Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Dining

Celestyal Olympia prides itself on offering an immersive Greek culinary experience, and the menu reflects this. Bread is baked fresh daily, and staples such as Greek salad, moussaka and baklava are available at every meal. There are also be Greek classics featured as main dishes every day, such as lamb souvlaki, various local fish dishes and chicken with stuffed vine leaves. The line introduced extended restaurant opening hours in 2017, so you'll be able to sate your hunger for 16 hours a day, continuously (should you wish).

The food on our cruise was without exception, was of a very high standard: fresh, authentic and delicious. There is also an extensive Greek wine list, with varietals from many of the various islands the ship visits at reasonable prices; bottles start at 9.95 euros and few are more than 20 euros. The service across the board was also excellent: highly attentive and helpful, especially with children, who are embraced on this ship. And also knowledgeable, particularly the wine sommelier, Terrence, who helped us choose a suitable Greek wine every evening.

Note there is little choice when it comes to dining venues, with no specialty restaurants, just the main dining room and buffet to choose from, with the poolside grill open and an open air BBQ in good weather. However, you can pay a supplement for steak and lobster dishes from a separate, for-fee menu. The restaurants are included in your fare and cater for dietary requirements including gluten-free and offer a good range of vegetarian options.

Aegean Restaurant (Deck 4): The Aegean Restaurant is the ship's main dining room. It provides open seating on a first-come, first-served basis; tables are meant for six and eight, and waiters will try to seat smaller parties with other cruisers (but of course you can ask to be sat alone). There are plenty of large picture windows, and the center is dedicated to two rows of buffet service at breakfast and at lunch.

Breakfast is served buffet-style and there is a wide choice: cereals, fresh made pastries, pre-made omelets, fried eggs, bacon, potatoes, and cold cuts, as well as the ever-present cucumbers, tomatoes and olives. Due to the increasing numbers of Asian passengers there is also an "Asian corner", where you can get noodle soups, congee and dumplings for breakfast. There is also a good selection of fresh juice selections of local fruit, for a fee.

Lunch in the main dining room is also a buffet, although you can order from a menu if you choose. Cold choices from the buffet include salads, smoked fish, meats, and cheese, while hot entrees may include fish skewers and chicken souvlaki. Menu items could be vine leaves stuffed with salmon and cream cheese, beetroot and apple salad or delicious local specialties such as "peinirli" -- dough parcels stuffed with minced beef and peppers. Mains might include a pasta dish, traditional pork gyros or a beef sandwich. There is always a chef's special, which will be a local dish often from the island you're visiting that day.

Kids get their own separate menu both at lunch and dinner, which will include fish fingers, hot dog, burger and chicken nuggets; mac n' cheese or build your own pizza. Desserts include ice cream and jelly.

Dinner is served in three courses (or four, if you would like a soup as well as an app), and there are always vegetarian options. The line no longer offers "Your Favorites" (a selection of always available classics), but if you ask for something plain like grilled chicken, salmon or steak, they will oblige.

Appetizers may include octopus keftedes (balls of deep fried octopus), oven-baked pasticcio (Greek lasagne), a lobster bisque and a salad. Main courses are heavily Greek-influenced, such as seafood saganaki (a tomato sauce with feta cheese), fish filet with artichoke pilaf or chicken stew marinated in a red wine sauce. You'll also find grilled beef or steak and vegetarian paella.

Desserts are again strongly Greek influenced and include Greek chocolate pie, Greek yogurt with honey, ice cream, fresh fruit, a cheese plate, baklava or galatopita (kind of a Greek custard pie).

Open for breakfast (6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.); lunch (Noon to 2 p.m., depending on port times) and dinner (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).

Galileo Room (Deck 4): Just off the main dining room, the Galileo Room has a quieter atmosphere, as well as tables for two. The same menu is served; you can ask to be seated there when you enter the dining room.

Leda (Deck 9): The self-serve Leda buffet is at the back of the ship, and is a space which is semi-open to the elements, in that the roof is not fixed: it's a large awning which can be opened up in warm weather. The age of the ship means you get to walk on real teak floors. This was the place to eat at most times of day on our short cruise, and was very popular with the school groups and families who perhaps don't want a traditional three-course set meal. It's also open later than the MDR. There is always a cooking station set up in the middle of the restaurant at all meals, where you can get eggs cooked to order, or tacos at lunch or interesting desserts in the evening.

The breakfast buffet includes pastries, waffles, eggs, bacon, meats, cheeses, as well as cheese and spinach pies. For lunch, you'll find plenty of Greek salad staples, including tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and onions, as well as moussaka, fish skewers and lamb. Dinner choices are the same that you'd find in the main dining room. During the summer months when student groups board, snacks such as pizza, gyros and burgers are added.

Leda is open for breakfast (6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.), "elevenses" (9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.), lunch (noon to 2:30 p.m.), afternoon tea (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and dinner (7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.).

Aura Grill (Deck 9): Open only on days when the ship is at sea during the lunch hour, Aura Grill on Deck 9 is the buffet closest to the pool, serving up burgers and fries. It's a popular choice in the warmer months, and also attracts passengers looking for non-Greek options.

Once a cruise (Day 2) there is an outdoor BBQ served on the pool deck, just below the Aura Grill, accompanied by live music. Here you'll find mountains of meat -- steaks, pork, chicken, sausages, burgers all being cooked in great big BBQ pits under the starry sky, sending off wafts of delicious aromas; plus salad, sweetcorn and baked potatoes. It's all delicious and there is a lively atmosphere -- it's hard to beat on a warn Aegean night.

Gelato and frozen yogurt are sold from a stand located by the pool on Deck 9. Cones cost one euro per scoop.

Room Service: Room service is available for a fee. A continental breakfast delivered to your room costs €5.95 per delivery and is served 6:00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. Snacks and sandwiches, ranging in price from €5.95 to €7.95, can be delivered 24 hours a day. There is also X-press pizza delivery; the €7.95 price includes a beer or soda.

The line went all inclusive in 2017, which includes the vast majority of drinks you'll ever need, including specialty coffees plus deep discounts on bottle of wines; however you can upgrade for 11 euro per person per day to a Gold Package which includes champagne and premium brand liquors. You can also upgarde on a day-by-day basis, not for the whole cruise.

 

Celestyal Olympia Information

Celestyal Olympia Ship Stats

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

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