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.
Very nice cabin - enough space for two people, conveniently laid out and clean.
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