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Celestyal Nefeli Dining

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
11 reviews
Editor Rating
Very Good
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

There are no specialty restaurants and just two dining locations, both free.

The food overall is superb, both in the restaurant and the buffet. Where you might expect the buffet to not be of a high a standard as the sit-down restaurant, it is on Nefeli. In fact, we'd go as far to say as this is some of the best consistently good food we've had on a mainstream cruise ship, and that's largely down to one man: Executive chef Iannis Korologos, who has worked wonders in terms of cuisine on Nefeli's two fleet-mates, Olympia and Crystal.

Aegean (Deck 4): The main (only) dining room is a large space, with a raised section in the center, which allows for tiered seating. There are tables for four set round the room, beside the windows; and tables for six and eight in the center. Seating and decor is low-key and contemporary, in whites and cool blues with smart gray leather chairs; and service is of a consistently high standard. Waiters are attentive and quick, and great with kids, remembering quirks and favorite dishes; beverage choices are remembered and they are always happy to bring out an extra dish, or make a recommendation.


* May require additional fees

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast it's buffet service, with specialty coffees and off-buffet orders brought to your table, such as omelet. Expect eggs done in various ways, bacon, sausages, pancakes, cereals, fruits, fresh-baked pastries, toast and a European-style selection of cold meats and cheeses.

Lunch is a la carte (although if a large number of passengers are off the ship it will be a buffet, with drinks served at the table), consisting of a selection of starters, which might include octopus carpaccio and a selection of dips, as well as a soup; a selection of mains which will include a fish dish, such as seared salmon, two meat dishes which might include a chicken stew and strip steak; and a vegetarian dish; a selection of desserts, which might include a chocolate mousse, creme brulee and always fresh fruit.  

Dinners were uniformly excellent: beautifully presented; fresh, locally-caught fish; delicate meats and some truly inventive vegetarian options.

The meals are three courses, and always include a chef's specialty, which will highlight a local Greek dish, for example pork shoulder or roast lamb shoulder prepared with local spices. There is a Gala Night dinner, but there are no extra dishes.

Note that allergies are catered for, but you need to inform your server ahead of the meal. There is always a vegetarian option for each course.

The emphasis is on Greek cuisine, so for starters expect a selection of dips including humus and tzatziki; fish balls, calamari, octopus carpaccio and of course Greek salad; as well as two soups.

There are four mains to choose from which always include one fresh (not frozen) fish dish, two meat options and a vegetarian course. Some examples include: an outstanding vegetable ratatouille with bulgur and yoghurt mint sauce. It was beautifully presented and perfectly cooked, so you could taste each individual veg, and each one retained a slight crunch, so the flavors did not all meld into one. Outstanding. Meat dishes might include beef stew or beef brisket, chicken or moussaka. Fish dishes include pan seared Alaskan salmon and Psari me maintanolata, pan seared fillet of sole, which was a highlight: lightly grilled, with just-right boiled new potatoes and fresh vegetables. You can easily tell if a fish has been frozen; this was caught on the day.

What was really impressive was the high standard of cuisine across the length of the voyage, which is rare: there are usually one or two not up to par dishes on a typical cruise; not so on this. The portions are also a generous size. The only thing which struck a bum note was the packets of ketchup and mustard, like in a fast food restaurant: in their jars or in serving bowls would have been a much nicer way to present them.

And in lieu of a specialty restaurant, you can go off the free menu and order steak, lobster or maki rolls, for between €9.95-€19.95.

There are five dessert selections, which include three sweet dishes (cheese cake, profiteroles), ice cream and a cheese selection.

Wines are almost all Greek, with a couple of French and south African ones. There is a helpful guide at the back of the wine menu which runs through every Greek grape varietal, or get Andy the sommelier (who doubles as guitar-playing singer) to help you. Prices start at about €22 per bottle, but are half the price if you are on the all-inclusive drinks package.

There is a separate kids' menu available every night which includes burgers, hot dogs, fish fingers, mac 'n' cheese and pizza.

Open: Opening times vary depending what port the ship is in and for how long, but as a rough guide: Breakfast: From 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.; Lunch: Noon to 2 p.m. and Dinner: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Leda Buffet (Deck 6): The Leda Buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is set aft with a two-sided serving station and a separate spot for desserts, as well as drinks dispensers against the wall. It spills out onto the deck, which is usable most of the time (in low season it may be a bit cold or windy), and which means it never gets crowded inside.

Breakfast will consist of cereals, yoghurts, cold meats and cheeses and a hot selection including various types of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and porridge. The drinks dispensers serve pretty good cappuccino, as well as filter coffee.

At lunch you'll find a really lovely salad selection, consisting of typical salad ingredients, but also Greek olives, feta and big fat tomatoes. Each day there will be a different option on offer such as a potato salad or avocado salad, as well as cold meats and cheeses.

Main dishes will include fish, chicken, a meat option, usually served in Greek style; and a vegetarian dish. There is always rice, potatoes and vegetables, and in addition a pasta dish with a topping, which changes daily.

The desserts will include mousses, jellies, ice cream, fresh fruit and traditional dishes like baklava and cheese pastries. You can also pay for branded ice cream, such as Snickers and Maltesers, from a cart at €2 each.

Open: Opening times vary depending what port the ship is in and for how long and are the same as the Aegean Restaurant.

Elsewhere on the ship you can get food in all the bars for a Kwik 'n' Easy menu, which includes pizzas and burgers for a fee.

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. 

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