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48 Celestyal Cruises Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

One must accept the premise that this is a smaller ship. Everything is scaled down. But it has some incredible offerings that other lines don't have. First, what might disappoint some: The buffet is small. It is not sumtuous. ... Read More
One must accept the premise that this is a smaller ship. Everything is scaled down. But it has some incredible offerings that other lines don't have. First, what might disappoint some: The buffet is small. It is not sumtuous. It is just adequate. There are supplements on the deck with omlette stations, BBQ etc. But this cruise line is not all about the food. The restaurants have a menu selection like other cruise lines. The restaurant food is above-average for what you might find in a standard port-side restaurant. But what is Great: Destinations, including shore excursions: We were off the ship every day. One day included two islands. Don't cruise with this line if your idea of cruising is at-sea days. The onboard offerings are scant during port time. The included excursions have great guides. Tours were available in various languages. (An unexpected highlight of the cruise was an excursion to the hanging monasteries near Volos. It was a last-minute decision that was worth the expense.) Entertainment: The ship has a Cuban-based cirque-style troupe that is outstanding. The nightly shows are not to be missed. They have energy, voices, acrobatics, and just wonderful performances. I compare this to my last Carnival cruse which generally consisted of dancers lip-syncing tunes. The Crystal's performers are so much better. Its a small ship, it was off-season, there were reportedly about 700 passengers, so getting on and off was a breeze, including at every port. The cruise director: Danni speaks 8 languages, and he used all of them in his daily introductions and thank yous. Finally, the ship may be older, but it is well-cared-for. It is not threadbare. I'd recommend this ship for active people who want to get off the ship and see as much as possible! I will also say that "gratuities are included." But consider that in Greece, tipping is not really a thing. The servers are not overpaid. We did tip (in Euros) and I believe it was apprciated. Please consider tipping the staff that serves you well. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our experience on Celestyal Cruise Line, ship “Crystal”: Intro: Embarkation was an exercise in chaos, frustration and exhaustion. Long, long lines, very bureaucratic and much standing around waiting…and ... Read More
This was our experience on Celestyal Cruise Line, ship “Crystal”: Intro: Embarkation was an exercise in chaos, frustration and exhaustion. Long, long lines, very bureaucratic and much standing around waiting…and waiting…and etc... Not nearly enough cruise staff to take care of +1000 people Same for “life preserver safety class”. Standing and waiting, waiting, waiting, etc… We booked an outside cabin with what we expected to be an “unobstructed view” window. We got a tiny, TINY room (Cabin #5212) with beds pushed up against the window wall and a walkway outside the window where people strolled back and forth, looking into the cabin at will. Beyond the walkway was the ocean, but the only time you could pull the drapes back (unless you were the exhibitionist type) to enjoy it was at midnight. In effect, it was an inside cabin with a higher price. We spent ~$800 to upgrade to a Jr. Suite. Very nice with an outside deck, but the sting of the original booking situation remains. We feel it is only fair to rate the original booking rather than the upgraded one. Only exception: Flushing toilet (I won’t go into detail) Shower would go super hot on you with no warning Otherwise: Pros – Wonderful, helpful, patient, kind housekeeping staff (Kafik & Yuleidis). Great waiters, hair stylist, entertainers, etc. All service personnel worked very hard, were always helpful, pleasant and polite, and did a great job. We thank them and greatly appreciate them. 1 Con: Last morning before debarkation, needed tipping change for a 50 euro bill, but purser very rigidly refused. This is the desk where you change money so they had to have had bills and coins. Just not willing to share? Very disappointing attitude. Ports/Tours: Pros – Fantastic ports…Istanbul was unbelievably gorgeous, Troy was an amazing adventure, Volos was beautiful and other-worldly. Crete, Santorini and Mykonos far exceeded expectations. Itinerary could not have been better. Big, big kudos!!! . Tour guides were all excellent and informative. 1 Con: Crowds, crowds, crowds…not the cruise line’s fault, of course, but still VERY frustrating. The lines were long…more standing around and waiting, waiting, waiting. That’s time away from real sightseeing. Perhaps go earlier in the am? Crete tour took off at ~noon and way too hot and crowded by that time. Misc: Pros: We didn’t attend classes or spend much time on the ship so we can’t rate that area. I had my hair washed and blown dry very well and very inexpensively in the Beauty Salon. We did attend two evening shows and they were both as good as cruise entertainment goes. Cons: “All Inclusive”: This is a definite misnomer. You were constantly asked to pay extra for what should have been part of the price, i.e. an ice cream cone by the pool (really!), a list of exotic drinks which was shoved in your face continually in the bar and food was only available at certain times. If you wanted coffee at, say, 6:30am, before the breakfast buffet opened, you had to pay for room service. That’s absolutely ridiculous when rising early for touring. No sit-down breakfast either…only buffet. The lunch and dinner buffets were slowly set up and quickly closed down. The food dry, uninteresting and unappealing. The dining rooms at night were over-crowded and there was often a wait if you didn’t arrive at opening. THE BIGGIE FOOD Sad story: We booked the “Special Dining Room” for a “special gourmet dining experience” (4 people). It cost 38 euros for the booking. Then we ordered 2 Surf & Turfs for ~60 euros and 2 Lobster Thermidors for ~the same + 2 bottles of Pouilly Fuisse wine. Surf (lobster) was totally tasteless. I have never had that experience with lobster before…mind blowing. Turf was “beef tournedos” that were ordered med. rare and yet came with not a hint of pink on or in them. They were grey, dry and didn’t even look like meat at all. The potatoes were beautifully sculpted…and tasted like gelatin. On the other hand, the wine was wonderful, which was a blessing considering the foodl!. Our waiter was a very elegant gentleman from Egypt who was way too charming and classy for the food he served. The regular dining room food was just plain mediocre to bad with uninspired options. The buffet food was often cold and looked like it had been sitting for some time at opening. You had to pay for fresh orange juice (in Greece yet, folks!) Omelets in the morning were good, but only 2 stations (guys working hard) going for 1000 people created another long line and waiting, waiting, etc… Only had one lunch…stir fry. Was pretty good, but not hot enough. Again, only 2 stations (again working hard) meant more lines and more waiting and waiting. The food on this cruise was a HUGE disappointment. We did not expect unmitigated gourmet, but we did expect “tasty” and well prepared with maybe a little gourmet thrown in once in awhile. We simply cannot, in good conscience, recommend a cruise where the food is this bad. That’s about the bottom line for us and coupled with the rest of the frustrations, we would probably not book on Celestyal again. This is my 4th cruise. My 1st was a 4-day Greek Island cruise on a small Greek cruise ship (1981). Cabin was an insider (we were very young and poor), but larger than the Crystal’s window cabin we originally booked. Food was good and plenty of it. Young, fun crowd and it was a blast. I remember it fondly and wish that line was still running. For a small cruise, it was very well organized and everything moved along well. My 2nd and 3rd were 14 day’er on a Caribbean cruise (Norwegian) and 7 day’er on a Mexican Riviera cruise. On both cruises, the food was excellent, particularly (of course) Norwegian. There was always food available somewhere and no standing in lines or waiting. That’s our story and much as we hate to say it, we do not recommend Celestyal cruises based on our current experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Carbin - We had a 4 bed carbin, it was designed in a strange L shape. Although we booked a double bed, we ended up had 4 single bed. We had to sleep in a head to toe position. With the 2 ladders that goes up to the top bed, I had to ... Read More
Carbin - We had a 4 bed carbin, it was designed in a strange L shape. Although we booked a double bed, we ended up had 4 single bed. We had to sleep in a head to toe position. With the 2 ladders that goes up to the top bed, I had to squeeze and climb out of my bed everyday. Keep in mind, I am a petite 5.3' girl. The room was very tight, bathroom is even smaller. the corner shower with a shower curtain was a nightmare, the water temperature was either too cold or too hot. Food - Food was average, nothing fancy but ok until one day I found stainless steel scrub pieces in the pasta inside the buffet tray. After pointing it out to the serving staff, they simply picked the metal pieces from the tray and gave the tray a shake then said ' it's ok now madam.' I totally can NOT believe what just happened, this is certainly not ok. Some of the fruits don't taste fresh, after speaking to some of their staff who used to serve on other international brand, we were told this ship didn't really have a 'go off' date for the fruits, as long as they seem ok, they are OK. Unlike other cruise we have been on, there are no free flow snacks during the day, you have to follow a strict meal time. Outside of the meal time, you will have to pay for snacks such as pizza, salad. Swimming pool - it's about 10 meters long, more like a dipping pool, definitely not for swimming. Embarkation - For such a small- medium size ship, we waited in line for almost 2 hours to get on board, they were very inefficient. Disembarkation - This was the worst part. We were told to vacant the room by 8am . 7.55am while I was in the toilet getting changed, my children were changing in the carbin at the same time. The male cabin service staff broken into the room and shouted at us to leave while I was in my pajamas! When I heard him knocking on the door, I clearly told him we are almost ready! This was the very same person who had been smiling at us from day 1 till day 5. Day 5 was the day when we completed their customer service survey and that's the same day all the friendly smiles started disappearing from their face. On the last day, all the staff just didn't seem to be interested anymore, no smiles, nothing, they can't wait for us to go. Ports and Shore excursions - We picked up this cruise mainly because it's Ports of calls. Last day Santorini was supposed to be the highlight of the trip. We were told to get ready and wait for the shore excursion at 7.15am, we didn't leave the ship until 8ish .When we arrive Santorini that's 9 am and we had to Tour guide cancelled our 20 mins stop at Fira town took us directly to Oia where we were given 2 hours to look around. 11.20 we rushed back to the bus that took us to the cable car station where we waited for another 25 mins. The ship sailed another 6 hours in the afternoon, we arrived mykonos at 7pm. Everywhere is closed except souvenir shop, most of the people I spoke to all agreed 1 day 2 destination was a very poor planning and it doesn't make any sense at all. There is a reason they don't have a loyalty program, maybe they never expected for any returning customers ? Entertainment team - They were they only people still managed to smile at us even on the last day. I won't recommend this cruise for young families as there were very very limited children families and activities on board. Lots of smokers on board, I have seen people smoking on different decks. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of its destinations but all a bit rushed and often late arrival. We had a drinks package that I can only describe as penny pinching as many drinks not available and waters and mixers were from large bottles ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of its destinations but all a bit rushed and often late arrival. We had a drinks package that I can only describe as penny pinching as many drinks not available and waters and mixers were from large bottles and often were very flat and had to be returned often, you could purchase mixers and water if you wanted better quality which we did, Coffee on board was abysmal very weak and dreadful quality unless you paid for coffee pods, A number of passengers complained about the quality of cocktails. Food in restaurants was frequently well and truly overcooked although some of the ingredients were good, Seating arrangements were so poor and disorganised that almost every night you had to queue for considerable time which caused the crew to get unwarranted abuse from a number of passengers. The complimentary wine was a choice of 3 low quality wines unless again you purchased wines and drinks from their premium (I question this use of the word) list Pool - only 10 people allowed in at a time with possibly 1200 passengers. Public rooms looked sad and in need of a bit of tlc Staff either very good or very poor but overall very pleasant It took 21/2 hours to embark for us, other clients said 3 hours and disembarkation was a farce as we were asked to vacate our cabins at 8am and then we sat for 2 hours 20 minutes with no further information before they started disembarkation and of course everyone was then in a rush to get off so it became chaotic as passengers did not follow their laid down procedures. Excursions that we went on were of poor quality and very crowded, In Santorini we set anchor slightly late and had then got approximately 5 hours to go on tender, coach for excursion, get cable car down to tenders, last tender 12.30pm, The destinations were a real exiting part of the cruise. We did complain a few times about parts of the above but found it futile as things did not improve and we then decided why spoil our holiday so just accepted the situation, We could say more but it then makes it seem as though you are just moaning The penny pinching by this company ensures that we will not be sailing with them again Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I did a 7 day cruise aboard the Celestyal Crystal on October 21 - Eclectic Aegean. Neither of us are travel agents. It was their first cruise to include Istanbul and that was the main draw for us. I was a bit apprehensive ... Read More
My husband and I did a 7 day cruise aboard the Celestyal Crystal on October 21 - Eclectic Aegean. Neither of us are travel agents. It was their first cruise to include Istanbul and that was the main draw for us. I was a bit apprehensive after reading all the negative reviews, so boarded with low expectations. We have cruised three times before - Royal Caribbean (Symphony of the Seas to Mexico), Princess - Diamond ( to Alaska) and Norwegian Jewel (Baltic). It is true that the cabins are smaller than average, so we booked a junior suite and it was very comfortable for the both of us. In fact we found the cabin to be very conveniently configured and it was clean, well maintained and looked new. Our cabin steward, Shafique told us that the junior suites had been remodeled just a year ago. The food was good - it could have used a little more variety but we never went hungry. The chef went out of his way to prepare some special Indian meals for us and a few other passengers, which we appreciated very much. The shows were good and there were plenty of onboard activities to keep us all entertained. There were excellent singers, musicians and the on-board lecturer - Caroline was outstanding and we enjoyed her lectures very much. The included shore excursions were also quite good and we could not really complain. There is a very small room for children's activities but I don't really think there was anything worthwhile for the kids to do. We had no children with us and there were very few on board. I don't think this is cruise for you if you want a really good children's program. This is NOT a cruise for you if you are looking for midnight buffets etc. In fact, for passengers wanting ice cream, pizza or anything outside of the what is served during mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner) costs extra. Which was a first for us. But we were not hungry in-between meal times so this did not upset us in the least. This is also not a cruise ship if you want to use the pool. The pool is very small. The gym is also quite small, I used it once but the rest of the time we were docked and out sightseeing. Our itinerary was port intensive. The embarkation process at Pireus was a nightmare but the disembarkation was a breeze! The staff were wonderful and did their very best to accommodate everyone and take care of their passengers. I would not hesitate to sail on the Celestyal Crystal again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The first point to note, and this will become relevant as this review progresses, is Celestyal’s core market seems to be organised tour groups. Beginning with embarkation. This was our 11th cruise and was by far the worse embarkation ... Read More
The first point to note, and this will become relevant as this review progresses, is Celestyal’s core market seems to be organised tour groups. Beginning with embarkation. This was our 11th cruise and was by far the worse embarkation process I have ever encountered. Check-in took us two hours, which we thought was bad but fellow passengers we spoke to endured a two and a half and in one case a three hour embarkation debacle. This is the first cruise we have been on where luggage labels for your checked baggage are not provided in advance. This means a long queue to drop off your bags, in our case over half an hour and we arrived half an hour before the official arrival time. Passengers behind us had to wait up to an hour to drop their bags off. Annoyingly, passengers travelling in organised tours had been issued with baggage labels and were able to drop their bags off as soon as they arrived and effectively jump the queue. Once the bags are dropped off you have to then join a queue to pick up your cruise card, this took 45 minutes and was not the end of the process as having gained your cruise card to actually check in – other cruise lines do the card issuing and check-in at the same time, why can’t Celestyal. The final delay, and I accept this is not Celestyal’s fault, was passing through immigration control, which was probably the biggest contributor to the delay. With near on 1,000 passengers there were just two immigration officers and with most passengers being American it was a slow process. I said there were two immigration officers, at one point, despite there being massive queues, one of them disappeared for 20 minutes, leaving the other guy on his own. Once past immigration Celestyal staff then take your passport off you and you don’t see it again until the last night of the cruise – something I don’t particularly like myself. By the end of check-in my mood was, shall I say, somewhat tense. On board we went straight to our cabin, described as a Junior Balcony Suite which was, in reality, just like any standard balcony cabin on other cruise lines At least, with the delay our bags were outside our room when we reached our cabin. Time to explore the ship and, frankly it didn’t take long, I’ve been on larger cross-channel ferries, indeed this ship began life as a car ferry. For us the size wasn’t an issue, small is good and this ship makes a pleasant change from the impersonal mega ships. We did have concerns the ship may have been too small for the number of passengers but those fears were unfounded. The safety briefing was a farce. First of all you had to arrive at your muster station wearing our lifejacket. The briefing, well what it was, was conducted in several languages – however passengers not speaking the language currently being broadcast carried on speaking when their language wasn’t being used, so you couldn’t hear the announcement. We were then given a demonstration of how to put on a lifejacket – excuse me, we were all wearing our jackets already because we had been told to. The ship has most of the facilities you expect on a cruise but on a smaller scale. The swimming pool is small but then again this was a destination cruise with stops every day so it wasn’t the type of cruise for lounging by the pool. The “theatre” is more of a lounge with a stage but it was adequate for the numbers. Danny the cruise manager was very good, a great sense of humour without going over the top. There was the usual issue with a broad cross section of nationalities on board that the announcements being made in multiple languages but it gave you the chance to swot up on your basic French and Spanish. There are two main restaurants and two buffets. The main dining rooms operate on an open dining system, for us it worked well as we like to eat early. Those wanting to dine later did sometimes have to wait for a table to become free. The restaurants / buffets only open for breakfast / lunch / dinner so midnight buffet on board, which is no bad thing – it takes the temptation away. Breakfast is buffet style whether in the restaurant or buffet – the advantage of using the restaurant for breakfast is you have a table before you get your food. The breakfast buffet was the same every day but with a large selection you could still vary what you had. Dinner in the restaurants was three courses, which was enough. You could order specials like steaks or lobster at an extra charge, and the charge was reasonable – I ad a decent fillet steak one evening and it was only €13.50 extra. There is a small speciality dining room with about six tables which charged around €37.50 for a meal but I don’t think it was worth the money as the menu was basically the same as the extra menu in the main restaurant, which would have worked out cheaper. There are a few tables for two in the main restaurant, which are like gold dust – we managed to get one twice Otherwise it’s shared tables of eight. You are supposed to be put on a table with people speaking the same language – good in theory but not in practice. One night we were on a table with Chinese speakers another with German speakers. There is an all inclusive drinks package on board. OK there is a limited wine choice but unless you’re a wine snob the choice is adequate. The all inclusive drinks menu is quite extensive, running to 12 pages. There is a premium drinks menu as well and unlike other cruise lines the cost of the premium drinks and cocktails is very reasonable. For example €3.50 to upgrade to a premium gin, or €4.50 for a premium cocktail. The cruise includes three excursions in the price of the cruise. A generous offer in theory but an unmitigated disaster in practice, I’ll cover that in the excursions section of this review. Paid for excursions are grossly overpriced. The crew were friendly, although the only time the Captain was seen or heard was at the Captains Cocktail Party and he looked as though he really didn’t want to be there Ships photographers are impossible to escape, either onboard or ashore. Their photo prices, whilst still expensive, are cheaper than most other cruise lines. Disembarkation was slow but that actually suited us as we wanted to get off as late as possible, for those with earlier flights it was an issue. Cabins had to be vacated by 08:00 but the first passengers were not allowed off until 10:15. This was a good cruise but not perfect. Their interpretation of time is, shall we say, fluid. The included excursions were a good idea but badly executed …. we were in Istanbul two days, so why send everyone on the included cruise as soon as we arrived, why not split it. A final word of warning and this is nothing to do with Celestyal, but if disembarking at Pireaus be careful if taking a taxi into Athens. Our driver claimed his meter wasn’t working and tried to charge us double what the fare should have been. It was only when I took his photo and threatened to call the police that he charged the correct fare. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It is a terrible ship, old and tired. Tiny cabins single beds at right angles to each other, even for couples . Hardly any storage, we had our clothes on the window ledge. The Food is awful and monotonous. Same breakfast every day, ... Read More
It is a terrible ship, old and tired. Tiny cabins single beds at right angles to each other, even for couples . Hardly any storage, we had our clothes on the window ledge. The Food is awful and monotonous. Same breakfast every day, congealed eggs, over cooked bacon etc. Coffee foul. Buffets breakfast and lunch only occasionally a waiter served lunch. Dinner you had to queue for and no seats for disabled, standing for over 40 minutes until we complained. and if you are disabled just forget it. No room for a wheelchair, slippery ramps. Tenders impossible to get in unless able bodied. Never again . Hardly any entertainment. Excursion desk gives wrong advice, we had to advise them in the end. We did not see one happy face onboard, everyone was unhappy and complaining, from all different nationalities. We spoke to English, Dutch, Americans, Brazilians , Argentinians and we all felt the same Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,We have previously cruised with Celebrity and Cunard,so a smaller ship was a first.We really enjoyed the wonderful places we visited.Santorini was fabulous,Mykonos too..Kusadasi was very intetesting ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary,We have previously cruised with Celebrity and Cunard,so a smaller ship was a first.We really enjoyed the wonderful places we visited.Santorini was fabulous,Mykonos too..Kusadasi was very intetesting also.Food on the cruise was lovely.Plenty of choice at breakfast,lunch and dinner.and staff were very pleasant and accomodating.Some people complained that restaurants weren't open all the time,but fine for usThe included shore excursions were really good and the guides very informative.Now the downside.We were in cabin 2006,don't choose it! It is so near the engine you can smell diesel as soon as you step into corridor,not pleasant.Also very noisy.We felt every move of the shipWe would cruise on Celestyal Crystal but choose a higher deck.Said it all really but must give a special mention to the great staff in the restaurant and our cabin steward,we were well looked after by Migiol in the cabin.Overall a lovely cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The dining was average, it just started to get repetitive after a while. For breakfast, it was the same options for seven days. There were hot food items (eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The dining was average, it just started to get repetitive after a while. For breakfast, it was the same options for seven days. There were hot food items (eggs, hash browns, pancakes, french toast, omelets), a yogurt section with many toppings, fresh fruit, bread and pastries. For lunch and dinner, the buffet was similar each day. There was a salad section, some deli meats and cheeses, usually there was a chicken, fish, and pork entree, but sometimes beef or lamb. There was often a potato, rice, or pasta option as well. There was always bread and a different soup each day and there was always dessert. Also, each day there was a special lunch station, such as tacos, pasta, or fajitas. This really helped with the variety and I wish that they did something similar with breakfast and dinner. There was usually a table available in the buffet areas and a long wait for a table during dinner in the restaurants. The earliest breakfast started was 7 am and I wish there was an option to start even earlier. At least the option of having fruit and pastries available and have the hot food come at 7 am. I did not go to many activities other than the big nightly shows at 9 pm, which were wonderful. There was a special group of dancers who came onto the ship in Crete and I really enjoyed that performance. Mykonos: The ship had a shuttle bus from where the ship docked in the "New Port" to the "Old Port." It was then an easy walk to Mykonos Town to see the windmills and Little Venice. We took an excursion to the island of Delos from a company outside of the ship because it was a better price. Milos: The tenders dropped us off in Adamas. We took a cab to Papafragas beach. It was definitely a dangerous descent to get to the water there. We walked a short ways to nearby Pachena beach and that was a much safer place to get into. We took the Milos bus back to the ship. There was shopping and dining in Adamas near where the tenders left us. Santorini: The ship's excursion took us to three locations, Megalochori, Oia, and Thira. You had the option to leave the excursion at Oia if you wanted more time there. Oia was ridiculously crowded and I think the excursion gave plenty of time because I did not want to spend lots of time in the "tourist trap." Thira was less crowded than Oia, but still crowded. The ship's excursion gave you a ticket for the cable car to return to the port and take a tender back to the boat. The second day in Santorini we took a tour with a private excursion. Crete: Like in Santorini, the ship sent everyone on the excursion at the same time, so it got very crowded at the Palace of Knossos and we had to wait in line a lot. It was unfortunate because Celestyal could have staggered the departure times a bit to help with the crowds. The tour then took you to the museum and gave a guided tour of the Minoan section. We chose to leave the guided tour then and saw the rest of the museum on our own. We walked from there to the Koules Fortress then walked to see the Morosoni Fountain and Agios Titos Church. It was about a 20 minute walk back to the ship from near the Morosoni Fountain. You can also stay on the tour and the tour bus will bring you back to the ship. Kusadasi: Ephesus was amazing, we had a really great guide! It was crowded, again the ship could have staggered all of the buses better. After Ephesus you were required to go to the carpet co-op. They also had pashminas, jewelry, and leather goods for sale. Our guide made it clear that we were not obligated to buy anything. Although I did not want to buy a carpet, I was okay with this stop because at least they gave us a meal! A lot of Celestyal buses stopped here, I would recommend that they let the shoppers stay and send the non-shoppers back to the ship on an earlier bus. We had to wait for the last person on our bus to finish shopping, which took a while. There was no set time that people had to finish shopping, I think if there was going to be a sale, they wanted to get it!! We walked around Kusadasi for a bit and it was beautiful, I really wish we had more time there! There were a lot of little beaches along the shore within walking distance from where the shore was docked and I wish we had time to go swimming. Embarkation and disembarkation from the ship were quick and went smoothly. Overall a great cruise due to the itinerary. The food would benefit from more variety, like more theme options each day for each meal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I went with a group of people organized by a travel agent. The itinerary was perfect, and so were the excursions and guides. The majority of the crew was friendly, but some were not. We enjoyed the tours and the ... Read More
My husband and I went with a group of people organized by a travel agent. The itinerary was perfect, and so were the excursions and guides. The majority of the crew was friendly, but some were not. We enjoyed the tours and the destinations, but we were very disappointed with the food and the included drink selection, all 26 of us, which is our biggest complaint. Also, it forced us to eat on the Islands if you wanted to spend any additional time after the excursion because they cut off the lunch after 2 pm. I have never been on a cruise that did not offer many options for eating any time you wanted, but not on this cruise! It was our anniversary, so we chose the most expensive suite with a large balcony. The cabin was very nice and would recommend this option if you decide to go on this ship. This cruise was our first trip to Greece, and it was gorgeous. I recommend you go to the Islands as we did, but I cannot recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
cruise was booked for me as part of package deal. 2 swimming pools but no water in them for 5 days !!!!! said it was all inclusive but we had to pay for water and juice.Chaotic when in port as often had to wait for over an hour to ... Read More
cruise was booked for me as part of package deal. 2 swimming pools but no water in them for 5 days !!!!! said it was all inclusive but we had to pay for water and juice.Chaotic when in port as often had to wait for over an hour to disembark due to americans receiving priority in getting off the ship to take part in excursions.Cabin very small and basic,felt like being on a cross channel ferry between Dover and Calais. Food in dining room was good and staff very friendly. Staff in general were helpful. Shore excursions especially in Athens were too rushed, we had roughly 3 hours ashore which was not enough to see the sights.In Athens we were halfway through climbing to the top of the acropolis when we ran out of time and the guide took us back down again !!!!! Had to buy postcards to get the full view of the Acropolis. Would never sail with this company again !!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Overall the reason my family chose this ship was because of the itinerary on overnight stays and long stays in port on each island. You did not feel rushed on the islands like sometimes you might on a Caribbean cruise. I believe a cruise ... Read More
Overall the reason my family chose this ship was because of the itinerary on overnight stays and long stays in port on each island. You did not feel rushed on the islands like sometimes you might on a Caribbean cruise. I believe a cruise is the best way to visit multiple islands in Greece in a short amount of time, but I would not suggest this cruise to anyone. Even though it has a great itinerary, the ship is lacking many things to make your trip better while on board. Pros -Itinerary is great and spent 2 nights in Santorini. -Staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. -Excursions we took were really good and the tour guides did an excellent job on getting you to experience the Greek Culture. -Food on islands is amazing. Not on cruise ship. -Spa is great. My wife loved her facial and massage. Cons - The ship is an early morning ship and you will not be able to sleep in. Keep your do not disturb on the door, or you will have the cleaning crew come in your room immediately when you dock at port. A lot of times the cleaning crew does not even knock on the door at all, they just come right in. -The cleaning crew was vacuuming outside our rooms at 1AM and you can hear everything that goes on in the hallway inside your room due to it being a cruise ship. This woke my family up multiple days throughout the cruise. -The cleaning crew is always cleaning which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but we felt like they were always hanging outside our room because the cart stayed against the wall majority of the cruise and every-time we left the room they were right outside your door. -The food on the ship is very bland. For buffet people you might would like it but after the second day my family said they were done with the ship food and ate on the islands the rest of the trip. After all you are in Greece. But for the price of the cruise the food should be much better, the chicken felt like you could chip a tooth while eating. The food is also cold for the majority of the part. The excursions that are offered are very good and if you chose any of them you would be happy. But the cruise does not provide a lot of variety of excursions as compared to Carribean cruises that i have been on. -On the last day, the cruise makes you leave your cabin at 8AM going into dock. Its currently 10AM and we are still not allowed to leave the ship. There aren't enough seats for everyone and you cannot stay in the hallways or on the floor. They will ask you to get up. This has never happened to me on a cruise before. If you take this cruise don't plan on doing anything other than walking around in athens due to this. After 8AM you aren't allowed back in your cabins and have to sit your checked luggage in the hallway before midnight the night before. -The omlet station for breakfast has only 2 machines and for 1,000 people that is not enough. There should be multiple stations set throughout the ship to avoid long lines. -The waiters are friendly but it takes European time to get to you. They are not assigned a certain section of tables and just walk around the cruise ship so the person you had for your first drink may be different for second since your first person may be on the otherside of the ship. -The Free drinks are very watered down and a hit or miss, most of the times a miss and some of them didn't even have alcohol sometimes . Some of the paid drinks I got were good, but were still watered down. -The fitness center is small with way to much equipment in there for you to really anything in a comfortable position. -Ship does not handle weather very well and is very rocky compared to others i have been on Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just returned from a week on the Celestyal Line’s Crystal “Idyllic Aegean” cruise to the Greek Isles out of Athens. Here’s the bottom line on the entire cruise experience - with apologies to those negative reviewers from another ... Read More
Just returned from a week on the Celestyal Line’s Crystal “Idyllic Aegean” cruise to the Greek Isles out of Athens. Here’s the bottom line on the entire cruise experience - with apologies to those negative reviewers from another orbit who’ve expressed reservations. Firstly, the really spectacular: - The multilingual cruise director, Danny, an energetic John Oliver clone, was an absolute delight and livened up the entire week; - Formal dinners are served and presented with gastronomic flourish, and most offer a truly memorable food experience - with a distinct European flair and great service. If your vision of good cuisine is everyday American comfort food, then maybe consider a different vacation option. The executive sous chef also offers a poolside specialty breakfast (omelet station) and lunch each day (pasta; gyros; fajitas; BBQ); - The nightly shows in the main theatre, performed by a resident troupe, were simply amazing with fabulous choreography, music, stage production, sound/lighting, and at times audience participation; we didn’t miss a single night; - It’s a visit to another world: the 910 passengers onboard represented 34 countries, the 403 crew members 31 countries, all of which provided a chance each day to talk to someone from a different culture (all announcements were in five languages) - an invaluable life event; - Generally, each interaction with a staff person was courteous and efficient. The mundane: - Yes, it’s an older ship that has been tenderly maintained. While it’s not the Ritz Carlton, accommodations are comfortable, clean, and well-serviced (thank you Jose and Ramesh). Does it look a little tired in spots? Sure, it’s a Euro-centric vacation vehicle and, thankfully, not a Disney wannabe. Consider what you really want when cruising the Greek Isles; - Rooms are clean and fresh, with comfortable bedding. We splurged on a balcony junior suite (only about 10% of all cabins have balconies) and it was well worth the extra cost; - Despite other comments here, the check-in, boarding, and disembarkation process was well-managed and flawless; ignore those comments from behind the curtain: - Crews are constantly sprucing up the ship to a sparkling white outside, and the interior reminds one of a favorite living room chair: comfortable and familiar, but not flashy or exotic; - Unlike American cruises, there is no automatic add-on gratuity cost for the week (which the crew probably never receives). We handed out cash directly to an appreciative staff. The negatives: - no assigned seating at dinner, but there are three available restaurants plus two buffets; (we covertly tipped one maitre’d the first night and were treated exceptionally the other six); - the gym and casino are tiny by today’s standards, but we didn’t care in the least (we took a week off exercise); - bottled water was not part of the beverage package; - no free Wi-Fi. but we were able to use cellular at each destination from the ship; - some of the free shore excursions were just mediocre and overcrowded. Consider upgrading to the other paid options at each port. Overall, a wonderful, adult experience. For couples or groups, not kids or teens, and a chance to interact with people from around the world. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
IMHO the Celestyal Cruise Lines get a bad rap by travel agents. I was told that the the experience was not "upscale" and discouraged to consider. I'm sure glad we booked a 7-day cruise in an outside cabin. I understand the ... Read More
IMHO the Celestyal Cruise Lines get a bad rap by travel agents. I was told that the the experience was not "upscale" and discouraged to consider. I'm sure glad we booked a 7-day cruise in an outside cabin. I understand the reservations of some TA's and some reviewers. The ship does not have all the bell and whistles of the newer mega liners. If you're expecting this type of cruise experience then the Celestyal Crystal isn't for you. Missing are the atriums, chandeliers, rock climbing walls, boardwalks and bright neon colors. But also missing are the long lines and the intimidation of learning a larger ship. What you do get on the Crystal is a smaller ship (900 or so passengers - depending on the fill of the cabins), a ship that has been lovingly maintained - no warn carpets or furniture, polished brass and wood and no rust! Something that I can't say for the other cruise lines we've been on. Think retro boutique hotel versus a large convention or resort hotel. Our cabin on Deck 5 with an outside large window was of adequate size for two people. The bedding was comfortable, bathroom had a glass shower door, and we had two drawers that were not used. Our roll aboard luggage easily fit under the bed. Steward service was twice a day with the customary animal shaped towels left at evening turndown. Despite having gratuities included, the staff was wonderful and accommodating. Service was top-notch. Breakfasts were buffet except for an omelette/waffle/pancake station. Lunch was a la carte, buffet or daily specials on deck; crepes, fajitas, wok etc. Overall the food was above average and sometimes bordered on the outstanding! All nicely presented, with varying menus each day. Dinner was accompanied by attentive wine stewards who continually refilled wine glasses. One memorable meal in the dining room was a North Atlantic Salmon that was flaky, firm, yet moist and served with asparagus over a bed of risotto noir, black colored with octopus ink. Vegetarian, gluten free and Greek selections were also available. Service in the bars was outstanding. The drinks were weak, the wine was not! Greek red, white or rose was served in the bars and dining room. The wine was not stellar, but palatable. Premium wines were available for purchase. Weaker drinks allowed us to indulge in one or two cocktails before dinner, ample wine with dinner and enjoy an after dinner cocktail or two during and after the shows without being hungover the next morning! There was some creative work arounds needed to satisfy arbitrary serving rules with the included drinks. For example I could not order a Rusty Nail cocktail but could order Drambuie and Scotch separately. An Americano Negroni became Gin and Campari. After the first few times the servers knew exactly what we wanted and the arbitrary rules seemed to vanish! The Entertainment consisted of a fresh production every evening. Sometimes accompanied by live music and other times canned. The theatre is set up like a night club rather than theater style adding to the ambiance. The cast was young, enthusiastic, athletic and talented. Shows ranged from singing and dancing to more cirque style acrobatics. The theater had the latest LED stage lights and sound systems. A special treat was a visit by a local troupe of dancers while in Crete with native musicians and traditionally costumed dancers. RCCL take note - no Vegas retread magicians, comedians or piano players! The included excursions were excellent, well organized with minimal lines. In the ports getting on or off the boat was either by tenders or on the dock. Santorini was a hasslewith 4 mega cruise ships plus the two Celestyal Ships. All the passengers in the narrow alleys made for a mass of humanity and long lines of over an hour waiting for the tramwayin the sun. Excursions would be a challenge for those who are mobility impaired. Most of the passenger demographics were aged 50+ with many early yet still mobile retirees. Wear comfortable shoes and be careful on the stone paths! Passengers were delightfully diverse and mostly from Europe, Australia and North America. There was a minimum of motorized wheel chairs and a refreshing lack of demanding and often obnoxious elite-status passengers, often found on the larger cruise lines. Embarkation was a breeze at 20 minutes. Passengers vacated cabins at 8:30 AM at the end of the cruise but left the ship at 10 AM. Food and drink service was available in the restaurants and bars. Taxis to an from the port were readily available. All in all the Celestyal Crystal met or exceeded our expectations and matched if not exceeded the level of service we've received from the major cruise lines. It was a wonderfully relaxing and efficient way to see the Greek Islands without having to pack and unpack and deal with the cattle herding of passengers onto the Greek ferries. We slept while being transported to the various islands. Can't get much better than that! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We traveled on the Crystal ship on Celestyal in September, 2019, to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, and Crete, and to Kusadasi, Turkey. It was exactly what we were looking for – comfortable transportation to the islands. ... Read More
We traveled on the Crystal ship on Celestyal in September, 2019, to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, and Crete, and to Kusadasi, Turkey. It was exactly what we were looking for – comfortable transportation to the islands. There were 915 passengers and 450 crew members. The ship is well-maintained, clean, and efficient. This is not a luxury cruise ship, but it is sufficient, very pleasant, and relatively inexpensive. Our room was nice and clean, and well-furnished, with an ample picture window. The room was cleaned or refreshed at least twice a day. Room staff was very friendly and helpful. The food selection for breakfast and lunch on the buffet was attractive, fresh, and tasty. There was plenty of seating available, indoors or outdoors, to enjoy your meal. Staff cleaned up dishes and tables very quickly. Dinner in the restaurants was lovely. Five-course meal selections were offered each night. The food presentation was excellent, and the food quality was very good. The wait staff was attentive and service was excellent. Entertainment in the main theater was similar each night, but thoroughly enjoyable. There was pre-dinner entertainment nightly in the lounge area, a pianist and violinist, and the music was delightful. I highly recommend cruising with Celestyal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I was on the Aegean Sea cruise for 6 nights, boarding on August 26 in Athenas and disembarking in Kusadassi on September 1, 2019. My experience was excellent, a beautiful trip, an excellent itinerary, which includes two nights in ... Read More
I was on the Aegean Sea cruise for 6 nights, boarding on August 26 in Athenas and disembarking in Kusadassi on September 1, 2019. My experience was excellent, a beautiful trip, an excellent itinerary, which includes two nights in Santorini. The boat staff is excellent, the attention in the restaurant is incredible, especially by the waiters Abel, Arturito and Mario. The rest of the staff in the disco, theater, etc., the service was friendly & excellent too. The entertainment group is great (they are Cuban), which make you feel every night as if you were in a show in Las Vegas. The cleanliness of the room was very good, thanks to Ernesto and his work partner. Very good the boat that is small and somewhat old. However, they must renew the rooms a bit. And the only thing that is not good, is that breakfast is until 10:30 am and then lunch begins at 12:30 pm. If you wake up late and cannot go to lunch at breakfast time, you have no more food until 12:30 pm, The director of the cruise should consider having a buffet for those two hours. Otherwise I recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Very good experience in a cruise. It was recommend by travel agent. Ship is small but very comfortable. Embarkation and disembarkation was fast and smooth. We were a group of six people, the cabins are small but enough to sleep ... Read More
Very good experience in a cruise. It was recommend by travel agent. Ship is small but very comfortable. Embarkation and disembarkation was fast and smooth. We were a group of six people, the cabins are small but enough to sleep comfortably. Cabins environment was very good, air condition temperature was good. The breakfast and lunch buffet were varied and tasty, the buffet and food area is clean and the crew, helpful, friendly and lovely. The dinner was amazing, very good food, varied and tasty. The waiter was friendly and polite. Entertainment was excellent, every and each night there’s a new show, singers, dancers and some circus like shows. There are music to listen or dance in several public rooms of the ship. Enrichment activities were enjoyable. We didn’t use the fitness and beauty service. Excellent customer service. Shore excursion was very good, the guides are knowledgeable, polite and friendly I recommend the Celestyal Crystal for families, friends and couples. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Since we live in Athens, and our last cruises were abreoad, we though it would be a great idea to combinbe cruising from our home port (no need for flights and hotels) and our summer vacations which we traditionally have in Greece. ... Read More
Since we live in Athens, and our last cruises were abreoad, we though it would be a great idea to combinbe cruising from our home port (no need for flights and hotels) and our summer vacations which we traditionally have in Greece. Emkarkation was quick taking into account the old cruise terminal of Piraeus port (about 40 minutes from baggage drop off until on board) and we were amazed that the cabins were ready and the luggage showed up 15 minutes later. So no walking around dragging carry ons. Crystal is an aged but very well aged and maintained cruise ship. it's better to thing of it as a mega-yacht rather than a small cruise ship. The itinerary is destination oriented meaning you get 24 hrs in Mykonos 10 hours in Milos, 48 hrs in Santorini, 12 in Heraclion Crete, and half a day in Kusadasi Turkey. The swimming pool is small, but it was not used most of the time so we actually had more personal space in the small pool rather than on the large pools in other cruise ships. So it was our ritual after coming back on board to have a quick shower and have a couple of drinks while dipping in the pool. Great! There was also a hot tub in the aft bar at deck 5 which we used once. All drinks are included (excluding premium spirits and wines, which are available at a nominal surcharge), and the included driks include wine by the glass (which is bottled wine of a respected Greek winery), draft greek beer (Mythos) and the most popular "middle shelf" spitits like Beefeater Gin, Stoli vodka, Cutty Sark scotch etc. The details on the brands included are availabel on Celestyal's website. Onviously they had some more generic/obscure brands available, so it is a good idea never to order a "gin & tonic" but rather a "Befeater & Tonic". This applies to any bar on land of course... The food in the buffet was nice, nothing spectacular, but the cooking stations i.e. custom omelletes for breakfast, and various other events during the cruise like a barbeque on deck, or wok cooking were great. What really surprised us was the quality and presentation of the food offered in the MDR's. There are 2 MDR's, with no set dining times or tables. You just show up and are seated according to preferred language, or can be seated alone depending on availability. One small area for improvement is that the dishes on offer might be too internnational and could use more greek cuisine (even though we enjoyed the curry offered one night, it doesn't really match with haveing a view of Santorini out of the window). However this is a matter of preference, and being Greek I did expect the Greek cuisine offerings to go a bit further than greek galad, tzatziki and moussaka...It's like goin to italy and being offered only pizza and pasta... Anyhow the food was great, and not one time did we leave the MDR disappointed. The service was absolutely fantastic, from all aspects. Entertainment was hit and miss (but this was expected since there were over 35 nationalities on board) so it was the usual variete shows with singing, dancing and some acrobatics. They were ueually about 50 minutes long, we did not attend all nights. Again however why spend your evening watching a show when you can relax with unlimited drinks on deck, enjoying the moonlight over the summer Aegean Sea? So in summary, do not book if you expect Oasis Class onboard experience and facilities, you will be disappointed, it is not a resort at sea. It is a small ship, with all the basic amenities and services of larger ships, but the whole point is the destination intensice itinerary with a lot of port time. So the ship is the place to eat, drink, relax and enjoy the view preparing for the next destination. The cruise fare includes 3 shore excursions, in Santorini, Heraclion Crete and Kusadasi. In Santorini it is the trip to Oia, the most famous village in Santorini, the one with the sunset. However it is in the morning so if you want to see the sunset, you have to take the 45 minute bus or taxi from Fira to Oia. Personally I don't hink it's worth it due to the amount of people. Better to watch from one of the villages that are closer like Imerovgli, or Fira (on top of the cliff from where the tenders drop you off, and you have to take the cable car - 6eur each way to go up/down Fira) which are less crowded. We watched both sunsets from the ship, and there were many places onboard where especially on the top decks where you were alone. In Heraclion it is the guided visit to anciant Knossos, and the Heraclion Archaeological museum (tickets are included). then you can either get back on the bus and back on the ship around 14:00 or stay as long as you like and take a 5 min / 5 Eur taxi back to the ship from the centre of Heraclion. In Kusadasi the excursion to ancient Ephesus is included. We opted to stay in Kusadasi and shop in the bazaar area (3 min walk from the ship), which is an experiance of it's own especially if you like haggling, and streed food. Always aim for a price 30% from the original one quoted. Note that the duty free in Turkey at the port has great prices on liquor and tobacco! In Mykonos and Milos we just renter a car (had arranged in advance) and went to various beaches, in Mukonos we also went out after dinner. Driving in Milos is just fine, and the ship tenders drop you off at the new port so it's a few minutes walk until the car rental offices (local ones, but with online booking available). We drove all around the island haveing spent 45Eur on car rental and 10Eur on fuel. Again, book in advance, don't expect to get of the ship and find available cars for rent especially during July and August. I do not reccomend driving in Mykonos, especially in July and August. Anyway most of the beaches have been unfortunately converted into high end and high cost "Beach Clubs" (focused on catering to very very wealthy people and their entourage of beautiful young ladies) so most times the beach cannot be even accessed. Not to mention the cost of (starting from 80 eur per set of sunbeds). The only free beach that is still accessible by bus is Kalafati beach. So my reccomendation for Mykonos is etiher: 1. Get the local bus or ship shore excursion to Kalafati beach 2. Get an excusrion to Delos island with very interesting ancient ruins 3. If you like partying (on the cheap), spend the morning walking in the old town of Mykonos. Buy a bottle of liquor (or more smaller ones) from a small super market, throw it in the bag or even better transfer it to half lt plastic water bottles. Then arouns 13:00 take the bus either to Tropicala Club or Super Paradise (about 20 mins). No entrance fee, beers at 6 eur, drinks at 8 eur. Get a nice spot at the bar, get a cold drink and swim in the sea. The afternoon parties start at 16:00 and go on until midnight more or less. No chance of getting a nice spot at the bar aftyer 16:00. As the pary goes on take advantage of your secret stash of booze!!!! Do not go out for lunch/dinner in Mykonos, and if you do ALWAYS check the menu and prices before. It is so expensive that it could ruin your holidays. If you must eat something at shore, and have not eaten enough already onboard have a (mediocre but acceptable) souvlaki at 4-5 eur. If you must eat out do it in Milos, it is much cheaper and better quality (after researching of course). Dinner is Santorini duing the sunset is a bucket list item (especially for someone that has flown all the way to Greece), but do your research and reservations in advance. It is expensive, but manageable (30-40 Eur per person compared to hundredes per person in Mykonos). We always ate at the ship... So back to Mykonos. Get back on the ship for dinner around 21:00, go out and stroll around int he old town. No need to actually go into a bar if you don't want to, its all about walking around the old streets, see and be seen. there are a lot of small shops that have cold beers, wine etc to cater to your every need. No need to rush to get back on the ship, since the ship arrvives at Milos at 13:00 on ther next day, so no getting up early. Obviously if you have th $$$ to spare the sky is the limit on high end clubbing in Mykonos! There are free shuttle buses from the Mykonos new port to the old town every 30 minutes until 00:00 and then every 1hr until 06:00 am. Ship leave at 07:00. We used the laundry service onboard, cheaper than on mainstream cruise lines. Note to Greek cruisers that might have an Aegean Airlines Miles card: you can redeem miles towards the cruise fare! We would definately go again, and next time probably try one of their 3-4 night cruises with the other -much larger- ship Olympia. The specific 7 night cruise is the most cost effective and comfortable way to get a good basic taste of these islands, decide which one you like before comitting on a dedicated vacation on one of them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We selected the Idyllic Aegean 7 night cruise in early August 2019 aboard the Celestyal Crystal in an XB exterior stateroom. This was my second cruise (first was a western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian) and the dates and itinerary worked ... Read More
We selected the Idyllic Aegean 7 night cruise in early August 2019 aboard the Celestyal Crystal in an XB exterior stateroom. This was my second cruise (first was a western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian) and the dates and itinerary worked very well for our honeymoon plan. Unfortunately, that was one of the few enjoyable things about the cruise. First, the positives: -(Mostly) Great itinerary with overnight stops in Mykonos and Santorini -Our cleaning crew (Ernesto and Ayu) were very friendly and did a great job -Bartending staff were polite and fun The negatives: -Had to email customer support to even get my e-ticket for the cruise—I’ve received literally no email correspondence from them at any point (And yes, they had the correct email on file) -the boarding terminal had no signs or instructions for where/how to board. The ship was also very similar. We had to ask several times where to go/how to find things because of a lack of signs. This was especially true any time we tried to exit the boat at ports. -This cruise ship is old. The room/ship furnishings, restaurant, flooring etc could use a significant update -the rooms are TINY. The XB stateroom is a middle of the road option in terms of cost and we literally did not have enough room to put two normal sized pieces of luggage open on the floor. There was also no under the bed storage and very limited closet space which meant there was no where to store our empty suitcases. We ended up stacking them upright on top of each other so we could walk around the bed. As a 6’1” guy I banged my elbows against the shower repeatedly every morning. -Restaurant hours have significant restrictions (2-3 hours) for each meal and stop serving dinner at 2200. Some days, they didn’t even start serving lunch until 13:30 -Two a la carte restaurants with exactly the same menu as each other and very little variation in the buffet options -a la carte restaurant required pants for men at dinner and no flip flops but dress code was inconsistently enforced -the whole ship is on a relatively rigid “early bed, early rise” schedule. Good luck sleeping in during the 30+ minutes of morning announcements at 8am or before every morning. -a couple of the stops were not technically at a port and required lifeboat transport to the shore, sometimes taking 20-30 minutes or more. One stop required you to get in line prior to 8am to get a ticket and then wait for that number to be called, resulting in 2-3 hours of constant morning announcements on the intercom. -for a ship of 1200 passengers, the pool had a max capacity of 10 people and no poolside lounge chairs. I guess it didn’t matter anyway since the boat sailed so fast some nights that water was sloshing from the pool, all over the deck while people were trying to eat dinner. -drinks in the all inclusive package were incredibly watered down and served warm with 1-2 ice cubes. The drinks that were actually good were available to buy and with a much, much more extensive selection but it kind of takes away from the point of “all inclusive” -the last leg from Kusadasi to Athens was quite long which required the ship to travel at a VERY fast pace and rock severely the whole night. My wife and I had never been motion sick on a cruise before but were quite queasy and unable to sleep the last night due to the rocking and ridiculously loud squeaking of the entire boat because it’s too old to even withstand that kind of motion. -Our “honeymoon” courtesy was a printed sheet of paper on our bed the second night of the trip. They have many options to pay for champagne, extra dessert but basically no complimentary honeymoon extras on this “all-inclusive” trip Overall you should really only consider the cruise as a very cramped place to sleep with tons of rules and restrictions and have sub par food while going place to place on a good itinerary. For almost $2000 a person, we expected more. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to try something different from the big boats cruises and this was extremely satisfying! 1. Junior Suite with balcony - exactly what we needed. Large enough and kept very clean by the staff. 2. The ship small (under 1,000 ... Read More
We wanted to try something different from the big boats cruises and this was extremely satisfying! 1. Junior Suite with balcony - exactly what we needed. Large enough and kept very clean by the staff. 2. The ship small (under 1,000 passengers, I guess), but well kept and maintained. 3. The restaurants above all our expectations. By the way, don't miss the small a la carte restaurant (how can you miss it, they have only one)! The "surf and turf" is incredible. Also incredible is the waiter, Adrian Zaharia, who has two master degrees, one in law, one in economics. You'll be amazed how many topics of the conversations you'll have with him! 4. I am sorry I didn't catch the name of the Egyptian chef - big guy (tall) and great guy (personality). You have a secret wish and a favorite dish that is not on the menu - he'll cook it for you! 5. In the main restaurant we were attended by Geny and Aris - most kind and gentle waiters you'll ever meet. 6. Adrian Zamfir is "il capo di tutti capi" - the boss of all restaurants, the maitre d' of all ship's eateries. You can not miss him - he's the tallest, the biggest and the nicest guy, he entertains all guests in the restaurants, he listens to all, he is kind to all - when on board, just ask for "The Big White" and he'll appear like a genie in a bottle to make all your wishes come true. 7. The icing on the cake is Danny Buru. You don't know Danny? You don't know what you've missed until now! Danny is the cruise artistic director and so, so much more! I mean, come on, ladies and gentlemen, when have you ever seen an artistic director starring in a cabaret show, singing and dancing with the artists? Danny kept us entertained until well after midnight and woke us early in the morning for the free onshore excursions. 8. For last, one tip: if you'll embark in Heraklion, Crete, the embarkation will take five minutes. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
In our decision to cruise on the Crystal, we focused on the opportunities to learn as we travel. This cruise ship and its destinations and excursions fit our plan perfectly! The fine dining, drinks, interesting fellow passengers and ... Read More
In our decision to cruise on the Crystal, we focused on the opportunities to learn as we travel. This cruise ship and its destinations and excursions fit our plan perfectly! The fine dining, drinks, interesting fellow passengers and friendly crew were added benefits we loved (but had not prioritized What a pleasant surprise!) Another priority for us was to have a fairly small ship. The amenities were many -- but not at all overdone or overcrowded. The schedule provided all the aspects of a cruise you'd expect, though: three dining locations; on board entertainment; etc. Each and every member of the crew was seemingly devoted to our enjoyable journey. What a great group! Particular highlights were excursions to Delos (from the Mykonos port), Milos (What a gem--The excursion to swim under volcanic tunnels was amazing!), Knossos in Crete, and Ephesus. Can you imagine walking the same paved path as Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and the Apostles Paul and John?? Of course, Mykonos and Santorini were gorgeous! Our family extends our deepest appreciation to the crew and management of the Crystal. We made so many family memories--and would love to do this all over again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek Isles sail to/from Italy and Athens with various stops along the way in Sicily, Naples, etc. This seemed to be the most economical cruise that sailed in/out of Athens and only visited the islands. The biggest benefit of this cruise/itinerary is the long time the ship docks in Mykonos and Santorini, and we took advantage of this. So many of the cruises we looked at only had half a day+ on the islands and that doesn't give you much time to do more than get off/on the ship and walk around a bit. We toured Mykonos by taking the ship's bus to the old town early, walked around and shopped a little, took some pictures at the windmills, and then caught a bus for like 5 Euro round-trip to Paradise beach where we stayed for 4-5 hours eating/drinking/swimming and had a great time. It was a nice, relaxing day. We also planned our own excursion on Milos (speedboat tour around the island with swimming/snorkeling). We left the ship and spent the night on Santorini to be able to do a 5-hour sunset catamaran cruise that Thurs night so we didn't do the ship excursion. You can get a room a few blocks back from the caldera rim for under 100 Euro in June. The next day, some of us did the hike from Fira to Oia while the rest of the party rented a van and met us in Oia where we did more walking, shopping, and eating. Finally, we drove to the Venetsanos Winery for a wine tasting/food pairing before heading back to the ship for dinner. Santorini is amazing. We did the ship excursions in Eraklion/Crete and Kusadasi/Ephesus and they were fine. Ephesus is an amazing site and a must-see! However, by the time we got there it was crowded and then the whole rug factory tour/sales pitch at the end was a bit over-the-top. I didn't hear anything about any of the other ship-based excursions, but I'm not a big fan of riding around on a bus on someone else's schedule and priorities when it's easy to plan day-trips/activities in port independently. The staff was great, our room stewards took care of us, and embarking/disembarking was pretty seamless although the disembarking took a while. For whatever reason we never heard the "all clear to get off the ship" notification before we saw people on the dock leaving the ship. The ship is perhaps slightly dated and smaller than most, the pool is small, I think there's just 1 hot tub, and the buffets don't have a lot of variety day-to-day. The restaurants had a different menu each day and were fine. I would highly recommend this cruise for the purposes of seeing the Greek islands, but know in advance this is not a luxury cruise and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact ... Read More
My friends and I chose the 7-Day Aegean Cruise based on the itinerary: Mykonos (full day and night into the wee hours) Milos, Santorini (2 full days, and an overnight in between), Heraklion, and Kusadasi. The itinerary was in fact excellent. We loved having the luxury of time on Mykonos and Santorini. Of course we would have liked to have even more time, but that's for another trip. Embarkation was very smooth and pretty fast. Access to the ship started at about 2:00 pm. We arrived at the Piraeus port around 3:30 and we were on board by shortly after 4:00 pm. Our cabins were not ready, which was understandable, but there were lounges to wait in. The included excursions were: Santorini (visit to Oia), Heraklion (visit to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum, and Kusadasi (Ephesus).The first two were excellent. I skipped the visit to Ephesus because I'd been there before; my several travel friends who went on that excursion said the ancient site visit was excellent. That was followed, with the same guide, by an over-long visit to a rug factory which was so intensely pressured to make sales (thousands of dollars per rug) that these seasoned travelers felt intimidated and quite uneasy. It sounds easy to have walked away and boarded the bus, but they assured me that the bus wasn't going to leave until some sales had been fulfilled. We added on a ship's excursion to Delos (from the Mykonos port). Perhaps because it was the first excursion on the first day, but it was chaos at the beginning (bus assignments, ticket distributions, etc.) The guide my group was with, Yolanda, spoke incomprehensible English, and after a while we gave up trying. I suggest hiring a guide privately. The excursion we added on for Milos, Nostalgic Milos and the Beaches, was fabulous! We boarded an excursion boat, had an excellent guide, Natassia, who pointed out features of Milos that we could see from the boat, and we had a few opportunities to jump or climb from the boat to swim in the Aegean. Unforgettable! As expected, the ship is in need of an update. Nothing was dirty or shabby, just looking dated and tired. Our standard outside cabins (Deck 4) were fine. Not large, but we didn't expect that. The bathrooms were tiny, but not so very different from other cruises I have been on in standard accommodations. The wait staff tried their best, but they need more training--food orders were mixed up, requests were forgotten. They were very polite and friendly, but, with a couple of exceptions, they need more training and experience. Not sure if it was partly a language issue. They meant well. The shows were pretty bad, I thought, though with enough alcohol (a drinks package was included in our price), it was possible to smile and have a good time. The pool, located on the same deck as the food buffet, was tiny. See photo. We felt that the food was the weakest part of the experience. At best it was mediocre, especially the meat. A couple of times what was supposed to be steak was a sort of grey mystery meat and we sent it back. Breakfast options were repetitive but okay, and lunch options always included salads and vegetables if we didn't like the looks of the hot dishes. Coffee was labeled as Douwe Egbert, a European brand, but we thought it pretty bad. One of the advantages of having a few long days and late nights in port, was being able to have lunch and/or dinner off the ship. Disembarkation took longer than anyone wanted it to. We arrived back at Piraeus by 9:00 am, and my group did't get off the ship until slightly after 10:30 am. It was annoying, but I don't blame the cruise line for that--they are subject to the whims and rules of Customs and the Port Authority. Would I take this cruise again? Possibly. But I'd look into similar itineraries with higher prices, to at least ponder a more upscale experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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
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
Sail Date May 2019
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