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Celestyal Crystal Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
214 Reviews

A Wonderful, Worldly Experience

Celestyal Crystal Cruise Review by LCBENZ

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: the Mediterranean

Just returned from a week on the Celestyal Line’s Crystal “Idyllic Aegean” cruise to the Greek Isles out of Athens. Here’s the bottom line on the entire cruise experience - with apologies to those negative reviewers from another orbit who’ve expressed reservations.

Firstly, the really spectacular:

- The multilingual cruise director, Danny, an energetic John Oliver clone, was an absolute delight and livened up the entire week;

- Formal dinners are served and presented with gastronomic flourish, and most offer a truly memorable food experience - with a distinct European flair and great service. If your vision of good cuisine is everyday American comfort food, then maybe consider a different vacation option. The executive sous chef also offers a poolside specialty breakfast (omelet station) and lunch each day (pasta; gyros; fajitas; BBQ);

- The nightly shows in the main theatre, performed by a resident troupe, were simply amazing with fabulous choreography, music, stage production, sound/lighting, and at times audience participation; we didn’t miss a single night;

- It’s a visit to another world: the 910 passengers onboard represented 34 countries, the 403 crew members 31 countries, all of which provided a chance each day to talk to someone from a different culture (all announcements were in five languages) - an invaluable life event;

- Generally, each interaction with a staff person was courteous and efficient.

The mundane:

- Yes, it’s an older ship that has been tenderly maintained. While it’s not the Ritz Carlton, accommodations are comfortable, clean, and well-serviced (thank you Jose and Ramesh). Does it look a little tired in spots? Sure, it’s a Euro-centric vacation vehicle and, thankfully, not a Disney wannabe. Consider what you really want when cruising the Greek Isles;

- Rooms are clean and fresh, with comfortable bedding. We splurged on a balcony junior suite (only about 10% of all cabins have balconies) and it was well worth the extra cost;

- Despite other comments here, the check-in, boarding, and disembarkation process was well-managed and flawless; ignore those comments from behind the curtain:

- Crews are constantly sprucing up the ship to a sparkling white outside, and the interior reminds one of a favorite living room chair: comfortable and familiar, but not flashy or exotic;

- Unlike American cruises, there is no automatic add-on gratuity cost for the week (which the crew probably never receives). We handed out cash directly to an appreciative staff.

The negatives:

- no assigned seating at dinner, but there are three available restaurants plus two buffets; (we covertly tipped one maitre’d the first night and were treated exceptionally the other six);

- the gym and casino are tiny by today’s standards, but we didn’t care in the least (we took a week off exercise);

- bottled water was not part of the beverage package;

- no free Wi-Fi. but we were able to use cellular at each destination from the ship;

- some of the free shore excursions were just mediocre and overcrowded. Consider upgrading to the other paid options at each port.

Overall, a wonderful, adult experience. For couples or groups, not kids or teens, and a chance to interact with people from around the world.


LCBENZ's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin Junior Balcony 6204

Great balcony room - only 10% of cabins have one. Comfortable bedding, couch, desk and sitting area. Two room attendants. Temp-controlled A/C. Bathroom a little dated but clean and functional. Nice bath products..


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Crete (Heraklion)

Not much to experience at Knossos. Only two possible photo ops. Could have skipped it.

Kusadasi

Not to be missed. The ruins of an ancient city of 200,000 and part of Western civilization.

Athens (Piraeus)

The port of entry with some local shopping and restaurants.

Mykonos

Good, bit could have navigated the town independently.

Panagia Tourliani Monastery

Some photo ops.

View All 8 Panagia Tourliani Monastery Reviews
Santorini

Oia village was amazing. Lots of money photo shots.

Oia Village

A don’t miss life event.

View All 255 Oia Village Reviews
Milos

The moon beach and town of Plaka are both stunning and exceptional.


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LCBENZ
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