We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. The 7 night 3 Continents tour leaving from Athens did not disappoint in any way. We'll certainly use Celestyal again.
Flying into Athens on the day of the cruise departure was a risk, but we'd seen Athens a few times before, and weren't keen to stay over. A 1 pm arrival was delayed by half an hour but we still made the 2.09 train direct to Pireaus and we were queuing to board the ship by 3.30.
The embarkation took about an hour overall. Quite busy.
Once on board we took to the ship immediately. Small and old but a great way to travel. Cabin was fine, nothing special but all you could need, and the staff were excellent.
Dining was of the turn up and be seated variety. If we wanted to sit alone we got a table for two, if we felt like company we we placed at bigger tables and every evening worked out fine.
The bars might have lacked a bit of atmosphere but they were more than adequate, inside and on deck. Bar and restaurant staff were the most pleasant we have ever encountered, the girls from Turkistan on the rear deck bar were so enthusiastic about working on this ship, compared to others they'd served on, so it looks like they were treated ok.
The weather was good to us, just one shower as we arrived in Turkey but dry by 10.00 am and sunny again.
Cairo- excursion included in the fare. 16 buses in convoy (with armed guard) to the Archaeological museum and then the Pyramids at Giza. We were about 90 mins late docking in Alexandria, so the trip was a bit rushed, but what an experience. The long bus journey is not for the faint hearted, and an obligatory shopping halt prolonged the day. Highlight of the trip.
Ashdod - we paid for the ships excursion to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. About an hour to Jerusalem, Gethsemene, Western Wall, Holy Sepulchre Church, Via Dolorosa and then on to Bethlehem. Another compulsory visit to a local outlet.
Cyprus - we needed a day off so just took the free shuttle into Limassol and had a very pleasant few hours wandering about. Plenty of tours were offered but we didn't feel the need.
Rhodes - trip to Lindos and Rhodes included in fare. We were revisiting the island after 40 years and it was interesting to see the changes. Rhodes old town was empty and we had the streets to ourselves in the late afternoon, and many shops were closed. Stunning town.
Kusadasi- Great trip to Ephesus which surely rivals Pompeii in its appeal? again, we were here 40 years ago and much more is to be seen now. Fantastic place.
Athens - Docked at 8.30 and we ignored the queuing instructions as we only had hand luggage and sneaked off the ship ahead of being called, there was no queue and we just walked off. Had we waited it might have been 11.00, as the luggage undergoes inspection before passengers are allowed to collect but we had none.
We caught the metro to Monastiriki left our cases in a bag b'n'b and has a tour of the Ancient Agora. Sunny and warm in December. Quick bite to eat in the 'flea market' area and off to the airport. Lovely.
We go inside - we can afford more cruises that way, and to be honest this cruise was so active we hardly used the cabin except to sleep.
We were only in Athens for a few hours after leaving the ship and waiting for a 6pm flight home. Easy journey to the centre from Pireus on the metro, and left our bags at a bag b'n'b near Monistiriki station. Toured the Agora which is something we'd missed on previous trips to Athens. Paid 10 euro each to rejoin the metro for the airport journey.
Ship was 90 mins late docking, so we were playing catch up all day. I believe ours was the first Celestyal visit to Cairo so it was a learning day for everyone. 16 buses had to travel under armed escort which slowed things up slightly. The city centre museum visit covered the essentials but was rushed. Lunch was provided and we had 3 stops around the Pyramid site at Giza. I had to choose between entering one of the pyramids to see the burial chamber or spending time looking around outside because time didn't allow for both. We spent an hour in a Papyrus shop on the way home and got back to the ship at 10.30 ash. Long tiring day, 6 or 7 hours on the coach, but in hindsight it was worth it. Not sure everyone would like this though.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Bus trip not included in cruise fare, quite expensive at £100 each. Saw main sights in Jerusalem, and Bethlehem all in all a good day's sightseeing. Gardens of Gethsemene, Wailing Wall, Vis Dolorosa, Church of Holy Sepulchre Mount of Olives, then on to Bethlehem which to be honest is quite a dirty run down town, wouldn't like to overnight there, but we were there for the religious iconic sights. Tour time did not allow queuing for the 'inner sanctum' elements of the churches which may disappoint some.View All 14 City Tour Reviews
Easy day for us after so much time on busses so just used the shuttle into town and wandered about. Really nice day out.
Ship's tour included Lindos and Old Town in Rhodes both of which were pretty empty due to the closed season, and we had the sights to ourselves! Very impressive and a great tour. Half day.View All 31 Rhodes Old Town Reviews
The cruise company took us to Ephesus and it was spectacular. Easily as good as Pompeii. In the 40 years since I last visited much more has been opened up. Highly recommended. We finished with lunch at a rug weavers where we had the usual hard sell but it wasn't too much of an imposition. However on return to Kusadasi we took a walk around the streets and were TORTURED by the local shopkeepers who were just far too over the top. Worse than Cairo. Completely put me off the place, will never stay here, wouldn't be a comfortable experience. Worst harassment I've ever seen.View All 257 Ephesus Reviews