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Sail Date: May 2019
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal ... Read More
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal Crystal . First the good - The staff mostly all willing to greet passengers with a smile and kind words. The room - we had an XC category room on level 4 - the room was quit spacious- the bed comfortable and while a bit dated always clean. The itinerary- one of the primary reasons we choose Celestyal was excellent. The Cuban entertainment team- one of the very best we have ever had on any ship we have been on - which is saying something as several of our previous cruises have been on lines like Disney and celebrity - vocally honestly very good . The Cruise director- Danny One word - Awesome! When have you seen a cruise director join the show to sing and dance? Shore excursions- For the amount of folks they had to take in the included excursions- they did a good job. The guides on the excursions were some of the best we have experienced Now to the klunky and quirky and not so good The bar service - unlimited drinks - do not imagine yourself in Cancun by any stretch of the imagination- they employ a method that requires staff to wait your drink- they say ‘so we can keep track of what we use’ - my guess is that the bar staff tips are tied to the amount of drinks they serve. Here is what that means - service is very unpredictable waiting 10 minutes for an espresso - not unusual. But if you learn the waiters who would not just take 8 orders it could be very prompt. Or as happened to me after waiting 15 minutes for a sparkling water they gave me someone else’s card - and I had to go back to get retrieve my card as I could never get back into my room :) Always double check that you got your card back :) The food - Unpredictable- sometimes quit good on other days just not good. I am a food snob but when the rice and chicken on American is not over cooked that’s saying something and the rice and chicken were better on my flight - good for American not sure how to explain mushy rice and dry chicken for most the week. Now we did have some really good dish’s but it was hard to know. It was midway through the week before we had what we would describe as a really good desert - kind of a first for us on any cruise. The staff - While some were great we had some who simple did not have language or competence for the task they were attempting to fill. At reception we had one amazing staff person who went out of their way to help and another who seemed to think his job was to smile and explain away the issues we were raising- in fact I’m pretty sure he straight up lied telling us the ship (1200 capacity) was at 100 percent and later to discover it was at 701? On another occasion when trying to share about a really bad tender experience waiting for over an hour - he told us the tender was every half hour. Again either a language or competence. The smell of diesel- Was present in the dining room almost every evening and in our room daily - I struggled with nasal congestion until I got off the ship Disembarkation- In over a dozen cruises on multiple lines all over the world I was quit surprised by how klunky and long it took - actually I’ve never taken this long to disembark To repeat? I am pretty unsure if I would repeat with Celestyal now that other major lines are picking similar itineraries. Also we are pretty sure we won’t be repeating Greece - it overall did not fully live up to the hype. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was ... Read More
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was a hassle getting refund. Shore excursions said they couldn't credit our charge card immediately, yet they were able to bill charge card immediately for a substitute trip. Was told to expect refund 7-10 days post cruise. Didn't happen so I called and was told we were expected to go through our travel agent for refund, even though we booked the shore excursions directly on Celestyal website. Money has now been refunded, but a lot more hassle than necessary. Food and entertainment were good. Some of the shore excursions were a bit disorganized, but it was the first cruise of the season. Our bathroom smelled bad from the start of cruise and constantly leaked water under the sill of the shower, flooding the bathroom. We told the room steward. It was never fixed during the cruise. We should have been moved to another cabin since the cruise was not fully booked. I am rating shore excursions as poor due to management, even though most of the excursions themselves were OK. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
While there were many things I enjoyed about the cruise, there were a number of major problems. The main reason I was going to Cuba was to experience Havana. I was expecting to have 2 days in Havana. When I asked in advance when I could ... Read More
While there were many things I enjoyed about the cruise, there were a number of major problems. The main reason I was going to Cuba was to experience Havana. I was expecting to have 2 days in Havana. When I asked in advance when I could get on the ship, I was told a few times that I would be able to board the ship around 1pm. I arrived early on Monday in Havana, and was then told that we could not get on the ship, and not told why. I was sent to lunch and then had to wait around until we could get on the ship that night because the ship was not allowed to dock at the port. I lost a full day of exploring Havana and enjoying the ship. The second day we had to get up at 6:15am to leave the ship early and be on a bus tour until 8:30pm. I thought there was a typo on the schedule, but, no, we really had to disembark very early. Our ship was bumped off the dock for a larger vessel. These things happen but I was also told that they knew about this problem at least 10 days prior to my arrival. We had to out until 8:30 at night, when we were allowed back on the ship. While we saw a lot of sites, it was not an enjoyable day. I booked this cruise a little over a week in advance, so at the time of my booking the company knew this was an issue. Had I know this was going to happen, I would not have booked this trip, or would have booked at a different time. I arrived on the ship and was told the wifi was not working. I was also then told that they knew the wifi was down a few days before I arrived. Again, had I known in advance that this was a problem, I would have made arrangements for being totally out of communication before arriving on the ship. The food was surprisingly mediocre, the wine very bad, and the bartenders did not know how to make mixed drinks. The Pros: The staff on the ship was wonderful, and the educational program was excellent. The best part of the whole ship experience was Dr.Jorge Gonzalez Arocha, PhD. I attended all his lectures. He was entertaining and very knowledgeable. Quite a treat. I loved Cuba and am eager to go back to that island. These big issues impacted my overall experience on this vacation. I expected that the cruise line would have offered something to make up for all these inconveniences -but nothing was offered. The ship was less than half full but no upgrades were given. I also wrote to the company's customer service but never heard back. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this trip for the experience of cruising around Cuba, enjoying days at sea and admiring the coastline. On arrival in Montego Bay, men started grabbing bags as they were off loaded from the bus before we could get off. The company ... Read More
We chose this trip for the experience of cruising around Cuba, enjoying days at sea and admiring the coastline. On arrival in Montego Bay, men started grabbing bags as they were off loaded from the bus before we could get off. The company did not send out baggage tags ahead of time, we were to get them at the dock. It was scary and frustrating as these men had no identification, no shirts or caps to indicate they were legitimate. After sailing from the first port, Santiago de Cuba, we were advised we had been redirected to Cienfuegos rather than sailing to Havana. We had to endure a 3 1/2 hour bus ride in each direction to visit Havana and this eliminated any free time that the schedule overnight stay would have provided. It was a very long day. The people joining the ship in Havana had a 4 hour bus ride from the airport. We were told this was necessary due to technical difficulties in the port, then it was due to high winds. On our arrival in Havana the MSC Opera was docked and when she left at the end of the day, another vessel pulled in. We believe we were bumped to accommodate a larger vessel that paid more. We spent 4 days at anchor or docked in Cienfuegos, reducing out experience to one of a resort rather than a cruise. It would seem that Cuba is not ready for the influx of vessels interested in visiting Havana. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise because it offered us Americans the chance to see Cuba. We departed from Montego Bay, Jamaica and because we had been to Jamaica before and didn't care for it we didn't do any exploring. The check-in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered us Americans the chance to see Cuba. We departed from Montego Bay, Jamaica and because we had been to Jamaica before and didn't care for it we didn't do any exploring. The check-in process to get on the ship was very efficient and easy and our stateroom was ready for us as soon as we got on board. In fact when we reached our stateroom our luggage was already there. Our cabin service was top notch. The food was just okay, nothing special but again our service was top notch. Due to weather the port of Havana was closed but the ship bent over backwards to bus us into Havana. They also included lunches on the tours. We were supposed to have a beach day at Punta Frances but that was also cancelled which didn't bother us because it didn't look like there was anything to do there. Instead they added Trinidad as a stop which was much better and more interesting. Saw one show and entertainment was fabulous. Disembarkation went smoothly. At the disembarkation meeting we were told we had to leave the ship at 9 am, go through Jamaican immigration, claim our bags, then we could return to the ship, have lunch and lounge until we had to leave for the airport. (Our flight wasn't until 5 pm) We went to the immigration desk, they stamped our documents and then the authories said since our documents were stamped we could not return to the ship. We then went to the airport at 9:30 am but our airline counter didn't open until 2 pm and we had bags to check so we had to sit in the front of the airport on hard metal chairs for 4 hours. Once we got through security the airport was very comfortable with lots of shopping and restaurants. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise line because we are Americans wanting to visit Cuba and at the time this was our best choice. Ship is old, windows were dirty, crew not helpful and unfriendly. Most unfriendly crew we have had in a dozen cruises. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because we are Americans wanting to visit Cuba and at the time this was our best choice. Ship is old, windows were dirty, crew not helpful and unfriendly. Most unfriendly crew we have had in a dozen cruises. I want to compliment the house keeping crew, they were extremely friendly and accommodating. Food was good considering only having one restaurant. Our mini suite was comfortable and large but wish we had booked a balcony room instead. Nightly entertainment was very good for size of ship. Cons are the use of plastic bottles every time you wanted water, surely they can have a more environmentally friendly way to serve water. The card swiping system is most irritating and dangerous system since the cards have your cabin number on them. Our cruise destination was modified and we were not able to visit Isla de Juventud. Instead of returning to Havana we were bused to Havana from Cienfuegos. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Embarkation was good but not enough signs directing you to the check-in desk or to the ship (MSC was also docked here and their signs were everywhere which made it a little confusing). Disembarkation was very smooth. The cabin was ... Read More
Embarkation was good but not enough signs directing you to the check-in desk or to the ship (MSC was also docked here and their signs were everywhere which made it a little confusing). Disembarkation was very smooth. The cabin was clean and good size but not enough room to put your luggage. The bed was comfortable. The toiletries were good. The towels were OK, a little coarse. Housekeeping was good and helpful. The public area was clean but the decor and furniture were dated and updates are needed. There was only one pool and was very small. The poolside seating was good but the floor was often wet and slippery. The staff at the bar, the lounge and the dining room was friendly and attentive. The drinks were good and they did not cheap out on the alcohol. Good selection in their drink menu. The food at the buffet was good but the selection was limited. The breakfast choices was the same everyday (pretty boring). The food at the dining room was average and not enough choices to choose from. The desserts were below average. There were 2 restaurants but only one was opened. The gym was very small with a just a few equipment. The running/walking track was narrow and short and part of it usually closed. The entertainment was above average. The director was very energetic and entertaining. The on broad activities were average but the staff was pleasant and fun. The staff at the reception was helpful but unfortunately we had 2 unpleasant incidences with 2 of their staff (one of them got offended when we told him he gave us wrong information. The other one blamed and argued with us on the port entry issue) The ports and shore excursions were good. The local guides were very knowledgeable. Unfortunately the ship was not allowed to stop at one of the ports as per the itinerary (Isle of Youth or Punta Francis). Even though they knew about this in advance, they did not make any plans (e.g. stop at other ports) and we just stayed longer in Havana (got quite disappointed). We were party of 4 with no children. Our overall experience was good. We enjoyed mingling with the staff and some fellow travelers, their all inclusive drinks and shore excursions. We would like to try their Greece cruise. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
The first part of this was posted on the message boards. I've added many more details here (scroll down to "more observations") Well unfortunately for us, Fidel died the night before we arrived in Cuba, which totally ... Read More
The first part of this was posted on the message boards. I've added many more details here (scroll down to "more observations") Well unfortunately for us, Fidel died the night before we arrived in Cuba, which totally altered the tone of the entire trip. All the music was cancelled on shore, and numerous restaurants and bars were shuttered. The country was in mourning for 9 days so our shore excursions had to be revised in many instances. For example we couldn't get anywhere near Revolutionary Square in Havana due to Fidel's ashes there, with thousands of people lined up to sign the book and write their last respects. As for Celestyal Crystal itself, a couple of really big changes in the itinerary, which they relayed to us at the last possible minute. We were supposed to sail out of Havana on the second day at 5pm, but this was changed to 1pm, so we lost the afternoon there. Not sure where the blame lies, but as we sailed out of the harbor, we passed an MSC ship, waiting to take our berth, so someone (harbor master? Celestyal?) screwed up with the port schedule. Then we were told that we wouldn't be stopping at Port Francis, due to the govt. banning ships from anchoring on the coral. We learned that it was also cancelled (again at the last minute) the week before. So I suggest you leave the snorkel equipment at home and save your space for more clothing in your suitcase. I'd be surprised if the Govt is going to reverse this policy, and I'm curious to see how long it'll take Celestyal to delete it from the itinerary. Food left a lot to be desired. They either need to buy sharper steak knives, or quit putting any kind of beef on the menu. Multiple disappointments with overcooked, tough meat. And cook the pork please! We did the buffet mostly for lunch and loaded up on salads. Would have loved a nice cup of soup, but they rarely had hot soups (cold cucumber, or chilled mango etc). They did have hot consomme a couple of times which we doctored up with a few croutons from the salad bar. Check out by the pool for a cooking station. Omelets and french toast out there for breakfast; variety of stuff for lunch, like tacos etc. We didn't find it until the 3rd day on board. Dining room on the 5th deck was closed due to the ship having less than 800 passengers. All inclusive drink package (alcohol) was absolutely worth getting. No need to upgrade to the premium package. Included were Absolut, Johnnie Walker Red, Drambuie, Brandy, Frozen drinks, etc. House wine was actually good. You can't just walk up to any bar and order a drink; you have to order from the wait staff...couldn't figure out why this was. The staff (with the exception of the front desk people who had quite the attitude) were fantastic, from the wait staff to the room stewards. The entertainers were very good, however, it was the same people every single night and it was somewhat repetitive after awhile. Cruise director Danny was great, but hearing the same speech in 4 or 5 languages is time-consuming and annoying: English, German, French, Spanish. Wifi was surprisingly good, best wherever you have a Cisco router mounted on the wall. Look for them. We took 3 hrs for $18, which was plenty for us to check email etc. Ship interior is a little worn, she's quite old after all, but she sails beautifully. MORE OBSERVATIONS: Dining: No food available between meals, although there is a menu in the lounges which has items (burgers, pizza etc) you can PAY for, but not sure if you can order all the time. Main dining room: No more assigned seatings with specific times. However it is not conducive to open seating. It has mostly large rectangular tables seating 8+ people and they don't try to seat you with people who speak your language. They do have limited tables for 2, which you can request, however you may have to wait quite awhile to be seated. (Worth the wait in my opinion...they do let you sit in the adjoining Eros lounge and will call you). The main dining room also features items you can pay for: steak, lobster tails, etc. We did have the tails and they were excellent; $18 for one large tail. As I said above, the quality of food on the regular menu left a lot to be desired. Meats all very over cooked (lamb, beef) except for pork, which was nearly raw. Risotto was so undercooked it actually crunched! Waiters limited English doesn't help. We asked one to translate the description of the risotto, and he said it was with asparagus ...it turned out to be broccoli. At the buffet, the bacon started out VERY undercooked the first day; after that it was so overcooked you could barely chew it (too many times reheating perhaps?). Cabin: I can only comment on ours which was a Cat. XC on the 3rd deck. The window was a nice size, and nearly took up the entire outer wall....this will give you an idea of how NARROW this cabin was. A bed on either side against the wall with small night stand between them. Bed lamps were mounted so low on the wall next to the bed, that everytime you turned over during the night, you're arm would smack the lampshade (making so much noise it woke you up). Ridiculous set-up. Beds were VERY narrow and had a permanent gulley in the center, which you sort of fell into and stayed there for the whole night. Not enough room under the bed to stow a full size piece of luggage, but there were 2 big closets and you could stand the suitcase upright in one and thankfully it fit just fine (after moving the life vests elsewhere). Very limited drawer space. Safe deposit box easy to use and the fridge worked well (no mini bar in ours). Be aware that the bottles of water in the room are NOT included in the drink packages..if you use, you pay. Better to order your bottled water at the bar and stock up your room. There is only one outlet located over the desk. Bring a gang plug if you need to charge more than one item. The hair dryer is also here but uses a different plug, however they have screwed the wire onto the top of the desk so you can't steal it (not that you'd want to). Whether you use it or not, it takes up desk space all the time. A wall-mount would have made more sense. Don't plan on watching much TV. Limited channel selection and for news, only CNN with a lot of rerun segments. They should upgrade the ship map....the size of the ship icon on the screen makes it look like it's as big as the Isle of Youth, so it's hard to tell exactly where you actually are. The video on the live web-cam channel is very poor quality. Bathroom: On the plus side, there are lots of shelves for storage and a hand-held shower with a strong spray and ample hot water. However, the shower curtain was very worn with many of the top clips missing, making it easy to flood the whole bathroom floor. Try to organize your curtain as best as you can before turning on the water. We used a lot of towels soaking up the floods. They do supply liquid soap and shampoo dispensers. Be aware that the tiles in the shower become very slippery once the soap hits. By the way, we never had an issue with the tissue in the toilets. Pool: A small pool is located on the 8th deck completely surrounded by tables and chairs under a retractable roof, which was never opened all the way, in spite of great weather. The lounges were all located on the 9th sundeck. So when you got hot sitting in your lounge chair, you had to take the elevator down a deck to take a dip, and then go back up to lay out in the sun. The hot tub is located on the 5th deck aft.....also surrounded by tables and chairs, no lounges. This area is partially under a roof, so there's lots of shade (for all those people getting skin cancer....and there are many). The portside half is smoking, and starboard is non. There's a small bar (Thalassa) where you can order a cup of coffee early in the morning and sit and enjoy the fresh air. They did have danish/muffins at the bar sometimes as well. This was our favorite place to sit on the ship; very quiet and relaxing and the hot tub was usually empty. Public Areas: The theater (called the Muses Lounge) is very attractive but very impractical. Visibility from most of the seating is terrible and if anyone is in front of you, you can't see the stage. Also, there are not nearly enough seats. Our sailing had under 800 people and it could never accommodate all of them....since they only had one show per night (at 9pm). Many people left when they couldn't find a seat. There is a balcony, also laid out so that only the front row can see the stage. The seats behind were elevated, but not enough to be able to see over the heads of the first row, so this section was always vacant. As is the case with the theatre seats and tables, the ones in the Eros lounge are also jammed packed together with no aisle space once people pull the chairs out and sit down, making it impossible for the wait staff to take drink orders. Less bulky furniture might be the answer. Looking for the Library? It's a tiny room stuck in the corner of the "conference center" on Deck 8. If you are German-speaking you're in luck....tons of books for you. Other languages are there as well....Spanish, French, Greek, etc with quite a few books. If you're English speaking you'd better load up your iPad or Kindle because there are very few choices available. Elevators are very slow, and there are only 4 of them. They also have weight limits and won't move if you're over (and it doesn't take very many bodies to tip the scale). If you're fit, the stairs are much faster. Especially when there is one out of order, which happened quite frequently. Public announcements are not everywhere. Over 100 people were sitting in the Eros lounge waiting to be called for disembarkation, and never heard the announcements, and many had a plane to catch! In spite of all the above criticism, we really enjoyed the ship and especially the crew (from a multitude of countries), who bent over backwards to give you good service. We would probably sail her again....hopefully when no one in Cuba dies and the music is playing once again in this beautiful country. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose this cruise because we felt it was the best way to see multiple Greek islands with our limited time in Greece. Booking had several computer glitches, but customer service responded promptly. Embarkation was smooth, just as ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we felt it was the best way to see multiple Greek islands with our limited time in Greece. Booking had several computer glitches, but customer service responded promptly. Embarkation was smooth, just as other reviewers wrote. Easiest ever for a cruise. You do leave your passports ( and you do get them back at them back at the end of the cruise), but I agree it makes me nervous. Once you get to your cabin, you bags are already there! Wow! We upgraded to a suite. This was 3x the price of the cheaper interior cabins. Not worth it! Overpriced! And you get nothing extra! no free water in your room, no free room service, no get off ship first for excursions, nothing except a larger room with a balcony that you will probably be too busy or too tired to enjoy. Food was good. Some days better than others. Never really hot always just warm. There was variety and I enjoyed trying new things. Just wish food was hot. They make you sit with other people in the dining room. Why? They did try to group people by preferred language, but if you asked to sit with just your party, you were told no! Other options for food were often not open so, you had no choice. Actually, we enjoyed sitting with people who did not speak our language, they were still friendly and they enjoyed their family and conversation and we enjoyed ours so, it worked out. I even learned a few words in new language. Did not attend most of shows except the one day we were not too tired because our excursion ended at 5pm and we were at sea the rest of the night. People smoked in the cabins and in non designated area on the ship, I did not see anyone doing anything about that. But, you ask to sit alone or just your spouse and they tell you "no". At times they were nothing open for food because I missed the dining room coming back from an excursion and I had to PAY for food. Excursions: Poor announcements, sometimes none. and if you are not part of a group, be prepared to be called to disembark ship last. Every day. The staff are by far some of the friendliest. We had nothing but positive interactions. Need more times for dining. Despite all the above, I would sail again. It was a large ship, friendly staff and easy to get around and see the different islands. But, I would stay in an interior or ocean view cabin and use my extra funds for shopping and excursions. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Did deceide for this cruise because of the destinations (Greek Islands Mykonos, Santorin, Simi, Chios, Crete, Istanbul and Kusadasi - Ephesus). Did know that the ship was a bit outdated and could coop with that. - Cabin was ok, but ... Read More
Did deceide for this cruise because of the destinations (Greek Islands Mykonos, Santorin, Simi, Chios, Crete, Istanbul and Kusadasi - Ephesus). Did know that the ship was a bit outdated and could coop with that. - Cabin was ok, but bath room a bit small and aged. Cleaning staff did a great job. - Service in the Service Restaurant (not Buffet Rest.), Bars was very good. Reception people where a bit cool. - Entertainment and shows where ok (opinion of myself as a german !). - Small covered pool, surrounded by tables (part of buffet restaurant) not too nice. - Expensive wellness area. Gym equipment could be better. - Enough room to relax away from bars. Not good: - Safety drill after embarkation in Rhodes was a joke!!!! It took place in the show lounge. How to wear the life west and were to find the meeting spots was all! No assembly at the dedicated areas, no calling of names. - Pollution!!!!!! Everytime after leaving the harbours and switching to cruide oil it did rain "Tar - Flakes" on the rear decks. Not to mention the a mount of smoke and Co2 all over. Even the air con did blow smoke into the cabin. - The offer of the selfservice buffet was below average. Very little taste and vegetables out of cans. Breakfast buffet was acceptable. Restaurant feeling was like in a canteen. We had always dinner in the service restaurant which was quite good incl. the staff. - We took the optional "Drink Package with alcohol". Was a bit disappointing as only one choice of red/white (by the glas) house vine was included as well as just standard drinks/cocktails. No fresh juices and "Cocktails of the day" included. Water in the cabin one had to pay for. - We only booked one excursion, Ephesus. With 68 € p. person expensive; however we had a guide and an exciting tour. But, after 1 1/2 hours sightseeing we ended up in a carpet store and have been bored by a sales event. A nightmare!!! 1 1/2 hours of suffering. Paying for the very interesting Ephus excursion is ok but sponsering a carpet dealer is a shame! Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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