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291 Celestyal Cruises Cruise Reviews

For those people looking for the bells and whistles of a large ship, do not look here. However if your looking to see parts of the world that are on your bucket list, then come on this cruise! Yes, ship is small, little older, but for ... Read More
For those people looking for the bells and whistles of a large ship, do not look here. However if your looking to see parts of the world that are on your bucket list, then come on this cruise! Yes, ship is small, little older, but for the price and what's included it was definitely worth it, despite what was going on in the world. We were the last ship to go to most ports due to the Corona Virus. Actually couldn't land in Israel as they had closed their borders. But despite the craziness of the world, I had one of the best times. Cruise starts in Athens, so was there prior to sailing. The first night I booked a food walking tour, ended up private as most people had canceled due to the Corona Virus. Next day I went to the Archeological Museum. Unbelievable! And headed to the "Athens Flea Market". Tons of great shopping and food. Then took the hop on hop off bus. Make sure you travel up to the Parthenon. It is a hike. Also, keep an eye on all valuables as one of our party had their phone stolen. Included in the cruise are 3 excursions, (1) in Cairo, (1) Rhodes, (1) Ephesus. All 3 were fantastic. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and were great to listen to. Also included are all your gratuities and most all your liquor, unless you want premium, and you have to pay for that separately. They do not have a premium package you can upgrade to. That includes paying for water, however, buying water on this ship is not as expensive as on a large cruise ship. Included Excursion - Cairo - Bucket list to see the Pyramids and the Sphynx! The tour is very long, as it's a 3 1/2 hour journey each way. We left around 6am and got back to the ship around 10pm. Plan for a long but very rewarding day. Pack something to bring to eat for snacks, as they only give you a granola bar. However, you do stop for a fantastic buffet lunch. Pay the extra 8 Euros to walk inside Pyramid #2! Not for the faint hearted, but definitely worth it! Also, you go to the National Museum, which was being moved at the time we were there. And the papyrus museum. Instead of Israel, we stayed in Alexandria. I went on an excursion that went to the Catacombs. Really interesting. Incuded Excursion - Rhodes - Greece - They take you to Lindos, where there is a Citadel. I physically couldn't climb up it. 300 stairs up, with no railings; unlike going to the Parthenon. Pretty little town. Only opened for us, so not all stores were opened and not all stores took charges. May begins their season, so we were there off season. Then back near the ship to go to the old city, to the street of the Knights. Really interesting place. You can walk back to the ship or take the bus back. Again, there are other excursions that you can upgrade to as well. Included Excursion - Ephesus - Turkey - I've been here before 10 years ago and it still was exciting to walk down the marble road! There are a number of other excursions you can pay extra for on the ship. They also take you to a Co-op where they teach the old ways on weaving rugs. It's now a dying profession. They tell you all about how they are made and show you what they have to sell. We had a number of people who bought some beautiful rugs. There are also other vendors there as well. And we were also given drinks, and appetizers. You also go to Cyprus. I opted to walk off the ship with a couple of people. We wandered around the waterfront, found the castle and the monestary. Wish we had gone to the winery but we did have a good time. We lucked out with the weather, no rain at all! As for the ship itself. The casino is tiny. Never really ventured in it. Lots of different bars. We loved the Thalassus bar located at the back of deck 5. Got some great sunset shots there. That's also where the only jacuzzi is. Small pool located on deck 9, Helos. Spa is there. Had a great leg message. Also, this is where the buffet is located. Good food. Need to change where the coffee machines are as they are right at the end of the buffett, so the line backs up during breakfast. Very small, specialty dining, on Deck 8 outside one of the main dining rooms. You can get most of what they offer, but it is an extra charge (steak, lobster). Food all together is pretty good. There were some meals that weren't great, but the waitstaff was accommodating and would get you something else if you chose. We didn't have much of an issue with ordering drinks. Since our cruise there were only 380 passengers on board. Only went to one of the shows on board. It was all about Greece. Was pretty good. However, I did go to the lecturer they brought on board to talk about Egypt and what you would see. He was fantastic! We spent most of our nights in the disco signing Karaoke. All in all this was a great cruise. I would definitely recommend it to people. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the ... Read More
Last May, 2019, my wife and her siblings took a Greek island cruise on this very ship, which included Ephesus among the included excursions. I stayed home and took care of the dog. So effusive of her praise for the cruise and the included excursions, we decided to repeat the cruise this year. Celestyal offered a fantastic Black Friday cruise deal including drinks, gratuities, and three paid excursions. I thought it was the same package as last year as the excursions included Ephesus which I really wanted to see. Turns out this package included Cairo, Cyprus, Rhodes, Ashdod, and Kuchidassi (Ephesus). After a day at seas we disembarked in Alexandrea, Egypt for our excursion to the pyramids in Cairo. The twelve tour busses were accompanied by an armed escort with an armed guard on the bus. This is told not to frighten you, but to show the Egyptian government is serious about protecting tourists. We lunched at the Meridian Hotel near the pyramids (included). I will admit to being surprised at how much civilization has encroached on Giza, and even more surprised at the aggressiveness of the hawkers trying to sell their wares and services at the pyramids. The Cairo Museum was very interesting with more than you could possibly take in for a limited amount of time. There is an immense new antiquities museum to be opened soon near the pyramids. I can only imagine the undertaking this will entail in making the move of all the artifacts from the Cairo museum. Two more busses joined our convoy back to Alexandria and it was interesting to me (my wife was a bit unnerved) to see the coordination between the bus drivers and our escort. Getting back to the ship, we found out Israel had denied docking to the ship so our excursions to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv were out. Amazingly, Celestyal gave all the passengers a E100 shipboard credit for something that was really beyond their control. We spent another extra day in Alexandria and we elected to stay aboard. Those who took excursions to the Library of Alexandria or Tel El Armin reported enjoyable excursions. A side note: they aggressiveness and rudeness of the pyramid hawkers somewhat diminished the pyramid experience, but putting it into perspective, that's how they're trying to make a buck while they can. My wife sat next to a fellow whose work took him to Egypt and he told her not to judge the Egyptians by our experience at Giza. He said the Egyptians were warm, friendly people eager to show the real side of Egypt. Next stop, Cyprus. We used some of that E100 credit to purchase a tour of Tombs of the Kings and the nearby ancient Roman manors and their mosaics. It was also enjoyable and we found Cyprus to be very beautiful. I hear the island has been closed in the week since were their. Next stop, Rhodes to see the acropolis of Lindos and the medieval part of the city of Rhodes. It is a steep walk up to the acropolis and with a bum leg and hip, I got half way up and decided to give my wife the camera and see the ruins through her eyes. Back in the old part of Lindos, I found the need of a restroom. I came across this charming little tavern, the Captain's House to use the restroom (BTW the cleanest of anywhere off the ship) and enjoy a local Cypriot beer. Like many of the building in the old village, part of the walls of this tavern were of medieval vintage, adding to the beauty and charm. Back in Rhodes, we wandered the old walls and buildings from the times of the crusades, in very remarkable condition. From Rhodes, it was on to Kuchadassi for a tour of Ephesus and a hand woven rug factory and lunch. Ephesus was certainly a highlight of the excursions, very well preserved and still undergoing archeological discovery. Our tour guide, Tuba was very interesting and informative. Next, the rug making coop and lunch. This was an unexpectedly interesting tour, seeing these works of art spring to life from the silk cocoon to the beautiful soft finished product. Had I not known how my retirement accounts nosedived in the past two weeks, it would have been tempting to give into the desire for one of those beauties. Thankfully, there was no pressure to buy anything and we made our way back to the ship. If you've gotten this far, and forgive my verbosity, let me tell you about our shipboard experience. Had never heard of this cruise line 'til last year. I'm surprised Celestyal didn't cancel the cruise. There were 347 passengers on a ship able to carry 1200. The crew outnumbered the passengers and yet, Celestyal honored their commitment. Every other cruise we've been on, the crews and food have altogether been great. This cruise, the crew added a level of warmth and friendliness like never before. I think of the cruise director, Danny; funny, fluent in many languages, and approachable. He even participated in some of the evening entertainment as a singer or actor. Our cabin stewards were sweet and sincere. Our cabin was clean, comfortable and surprisingly roomy. The service desk manager, Thiago, sunny disposition and humorous even remembered my wife from last year's cruise (honest). The wine steward, Rafael, knowing I didn't like dry wines, brought a bottle of sweet wine to our supper table after I mentioned at a wine tasting class my distaste for dry wines. The young lady who greeted us each morning at breakfast with a smile and sincere greeting. The food was very good. These all added to one of the best cruises we've ever had the pleasure to be on. Celestyal went above and beyond in caring for their passengers and their crew for that matter. We spoke to some of the crew members who told us they had nothing but good to say about their employer, some of them who had worked for other cruise lines and decided they found a home with Celestyal. I hope this coronavirus thing is just way overblown and things return to a semblance of normality. I hope this does not sink such a fine company as Celestyal (or any of the cruise lines or hospitality industry for that matter). Mr. Chris Theophilides runs a great company. Without hesitation I would recommend a cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), ... Read More
We chose this 7 days cruise because of the ports - Cairo, Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Cyprus, Rhodes and Ephesus. We also chose it because of the great value for what we paid as the price included 3 excursions (Cairo, Rhodes and Ephesus), gratuities and drinks (albeit you could also pay for “premium drinks”). We had read the reviews on the Celestyal Crystal and had “lowered the bar” for our expectations slightly - and we were not disappointed! PORTS Cairo We had an early arrival in Alexandria and then travelled as an 18 bus convoy complete with armed military escort on the bus and with the convoy for the 3 hour trip to Cairo and later up to Port Said. Cairo is not an overly impressive city - lots of traffic and chaos. We first stopped at the Egyptian Museum for about an hour with our guide rushing through an explanation of the mummies and artifacts. The guide was difficult to hear on our hearing devices and despite the short visit and difficulty in hearing was still interesting. Then a stop at a large hotel for a 45 minute buffet lunch and off to the pyramids. There were many hawkers and vendors there and one had to be firm to say NO. We did have a boy of around 18 offer to help take our pictures which lead to taking more pictures which seemed quite innocent enough. Then he encouraged us to get on some camels for a picture and I remembered being told if you get on a camel you would have to pay to get off. Anyways after being asked for something from Canada we gave him 5 Euros - but be on guard! After this we went to the Sphinx - very interesting and then a papyrus and gift shop before the 3 hour trip to Port Said where our ship was waiting. LONG day but enjoyable. Jerusalem/Bethlehem We were delayed leaving Port Said and missed our slot into the Suez Canal and ended up getting into Ashdod 3 hours late. Because of this our ship excursion had to be shortened and we didn’t do lunch. We had a trip to Bethlehem but as usual because of long line ups we were unable to visit the grotto where Jesus was born but had a good explanation of the surrounding buildings and area. Then to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and to the wailing wall. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and we felt we learned more than on previous trips there. Cyprus Because the 2 previous days were supposed to have been quite long we chose to take the bus into Limassol for EUR 1.50 each. When the bus got to town the driver announced there would be a tour at 2pm for EUR 10. So we walked around town, had something to eat and took the tour which for what we paid to visit some historic castles and digs was fine. Rhodes This was our third time to Rhodes - a place we always loved. This time the excursion. Went to Lindos an old castle about 45 minutes from the port. Again a wonderful guide and some time to explore then back to the downtown of Rhodes for a walk about. Great day! Ephesus A wonderful 3 hour tour with a fantastic guide and great explanations. CREW The friendliness of the crew was unbelievable. The cruise director - Danny was absolutely phenomenal- he spoke something like 5 languages, was always full of energy and up and also participated in some of the shows! MEALS The food was good - maybe not quite as good as on other ships or not the variety but still quite palatable. The waiters worked very hard to serve and please and we’re awesome. Buffet is also served for lunch and dinner and the variety is a bit lacking. Conclusion Yes this is a 40 year old ship and yes there are a few things that might not be quite as good a standard as bigger ships but lower your standards a little bit and go with an open mind. The mix of passengers is mostly European (Danny’s announcements were first in English and then Bulgarian! followed by Spanish, German). The value for what you pay far outweighs anything where the standards might be a bit lower and we can only HIGHLY recommend the Celestyal Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the ... Read More
The focus was on visiting many antiquities sites which was the main reason we selected this cruise package. Celestyal provided an excellent experience at a good value. Not a new ship or a large ship (900 passengers capacity?) with all the offerings you'd find on larger luxury boats but we found the Crystal to be very adequate for this type of cruise. Clean and well maintained throughout, friendly and responsive staff, enjoyable entertainment (great dance group and Dani is awesome). Each day we had very good experience with the shore excursions, guides, transportation arrangements. Well organized. Appreciated the included drink package as well as 3 excursions (a big reason this cruise is a value). No serious negatives. I found getting coffee in the morning buffet too challenging (one machine was broke most of the week...traffic jam). Also this trip and ship is geared for the adult experience, boring for kids. Been on eight previous cruises, lots of fun experiences, but I am thinking this was my favorite. Primarily due to the ports we visited but the whole experience was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband is a travel consultant and found out about this cruise at a training. We have always wanted to visit these amazing destinations...Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Rhodes. The ship was not the newest, but extremely ... Read More
My husband is a travel consultant and found out about this cruise at a training. We have always wanted to visit these amazing destinations...Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Rhodes. The ship was not the newest, but extremely clean. The people working on the ship were extremely friendly. Although there were people from many countries on the ship English was used for announcements, entertainment, etc. Many excursions were included in the price. They all were escorted by a guide who was very well educated in the destinations. Drinks were included in the cruise fare and they were extremely generous. The cabin was more than adequate, as we were very Port intensive. There were many choices of where to eat. Buffet was available for all meals and also two sit down restaurants. In the bar areas you could order pizza, burgers, sandwiches for a small fee. We were very pleasantly surprised by the cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I selected this cruise as I live in Cyprus and I could join the ship in Limassol. I actually went on the bus from Paphos to Limassol. A whopping 4 euros. It sounded good in the brochure. I was a little dubious, as the price was low. ... Read More
I selected this cruise as I live in Cyprus and I could join the ship in Limassol. I actually went on the bus from Paphos to Limassol. A whopping 4 euros. It sounded good in the brochure. I was a little dubious, as the price was low. And living in Cyprus, I expected the organisation would be rather slipshod. How wrong can you be !!! I had an excellent time. Being a widower, I was travelling alone. I expected a pokey cabin. Wrong ! I was allocated a full size cabin, complete with a sofa. Comfy and lots of space. Ester and Laura, my stewards, were lovely. Treated me very well. The food was very good. Living in Cyprus, I was hoping for an international menu, as a change from Greek food. And boy, did I get it. A wide choice every evening, with lots of variety. As many dishes as I wanted. All prepared to a high standard. And the waiter service was superb. I dined in the Olympus restaurant. Demitrious, the manager, was very efficient. He found me a quiet spot, on my own, every evening. The waiters were from all over the world. Brazil, Uzbekistan, Goa,Indonesia, Egypt, to name a but a few. All were professional and friendly, working together in a smooth harmony. ( If working people can do this, why do politicians find it so difficult ). They all found a few minutes to chat to me, and helped to make my holiday. All the staff I encountered were helpful and friendly. The entertainment was aimed at the international nature of the passengers. As they included people from the USA, Spain, Japan, Romania, UK, plus the majority being Greek, it was just as well. The shows were slick and polished, with a very enthusiastic large group of artistes involved. The cost included 3 excursions. I expected something cheap. Wrong again. They were full day trips, with knowledgeable guides, and very well organised. On the full day at sea I attended 2 lectures. Both well presented. The ship is fairly compact, but there were a good number of activities for the passengers who wanted to do more than just recuperate after the excursions. The gym had very up to date equipment. I cannot recall a single instance of something major going wrong. I was kept informed at all times of any delays. Mainly caused by Egyptian officialdom. All in all, a well run ship. A credit to the company. If Celestyal maintain this standard, and keep their pricing competitive, they will prosper. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This cruise was actually won by a work associate and I was to join her. Her schedule did not allow her to go so I was able to bring my adult daughter double bonus This was my 50th cruise but never to this region or this line. I had ... Read More
This cruise was actually won by a work associate and I was to join her. Her schedule did not allow her to go so I was able to bring my adult daughter double bonus This was my 50th cruise but never to this region or this line. I had not expectations as to what to expect was not generally diapponted. This is a small ship with only 700 passengers this vovage so never crowded The ship passengers were about 75% Greek. We probably meet about 60 Americans on board Cabin: We had an ocean view cabin always kept very clean and neat. received pillow pals everyday as they made of cabin and it remained until next day No special soap or body lotions infact shampoo and soap was same container in shower. Staff went out of their way to be very pleasant anytime we saw them. Entertainment I would rate a solid 3 the shows each evening were very similar and their were not comedians or juggler acts like often on big lines. However the staff had good voices and did an ABBA tribuate that was very very good. They also had a Greek band in lounge at times playing Greek Music, a Piano and Violin player nightly and a singer use partner played the keyboard. It is an busy cruise so not alot down time. Meals I did not like breakfast but just me. There was an omlettle station by the pool each day but had to walk there from the buffett. Egss mostly precooked so a over easy egg was cooked several hours ago. I found out on second to last day that you could get served but hardly anyone knew this so everyone did the same buffett The food was however the same. Dinner was anytime dining and if possible they sat us with someone speaking English or we sat by ourselves Each meal was very good to excellent but also had lamb, pork or chicken most nights If a fish it was a local fish Differant but generally pretty good I only had lunch and really a snack at lunch becasue we were off ship everyday but the seaday. One evening they had a Greek buffett by the pool which was good Pool This was a problem. First the hot tub was one place and the pool was another. There were table and chairs all around the pool but no lounge chairs so if you wanted to go for a swim there was really no place to dry off. Several days no water in the pool at all I never saw anyone in it. The glass closure was ontop but becasue of location and the fact no place to comfortably sit I never saw one person in it the entire cruise. Ports I took all of the tours that were offered free and purchased one from the ship in Israeal Each language had an escort that spoke English however some were naturally better than others The Jerurelum tour guide was extremely poor. I really was disappointed it was a long day,we were rushed very badly. AT one point she just left everyone and never looked back tro see we had not even crossed a busy street and she was already around the corner and into a Garden no where to be seen. It was really unfortunate becasue no only did I pay extra for this tour ,it was the one place I really wanted to see. I actually complained about her to excusion booth when we got back on ship and did not give her a tip Many others felt as I did and did not tip her also I would definately return to this area and cruise this line again if given opportunity The population on the cruise were about 75% Greek Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
7 Nights Cruise 3 Continents – Celestyal Crystal Ship – the ship is more like a ferry, very old & worn, basic and casual. We expected a very basic cruise and didn’t pack any evening clothes. Although there was the usual ... Read More
7 Nights Cruise 3 Continents – Celestyal Crystal Ship – the ship is more like a ferry, very old & worn, basic and casual. We expected a very basic cruise and didn’t pack any evening clothes. Although there was the usual captain’s gala night, so there’s a dress code for that evening if participating. Cabin – the cabin was an ok size but the bathroom was tiny and much smaller than other ships. The cabin comes with twin beds as standard and you need to call reception on-board to arrange it into a double. Entertainment – the same in-house entertainment team each night which was really bad. We went twice and didn’t return – it’s more enjoyable looking out to sea! We usually love on-board entertainment but this was disappointing. Dining – there are 2 dining rooms which have the same menu. Flexible dining yet had no problems with queues. There are 2 sides to the buffet. The food was bad. We expected a smaller cruise to provide better quality food but it was the worst we’ve experienced. If you have dietary requirements i.e. vegetarian, vegan you will not be catered for. The ship was not informed of our dietary requirement so the maitre’d and staff were not aware and they had no provision on-board. They just improvise when you’re on-board i.e. remove the meat from Bolognese, which then isn’t a sufficient meal. Don’t expect starters, desserts or to be able to eat anything from the buffet if you have a dietary requirement. Drinks package – all inclusive is very limited with only 1 house red, white and beer. When booking we were informed the drinks package included everything except premium brands but this wasn’t the case. We’re used to a wide selection of wines included in drinks packages. Spirits and cocktails were as expected. A charge for bottled water and sodas as normal. Juices incur a charge. Excursions – the excursions were awful. The tour guides gave us hours at souvenir shops which were outrageously priced, at the expense of visiting sites on the itinerary. For Cairo, we had about 30-45 minutes at the pyramids and sphinx sites. The tour was around 7am until 10pm with the majority spent driving and little food at approximately 3pm. It was not a proper tour, there were not enough headsets to go around, the guide left half the group at the museum’s security gate so we missed the tour and also left us to try to find the entrance to the inside of the pyramids. It was interesting that we were accompanied by police escort and roads were blocked off for our passage. For Israel, we did not visit the birthplace of Jesus. The tour guide would shout at us, not allow us to shop or go to the toilets, and would say we didn’t have time to visit places on the itinerary, yet allowed 2 hours for a buffet lunch and souvenir shop. The Israel tour was almost as long, around 8am until 9pm. Everyone was asked to wait in the theatre for the tours, rather than asking groups to arrive at different times as would be expected, which was very unorganised. Check-in process – from 2pm. Very unorganised and stressful, a free for all with no queue. Overall – we booked this cruise for the stops in Cairo and Jerusalem, which we wouldn’t have felt safe visiting on our own, and liked the idea of a 1-day trip with a cruise company. The excursions were awful and missed some of the key attractions on the itinerary. The ship, food and entertainment were poor. The price was cheap and a basic cruise was expected, however the excursions, which should have been the highlight of the trip, were awful, so it was overall disappointing. We will not cruise with Celestyal again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My mom and I opted to the Three Continent Cruise on the Crystal because of the ports visited for my mom’s birthday. We were overall pleased with the cruise and I don’t regret the extra expenditure for the Grand Suite. With that said, ... Read More
My mom and I opted to the Three Continent Cruise on the Crystal because of the ports visited for my mom’s birthday. We were overall pleased with the cruise and I don’t regret the extra expenditure for the Grand Suite. With that said, there were some really great features and some areas that you should be aware may fall short of some people’s expectations. Embarkation notice for suite guests: We got to the cruise terminal early and I am glad we did. Suite guests are offered priority check-in but when the boarding line opened, there was no separate line and poor sign directions for suite guests. Guests began queuing up well in advance of official boarding time and the general boarding check-in line quickly encompassed the entire entryway to the terminal, so it was impossible for suite guests to know that there is actually a separate desk (across the room from the general check-in). In fact, I asked a cruise ship security/line attendant for where suite guests should check-in and he told me to go to the back of the general boarding line. If this is supposed to be a benefit of paying extra for suites, Celestial needs set up a separate line. Once we got to the right place, check-in was quick and did not have to go through the general queue. Cruise ship positives: The dining room food was always good and well presented (suite guests receive free room service from the dining room menu and we used it a couple times and were always pleased with the quality). The on-board activities were hit or miss but the evening entertainment was good and I would rate it as just as good as evening shows on some larger mega cruise ships. The cruise director, Danny, was fantastic and entertaining. While it is a smaller ship, it offers almost all of the same key amenities as larger ships. Being a smaller ship, we never had to wait to be seated and there was always plenty of room in dining and lounge areas. The ship, while older, is also immaculately cleaned. The disembarking process (for both excursions and final disembark) was smooth and well organized. There was only one instance when lines became congested and unruly (the first port of call). Negatives: The buffet was mediocre and you could count on basically having the same choices every day. Aside from a lack of diverse food choices, I was also dismayed to find there were virtually no traditional Mediterranean choices. I heard from many of my Greek friends before taking the cruise that I would love the food (I do), but was disappointed that a Greek cruise line cruising the Mediterranean offered basic choices like rice, pasta, potatoes, spaghetti and similar foods but only once that I noticed did they offer a regional cuisine (dolmades). Suite benefits: If you can afford it, this is one time a suite may be actually worth the upgrade cost (although a lot of time is spent in port on this cruise so that may be a countering argument for some). Suite guests receive complimentary room service (all meals) and we also received a welcome basket of fruit and wine and every morning fresh cut fruit and bottled water was delivered, every afternoon canapes were delivered, and every evening cookies/treats were delivered. We had a Grand Suite room and the view and larger deck facing the front of the ship (right below the bridge) was an excellent vantage point. We had two gentlemen who were concierges and two gentlemen who were housekeeping for our room, and all of them went above and beyond to provide us with absolutely outstanding service. Excursions: One of the best features of the Celestial’s cruises are the free included excursions in some of the ports with options to purchase alternatives. We took excursions in all of the ports and the contract companies in each were all top of the line. The buses used were comfortable and the guides were knowledgeable. The excursion in Egypt was fascinating but we were late getting into port and the tour company had to cut back time at various locations. There was very little time for shopping, except and one shop “approved by the cruise line”. Beware at the pyramids there are numerous of people trying to aggressively sell merchandise and it was also sad as an animal lover to see so many malnourished stray dogs throughout Egypt. In Israel, we paid for the Jerusalem/Bethlehem excursion and got to see most all of the advertised spots except going down into the grotto at the Church of Nativity due to long lines as that excursion also got started late due to the ship docking late, which also caused the tour company to cut back on tour locations and rushed us past shopping. We were only able to stop at one “cruise line approved” store, which was terribly over-priced. A couple of the other excursions started late as well but were generally shorter days so they didn’t seem as rushed. I’m not entirely sure why so many of the port days got us in late or off the boat late, resulting in the tour companies to have to condense the tour, but it was the first visit by the Crystal on this route (3 Continent Cruise) so it may have been just working through new logistics but hopefully they get it worked out so future cruisers don’t have their tours cut short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. The 7 night 3 Continents tour leaving from Athens did not disappoint in any way. We'll certainly use Celestyal again. Flying into Athens on the day of the cruise departure was a risk, ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. The 7 night 3 Continents tour leaving from Athens did not disappoint in any way. We'll certainly use Celestyal again. Flying into Athens on the day of the cruise departure was a risk, but we'd seen Athens a few times before, and weren't keen to stay over. A 1 pm arrival was delayed by half an hour but we still made the 2.09 train direct to Pireaus and we were queuing to board the ship by 3.30. The embarkation took about an hour overall. Quite busy. Once on board we took to the ship immediately. Small and old but a great way to travel. Cabin was fine, nothing special but all you could need, and the staff were excellent. Dining was of the turn up and be seated variety. If we wanted to sit alone we got a table for two, if we felt like company we we placed at bigger tables and every evening worked out fine. The bars might have lacked a bit of atmosphere but they were more than adequate, inside and on deck. Bar and restaurant staff were the most pleasant we have ever encountered, the girls from Turkistan on the rear deck bar were so enthusiastic about working on this ship, compared to others they'd served on, so it looks like they were treated ok. The weather was good to us, just one shower as we arrived in Turkey but dry by 10.00 am and sunny again. Cairo- excursion included in the fare. 16 buses in convoy (with armed guard) to the Archaeological museum and then the Pyramids at Giza. We were about 90 mins late docking in Alexandria, so the trip was a bit rushed, but what an experience. The long bus journey is not for the faint hearted, and an obligatory shopping halt prolonged the day. Highlight of the trip. Ashdod - we paid for the ships excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. About an hour to Jerusalem, Gethsemene, Western Wall, Holy Sepulchre Church, Via Dolorosa and then on to Bethlehem. Another compulsory visit to a local outlet. Cyprus - we needed a day off so just took the free shuttle into Limassol and had a very pleasant few hours wandering about. Plenty of tours were offered but we didn't feel the need. Rhodes - trip to Lindos and Rhodes included in fare. We were revisiting the island after 40 years and it was interesting to see the changes. Rhodes old town was empty and we had the streets to ourselves in the late afternoon, and many shops were closed. Stunning town. Kusadasi- Great trip to Ephesus which surely rivals Pompeii in its appeal? again, we were here 40 years ago and much more is to be seen now. Fantastic place. Athens - Docked at 8.30 and we ignored the queuing instructions as we only had hand luggage and sneaked off the ship ahead of being called, there was no queue and we just walked off. Had we waited it might have been 11.00, as the luggage undergoes inspection before passengers are allowed to collect but we had none. We caught the metro to Monastiriki left our cases in a bag b'n'b and has a tour of the Ancient Agora. Sunny and warm in December. Quick bite to eat in the 'flea market' area and off to the airport. Lovely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This cruise was part of a Globus land tour of Greece. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever experienced I'm sure because the Ship was only 3/4 full. We enjoyed the free drink package at no extra cost which was a real treat. ... Read More
This cruise was part of a Globus land tour of Greece. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever experienced I'm sure because the Ship was only 3/4 full. We enjoyed the free drink package at no extra cost which was a real treat. You had a great selection of beer, wine and spirts. The service aboard was both professional and extremely friendly. The food was fantastic! We ate in the main dinning room 2 nights and enjoyed a great steak and a wonderful Chicken Kiev. Lots of choices with really great service. As others have reviewed, the excursions were a bit rushed. We were lucky to be on the first tinder to Santoriani, so we were able to get the photos we wanted. There were 5 ports of call on this sailing, so you were pretty busy! I really was surprised in how much I enjoyed this cruise. I've cruised many times before on much larger ships. Don't be afraid to try it! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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
I'll start by saying we travel a lot, but aren't "cruise people". We've only been on one other cruise. Most of our travel is self-booked, no groups, tours, etc. That said, we were looking to do something out of the ... Read More
I'll start by saying we travel a lot, but aren't "cruise people". We've only been on one other cruise. Most of our travel is self-booked, no groups, tours, etc. That said, we were looking to do something out of the ordinary and special for our 35th anniversary cruise, and had our sights set on exploring a few greek islands. After looking at options including cruises, flights, and water taxis, we decided on the 3-night Celestyal Olympia cruise. We figured that if it didn't agree with us, 3 nights would be OK. We liked the smattering taste-test of the islands, and we liked that two excursions were included. Embarkation was a breeze for us, but read the cabin details for possible explanation. Yes, the ship is old, but it's been refurbished quite nicely. It was perhaps a little nicer than expected. I think we had 1,000 passengers, so quite a bit under capacity. That may have helped with things for our cruise. Staff was exemplary! Every single staff member we interacted with was just so nice and helpful. There were no exceptions to this: from the Master (captain), who told us how to find our room (we didn't know who he was at the time), to the people who gave out towels as we came back aboard, 100% of them were just great. The food was better than expected. We like greek food, but were certainly not limited to that. The Texas BBQ night was superbly executed and very popular. Entertainment was OK, but we didn't really pursue that at all. We really enjoyed both of the included excursions in Turkey and Crete! A lot. Really added value for us. We did not book any other excursions. Yes, some of the island stays are very brief, but we knew that going in. They were long enough to learn where we might want to return some day. Getting off the boat for island visits seemed very organized to us, and went smoothly. Again, some of this was due to our cabin selection. We learned that people who booked excursions got off first (!), then cabins by rank/number, then people who were staying at the location (not getting back on the boat). We didn't even look at any other excursions, so I don't know what the options or cost were, but worth considering if you want to get off the boat first. Lastly, I should mention I was fighting a nasty kidney stone the entire cruise, and it really compromised my ability to enjoy food, drink, and a couple of the excursions. This is no reflection on Celestyal at all; on the contrary, the staff were very understanding and supportive of my situation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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
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
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