Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Celestyal Olympia Entertainment & Activities

Theater

Muses Lounge (Deck 7): The ship's main theater is more of a lounge with a large stage and dance floor than the Broadway or West End-style theaters you'll find on more modern cruise ships, and it's also situated in the middle of the ship, with entrances either side so you get a lot of through traffic. In 2017, Celestyal again has again upped its game by partnering with a Canadian company called Cirque Fantastique who produce a variety of exclusive, different-themed shows onboard, mainly Greek-themed and exploring myths and legends, as well as a Cirque-type show, a cabaret show and a Latin-themed show. They may not be the Broadway-style shows you find on the biggest cruise ships, but they are of a good standard, particularly the non-Greek-themed shows.

The entertainment team will inevitably try and drag you up for a dance after the show. You'll also find dance competitions here on some evenings, as well as a live band after the main show. The lounge is used in the morning for people gathering for shore excursions, but apart from that it's not used in the day, except by the performers practicing for their next show. It's worth noting that for any passengers who have travelled on this ship before and stayed in the Junior Suites directly above the lounge, the ceiling is now soundproofed.

Daily Fun

There is a packed program of predominantly Greek-themed activities, although with no sea days and often two ports in a day, there's little time to take part in any of them. Activities include: Board games and card games, cooking and cocktail making demos, flower making and origami, napkin folding, Greek language classes, Zumba classes round the pool deck, darts and table tennis tournaments, trivia, basketball shoot out, musical quizzes and bingo. Tours of Olympia's unusual open bridge -- unlike most modern cruise ships, part of the bridge is actually outside -- are available daily €10 (€5 for children).

At Night

There is always a sailaway party round the main pool area on Deck 9 (sometimes two). Come early evening you can hear music in the Argo Bar, piano or violin recitals; karaoke takes place in Selene Lounge most nights and there are dance competitions with the animation team after the show in Muses Lounge.

On Deck 5, Casino Royale is a small space positioned right by the spa and near the Argo Bar. It has slot machines, poker and a variety of table games. Smoking is allowed.

Celestyal Olympia Bars and Lounges

There's a wide range of bars and lounges on a relatively small ship, each with a different vibe and atmosphere.

Selene (Deck 5): Selene Bar, Olympia's disco on Deck 5, is large for a cruise ship, with screens for music videos and karaoke (which takes place most nights). The action here depends on the makeup of the passengers; one night, we saw Japanese passengers getting down to "Gangnam Style"; other nights, the teenage tour groups kept the disco going till 4:00 a.m., while on others it was totally dead.

Argo (Deck 5): With a sailing theme, the Argo Bar on Deck 5 is a good spot to get a coffee, and one of the nicer places to meet for a pre-dinner drink. It's also one of the best areas for a strong Wi-Fi signal which sometimes drops in the cabins. In the evening, a pianist and singer take requests for favorites.

Eclipse (Deck 7): This a lovely, out-of-the-way bar, which you have to hunt for via a mid-ships staircase. It hosts Cuban and Latino music most evenings, with a dance floor to practice those salsa moves, but it was rarely crowded. It's dark and atmospheric with plush red low chairs and banquettes. This is a good spot to get a (very strong) mojito.

Helios (Deck 9): Helios Bar, adjacent to the main pool, serves up fruity tropical drinks and cater to smokers.

Thalassa Bar (Deck 10): This is in a great spot overlooking the midship pool, with plenty of tables and chairs. Both are lively on sunny afternoons.

Horizons Bar (Deck 12): This is Olympia's most distinctive bar, and certainly our favorite. Located on Deck 12, surrounding the aft funnel, it provides a bit of a conundrum. For one thing, it's difficult to reach; you can only access it by a single elevator and staircase tucked away on Deck 7. Inside, it's a marvel of light blue leather that's both retro and weirdly futuristic. Despite having the best views of the ship, the bar is surprisingly dead (probably because it's so hard to find); on multiple visits, we saw only a handful of customers. It's the spot to go if you want some downtime with your drink.

Celestyal Olympia Outside Recreation

Pools  

There are two pools, both on Deck 9. The aft one (though note, it's not aft as in right at the back of the ship, it's just further aft than the midship pool), is adults-only and beside the Helios Bar. The midship pool has a small splash area for kids, and a main, deeper pool. A cabana-style stage separates the two. Note these are not heated, which is no problem in the summer months of course, but when the season starts in March, they are very chilly. There are plenty of deckchairs and lots of seating, so you shouldn't have a problem finding a spot. There are no hot tubs.

Recreation

A sports deck on the aft of Deck 7 offers ping pong tables and dart boards with netting to shield from the wind. Basketball also takes place up here.

Sun Decks

As befits a ship built before cruise lines decided to cram in more top-deck activities, Olympia has outdoor observation decks to spare. No matter how crowded the ship gets in the summer, there's room for all passengers to be outside. A huge deck space occupies the bow on Deck 10, although you won't find deck chairs here out of season. If the ship isn't too crowded, impromptu football games are also played up here. From here, you can look down on either side and see the ship's open bridge. In addition, another spacious sun deck aft on Deck 7 has a glorious teak wood expanse. Smokers will find a haven in an outdoor alcove aft on Deck 6.

Celestyal Olympia Services

Deck 4 is the hub of Olympia's services, containing the reception desk, the shore excursion desk, the library, the duty free shop, a jewelry shop and a shop for sundries. This area received a complete redesign during the ship's 2014 to 2015 dry dock which included a new layout for guest services.

You'll find the photo gallery one deck up on Deck 5, next to the casino, and opposite the open "market" Agora, which sells a lovely selection of good quality hand-made Greek jewelry, sandals, olive oils, soaps and Celestyal-branded products such as pretty mugs and tote bags at reasonable prices.

The ship is Wi-Fi enabled throughout, but note it does drop in cabins and public spaces are better for a good signal. Prices start at 7 euros/hour, 16 euros for three hours and 25 euros for six hours.

Celestyal Olympia Spa & Fitness

Spa

The one area that was not tackled significantly in the numerous refurbs which have taken place on Olympia is the Sana Wellness Spa. Sandwiched between the Casino and Muses Lounge on Deck 5, it feels a bit like an afterthought on an otherwise very well thought out ship. It would be much better placed high up on a top deck, with views of the Aegean enhancing your treatments. There are seven treatment rooms, including a new one (which at least has a view), which is on its own in the corridor opposite the complex. There are also several treatment rooms in the gym. and a couple of cabanas on the top deck.

The spa offers a full array of services including massages, facials and body treatments. While the prices are about average for treatments at sea (massages range from 55 euros for 30 minutes to 96 euros for an hour), packages offer the best value, with a whole array on offer. You can choose a Perfect Pampering package which is three treatments in 60 minutes for 89 euros; or a Sana Spa offer for 27 euros for four 20-minute treatments plus a shampoo and a manicure! We opted for an outstanding lipo massage one day and a tradtional Balinese massage the following, both of which were outstanding. The masseuses (mostly Filipino), were discreet, professional -- and very, very good. Gratuities are included in the price, and there's no sales pitch afterward. Treatments were well worth the price, although it's a bit of a bummer to wait for services in a chair near the smoky casino. Sana also encompasses a beauty salon, with manicures, pedicures, hair styling and waxing. Prices range from 22 euros or a blow-out to 79 euros for highlights. Sana also offers a 45-minute teen facial for 56 euros.

Fitness

Olympia has a small gym, located midship on Deck 8. Here you'll find four treadmills two bicycles, four step machines and a weights machine, along with a handful of free weights; the equipment is not extensive and the space is tiny. It rarely seemed used. Small separate saunas for men and women are also located here, just off the gym's locker room. There is no steam room or indoor pool. Use is complimentary. Hours for both the sauna and the gym are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Not so much a jogging track, more of a walking track, a teak promenade encircles the ship on Deck 7. Shielded by lifeboats, the walkway is usable in wetter weather. Three times around equals one mile. Every morning there are complimentary fitness classes -- a Walkathon with the Sports Animator from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and "Wake up and stretch" in the Selene Lounge.

Celestyal Olympia For Kids

There are limited facilities for children, but with the amount of port stops and the time spent in port, it's not a huge issue. There is also the fact that this is a Greek ship, and kids are embraced rather than segregated, so there is possibly more of an assumption that you will spend time with your children, rather than leave them in the kids' club.

Be that as it may, the Kids' Club (Deck 7, midship) is only open between two to four hours during daytime sailing for toddlers and children up to 12 years; times vary depending on the itinerary. Kids must be able to walk to use the facilities.

Olympia also does not formally group children into age categories, but if the ship is sailing full the counselors will divide the kids up. Available activities include coloring and games for the younger kids and a climbing wall, air hockey and foosball. A 2017 refit saw the installation of a few arcade games, including Guitar Hero, motorbike racing and arcade-style claw machines (there are also a couple of video game machines at the aft of Deck 7). Note they cost a euro each and you can get through 20 euros in a few minutes.

At the end of the cruise the children make a booklet of highlights, as a memento.

It's worth noting that Celestyal has a pretty light-touch approach to supervision -- you're not required to sign your children in or out and the activities are pretty free form -- in other words, the children are vaguely supervised, but most of the time encouraged to make up their own games. The Kids' Club also has a bathroom that's kid sized.

Olympia does not offer babysitting, and no services are available when the ship is in port.

Kids get their own separate menu in the dining room.

Teens

Olympia holds a teen meet-up during the first day of the cruise so 13- to 18-year-olds can get to know each other. Ping pong tournaments on the sports deck are popular with this age group, as well as the small arcade, with three video games.

One pool on Olympia is designed for families. The drinking age on Olympia is 18.

There are no dedicated shore excursions for teens or younger children, but there are symbols indicating what excursions are classified as "family friendly".

Celestyal Olympia Ship Stats

  • Crew: 540
  • Launched: 1982
  • Decks: 10
  • Passengers: 1,664
  • Registry: Malta

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