We selected the Idyllic Aegean 7 night cruise in early August 2019 aboard the Celestyal Crystal in an XB exterior stateroom. This was my second cruise (first was a western Caribbean cruise with Norwegian) and the dates and itinerary worked very well for our honeymoon plan.
Unfortunately, that was one of the few enjoyable things about the cruise.
First, the positives:
-(Mostly) Great itinerary with overnight stops in Mykonos and Santorini
-Our cleaning crew (Ernesto and Ayu) were very friendly and did a great job
-Bartending staff were polite and fun
-Had to email customer support to even get my e-ticket for the cruise—I’ve received literally no email correspondence from them at any point (And yes, they had the correct email on file)
-the boarding terminal had no signs or instructions for where/how to board. The ship was also very similar. We had to ask several times where to go/how to find things because of a lack of signs. This was especially true any time we tried to exit the boat at ports.
-This cruise ship is old. The room/ship furnishings, restaurant, flooring etc could use a significant update
-the rooms are TINY. The XB stateroom is a middle of the road option in terms of cost and we literally did not have enough room to put two normal sized pieces of luggage open on the floor. There was also no under the bed storage and very limited closet space which meant there was no where to store our empty suitcases. We ended up stacking them upright on top of each other so we could walk around the bed. As a 6’1” guy I banged my elbows against the shower repeatedly every morning.
-Restaurant hours have significant restrictions (2-3 hours) for each meal and stop serving dinner at 2200. Some days, they didn’t even start serving lunch until 13:30
-Two a la carte restaurants with exactly the same menu as each other and very little variation in the buffet options
-a la carte restaurant required pants for men at dinner and no flip flops but dress code was inconsistently enforced
-the whole ship is on a relatively rigid “early bed, early rise” schedule. Good luck sleeping in during the 30+ minutes of morning announcements at 8am or before every morning.
-a couple of the stops were not technically at a port and required lifeboat transport to the shore, sometimes taking 20-30 minutes or more. One stop required you to get in line prior to 8am to get a ticket and then wait for that number to be called, resulting in 2-3 hours of constant morning announcements on the intercom.
-for a ship of 1200 passengers, the pool had a max capacity of 10 people and no poolside lounge chairs. I guess it didn’t matter anyway since the boat sailed so fast some nights that water was sloshing from the pool, all over the deck while people were trying to eat dinner.
-drinks in the all inclusive package were incredibly watered down and served warm with 1-2 ice cubes. The drinks that were actually good were available to buy and with a much, much more extensive selection but it kind of takes away from the point of “all inclusive”
-the last leg from Kusadasi to Athens was quite long which required the ship to travel at a VERY fast pace and rock severely the whole night. My wife and I had never been motion sick on a cruise before but were quite queasy and unable to sleep the last night due to the rocking and ridiculously loud squeaking of the entire boat because it’s too old to even withstand that kind of motion.
-Our “honeymoon” courtesy was a printed sheet of paper on our bed the second night of the trip. They have many options to pay for champagne, extra dessert but basically no complimentary honeymoon extras on this “all-inclusive” trip
Overall you should really only consider the cruise as a very cramped place to sleep with tons of rules and restrictions and have sub par food while going place to place on a good itinerary. For almost $2000 a person, we expected more.