terminal. Don’t feel pressured to exchange your money at the airport, there is a currency exchange at the cruise terminal, before you get on the ship. The bus was an air-conditioned coach, and the guide explained what we were seeing during the ride to the cruise terminal (about 45 minutes). When we arrived, we had to leave all of our luggage on the dock, including our carry-ons (so don’t assume you can put a change of clothes in your carry on). We went to get our Cruise cards, go through the ship’s customs, and got to our cabin, all in under half hour. Our luggage showed up very quickly (less than an hour). We then went out to explore Havana. Since we hadn’t arrived early enough to do the Cruise excursion, I had arranged ahead of time to have a 55 Chevy with driver and tour guide pick us up at the terminal (OldCar Tours). This was well worth the 40CUC per hour. They drove us around the city and the guide was very informative. We boarded the ship once again in time for dinner, which was a buffet on the first night. We weren’t impressed with the food that night, but we were pleasantly surprised that it did get better (more on this later). We met our cabin steward (Yasnay) and she was so friendly and fantastic the whole week. They clean the rooms twice a day, replacing the towels if you want, and even making up the bed twice. I was a bit concerned about the fact you can’t flush toilet paper, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal, there’s a can with a lid and they changed it twice a day. If you forget out of habit, nothing happens! It still flushed! The one thing we noticed almost immediately is that the majority of the people were seniors. We are in our 40s and felt like we were the youngest couple there. Eventually we did see a few younger couples with kids but we felt sorry for the kids because there really wasn’t much for them to do. I would NOT recommend bringing kids on this cruise, my kids would have been bored most of the time. The evening shows were fantastic! We really enjoyed the “cirque” type performances, and they had a team of fantastic dancers. The Havana Moon band played nightly and were very talented. One of the musicians played the flute, sax, clarinet, and something else! The main singers, Freddie and Hector were great! Freddie should have his own record contract, he’s that good. They also had other entertainment in the various lounges throughout the evening if you didn’t want to go to the main show. The service on board was impeccable. The waiters and drink servers were always there when you wanted them. All of the staff on board were friendly, and you got to know some of them by name. Excursions: We did an excursion every day, but if we were to do it again, we would probably do some exploring on our own. When you get to Holguin, I would definitely recommend the swimming with the dolphins. We all agreed it was the highlight of our trip. At this port (it wasn’t even a port, we had to use the ship’s tenders to get to shore) there was really only a tiny town with nothing to do, so definitely take an excursion here (Antilla). In Santiago de Cuba, we did a city tour, but they spent too much time (in my opinion) at a cemetery and not enough time at the beautiful fort (we only had 20 minutes at the fort, not even enough time to take the steps down to the beach). We also made a stop at the former Bacardi Rum factory and were thrilled to buy bottles of rum for 7CUC, but later on, we saw it even cheaper at the Duty Free shop at the Havana airport!!! I recommend that you do this city on your own, research on Trip advisor what you’d like to do and do it. In Montego Bay, we took an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls, but wish we had just rented a taxi on our own after we saw that several others did so. The excursion was overpriced and the tour bus was way less comfortable than the busses in Cuba (no leg room at all). Anyway, the falls were fantastic and I’d highly recommend a visit. In Cienfeugos, we did the El Nicho waterfall excursion. I would NOT recommend this excursion to ANYONE! First of all, you ride on the back of an old Russian army truck, open to the wind and sun, very uncomfortable, for 2 hours to the waterfalls! Then we ate a meager lunch and only had an hour to do the trail and waterfall. Then a 2 hour ride back. Definitely NOT worth 4 hours of driving. Also, it was the “dry” season so the falls were a trickle and some of the river areas were dried up. At Punta Frances we thoroughly enjoyed the beach day. We found many seashells and just enjoyed the warm waters and hot sun. Cabins: Our cabin was 3029, at the very back of the ship. The engine rumble and vibrations were VERY loud and I would NOT recommend being anywhere near the back of the ship, especially at the lower levels. Thankfully we brought earplugs and we got used to the vibrations. It was nice to have a window, and we took the two single beds and pushed them together so we could sleep together. The room was small, but we didn’t spend much time in there anyway so it didn’t matter. The shower sucked, it would not give any hot water, ever. I had so many lukewarm showers and even a couple of cold ones! There was plenty of space to unpack your suitcases, several drawers, many hangers in the closet, etc. We didn’t use the safe, but just kept our wallets on us. We left electronics (iPhones, laptop, cameras) in the room but had no issues. Disembarking: Pretty painless, you had to leave your room at 8 am, but could then go eat breakfast. We then had to wait until about 9:30-10 to actually get off the ship. Once off, you went to find your luggage (they gave you tags the night before, take note of the colour of the tag, and the letter on it) and boarded the tour bus to the airport. Wifi: The wifi was very unreliable, I wouldn’t recommend paying the $12/hour. We only ended up using 20 minutes the whole week because it usually didn’t work. We had hoped to use it to book our seats on our return flight but we weren’t able to get online. The good news was, that our entire flight was on this ship, so no one booked their seats early! First come, first served at the airport. Don’t forget your 25CUC/person to pay at the airport. Dining: We usually did the buffet for breakfast and lunch and the sit-down restaurant for dinner. The one thing that bugged us about the sit-down meals is that they constantly put us at tables with people who didn’t speak English. We would even request a table with English speakers, and they still couldn’t manage to get it right. This is why we just did the buffet at breakfast and lunch. We eventually met a couple we liked and arranged to meet them for dinner each evening. I’m sure the Maitre D’ could figure out a way to seat people in a way that wasn’t awkward for everyone at the table. The meals at the restaurant were great! We are foodies, and didn’t have any complaints. The buffet meals are “ok”, but nothing special. Overall, we really enjoyed our time on the Louis Cristal and would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to really see different areas of Cuba, rather than stay in one place at a resort.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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