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Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I had never visited the Greek islands. We only had 3-4 days to spare, so I chose the Iconic Aegean cruise. I've seen some negative reviews of Celestyal Olympia, but we had a great time. The food was good, the service was excellent, and the staff were pleasant, attentive and efficient. We chose a suite and we had ample space. The bed was comfortable and the AC functioned perfectly. We experienced some difficulty with the toilet and the maintenance crew came immediately, worked hard and remained until they had fixed the problem, which turned out to be a stuck air valve. The after dinner shows were a bit cheesy and Celestyal could do a little better in terms of the calibre of their artistes, but the days were so packed with activities that it didn't matter. All in all it was a wonderful cruise. Everything worked on the boat and it was clean, modern and well outfitted. There was no musty odour or unpleasant smell. Boarding and disembarkation was smooth and our luggage came off and on the boat with no problems. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My husband and I, and 2 other couples, chose this ship because we wanted a small ship. It was perfect in size...getting on and off ship was easy and quick. We were in cabin 240 which is at the very end of the hall. It proved to be a ... Read More
My husband and I, and 2 other couples, chose this ship because we wanted a small ship. It was perfect in size...getting on and off ship was easy and quick. We were in cabin 240 which is at the very end of the hall. It proved to be a great room in the sense that there wasn't much foot traffic outside our door. The cabin had more than enough storage cabinets and plenty of under bed storage for suitcases. Bathroom had a great shower and all amenities were good. My complaint about this ship is the last night before disembarking, they seemed to shut off all A/C. It wasn't just our cabin, but everyone else's, too. Don't know what the deal was, but our final night on board was sleepless...very hot. The gym was small, but adequate with a couple tread mills, 1 elliptical machine, 1 stationary bike and lots of free weights. None of us had a bad meal and all dinners exceeded our expectation. Cabin attendants were very good and all the staff was very helpful and kind. ENTERTAINMENT: Windstar needs to work on this aspect. Most of the music played outside around the bar and deck area was so old and tired...Jackson 5 genre. It seemed like our party ages 55-60 were the youngsters, and maybe the majority who appeared to be 70's and 80's enjoy that era of music. We would've enjoyed more current music. Our cruise had a pianist and singer that performed most evenings, but the room was small with low ceilings so the music was too loud. We always left for areas that we could converse. Our party of 6 did not go on any Windstar excursions because we found better value by booking private tours on our own. All in all, we loved the ship and would consider going again based on the service we received and the small ship size. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major ... Read More
We wanted a short cruise at the end of our two week vacation in Greece. This one fit the bill perfectly. First, I am NOT a cruiser. However, as the fates would have it, I ended up on three cruises this year. The first two were on major cruise lines, the third on Celestyal. The Celestyal cruise gets my prize for least annoying cruise. First, the ship is run like a finely tuned machine, and when you have so much to do in a short period of time, it is a good thing that it is. The staff were incredibly accommodating and friendly, unlike my first two cruises. These people seem to really like their jobs! The ship itself was beautiful in an awesome retro kind of way. It was meticulously maintained and the lounges were beautiful. They seemed to have restored the perfect retro vibe. Meal service was a well executed military operation as were the frequent disembarkations. It is not a small task to get all these people on and off that ship, usually twice per day. The food was a-ok, not a foodie paradise, but serviceable with nice variety and two enjoyable bbq's on the pool deck. The number of ports visited was truly remarkable, but it really was nothing more than getting a taste of the islands. Now we know where we want to spend more time. We had one whole day in Rhodes, which was blissful because we finally got to enjoy some beach time -- something we did not get in the other ports. The two included excursions were excellent. In other ports we simply rented a car for a couple of hours and got a feel for the islands. Another wonderful aspect of this cruise is that there is not a constant push to spend, spend, spend. The included drinks were great. We only ordered a few extras on the trip -- a much needed brow wax, a couple of smoothies for the kid, and a couple of knick-knacks. Our tab at the end of the cruise was around $39. On our other cruises we were greeted every morning with a stack of coupons and advertisements for art work, jewelry sales, photo packages, and on and on and on. There was none of that here. Everyone on the ship was genuinely concerned with our comfort and ease. We paid for the cruise and that was that. If you can manage the frenetic pace of frequent disembarkations and we want to see many places, this is a great option. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
20+cruises with thomson,1st on discovery great ship ,staff,and entertainment, one gripe Broadway lounge next to live room the noise could be heard in the atrium we're a singer was trying to perform right next door to the live room ,3 ... Read More
20+cruises with thomson,1st on discovery great ship ,staff,and entertainment, one gripe Broadway lounge next to live room the noise could be heard in the atrium we're a singer was trying to perform right next door to the live room ,3 venues right next to each other crazy!.the slug and lettuce pub was only used for quizzes and sometimes a group, good bar to meet and have a talk with people instead of daft quizzes and noise,perfect for background music and relax. Plus disappointed with no group or singer on stage in the afternoons when people get back on the ship ,we used to look forward to hear them on deck before the afternoon trivia questions. All in all great time had by all nearly!we must mention our room cleaners Rhea and Eddi very polite and always smiling made everyday a happy one thanks to them and all the bar staff and waiters for there hard work .corfu airport is a joke,waiting outside in a queue about 100 yards long in the heat waiting to put our cases in to the check out,sorry but not much help or info from tui staff.the much liked crew show was pathetic the backgroud pictures of the singer/artist took longer than the person singing,we are all for a bit of background on their lives but come on! maybe thats why there was only 4 crew members chose to sing,usually they put on a great show and receive the loadest cheers of the night.i hope this is a fair review and we will pick marella cruises again, thanks again to all the staff for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Wanted a smaller ship for the Greek Isles. The crew was great. The bar service was slow. They needed more bar staff. Meals were adequate. Went to the Crystal Restaurant our last night and my husband and I enjoyed a delicious meal on ... Read More
Wanted a smaller ship for the Greek Isles. The crew was great. The bar service was slow. They needed more bar staff. Meals were adequate. Went to the Crystal Restaurant our last night and my husband and I enjoyed a delicious meal on the deck. Also, the dinner seafood bar b que on deck was excellent. All excursions and guides were good, well organized and informative. Our room 211 was noisy from engine. More then a hum. The room was well organized and suitcases were stored under bed. I would not choose this ship again because the engine noise at night was too loud. See cabin review below for more details. Motor Coaches were comfortable. Enjoyed the Acropolis and Museum Tour when we disembarked. Athens was fun and Hotel Grand Bretagne was excellent. Enjoyed walking from hotel, view from our balcony of Parliament, the Square, the Acropolis. Weather was perfect. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We sailed on Sirena May 29, 2019 out of Venice. Although Sirena did an overnight in Venice, our flight didn't arrive until late afternoon. I used Oceania for my air. They booked us through Copenhagen from Boston with a five hour ... Read More
We sailed on Sirena May 29, 2019 out of Venice. Although Sirena did an overnight in Venice, our flight didn't arrive until late afternoon. I used Oceania for my air. They booked us through Copenhagen from Boston with a five hour wait for our flight to Venice. The next day the ship departed at 3:00pm. Useless port unless you arrive at least a day early. The ship just finished a total renovation. I was not impressed. It did not look elegant. The cabin (concierge) was extremely small. No afternoon appetizers. The luggage couldn't fit under the beds so we had to deal with it the entire time in the cabin. One could barely walk by the bottom of the beds. I also thought concierge was an upgrade from a balcony. I honestly did not feel there was any difference between balcony and concierge. Nothing special. As a matter of fact, I left a precious hand painted piece of artwork on the desk upon disembarkation. Upon arrival home, I immediately contacted Oceania via email as there was no phone number provided for this. From guest services I received a response that they checked with the vessel's Concierge, Chief Housekeeper and the Reception Desk, however, the artwork was not found nor returned to lost and found. I asked that they talk with the cabin steward as he would have found it and he would be able to tell them what he did with it. Oceania has not responded. Very disappointed with their response. We made excursion reservations prior to embarking on the cruise. Upon arrival in our cabin there was a letter informing us that one of the excursions was cancelled. We visited with the excursion staff but the new excursions we chose were unavailable and we were sent back to our cabin to choose additional choices. Many of our fellow cruisers were affected with cancelled excursions. We spent more time arranging new excursions than enjoying the cruise. We were so looking forward to the Greek Islands but the ports were so crowded you could not move on the islands. The highlight of this cruise was the food. They do an exceptional job in all the restaurants. One feels very special. The entertainment was below par when compared with larger cruise lines. There were very few children onboard. Having been on Oceania before, and being so impressed with the line, I talked a girlfriend into this cruise. It was an embarrassment for me. I spoke so highly of Oceania to her prior to the cruise. I am sorry to say I would not cruise with Oceania again. There were too many problems to call this a vacation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked this island cruise long in advance. The highlight is a candle light dinner in the ancient library of Ephasis. Violin quartet, lovely meal under the stars. This was exceptional and only Windstar had the relationship with the ... Read More
Booked this island cruise long in advance. The highlight is a candle light dinner in the ancient library of Ephasis. Violin quartet, lovely meal under the stars. This was exceptional and only Windstar had the relationship with the Turkish ministry of culture to do this event. All the locations were wonderful. Excursions well managed and ship processes very smooth with a well led crew. The evening meals were fabulous with variety and a great selection. Breakfasts and lunches were well done; a good selection of buffet items in each. Embarkation and debarkation procedures were efficient. Easy to do with only 136 pax. They will push for you to buy the alcoholic drink package. With the average cost of drinks about 9$, you'll need to personally drink about 6 beers/wines per day. With the bigger mixed drink package as well, you'll need to have about 8-9 drinks a day. They will add on a 15% service charge on top of the cited package prices. We found it not worthwhile to buy a package for how much we drink. The top line wifi package is $350. The wifi reception in the cabin is poor and even on deck you shouldn't expect good bandwidth for much more than email or a basic news read. We cancelled after a day and they accommodated our request with a refund. This is still a solid value cruise. You get to meet a lot of folks but it's never crowded. Don't expect big shows or entertainment. There was one capable piano/singer duo on the cruise each night and a Cretan Greek dance group one night in Agios Nikolaous that was excellent. The service was personal and attentive from the bar to the dining room to the cabin. The Captain and senior officer in charge of "Hotel services", essentially all the guest interactions, were involved and interacted well with both pax and crew. We've been to Greece a lot; even lived there for a while and this cruise was a very fine way to visit Athens and the islands. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Moderate to smaller ship and that was a positive. Rome as embark Location and itinerary were reasons for our selection and price seemed fair. Reputation of Holland America was good per friends but cruise turned out to be boring. AARP had ... Read More
Moderate to smaller ship and that was a positive. Rome as embark Location and itinerary were reasons for our selection and price seemed fair. Reputation of Holland America was good per friends but cruise turned out to be boring. AARP had written a favorable review about this particular cruise. Excursions were good, car rentals on two occasions went smoothly but onboard no beverages beyond tea and lemonade and water - so this got very old. Corking fee if you brought back wine or beer. No WiFi either. We ended up paying so we could post pics and updates with family. Ship was dated in its decor but very clean. Just wasn’t thrilled with anything onboard. Majority of cruisers were over fifty with little diversity. In the future I would seek more educational and hands on programs onboard. That came only on the excursions which are add ons and not Holland America run. Most had similar backgrounds and truthfully a more broad range of travelers would have made the cruise better. Maybe two children onboard. Will try another cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Looking for tremendously attentive hospitality and service levels? Celestyal Olympia gets 6 Stars out of 5! The service, the kindness, the attitudes of the staff were A-1 throughout the cruise. This was a condensed time frame to see 6 ... Read More
Looking for tremendously attentive hospitality and service levels? Celestyal Olympia gets 6 Stars out of 5! The service, the kindness, the attitudes of the staff were A-1 throughout the cruise. This was a condensed time frame to see 6 islands, with 2 in some days. That was both good and bad as it was a great introduction to many of the Cyclades, but not as much time as one might have wanted in each. A 7 day cruise would take care of that, but we chose the shorter and figured we would return to the shorter locations like Mykonos. The cabins were older and smaller but as a single, the window cabin worked great for me. Space worked fine but with 2 persons, probably would not. Bought the upgrade XB Deck 6 cabin 6042, convenient to Deck 5 (shows, gatherings prior to disembark, etc) and 4 (dining) where much took place. Cabin stewards were wonderful. The unlimited drink package was included and such fun as so many bars to choose from, including the 360 degree views from the Horizon Bar up top on Deck 12. It was gorgeous night and day, pulling into or out of ports. The evening shows were fine. A young Cuban dance team worked hard to give us nice shows, but did not attend all of them. We were in ports 3 nights so did not get to experience more than one dinner at the ala carte dinner restaurant, but it was very good. Also was confused about a special 36Euro dinner as thought it was the ala carte option til nearly the end of the cruise. Service just couldn't be better and nearly always with a smile. Breakfasts there were buffet but added items and cappucinos were easily ordered with the drink pass. Could have done the pool deck also but it was chilly and windy in mid May. Disembarkations were handled efficiently, though disliked having to go to the lounge an hour early many days to get the tickets to get off in group #1 to have time on land if not on a tour sold by the ship. That was not welcomed and should be done differently. Overall, I loved this ship. Have been on many cruises, but rarely do you find the unique hospitality of the Greeks thoroughly emphasized by what must be the training by Celeystral to staff from many parts of the world. Tips were already included so that was even better. They were doing their jobs and hopefully were all rewarded well. Enjoyed the Greek cooking class, the variety of locations on the ship to go, the shops and most of the time, the food. It felt rather sad to leave this Happy Ship and get off in Athens. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director ... Read More
We are Americans in our 50s. We travel a lot, but this was our first ever cruise. I really liked our 7-day cruise of the Aegean. The itinerary was great, we liked the ship, and the people working onboard were great. Our cruise director Danny was excellent. I am giving my review to tell readers what I would have found useful to know, and to also provide constructive feedback to Celestyal since I see they sometimes read this site. ITINERARY: First I want to say that the itinerary is extremely well thought out, especially the departure times from each island. You hear about cruisers having to rush back to their ship for concern they might miss the sailing. Not so with the Crystal. Our departure time from Mykonos was not until 7am the next morning, so people could stay out partying all night if they wanted. Departure times from Milos and Santorini were at midnight, so you could spend as much time sightseeing as you wanted, watch the sunset, have dinner in a restaurant on shore, and not be at all concerned about getting back to the ship on time. GETTING ON AND OFF THE SHIP: I had heard from people cruising larger ships that getting off the boat can be tedious. I’d also heard that if you don’t buy one of the ship’s excursions, it will be a problem getting off quickly. Not so with the Crystal. At four of the six ports we visited – Athens, Mykonos, Crete and Kusadasi – the boat pulls up to the dock and you simply walk off a gangplank. No issues getting off the ship when you want. At Santorini and Milos you have to use tenders (small boats that take you to and from shore). On the first day at Santorini was the included excursion for everyone, so you just went with your assigned group, took the next tender, and then got on the bus for your tour. On the second day at Santorini, you just got on a tender whenever you wanted. They were every half hour. And since the boat didn’t leave until midnight, there was absolutely zero worry about getting back in time. We had all the time we wanted in Santorini. On Milos we did NOT purchase an excursion, so had to get a tender ticket and wait for the booked excursions to leave first. In the end, we waited maybe half an hour to have our ticket number called to take the tender. And since the Crystal did not leave Milos until midnight, we had all the time we wanted on Milos. Absolutely no concern about rushing back. CABIN: I initially booked an interior cabin as I didn’t think I would care much about whether I had a view. However I later paid to upgrade to an exterior cabin in order to get a more space. (The website lists the square meters for every type of cabin.) However I was very glad I had changed to a windowed cabin, as I discovered I was prone to a touch of motion sickness the first few days. Looking out a window at the horizon is especially helpful with motion sickness, so I was glad I paid the extra money to have one. Also I really did appreciate the extra space. Our cabin stewardess Victoria was really sweet, constantly cleaning our room, and always greeting us so cheerfully when we got up in the morning and when we returned from excursions in the afternoon. She also made us adorable towel animals in the evening. I think I am pretty sensitive to smells but only noticed diesel fumes when outside on the lower decks. I did not notice any diesel smell inside our midship cabin on deck 4. There was sometimes a faint sewer odor coming out of the floor drain in our bathroom, but fortunately our bedroom did not have it. The shower worked perfectly. I loved the scent of the shower gel. I also want to warn: the deck 5 “exterior” cabins have a walkway running right outside their windows! I noticed this because I walked by them when I was exploring the ship. I am glad I did not have one of those cabins. You have a window but someone can walk by it at any time. I don’t think people walk there often, but in the end you have to be careful about keeping your curtains closed while getting dressed. As far as I could tell, for the rest of the exterior cabins on the ship, the window is truly on the outside of the ship. That was definitely the case for exterior cabins on deck 4. WHAT TO BRING: there were only 2 available plugs in our cabin, one for a Europlug and one for an American style plug. Whatever your nationality, I highly recommend you bring the appropriate adapters so you can make use of BOTH plugs. (If you are an American, bring a Europlug adapter. If you are European, bring an American plug adapter. If you are English, bring one of each type of adapter.) And if you have more than 2 things to plug in, bring a compact outlet multiplier as well. If you have compact binoculars bring them as well, it’s nice to be able to look at the islands you sail to and by. Bring miniature padlocks to lock your suitcases when you embark and disembark. Unlike airlines, you are allowed to lock your checked suitcases. My recommendation is to check pretty much everything. I embarked carrying just my purse and disembarked with just a small backpack containing my nightclothes and cosmetic kit. You CAN bring your roll-aboard to breakfast on the last day, but do yourself a favor and don’t. Just lock it and let the ship deal with it. Retrieving the luggage on disembarkation was well organized. WHAT NOT TO BRING: a lot of clothes and fancy clothes. The cabin doesn’t have much storage space in the closet for clothing. I had to store half my wardrobe in my suitcase stored under my bed. And I brought too many clothes because I mistakenly thought people had to dress up for dinner. You CAN dress nicer for dinner in the sit-down restaurant, but a lot of people did not. There was a rule against shorts, but any kind of pants are fine, even jeans. The “Captain’s cocktail party” was merely a presentation in the theater. Not really a “party” at all. I’m not sure of how to arrange things so that an entire ship could actually have a real cocktail party to meet and mingle with the crew... But what they DID have you really do not need to go to, much less dress up for. I brought a long dress to wear to that event, but it turned out I REALLY did not need it. And I’m really REALLY glad I didn’t insist my boyfriend bring a jacket, as he never would have used it. In the end, we found this ships's attire as casual as all travel generally is these days, so you can leave your nice clothes at home if you prefer to travel lighter. FOOD: After our first experience in the sit-down restaurant Amalthea on the 2nd day, I insisted on eating there every time. The food there was presented beautifully. I didn’t think everything turned out perfectly in taste, but there was plenty to eat with four courses offered at both lunch and dinner. And if you didn’t like what you had chosen, you could ask the waiter to bring you something different. In the end I was really pleased with the food and dining experience in Amalthea. By contrast, the buffet restaurants were not to my taste. Too hectic and the food presentation was a little too close to cafeteria-style for what I expected from a cruise. Our sailing was about 75% full, but only one of the two sit-down restaurants was open. That led to lines at dinner, although the line moved quickly. I don’t think we ever waited longer than 20 minutes. I don’t mind waiting, but I would prefer not to stand in line to do it. I would suggest Celestyal come up with a “take-a-number” scheme like at the deli, so we could at least sit and relax with a drink while waiting. Also, surprisingly, the buffet restaurant gave us LESS chance to socialize with other passengers. People are naturally reluctant to take their own initiative to join strangers already sitting at a table in the buffet restaurant. But in the sit-down restaurant you can ask the Maitre-D’ to seat you with other passengers speaking the same language. Instant introduction. I enjoyed talking with everyone we sat with. The largest number of passengers we met were from the UK. I also want to say that the Crystal varies the lunch times day to day so as to accommodate people who might be returning early or late from an excursion. Well thought out. DRINKS: The “all-inclusive” cocktail menu was really quite impressive. Lots of cocktails, lots of after dinner liqueurs, etc. We especially appreciated the chance to try SIX different Greek liqueurs for free. We liked some of them enough to buy them at the duty free shop at the Athens airport when we flew home. We also really liked a couple of the cocktails made with the Greek spirits. I will admit the “included” Greek wines were not great, but they were drinkable. If you are a very serious wine drinker, that might be a reason to use the “premium” menu. Or you can simply order a free cocktail with your dinner. We never once ordered off the premium menu and didn’t feel at all deprived. DAYTIME SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES: we only had time to go to one, the Greek cooking demonstration conducted by the assistant cruise director Tereza. It was very, very well done. Tereza could host her own TV cooking show, she has so much personality and love of explaining Greek food. If you see this class on the daily sheet, DO NOT MISS IT! Speaking of Greek food, this is one of my suggestions to Celestyal: offer more Greek dishes on the menu! In my opinion, they should try to offer one Greek option for every course. Greek food is wonderful and people visiting Greece should be given more opportunity to try it. WIFI: there was a long explanation in the information sheet in our room about why satellite wifi is so expensive at sea. OK understood, but how about offering free wifi while in port? I think passengers would really appreciate that. Also, how about having free access to an on-board website just for the Celestyal Crystal, listing the daily schedule, excursions, lunch and dinner menus, drink menus etc. I know from my friends that some other cruise lines do this. I ended up taking cell phone shots of the daily sheet and menus so I could refer to them. It would have been nicer to call this information up via an App. The ship could also use an App to manage the line at the sit-down restaurant(s). Go on to an App to say you want to eat now, number in your party, preferred table language. Then get a pop-up message when your table is ready. And if there were proofs of the professional photos available on a website, people might buy more of them. Other amenities: The casino was very small, just video games. Luckily I don’t care about gambling. Also the swimming pool was incredibly small; I never saw anyone swim in it. Luckily I didn’t care about that either. If those are things you care about, you might not be as happy with this ship. Finally, the excursions: we paid for one which was good, and then went on the three that were included for everyone. Unfortunately when you have a ship full of people all doing the same excursion at once – even a small ship that is only 75% full – it is going to be a bit crowded. The Crete excursion to Knossos and the Heraklion museum was disappointing to us. Our guide clearly tried to do her best with the limited amount of time and the over-crowding, but we were disappointed in not getting to see as much as we would have liked. We later talked to fellow passengers who had toured Knossos and the museum on their own and really wished we had done it that way too. The included excursion to Ephesus concluded by taking us to a rug “factory” out in the country and they managed to find enough such rug places to take EVERY bus to a separate one! That part was really well done. I thought I would find the rug factory tacky, but the one we were taken to was really enjoyable. Our tour of the rug factory concluded with a relaxing light lunch outside in the shade, with just the 25 or so people on our bus. That was really delightful, and my hat is off to the excursion organizer for coming up with this way to make that part of the excursion uncrowded. My sincere recommendation to Celestyal is to come up with ways to make the rest of the included excursions less crowded as well. For example, in Crete: take one third of the the buses to Knossos first, take one-third to the museum first, and take one-third to the walking tour of Heraklion first. Then swap around. Overall I thought the cruise was well done and would recommend it to other people. The itinerary is really good, and the ship is in my opinion very well run. The employees are hard-working and friendly. The food and drink were very enjoyable. I offer my complaints as constructive feedback to what could be made even better, or what my fellow cruisers might wish to know before booking and sailing. ------ Port reviews: Mykonos: we paid for the excursion for the island of Delos which we enjoyed. Afterwards we used the cruise-provided free shuttle buses to go between the port and Mykonos Town where we wandered around on our own. It was easy to see the town attractions on foot by ourselves. The ship does not sail until 7am the next morning so you can partake of as much nightlife as you want. MILOS: we rented a car at the port for the day and then drove around seeing what we wanted to see. It was very easy to arrange and much cheaper than an excursion. We heard from fellow passengers that if you are an American, some of the rental car companies will insist on an International Driver’s Permit. (These permits can be obtained in a few minutes at any AAA office in America. You don’t even need to be a member. Plan ahead and get a permit before you leave.) Europeans don’t need the international permit to drive in Greece. I don’t know about the rules for drivers from other continents. Driving in Greece is easy with a map app on your phone. Road signs are in English as well as in Greek. Google maps even has free parking lots listed. Sarakiniko beach on Milos is not to be missed! It was spectacular and one of my highlights of the cruise. If you go on your own you can spend as much time as you want there. Wear water shoes or hiking sandals you can get wet. SANTORINI: the included excursion to Megalochori, Oia and Fira was crowded. Everyone commented on how if Oia is this crowded in May, can’t imagine how it would be in July and August. On the second day in Santorini we hiked on our own along the crater rim from Fira to Oia. This was beautiful, but is only for people who are physically fit. It could take 5+ hours depending on how many pictures you stop to take. A lot of hiking up and down, sometimes in loose gravel. Good hiking shoes are a must! Carry a water bottle, wear a hat and use good sunscreen. We stopped along the way for lunch in the lovely and uncrowded town of Imerovigli in between Fira and Oia. We talked to fellow passengers who rented a car to visit beaches and wineries on Santorini. As long as you don’t want to park in Fira and Oia (both VERY crowded) car rental is a convenient way to visit Santorini at your own pace. Again, Americans were asked to show an International Driver’s Permit in order to rent. CRETE: we went on the included excursion to Knossos Palace and the Archaeological Museum. We thought this excursion was too crowded and were disappointed in the limited time at each place. If I were to do it again, I’d pay out of my pocket to do it on my own. I read it’s easy to get to Knossos by taxi or bus, and the museum is easily walked to from ship. After the excursion we did our own walking tour of Heraklion. If you look at the bottom of “authentic Greek” gifts sold in shops in Santorini and Mykonos, you’ll see most of them were made in Crete. So we decided to do our major shopping in Crete, especially for olive oil. The stores are easily walked to from the port. KUSADASI: we did the included excursion to Ephesus and the rug factory. Ephesus was magnificent and our guide was really good. Although all the buses arrived at Ephesus at the same time, the guides were able to keep the groups spread out at the site well enough that we could enjoy it. The rug factory tour was surprisingly enjoyable. They took each bus to a SEPARATE factory, so it was completely uncrowded and relaxing. The rug place even provided us a light lunch of Turkish food. Our guide emphasized that no one should feel pressured to buy a rug, and no one in our group ended up buying. The Crystal also offered a late lunch timed for people returning from the excursion, but we had enough to eat at the rug factory that we just got some dessert on board. This was the best of the included excursions. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The cruise was not a very good experience for us. When travel agent was selling us the ship, we were told us it is comparable to the royal caribbean fleet. We came in this ship expecting similar conditions for the ship and we were ... Read More
The cruise was not a very good experience for us. When travel agent was selling us the ship, we were told us it is comparable to the royal caribbean fleet. We came in this ship expecting similar conditions for the ship and we were shocked by the general condition and the lack of cleanliness. He did not sell this as an inferior quality cruise liner. When we complained at the reception desk we were told to wait to the end of the cruise and express our thoughts in the opinion survey. About the ship - Horizon: Ship itself is old and run down, probably should be retired. With alleged major refurbishment in 2012 only certain areas looked acceptable and that did not include cabins. About our cabin: bathroom smelled like urine 90% of the time, vanity top pealing, cabin AC not working, bathroom light not working, the showers were mildewy, furnishings dated and worn out, towels had seen better days, carpet was filthy and with stains It was very noisy in the rooms, we could hear our loud neighbors, as well as people calling on each other from the hallways. The majority of the passengers were spaniards and they are loud! Most passengers did not use the disinfectant machines People smoke almost everywhere outdoors The staff was friendly and helpful. The value for money was poor compared to what is on offer elsewhere. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been on 31 cruises but this was our first time on a Pullmantur ship. We liked the idea that it is a Spanish cruise line since my husband speaks Spanish fluently. The cruise price included gratuities and all beverages so it was a ... Read More
We have been on 31 cruises but this was our first time on a Pullmantur ship. We liked the idea that it is a Spanish cruise line since my husband speaks Spanish fluently. The cruise price included gratuities and all beverages so it was a better value than a hotel. The itinerary included two Greek Islands that we had not been to before. Pullmantur's Horizon is an older ship but the maintenance was good. Our deluxe balcony cabin was very comfortable with more closet space than many newer ship. The room steward was exceptionally good to the point where we tipped him even though the gratuities were inclusive in the cruise price. We found the food to be quite good. The first day we walked into the buffet for lunch and I went to the hand sanitizer machine and put my hands under it, pushed a button, and felt really stupid when a pat of butter fell into my hands from the automatic butter dispenser (clever machine). Other reviewers have commented that there was no butter served but I found it the first day. In the dining room each table had a bottle of virgin olive oil which was perfect for dipping the rolls and delicious breads that were served. My husband is not an adventurous eater, but he always found something on the menu that he liked. The entertainment was good. One night the production staff did a Mama Mia/Abba show that was so good that we skipped dinner and sat thought the second (repeat) show. We went to most of the musical shows and found them to be delightful. Even with my minimal understanding of Spanish, I understood the humor. It was Easter Week and the ship was loaded with young students. The morning music poolside was more upbeat than we preferred with our first cup of coffee, but other than that, it was fun to see the future cruise addicts enjoying themselves. The bar staff at the pool bar we kept very busy, but the students were well behaved and respectful. It was a treat for us to be able to go to any bar and get a soda, beer or cocktail without a charge. I liked the Cava and house red wines. We met interesting people from Europe as well as from South America and the Caribbean. It was a relaxing with no pressure to buy things or to tip. We would definitely cruise with Pullmantur again. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My wife and I were on a Globus tour of Greece and this 3-day cruise was included. Unfortunate thing is that neither cruise ship nor Globus told us what TIME we would arrive at each of the islands. This was a 'once in a ... Read More
My wife and I were on a Globus tour of Greece and this 3-day cruise was included. Unfortunate thing is that neither cruise ship nor Globus told us what TIME we would arrive at each of the islands. This was a 'once in a lifetime' trip for us, as we had always wanted to see Greece and some of the islands. The wonderful windmills of Mykonos - we arrived after 7:00PM (!!!!). My first photo on the island showed 7:12pm. Now, I ask you - how much of the island can you enjoy when you arrive at that hour. Our tour guide showed us where the windmills were - yep, there it was in the distance, barely discernible and if you stared hard long enough, you MIGHT be able to make out the shape. I mean, give me a break! THIS is how we were supposed to enjoy Mykonos? We did spend about 2 hours walking around Mykonos. Not my idea of spending time visiting Mykonos. The main church that we wanted to see, Church of Paraportiani (Our Lady of the Side Gate) was closed by the time we got there, and it would have been a far walk. We did see Church of St. George, an Orthodox church, and it was pretty inside, though small. Ephesus was great! We enjoyed it - our SECOND time since 2011. Daytime! Rug company taking up 1-2 hours of selling / twisting arms was totally unnecessary as it delayed cruise ship sailing on. Patmos - the ship made another stop at Samos at 2:30, picking up people via tender, causing us to be a bit later when we finally arrived at Patmos. There we took a tender to the port, arriving AFTER 6pm. First stop was the Grotto. To be honest, it was … nothing. A cave in which one thinks of everything very spiritual. This is where St. John of Patmos was said to have written the Book of Revelation. It is a fortresslike, 11th century monastery dedicated to the saint. 5 minutes there was more than enough. Next stop was the Monastery, a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 1088. It had more displays and most interesting was the Museum. The details in … embroidery, jewelry, carvings were phenomenal, and you really need to look hard to see the tremendous details. It is named after St. John of Patmos. 1-2 hours is good for the Monastery. To be honest, I don’t think Patmos would be anything if it weren’t for these two sights. It’s dry and windy, and water is scarce. Tourism is needed for this island to survive. Tourist season is around Easter time to mid-October. Our ship was the only one at port the last two days. Crete: Knossos, center of the 300 BC Minoan civilization. This was a good tour, as we got to see a 4,000 year old palace, rumored to be that of King Minos. The bull if the symbol of Crete, so there are plenty of myths about Minotaurs, etc., including one of the 12 Labors of Hercules was to kill a Minotaur. There was quite a lot to see among the ruins, but unlike other ruins (Really - now I understand why many people say 'You've seen one ruin, you've seen them all."), many of these were still in relatively decent condition, considering their age. Afterwards, we went into the center of Knossos. We visited the Morosini Fountain. The place we spent the most time was at Church of Titus, and although there was a service going on, we did manage to take a few photos. The skull of St. Titus is preserved in a domed relic on the left of the entrance to the church. We walked down to the shores and saw the Venetian (they were here for 400+ years) fortress of Castello a Mare, built in 1541. It guards the inner harbor. Walking back to the bus, we took some photos of the Nike statue, symbolizing victory with help from many countries. Crete: Santorini. Our tour guide prepped us and told us what to do and got us set up, as the daylight time wouldn't be very long. The ship docked and we boarded the tender about 4:00. The tender was already starting out when it had to return, due to another group not being there on time to board! That took another 10 minutes, and the tender took 20 minutes to reach Santorini. Then we quickly boarded the bus and it took 45 minutes up a narrow 2-lane winding road all the way to the top. We can’t figure out WHY the tender takes us to the furthest part of the island on one side in order to reach the top at the other end of the island. Anyway, sun sets at 5:17 and we arrived at the bus parking area at 5:12. We had broken out into 2 groups: Speedy and slow. I was in the speedy one and we raced up to the top and I got my shots just about when the sun was setting. It's at that famous shot that everybody sees when they see photos of Santorini. Within 15 minutes, the sun was gone and it was fairly dark. We wandered around the town a bit until 7:15 when the bus left for the tender and back to the ship. When booking this Globus tour, no mention was made of the TIME that we would reach the islands. I don't blame Globus for us, but the cruise ship. If they KNOW when sunset is, wouldn't they PLAN to arrive at the island at least ONE hour before the sun sets? I don't mean, arrive and then have the tender take you to the island and/or then bus you to the appropriate site... I mean, actually BEING on the island and able to wander around at least ONE hour before dark. This should not be THAT hard for experienced cruise lines to figure out and plan accordingly. Cruise ships should be able to put scheduled arrival times at various ports. When we asked our Globus tour group if they would have taken this tour knowing the arrival times at the islands, not ONE person said they would. All 40 of us would NOT have taken this cruise. AND knowing that DST was going to happen ... really NO excuse from the cruise line at all. I am really ticked off at the cruise ship. I didn't plan to see the 3 islands in darkness, which is what all 3 islands wound up, except for about 15 minutes of daylight at Santorini. ----- Service personnel on board were VERY nice and helpful. That was not a problem with us. ----- Meals at the buffet line: Average Meals at the ala Carte restaurant: Very good ----- We had bought the Drinks package, so got bottled water as much as we needed. One item that stuck in my craw: There was a bottle of mineral water, clearly marked that it costs. There were 2 bottles of regular water, no sign that it costs. We took 2 of them one day - the rest of the time, we got the cold water from the bar -- AND we were charged for the 2 bottles from the cabin! When we protested this, and that we did have the Drinks package, it was shrugged off as "That's the way it is." It left us with another bad image and impression of the cruise line.... ALL in all, I would NEVER take this cruise line again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! We had an outside cabin on Columbus deck, which was compact but had everything needed for a two week cruise. There are two restaurants on board: the Marco Polo which is open for lunch and dinner, and the Terrace Café, with an inside and outside seating area, which was open for all meals, plus afternoon tea and late night snacks. The food was good and we enjoyed sitting outside for meals when the weather permitted. We often used the Marco Polo restaurant in the evening. Service was professional but could be slow at busy times. The Head Waiter Danny deserves a special mention for keeping things running smoothly. Complimentary wine was served at dinner. We had the same Italian wine served to us every night though which became tedious. Some variety is needed! Most of the shore tours are included in the cost of the cruise, and these had good content and were generally interesting and well organised. We visited several Greek islands where tenders were needed, and this proved challenging for the less able passengers, some of whom chose to stay on board. There were two lecturers on this cruise. The archaeologist was interesting, but the other lecturer's presentation was monotonous, and he tended to overrun his time slots, which was frustrating. Entertainment was provided by the Odyssey Trio, a classical trio who were excellent, and the Cruise Director Richard Sykes, who is a very talented singer and pianist, and a real asset to the company. A jazz singer and pianist were also on board. There was a mix of nationalities on board, with British, Americans, Australians and we were informed that the average age was 72. We enjoyed the cruise apart from the chaos at the British Airways check-in at Athens airport on our return journey. A cruise rep. stationed here to assist passengers would have helped enormously. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
for the Itinerary - I never did the Greek Islands before, so this time I tried to "link-up" NINE Cruise Segments, starting on 1st October in ATHENS and finishing on 8th December in DUBAI. There were several "double" ... Read More
for the Itinerary - I never did the Greek Islands before, so this time I tried to "link-up" NINE Cruise Segments, starting on 1st October in ATHENS and finishing on 8th December in DUBAI. There were several "double" Segments through some of the Greek Islands, which gave me the opportunity to visit Ports twice or more = so that was a good experience. Unfortunately, this Ship caters mainly for the Spanish Package Deal Market, so everything is in Spanish - some Shows are (Only) in Spanish, and some of the English Announcements are hard to understand..... Whenever I book, I always opt for the cheapest INSIDE Cabin, so even though I had booked the 9 Cruise Segments on the same day - there were NO Upgrades - in fact I had to change Cabins after every Segment. What "riled" me, was one night when I wanted to eat in the Main Restaurant and ordered my Meal with the Waiter, I requested some GREEN Vegetables to go with the Meal, to which the Waiter flatly refused - NOT AVAILABLE!!! So after such a negative attitude, I took my meals at the Buffet Restaurant, where I could "help myself" to whatever Vegetables were available, even though many times only COLD Green Vegetables were there on offer. Another Negative point was, that the Dinner Plates were COLD, sand the food presented was also only "warm" or Cold - so I asked the Chef's there to re-heat the plate???? Which is not saying much for the quality of the Food or the Service. AND, the "COMPULSORY" Gratuity charge came to about 1000 EUROS!!!! With such a mediocre Service - this was a total RIP-OFF!!! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 ... Read More
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 back to back cruises. It indicated a reasonable level of fitness which also suited our requirements. On arrival in Venice we found that the cabin was as we expected. Not flash, but functional; however, had only one, poorly located powerpoint. The staff were generally helpful but some appeared that they would have been happier elsewhere. We found the food to be adequate but not to the standard we had experienced with some other companies. Food in the main eating area was cafeteria style, dishes were not labelled so everyone had to ask what each dish was. This created long slow lines at every meal. We asked the staff about adequate signage and were told that it was not Company Policy. Deserts and other hot foods were “serve yourself”, which provided huge opportunity for cross contamination and increased the risk of allergic reaction if staff did not understand or were not available to provide adequate answers. I am allergic to poultry and asked staff the ingredients. I was answered ‘meat sausage’. turned out is was chicken and as a consequence spent a very unpleasant few hours. There were not always staff to ask. There did not appear to be adequate staff to ensure appropriate hygiene was maintained by the passengers. We were served on a number of cracked cups and bowls which should have been removed from service. The more formal eating area was much better as the food was individually served. Since the cruise was focussed on Ancient Greek and Romanan ruins there were guest lecturers on each of the three legs. Most lecturers provided interesting insights but others just went through the motions. The AV facilities were as old as the ship, and provided many interruptions and failures. Most lecturers used laser pointers which were useless. Talk times were not at optimum times but when most passengers were not on board. As days went by it was obvious that the ship was extremely noisey. When our small ship was birthed next to one carrying 10x more passengers (3000) the only one you could hear was the Aegean Odyssey. Whilst cruising the noise level was greater than 75db in the cabin, which made sleeping difficult. The poor crew had to remove soot daily from the outside furniture and many passengers gained black oil stains on their clothing. Shore excursion staff lacked basic knowledge of the ports visited and could not tell passengers where pharmacies or banks were located, cost or location of buses or taxis. Nor could they tell us about some of the places of interest that were on the shore sheets. Manning of desk tardy. Not there on time. A little offhand and sometimes rude with responses. Water was only provided to guests who elected to do organised excursions. The excursions were usually run by local guides, some good some hopeless, who tried to accommodate all passengers. Unfortunately, with an average age of passengers in the middle to late 70s, the pace at which they were forced to go resulted in excruciatingly slow movement that then meant some of the highlights were not seen. This persisted for all three legs of our journey. It really should have been called Voyages of Antiquity! There appeared to be a policy of ensuring the passengers who had travelled before were always first off the ship. Unfortunately, due to their age and lack of mobility, this ensured everyone else was delayed. Tender safety was poor. The crew did not provide definitive instruction on where to sit, how to hold arms, slide along seats to move rather than walking and direction on where to sit and when to stand for exit. As many of the passengers no doubt had osteoporosis, it will only be a matter of time before bones are broken. Very poor! At the end of the first leg our cabin developed a water leak which soaked the carpet. The hotel manager offered us a move to a cabin on the upper deck which we readily accepted. It was slightly larger with one bed instead of two singles and slightly quieter (72db) Unfortunately the hot water was intermittent and often was filthy and both taps lacked acceptable pressure. The toilet would not flush so we resorted to a 10l bucket! When cruising, the room vibrated to such an extent that we were forced to put towels in the door to stop it rattling. There is no way this room was worth an extra $4000 pp! On our last day there was a significant water leak which resulted in a large area of one level being flooded. Since the ship had no downtime the oncoming passengers had a very wet and potentially mouldy trip ahead. Internet now is a must for travellers and unfortunately was exorbitant in cost and was of such poor quality that many passengers demanded refunds. In conclusion, Voyages to Antiquity have a great product but need to ensure guests’ capabilities are assessed and appropriate shore excursions are provided so that all passengers are provided with the experience they expect. The ship is in dire need of major refurbishment and maintenance. The crew have to endure more than most. I would not recommend this trip to anyone who has even a moderate level of fitness. It’s like travelling in a floating care facility! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went around the eastern med. The ship was ok all staff were good , friendly and worked very hard. Food was good but always busy in the island restaurant in mornings and at linsh time. Snack shack food was good at lunch you could get ... Read More
We went around the eastern med. The ship was ok all staff were good , friendly and worked very hard. Food was good but always busy in the island restaurant in mornings and at linsh time. Snack shack food was good at lunch you could get small portions of fish & chips or chicken & chips Ect. Gallery 47 restaurant was ok and we only had to wait about 10 to 15 mins to be seated you get a buzzer so you can go and have a drink while you are waiting. Bar staff were good in live bar and around the pool also when watching the shows always asking if you need anymore drinks. We paid to upgrade to a delux cabin with a balcony on seventh deck which was very nice the only down side which spoiled our holiday was that this cabin has a VERY VERY Bad vibration through out the cabin from the balcony to the front door this happened every time the engines were running day and although the night the bed was shaking we later found out that cabin 7088 has the same problem. We also had a problem with the airconditioning it was freezing cold and although we turned it right on to the warmest setting it was still freezing we reported it but nothing changed we were told you could not turn it off, Our cabin steward Lino and his team were very good nothing was to much trouble for him Thank you LINO. BE WARNED DONOT BOOK CABIN 7090 OR 7088 Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our group of 6 adults cruised the iconic isles cruise it was fantastic from start to finish apart from two nights of rough seas that prevented us docking in Zante but instead we docked in katakolon which was beautiful. Food and drink was ... Read More
Our group of 6 adults cruised the iconic isles cruise it was fantastic from start to finish apart from two nights of rough seas that prevented us docking in Zante but instead we docked in katakolon which was beautiful. Food and drink was excellent something to suit everyone bar staff gr8 and especially the waiter Nikola from serbea who was so good to us throughout the week. Inside cabin was compact but good for us and had everything we needed Reginald was our house keeper and always was so pleasent and friendly. Will definitely be booking again well done TUI.Embarkment and Disembarkment were exceptional smooth and as we were on an evening flight we were able to stay on book with full use of all inclusive facilities until our pick up time,luggage all colour coded and ready for our coach. Only downside was the entertainment got a bit repetitive and we didn't enjoy the comedian at all but still loads more to keep us entertained. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We could not have asked for a more seamless, fun, educational and entertaining time on the cruise. We boarded in Mykonos (we had been there 4 nights), spent 3 nights on the cruise, and disembarked in Santorini (where we stayed 4 ... Read More
We could not have asked for a more seamless, fun, educational and entertaining time on the cruise. We boarded in Mykonos (we had been there 4 nights), spent 3 nights on the cruise, and disembarked in Santorini (where we stayed 4 nights). The ports were AMAZING! Our first port was Kusadasi, Turkey. Had this not been on the itinerary, we would have never gone there. It was THE HIGHLIGHT of our entire trip. We are not history buffs, by any means. Ephasus was the most breathtaking and educational archaeological site we have ever seen. The marble streets were breathtaking, and words cannot describe how awe inspiring the excavations were. Our tour guide was superb! It is a must see. The port town of Patmos was great (food, shopping), and the Medieval City in Rhodes with the Street of the Knights were also excursions we would highly recommend! Life changing for sure! The part that made the entire time on the ship the most fun was time spent at the Argo bar with Ajit, Ernie, and another bartender who's name I can't remember (not because of the drinks, but because I couldn't pronounce his name). They were energetic, poured a mean cocktail, and overall made us feel like part of the family during our short 3 night stay. They also gave us tips on where to visit in the ports we visited. Without them, this cruise would have simply been a taxi from one port to another. Ajit and Ernie are the best! Because of them, we would go again in a heartbeat! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
From Sep 17 to 24, 2018, we took a 7-night, all-inclusive Greek Island cruise on Pullmantur Cruise Line's ship Horizon. We chose it for stellar itinerary, smaller ship, and price--and loved it. Pullmantur is based in Madrid; 90% ... Read More
From Sep 17 to 24, 2018, we took a 7-night, all-inclusive Greek Island cruise on Pullmantur Cruise Line's ship Horizon. We chose it for stellar itinerary, smaller ship, and price--and loved it. Pullmantur is based in Madrid; 90% of clients are Spanish. Horizon's an older ship; sun loungers, cabins, furniture could use an upgrade. But for the price we found it fine. We've been on Regent and other ultra-luxe venues and while they're glorious, trips like this cost 3 or 4 times as much--some for a lesser itinerary. [Photo 1: Pullmantur Horizon from dock] [Photo 2: Horizon Pool & Sunset We used the money saved to book a whole second week in Greece on land--in Naxos and Athens--plus two great private excursions from Athens, before and after sailing. Before sailing on Sep 17 we visited the Temple of Poseidon & Cape Sounio Beach, 45 minutes south of Athens, and on Sep 24 we saw the Corinth Canal. We boarded Horizon at 4 pm in Athens' port of Piraeus after a wonderful morning at Cape Sounio Sep 17. Check-in was a breeze. We walked out of our cabin 1058 and steps away found an ocean view aft lounge on Deck 10. Then, right upstairs on Deck 11, delicious snacks and drinks awaited in the ship's buffet and aft Ocean-view Grill. In fact, there were ocean-view rear decks on all four top decks 9 thru 12, with quiet sitting space, sunsets or moon rises--often empty except for us. [Photo 3: Deck 10 Aft Lounge] [Photo 4: Deck 11 Aft Ocean-view Grill] At 8 pm we sailed for Mykonos, Volos, Chania (on Crete), Santorini, Nafplio (aka Nauplion), and back to Piraeus. Kudos to Pullmantur for a great schedule: each port was more stunning than the last. We'd go ashore, say “We want to stay here a week, it's so gorgeous,” then at the next port, we'd say it again. By Day 4 we were in “beauty overwhelm.” On Horizon, with only 1,820 guests, we always found loungers. Maybe not at the pool Deck 11, but there was always both shade or sun on the large wrap-around Deck 12 (if starboard was in the sun, port was in the shade, etc.) With fewer cruisers, it was easy and relaxed to disembark and re-embark. Yes there's only one pool; I prefer that larger space. But yes, it's a European ship, so people smoke almost everywhere outdoors (never indoors). Yet with so much open deck, we always found loungers away from the smoke. Whatever seating you want, just keep walking around Deck 12 and you'll find it. European set dining room times are late: 7:30 and 9 pm. But from 5 to 7 pm, drinks at the pool bar and buffet bar flowed, and we always found food at the aft Ocean-view Grill, Deck 11. Did I mention “all-inclusive”? Our ocean-view cabin with large window (not a port hole), all-inclusive dining, unlimited beer, wine, cava (good dry Spanish champagne), well drinks, coffees and all gratuities, came to $3,000 grand total for two, as a special from Vacations to Go. So we sprang for the highest level of trip insurance, another $396, which also covered airfare. [Photo 5: Our cabin #1058, Deck 10, Superior Oceanview, Midship] No one ever asked for our drink cards or any payment, and no tips. We tipped anyway because the staff were so kind, helpful, and honestly friendly; 98% spoke good English. Most staff were from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Our cabin steward Dorian Gusman was terrific, and I loved our Mauritian waitress and Brazilian sommelier; I really regret losing my notes with their names Yes, Pullmantur announcements are in Spanish, and incomprehensible English. Yes, entertainment is in Spanish. No, excursions were not included, and no guarantee of English on any excursion–but we heard from English speakers that their guides happily translated for them. Anyway, we usually do our own excursions; more fun. And we just had no time for night life. We needed our sleep to rise early, visit the extensive breakfast buffet with all sorts of egg and cheese dishes—and love those chocolate croissants—and take it to the ocean-view Grill to eat (why stay inside?) Then get on with our day. Horizon had solid Spanish food in the formal restaurant and the identical fare at the buffet: lots of grilled meats and seafood. Plenty of veggie dishes, too. It's not haute cuisine; for that, one pays the luxe lines or specialty restaurants on larger ships. But we didn't care. We'd have a huge breakfast, never felt like lunch (busy running around port or sunning on deck), then enjoyed a large dinner with wine. Note: Horizon only had Greek food on the last night. So we bought "take out" dinners of moussaka in Mykonos and "lamb kleftiko ("stolen lamb”) in Chania, to take back to the ship. Destinations hopefully follow below. Tip: Before any Greek Island cruise, check each port's website and WhatsInPort to see how many ships will be in port, then do the advance homework to plan around any crowds or just stay on the ship at the pool. [Photo 6: Replica of Jason's Argo, Volos] [Photo 7: Fast Line to Oia, Santorini] Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the ... Read More
Bucket list item was the Greek isles and since we prefer the smaller ships, opted for a Windstar cruise. Only 135 or so guests so no crowds or lines. Ship is a little old but well maintained and except for the air conditioning and the internet, very comfortable and enjoyable. Except for Monemvassia, there were no big buses for the tours which was nice but that may be dependent on the number of folks that signed up. All vehicles were comfortable.Crew was hospitable except for one wine steward and when brought to the attention of management, things changed promptly. Ports were all very enjoyable though I was pretty tired of ruins once everything was over. Stayed in the Electra Hotel for a few nights in Athens and it was nice with a rooftop dining area with views of the Acropolis. Just avoid room 211 which had a toilet so close to the wall and shower one had to be a contortionist to use. Last night we moved to the Grand Bretagne and it was a beautiful old hotel but probably not worth the extra money. Tried to get reservations for our group of 8 several weeks before for dinner on the rooftop but they were full. Could not even find space to have a cocktail that evening as most of the space was closed off for some reason. Went next door to King George hotel and had a wonderful meal on the top floor with even better views of the Acropolis. Highly recommend this! Crew was polite and accommodating but not as nice as Crystal Esprit. Food in the dining room was good but not exceptional. Candles was better and especially the on-deck barbecue...that was amazing. Dinner at the Celsus Library was also amazing. Went to the opera afterwards in the old theatre and sitting on stone, even for an hour, was awful. Delos and Turkey were wonderful stops but all were excellent. Chartered a private catamaran in Santorini instead of the ships cat tour and it was fantastic. Breakfasts were nice with a wide selection of food on the buffet with the opportunity to order off the menu if desired. Bridge tour was nice and informative. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Been on few cruises in the last few years but would not go back on discovery 2. Corfu airport very small and massive que on way home. Some people were having to que outside as there flight was delayed. Upgraded to a balcony room ... Read More
Been on few cruises in the last few years but would not go back on discovery 2. Corfu airport very small and massive que on way home. Some people were having to que outside as there flight was delayed. Upgraded to a balcony room on 6th floor which was lovely. Staff nice. Did three excursions. Two were on the electric bikes which were great. George and Sophie were great guides. Would highly recommend this. Did an excursion in Venice think it was called secret escape? It was awful not at all like it’s advertised. Would not recommend. Hot tubs were not hot and a few times only one worked. Service in restaurants and bars were very slow and it appeared the staff were not experienced. Never enough staff on. Entertainment was poor apart from opera singer Benjamin. Was really disappointed after spending a lot of money on this cruise.Would rather go on an older ship where you are looked after better. Read Less

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