Celestyal Journey Review

-- / 5.0
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Review for Europe - Greek Isles Cruise on Celestyal Journey
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2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Apr 2024

I wanted to like this cruise line. I really did. Celestyal is a small independent line that specializes in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. I was hoping that their specialization would result in local knowledge and that the crew on a smaller ship would be adept at paying attention to the details. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met as well as I had hoped. It was the details that were missing, again and again.

Let's start with the ship. It's thirty years old. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's clean, well maintained, and updated with modern amenities. And to their credit, the ship was kept very clean. Everything seemed to work, at first glance. My cabin was roomy and the bed was comfortable. But spend a little time on board and you notice things aren't quite on par with the mainstream giants like Carnival, Royal, or Norwegian. The lights in my cabin, a junior suite with balcony, were compact fluorescents, the kind that flicker several times before staying on with a slight hum. Even older RC and Carnival ships have long since swapped those out for modern LED lighting. And the water pressure in the shower was barely adequate. Hot water could be had, but required a good deal of patience at certain times of day. And I hope you like firm, overstuffed pillows because no other variety is available. Our cabin steward tried to locate some, but the best he could do was to put a pillow case on a small couch pillow.

The missing details showed up all over the ship. The hot tubs felt close to pasta boiling temperature on embarkation day. After that, they were cooler than a tepid bath for the remainder of the cruise. The swimming pools were unheated. And neither of these were available for use after 8 PM. There is no way to access the daily schedule on the app, so everyone got paper schedules every day. There is no way to access the MDR on deck 7 from the forward elevators - you have to go up one or down one to the rear elevator/staircase. Karaoke in the forward lounge was only on for 75 minutes each night and used a system that is twenty years old, greatly limiting the number of songs available.

Port Reviews


This is one of the most beautiful islands on the planet, and very crowded in the summer. Visit here in May or September for best chance to avoid crowds. Also, this is a tender port, so I recommend you book the ship's excursion to avoid the line for the gondola. The excursion puts you on a bus that bypasses the gondola on the way up. Leave time for lunch on the island. Any of the restaurants with a view are pricey and worth it.


Not much need for an excursion on this beautiful island. Just rent a car, ATV, or scooter for a few hours and drive around until you find a beach you like. Beach facilities like loungers, umbrellas, bars, and restaurants don't open until May, so early birds be advised.


Ephesus is a must-visit. The carpet factory is a fun side trip as long as you are prepared to say no or bargain aggressively.

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