7 Nights Cruise 3 Continents – Celestyal Crystal
Ship – the ship is more like a ferry, very old & worn, basic and casual. We expected a very basic cruise and didn’t pack any evening clothes. Although there was the usual captain’s gala night, so there’s a dress code for that evening if participating.
Cabin – the cabin was an ok size but the bathroom was tiny and much smaller than other ships. The cabin comes with twin beds as standard and you need to call reception on-board to arrange it into a double.
Entertainment – the same in-house entertainment team each night which was really bad. We went twice and didn’t return – it’s more enjoyable looking out to sea! We usually love on-board entertainment but this was disappointing.
Dining – there are 2 dining rooms which have the same menu. Flexible dining yet had no problems with queues. There are 2 sides to the buffet. The food was bad. We expected a smaller cruise to provide better quality food but it was the worst we’ve experienced. If you have dietary requirements i.e. vegetarian, vegan you will not be catered for. The ship was not informed of our dietary requirement so the maitre’d and staff were not aware and they had no provision on-board. They just improvise when you’re on-board i.e. remove the meat from Bolognese, which then isn’t a sufficient meal. Don’t expect starters, desserts or to be able to eat anything from the buffet if you have a dietary requirement.
Drinks package – all inclusive is very limited with only 1 house red, white and beer. When booking we were informed the drinks package included everything except premium brands but this wasn’t the case. We’re used to a wide selection of wines included in drinks packages. Spirits and cocktails were as expected. A charge for bottled water and sodas as normal. Juices incur a charge.
Excursions – the excursions were awful. The tour guides gave us hours at souvenir shops which were outrageously priced, at the expense of visiting sites on the itinerary. For Cairo, we had about 30-45 minutes at the pyramids and sphinx sites. The tour was around 7am until 10pm with the majority spent driving and little food at approximately 3pm. It was not a proper tour, there were not enough headsets to go around, the guide left half the group at the museum’s security gate so we missed the tour and also left us to try to find the entrance to the inside of the pyramids. It was interesting that we were accompanied by police escort and roads were blocked off for our passage. For Israel, we did not visit the birthplace of Jesus. The tour guide would shout at us, not allow us to shop or go to the toilets, and would say we didn’t have time to visit places on the itinerary, yet allowed 2 hours for a buffet lunch and souvenir shop. The Israel tour was almost as long, around 8am until 9pm. Everyone was asked to wait in the theatre for the tours, rather than asking groups to arrive at different times as would be expected, which was very unorganised.
Check-in process – from 2pm. Very unorganised and stressful, a free for all with no queue.
Overall – we booked this cruise for the stops in Cairo and Jerusalem, which we wouldn’t have felt safe visiting on our own, and liked the idea of a 1-day trip with a cruise company. The excursions were awful and missed some of the key attractions on the itinerary. The ship, food and entertainment were poor. The price was cheap and a basic cruise was expected, however the excursions, which should have been the highlight of the trip, were awful, so it was overall disappointing. We will not cruise with Celestyal again.