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.
We had the Royal Suite. Let me say that I have seen the same cruise we took (for other 2020 dates) as an add-on to Globus tours for $50/day pp. I calculate that to be about $700 for a room. Considering that the cruise includes 3 shore excurions and all the alcohol, its a bargain (hence one should have low expectations.
In choosing a room, there was only a couple hundred dollars from inside to outside to balcony to suite to grand suite. We paid less for a week in the Grand Suite than we pay will be paying for a week on a major cruise line next year for a basic balcony. I have no regrets.
The grand suite comes with a deck that takes up half the bow. The room has a large bath, a sleeping alcove, and tons of storage, including a walk-in closet. It also came with a consierge and various other perks, including daily morning fruit, afternooon hors d' oerves, and evening desserts.
The room has been updated. Absolutely no complaints about it. Service was great.
Evening cruise up the Bosporous with narration of the palaces, mosques, etc. on the shore. A brief stop on the Asian side, so that anyone who has not been to Asia before can "set foot" on a different continent.View All 32 Bosphorus Cruise Reviews
This was pehnominal. I'm not sure what I expected, but the long drive to the region was worth the effort. These are buildings erected on monolitihic rocks. Nowadays there's a modern highway with bridges and pathways to the monasteries. The tour visits only two of the six open monasteries.View All 4 Meteora Monastery Reviews
An adequate tour of an interesting site. Not much more to say.View All 57 Knossos Palace Reviews
A great opportunity to see the white buildings with the blue domes that we all associate with the Greek Islands.View All 255 Oia Village Reviews