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272 Celestyal Cruises Cruise Reviews

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
I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in ... Read More
I was really looking forward for this vacation, but it became terrible after booking this cruise. The ship was small, old and there was really nothing to do onboard. They didn’t even have the pools available to swim. I have been in different cruises before and I figured it was alright since the port destinations would make up for it. I was wrong, the excursions available were very unorganized. Staff was rude and unfriendly. There was no planned activities. Staff was not knowledgeable on instructions. They would announce meeting points at a certain time and they would be late. Food was terrible. Not much to do in she ship. I was traveling with 7 family members and we all felt the same way. I tried expressing my concerns to the cruise staff, but it was a waste of time. They simply didn't care. Never traveling in this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
It started with watching the guys throwing our bags on the conveyor belt and when we received our bags the handle was broken , the bag was brand new bought for this trip now the extension handle is broken. The food was very poor especially ... Read More
It started with watching the guys throwing our bags on the conveyor belt and when we received our bags the handle was broken , the bag was brand new bought for this trip now the extension handle is broken. The food was very poor especially the 2 bbqs the food was cold and all the meat so dry and tough , the corn was terrible as well we left a whole plate full of food. The entertainment was very average they had Greek dancers at on the pool deck dancing which went for about 30 minutes each dance seems the same. The islands themselves were great we totally enjoyed them, Thank God there was something to look forward to. We even ate there to get a decent meal as we could not rely on the food of the ship.being our first cruise we were so looking forward to it as our friends have talked them up. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise to work with a trip to the UK that we were taking before the August 12th departure date. Celestial was the only one that worked. The Greek island stops were amazing. Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadaski were absolutely gorgeous. There are several stops that were two days and that was too long. You’ll be shopped out after one day. That said I would not repeat this cruise. The negatives were of the ship. Smaller ship with small areas to gather. The ship staff was very courteous and extremely friendly. The only pool is super tiny and this pool area also serves as one of the places to eat. The food on board was marginal at best. The quality of the two buffets and the two al a cart restaurants were bad. Selections and quality were not good. For the price of the cruise the food was not to what we expected or experienced on other cruise lines. The price includes drinks but the list is limited on what is free. The cocktails were poorly mixed and even buying top shelf did not help with the case of a margarita. The last thing I’ll mention is that we’re from the U.S. and the majority of passengers were from counties like Iran and Turkey so we did get several cold shoulder treatments from these passengers. Just one persons opinion. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was good, the service was excellent, and the staff were pleasant, attentive and efficient. We chose a suite and we had ample space. The bed was comfortable and the AC functioned perfectly. We experienced some difficulty with the toilet and the maintenance crew came immediately, worked hard and remained until they had fixed the problem, which turned out to be a stuck air valve. The after dinner shows were a bit cheesy and Celestyal could do a little better in terms of the calibre of their artistes, but the days were so packed with activities that it didn't matter. All in all it was a wonderful cruise. Everything worked on the boat and it was clean, modern and well outfitted. There was no musty odour or unpleasant smell. Boarding and disembarkation was smooth and our luggage came off and on the boat with no problems. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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
It is definitely Much More than Cruise. Tours and benefits are making your vacation unforgettable, because when you reach to Athens and Islands you are having simple tours and some transportation included to your Cruise rate that giving ... Read More
It is definitely Much More than Cruise. Tours and benefits are making your vacation unforgettable, because when you reach to Athens and Islands you are having simple tours and some transportation included to your Cruise rate that giving you tips about areas. And also you can learn something about history with the expression of Vasili. He is also giving you all detail about the public transportation and places you may wish to visit. Music was great, we always had good time with live music was playing during lunch and dinner time. Food in the ship was delicious, Housekeeping employee was great as well, they give us at least two times serves a day. Thank you to Tressa and Tony. Thank you to all service persons and entertainment team. I am definitely recommend Celestyal Crystal to all my friend and family and also who is planing to have Cruise experience. Thanks again to all. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every ... Read More
Selected this cruise for the ports around Greece and Turkey because line offered two overnights, one in Mykonos (magical) and Santorini (overrated, way too many steep stairs). The staff was friendly but also up-selling at every occasion, and reminding you "that's extra - not included", hence calling it the "SS Nickel & Dime." Embarkation was a disaster - the computers went down and we were kept waiting in line outside for an hour in 37 C heat . 45 minutes in the staff passed around paper cups with some sticky sweet green beverage - we passed. No apology offered, and no explanation. Only found out real reason because we overheard staff talking about computer access issues. My traveling companion was never able to get his credit card registered - some issue with computer. WiFI - not included! That's extra. And it's not cheap at 16 Euros for 3 hours. Other lines we have traveling on include WiFi as standard issue with fare. We kept phones in airplane mode and found wifi in port every day to keep up with email and calls. The included drinks package was a real disappointment because like other lines where you could use the average base cost of a glass of wine to pay extra to get something potable, we were reduced to drinking plonk and no-name budget beer and cordials. The drinks included in the package were sticky sugar laden things - the good cocktails were all at extra price. If guzzling pink zinfandel and Long Island Iced Teas is your idea of a great time to get drunk, you'll love this ship. If you have more sophisticated tastes, prepare for a week of sparking water and disappointment. It was farcical since the cheap stuff was all included that you had to present cruise card each time. It was for "Inventory control" purposes we were told. Staffing is "Soviet Full Employment" - one person takes your order with the card, then it goes to the bar, then a third person brings you the drink. Beware the Happy Hours where you can purchase for extra money potable cocktails and wine. Bars are understaffed and it took 20 minutes to get an Aperol Spritz one afternoon. Interestingly, the same drink is priced differently at different bars, even at happy hour. My account was also padded with some extra items I never ordered that I challenged the last night and had them removed. Specialty Coffees - come out of a machine using powdered milk, unless you go to one of the bars - by the pool and the rear deck on 5 have real espresso machines. Smoking Policy - unacceptable. Smokers have use of the best areas on the ship - all the decks and the rear deck bars. Even though the smokers are supposed to be on one side of the deck, they smoked anywhere they wanted to. Vapers thought they were excluded which made for smelly hallways and public areas. Smoking policy was not enforced. If being around smokers bothers you, this is another reason to skip this line. Ship photos - photographers are everywhere making the Selfie generation happy. One night they offered a photo stand where you put on ancient Greek costumes and pose that was good fun. Wait until the last night to buy photos when the package offers get better. Onboard Shopping: boutique (watches, jewelry, basic fashions, cosmetics, cigarettes, liquor and a few sundries) was open only when in international waters so shopping opportunities were intermittent. If you see something you want in handbags, scarves, rings or or gold chains by the inch, best to buy it the first time you see it as stock gets wiped out. They do have a sale the last night and I picked up two dressy blouses at 50% off that was a good value. Meals were monotonous and just average. Breakfast is a buffet even in dining rooms. Same items every day got boring in a hurry. Stick with Greek and Turkish food for best chance of having something that isn't frozen. Sad that all the fish/seafood was frozen, when you are surrounded by the Aegean Sea. In order to get a fresh fish you need to pay 25 to 35 Euros extra to sit at a special table for a Greek Taverna style meal. Not worth it, especially considering we ate well in Athens for 20 Euros a person average, including nice house wine/quarter litre. No room service included - not even for rolls and coffee in the morning - that's extra! Pizza and Ice Cream are available - but that's extra! Ship is a converted ferry boat. Conversion efforts were basic - lacking in decor, lots of rust around the edges and worn carpets, warped railings. It felt like a budget Las Vegas hotel. Smells of bilge and sewage were often wafting through the hallways. We kept the balcony door open a lot of the time to counter the unpleasant aromas. Beds were ok but topped with thick duvet that are not needed in 35 C heat. Mattresses are hard - not the pillow top type you find on Princess, Celebrity etc. Since it was so hot I slept on top of the duvet and asked for an extra sheet. We had a Junior Suite that was OK for ship cabin - slightly smaller than what we are used to on Celebrity, Princess, Holland America. No bedside tables available so we used upturned suitcases for bedside tables instead, wedged in between beds. The hangers are the annoying kind that you need to slide into a ring that is permanently attached to the rod. I brought two plastic hangers and clips to use to dry hand-wash items-very handy! Were told by other passengers that we were lucky to get bar soap and also individual bottles of shampoo and lotion. In standard cabins you access these via a dispenser on the wall. Hair dryer was adequate if you have short or thin hair. It is tethered to the desk area and cord is not very long so tiring to dry long hair - took 2X longer than usual to get the job done. Overall the staff were friendly, and our cabin staff were flawless. However there were some floaters among the group. At Santorini tender station the staff sat in the folding chairs eating ice cream while the passengers, some elderly with canes had to stand. There is no such thing as queuing in Greece - the tender boat approached in a different area, so passengers that dutifully waited in line were pushed aside and made to wait for another tender to arrive. It's every man for himself at port side tender stops! Three shore excursions were included: Mykonos tour, Crete/Knossos Palace and Kusadash/Ephesus and Turkish carpet weaving shopping stop. Tours were good, guides spoke good English and didn't have their hands out soliciting tips. Those who wanted to offer tips did so discretely. Ephesus was the most amazing Roman ruins - best preserved (not restored) I have seen in any country. Turkish carpet weaving stop was interesting until we became trapped by salesmen. Managed to evade them and get back to the bus. Turkey is a lot like Mexico - people chase and hound you to buy souvenirs and enter their shops. The Greeks are much more relaxed, they say hello and leave you to it so it's nicer shopping for souvenirs in Greece. Other shore excursions like beach trips and sporting activities were available - but that was extra! Bottom line - if you want to stop at Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Milos (boring, stay on ship unless you need to buy groceries or medicine), Kusadasi/Ephesus, this line has it covered. If you have basic tastes when it comes to food and beverage it will do. Otherwise skip this ship and this line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Greek Isles in a convenient, economical fashion. We were searching for a cruise that focused on seeing the Greek islands and found that most of the major cruise lines that visit the Greek Isles sail to/from Italy and Athens with various stops along the way in Sicily, Naples, etc. This seemed to be the most economical cruise that sailed in/out of Athens and only visited the islands. The biggest benefit of this cruise/itinerary is the long time the ship docks in Mykonos and Santorini, and we took advantage of this. So many of the cruises we looked at only had half a day+ on the islands and that doesn't give you much time to do more than get off/on the ship and walk around a bit. We toured Mykonos by taking the ship's bus to the old town early, walked around and shopped a little, took some pictures at the windmills, and then caught a bus for like 5 Euro round-trip to Paradise beach where we stayed for 4-5 hours eating/drinking/swimming and had a great time. It was a nice, relaxing day. We also planned our own excursion on Milos (speedboat tour around the island with swimming/snorkeling). We left the ship and spent the night on Santorini to be able to do a 5-hour sunset catamaran cruise that Thurs night so we didn't do the ship excursion. You can get a room a few blocks back from the caldera rim for under 100 Euro in June. The next day, some of us did the hike from Fira to Oia while the rest of the party rented a van and met us in Oia where we did more walking, shopping, and eating. Finally, we drove to the Venetsanos Winery for a wine tasting/food pairing before heading back to the ship for dinner. Santorini is amazing. We did the ship excursions in Eraklion/Crete and Kusadasi/Ephesus and they were fine. Ephesus is an amazing site and a must-see! However, by the time we got there it was crowded and then the whole rug factory tour/sales pitch at the end was a bit over-the-top. I didn't hear anything about any of the other ship-based excursions, but I'm not a big fan of riding around on a bus on someone else's schedule and priorities when it's easy to plan day-trips/activities in port independently. The staff was great, our room stewards took care of us, and embarking/disembarking was pretty seamless although the disembarking took a while. For whatever reason we never heard the "all clear to get off the ship" notification before we saw people on the dock leaving the ship. The ship is perhaps slightly dated and smaller than most, the pool is small, I think there's just 1 hot tub, and the buffets don't have a lot of variety day-to-day. The restaurants had a different menu each day and were fine. I would highly recommend this cruise for the purposes of seeing the Greek islands, but know in advance this is not a luxury cruise and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major ... Read More
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major cruise lines, the third on Celestyal. The Celestyal cruise gets my prize for least annoying cruise. First, the ship is run like a finely tuned machine, and when you have so much to do in a short period of time, it is a good thing that it is. The staff were incredibly accommodating and friendly, unlike my first two cruises. These people seem to really like their jobs! The ship itself was beautiful in an awesome retro kind of way. It was meticulously maintained and the lounges were beautiful. They seemed to have restored the perfect retro vibe. Meal service was a well executed military operation as were the frequent disembarkations. It is not a small task to get all these people on and off that ship, usually twice per day. The food was a-ok, not a foodie paradise, but serviceable with nice variety and two enjoyable bbq's on the pool deck. The number of ports visited was truly remarkable, but it really was nothing more than getting a taste of the islands. Now we know where we want to spend more time. We had one whole day in Rhodes, which was blissful because we finally got to enjoy some beach time -- something we did not get in the other ports. The two included excursions were excellent. In other ports we simply rented a car for a couple of hours and got a feel for the islands. Another wonderful aspect of this cruise is that there is not a constant push to spend, spend, spend. The included drinks were great. We only ordered a few extras on the trip -- a much needed brow wax, a couple of smoothies for the kid, and a couple of knick-knacks. Our tab at the end of the cruise was around $39. On our other cruises we were greeted every morning with a stack of coupons and advertisements for art work, jewelry sales, photo packages, and on and on and on. There was none of that here. Everyone on the ship was genuinely concerned with our comfort and ease. We paid for the cruise and that was that. If you can manage the frenetic pace of frequent disembarkations and we want to see many places, this is a great option. Read Less
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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