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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal ... Read More
A very mixed bag If you are interested in a review that unlike many posted by travel professionals please read on - I do read reviews and was disappointed that my experience on Celestyal did not live up to the rave reviews for Celestyal Crystal . First the good - The staff mostly all willing to greet passengers with a smile and kind words. The room - we had an XC category room on level 4 - the room was quit spacious- the bed comfortable and while a bit dated always clean. The itinerary- one of the primary reasons we choose Celestyal was excellent. The Cuban entertainment team- one of the very best we have ever had on any ship we have been on - which is saying something as several of our previous cruises have been on lines like Disney and celebrity - vocally honestly very good . The Cruise director- Danny One word - Awesome! When have you seen a cruise director join the show to sing and dance? Shore excursions- For the amount of folks they had to take in the included excursions- they did a good job. The guides on the excursions were some of the best we have experienced Now to the klunky and quirky and not so good The bar service - unlimited drinks - do not imagine yourself in Cancun by any stretch of the imagination- they employ a method that requires staff to wait your drink- they say ‘so we can keep track of what we use’ - my guess is that the bar staff tips are tied to the amount of drinks they serve. Here is what that means - service is very unpredictable waiting 10 minutes for an espresso - not unusual. But if you learn the waiters who would not just take 8 orders it could be very prompt. Or as happened to me after waiting 15 minutes for a sparkling water they gave me someone else’s card - and I had to go back to get retrieve my card as I could never get back into my room :) Always double check that you got your card back :) The food - Unpredictable- sometimes quit good on other days just not good. I am a food snob but when the rice and chicken on American is not over cooked that’s saying something and the rice and chicken were better on my flight - good for American not sure how to explain mushy rice and dry chicken for most the week. Now we did have some really good dish’s but it was hard to know. It was midway through the week before we had what we would describe as a really good desert - kind of a first for us on any cruise. The staff - While some were great we had some who simple did not have language or competence for the task they were attempting to fill. At reception we had one amazing staff person who went out of their way to help and another who seemed to think his job was to smile and explain away the issues we were raising- in fact I’m pretty sure he straight up lied telling us the ship (1200 capacity) was at 100 percent and later to discover it was at 701? On another occasion when trying to share about a really bad tender experience waiting for over an hour - he told us the tender was every half hour. Again either a language or competence. The smell of diesel- Was present in the dining room almost every evening and in our room daily - I struggled with nasal congestion until I got off the ship Disembarkation- In over a dozen cruises on multiple lines all over the world I was quit surprised by how klunky and long it took - actually I’ve never taken this long to disembark To repeat? I am pretty unsure if I would repeat with Celestyal now that other major lines are picking similar itineraries. Also we are pretty sure we won’t be repeating Greece - it overall did not fully live up to the hype. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it stayed overnight in Mykonos & Santorini. It was certainly a relaxing cruise. Our embarkation went smoothly & we disembarked quite quickly without any hassle. We had an outside cabin with a picture window. We were on level 5 at the end of the corridor. It was quiet enough but we could hear a buzz from either the generator or air con during the night. This didn't bother my husband but I am a light sleeper & had to wear ear plugs to block out the noise.The cabin was small but we had enough room to move about. We both found the bed too hard & missed not having a small fridge to keep our water cold. The shower was fine & we always had plenty of clean towels. We enjoyed dinning in the main restaurants. The food was of a good standard & there was plenty of choice if you were gluten free like me. I didn't find a great deal of choice at breakfast time. The cereals were of poor quality & thought the scrambled eggs were horrible. It was daunting having to ask for gluten free bread & dairy free milk ( soya only) at breakfast time, especially as the waiters were always busy. I am not a lover of cooked breakfasts but my husband thought he had had a better breakfast elsewhere. The buffet at lunch time in the evening was good, although the choice was similar each day. The gluten free bread was ok when warm but I pre ordered sandwiches one day & the bread was so bad I had to throw them away. I found the day time activities a bit run of the mill but as we were at a port each day it didn't bother us. The evening entertainment was a bit amatureish but the staff were so enthusiastic that it made the shows entertaining. My favourite was the Greek night & the Abba tribute. The entertainment staff put a lot of work into each show as there were no other acts on board. The entertainment manager was very friendly & had a good manner with the guests onboard. The service we received on board was good & we found most of the staff very friendly & helpful. Our favourite port of call was Santorini & we enjoyed the free included trip to Oia. it was lovely to have the overnight stay to spend two days on this lovely island. The other two free included trips were fine. The organisation of the trips was very good & there was no problem when having to get to port by a tender. The ship was smaller than others we have sailed on & therefore maybe not as much choice as on a larger ship. I liked the fact that it was smaller & there seemed to be less hussle & bustle. It was an older ship but still very clean & comfortable. However, I felt one of their failings was that they didn't always push the guests to use the hand sanitizers when returning to the ship, going into the theatre or even going into the buffet at lunch time or tea time. This didn't seem to be a priority like on larger ships. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise. There were a few minor short comings but this didn't spoil the our trip & we would use this cruise line again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends ... Read More
Having cruised once before on a bigger ship, my wife and I did not know what to really expect from Celestyal. Yes full board was part of the package, but how were they going to be different. That easy, instantly we made great friends with the crew. Celestyal want their staff to socialize with their guests so you would often see staff sitting having a quick chat with passengers. What surprised us was that we were greeted by name. Staff were excellent and everyone greeted you with a smile Crystal was awesome, catering for all our needs. the one positive was disembarking. Very quick and efficient and queues moved very efficiently. The entertainment was great and varied to cater for all types of passenger. Another positive we noticed was that were docked longer than other cruise liners so you could really experience the islands without the pressure of getting back to the ship in time and not seeing enough. We opted for a Junior Suite so we had our own balcony. This was great to be able to sit on our own deck and stair into ocean especially during sun rises. I would seriously recommend Celestyal Cruises to young and old alike. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was ... Read More
Had been on same ship to Cuba and enjoyed.Wanted to visit the Greek Isles. Ship only about 2/3 booked. Nice from standpoint of not crowded. Bad from standpoint 3 optional prepaid excursions cancelled for lack of enough participants. It was a hassle getting refund. Shore excursions said they couldn't credit our charge card immediately, yet they were able to bill charge card immediately for a substitute trip. Was told to expect refund 7-10 days post cruise. Didn't happen so I called and was told we were expected to go through our travel agent for refund, even though we booked the shore excursions directly on Celestyal website. Money has now been refunded, but a lot more hassle than necessary. Food and entertainment were good. Some of the shore excursions were a bit disorganized, but it was the first cruise of the season. Our bathroom smelled bad from the start of cruise and constantly leaked water under the sill of the shower, flooding the bathroom. We told the room steward. It was never fixed during the cruise. We should have been moved to another cabin since the cruise was not fully booked. I am rating shore excursions as poor due to management, even though most of the excursions themselves were OK. Read Less
5 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
Sail Date: May 2019
excursions and itinerary excellent, the food is poor, staff is excellent and helpful, Not enough tenders for number of people on the ship during excursions Pool is pathetic, very few lounge chairs Could smell diesel fumes ... Read More
excursions and itinerary excellent, the food is poor, staff is excellent and helpful, Not enough tenders for number of people on the ship during excursions Pool is pathetic, very few lounge chairs Could smell diesel fumes regularly, they were painting part of the boat and fumes were toxic Amenities need a lot of improvement Only 1 dining room open Pre cruise communication was non existent Overall disappointing If only care about ports and not on board experience this boat is worthwhile Suggestions Heated jacuzzi was cold Improve casino. Slot machines only Only have one English tv channel More on board activities Coffee, tea , water should be available 24 hours a day Lucky staff was friendly and helpful... Having breakfast while I write this and inhaling diesel fumes on the back deck Food stations are very limited in times open Expectations were not high, but experience were not close to being met Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We are glad to find you all here, even if it's just virtual. I participated, together with my wife, on the cruise from 29.04 to 06.05.2019 with Celestyal Cristal. The only word that fits this cruise is "excellent" ... in all ... Read More
We are glad to find you all here, even if it's just virtual. I participated, together with my wife, on the cruise from 29.04 to 06.05.2019 with Celestyal Cristal. The only word that fits this cruise is "excellent" ... in all respects ... from boarding to disembarkation. The vessel is small enough, it is neither new nor modern, but that does not matter because this vessel has a team that provides the highest class service. First of all we noticed the cruise director Dany who made our embarkation to take place simply and quickly and after that he took care that the whole cruise unfolds in the most pleasant atmosphere. Dany is a complete man and artist, the heart of the shows every evening and the organizer of all the trips I participated in. He is indeed, as he says himself, like the Duracell Bunny, of inexhaustible energy. We was very pleasantly impressed by the simple organization and the impeccable development of shore excursions that were included in the program and in the price. The competence of the guides and drivers on the buses that have transported us was special. I have especially noticed the restaurant's chief of the ship, Mr. Adrian Zamfir, who does not resemble an ordinary boss wich is hiding in his office. This great man participates with his staff in the entire restaurant activity, having every evening some nice talk with every guest of the restaurant. He organized the most beautiful moments for most of his guests, including birthday parties for both adults and children. Reception at the restaurant and the showroom was always a pleasure in the presence of the hosts: Lisandra, Ori and Caroline. All the staff of these restaurants have competed in a nicer and most efficient service all over the world. On the whole cruise I have not seen anyone unhappy, but they all have only words of praise about the staff of the restaurants. We have been very good greatly served by Mr. Mohamad from Amalthia Restaurant, Mr. Adi Zaharia from the Fish Tavern and Didi Souschef from Leda Buffet. We remember with big pleasure of the activity of chefs from Chef's Corner, where every day you find only goodies. Drinks from all bars were good and well served. The entertainment was excellent, including two live shows a day, which often ended with generalized dance (artists and spectators). Very good were the bands that sang live at bars and swimming pools: "Trio Greco", "Souls Latin" and "Duo Jaleo". We was particularly impressed the performances presented in the evening. The artists involved here are complets: singing, dancing, doing acrobatics that sometimes seem impossible ... and everything is perfect in a show with the theme, it's not a random mix. A special mention for Maite, the "girl with the violin", that makes a special contribution alongside each band, improving the results. Note 10 to everyone. The most important advantage in this cruise was that almost everything was included in the price: Accommodation, meals, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, port taxes, service tax and 3 optional tours. The ports of call were excellent, and the time spent in each port allowed us to visit everything we wanted. I booked cabin 3101, a cheaper cabin, but I think it was the best choice. For how long I spent in it was perfect. Enough of space, endowed with everything that was needed, arranged and decorated. It did not have window, but the wall-painting had successfully replaced it, and the air was excellent. We did not feel the lack of window. I was very well served three times a day by a very careful manager. Towels and sheets have been changed regularly, all the toiletries provided ... all I needed! In the cabin, there were very few movements ... even in a bad weather and I always had a great sleep. We are particularly grateful and we promise to return, recommending this cruise to others. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in ... Read More
There was nothing to fault on this holiday. Very well organised indeed. Holiday comprised of flights from London Heathrow to Athens return, 1 night in Athens hotel, then 7-night cruise including 24 hours in Mykonos, 48 hours in Santorini, a day in Milos, another in Herculaneum, Crete and concluding with a half day visit to Ephesus, Turkey. A really good itinerary on this cruise if you like the best of the Greek Islands. The flights, transfers and hotel accommodation were all fine (Stewart Travel, Glasgow). The cruise was exceptional. Mostly because of the crew. Small comfortable ship (800 passengers). Extremely friendly and attentive staff (nothing was too much trouble for them). This was probably the best cruise we have been on to date. We were given cards when we arrived which entitled us to free drinks (alcoholic and soft) which covered all but the luxury brands of drink (18-year-old whisky etc.). It was fine for us only requiring beer, baileys, wine and coffee. We did have a lobster dinner one night and paid extra for that, but it was well worth it! The food was excellent. Ranging from the ‘Al A Carte’ restaurants to the buffets and bars. There was a wide range of dishes and choices to suite everyone. We didn’t have one meal we were not impressed with. The staff are very attentive, we didn’t wait long to be served ever. The entertainment on the ship was constant culminating with the two shows every night. The shows were excellent and varied, the dancers and acrobats extremely talented. The ship photographers were also very helpful, and their work was memorable. The easy pace of the island visits meant you had plenty of time to explore each destination properly. We were lucky with the weather and had clear blue skies and 23-25c most of the week. I cannot stress the friendliness and helpfulness of the Captain and his crew enough! They were all charming, went to great lengths to ensure the passengers were always happy and content. The safety and efficiency of the way the ship was run was impressive for me as an ex-seaman. Everything was properly done (we felt safe at all times). We had a magical holiday and would recommend this company, ship and staff unreservedly, everything was perfectly organised. We would cruise again with Celestyal without hesitation. They are an outstanding company (extremely impressed). Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free ... Read More
Hi All, My trip Aug 27th from Athens on the Crystal 7 Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise was beyond what I expected. With only 476 cabins this makes for a nice intimate group with no line ups. The extra pluses like all inclusive drinks, free tours and no tipping quickly made this my top favorite cruise of all time. The guests themselves were 40-75 age group comprised mostly of Canadians and Europeans. No language barrier at all as the staff for the most part are fluent in 5 languages. Very few children which does not exclude families but there is not a huge children's program and the sheer amount of walking and exploring would be difficult for kids or seniors with mobilty issues. Having said that the ship herself does accommodate physically challenged passengers. The food was superb with a la carte and buffet style options. We had a pre reserved table every night and we loved getting to know the staff. The food was international style with a North American flair and every meal was different and presented in the most elegant way. They do offer upgraded menu items like Lobster and select wines but we didn't feel the need to upgrade. I can not say enough about the hard working and friendly staff. By day 2 they knew us by name and we were always greeted in a friendly way. The cabins were spotlessly cleaned and had all the special touches you would find on any other larger cruise ship. Towel service, turn down service, cute towel animals and chocolate on the pillows. Our cabin was a large picture window which was lovely arriving in each port. I would have upgraded to balcony except there were none to book last minute. The best thing about this cruise is that it actually overnights in many of the Greek ports which give guests a chance to experience day and nightlife without having to rush to get back on ship. It was great to be able to explore these destinations on our own. The tours were amazing and very informative, especially Turkey which was a wonderful surprise as we were slightly nervous about going there. At no time did we ever feel any port or locals were dangerous. Of course there were lots of vendors selling their wares and for the most part they were ready to bargain and the clothing, jewelry and trinkets were truly authentic. I would not travel in August again just due to the thousands and thousands of tourists in each port every day plus the heat which was in excess of 38C every day. I would highly recommend this cruise to any of our valued customers and do recommend a few pre/post nights to unwind before the cruise. I will be telling anyone who is willing to listen how fantastic this experience was. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently ... Read More
My daughter and I booked this cruise due to its varied itinerary which did not include any sea days and included two over night stays in Mykonos and Santorini rather than as a "cruise experience". This enabled us to independently book a hotel for the night in Santorini. Having previously cruised with P and O and Royal Caribbean we did not want to spend too much time on the ship as we personally found that these larger ships are too rigid in their organisation for our needs. However The Celestyal Crystal in our opinion and experience as a smaller ship was the total opposite. Embarkation and disembarkation even when by tender ran smoothly with no queuing and minimum formality. Our inside cabin was clean, functional and had the most wonderful stewards who serviced the cabin at least three times daily. The dining choices...buffet and two formal restaurants were run by well trained and attentive staff. The food choices were good although at times the food served did not always match the description on the menu. The house wine was excellent. However the spirits and alcoholic cocktails although well presented appeared to be lacking in alcohol.The entertainment was excellent including twice nightly live shows, a live band ( a rarity these days on cruises ) and live music and dancing in the lounges. There was also a disco and karaoke bar which we did not visit due to lack of time on our part. The ports of call were excellent and the time spent in each port enabled us to visit historical sites, great beaches and local tavernas independently alongside three excursions which were included in the price of the cruise. We were unable to dock in Milos due to adverse weather conditions and the captain re arranged for us to visit Syros instead. As we arrived at a slightly later time in Syros the evening shows and restaurant times were rescheduled to start/finish at a later time. This is a fantastic example of how the customers were always put first on this cruise. There was a consistent happy, friendly, family atmosphere among the international passengers and crew. This was enabled by the excellent staff led by the cruise director Danny and his team. This cruise was all inclusive with three included shore excursions, a drinks package and all tips and gratuities. All the staff appeared happy in their roles and it was great to see crew members being given time off to explore various ports of call. We will definitely return and strongly recommend. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We wanted a cruise that included the Greek Islands, leaving from Athens, for around a week, in August. This cruise fitted the bill. After booking and visiting the agents in Auckland, NZ to confirm our cabin, we then read some of the ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that included the Greek Islands, leaving from Athens, for around a week, in August. This cruise fitted the bill. After booking and visiting the agents in Auckland, NZ to confirm our cabin, we then read some of the reviews which were less than flattering! We had cruised with our 4 children years ago and so decided we would make the best of maybe a bad choice. We were very happy with our choice. From the moment we stepped on board we felt comfortable - the service was always with a smile, the food was good, the included excursions on shore were excellent, we had no real complaints. We ate each night at the restaurant on deck 5 and my wife and I were escorted by Dimitrius or Angelo to our table which always had the reserve sign on it. We found the food very good with the various selections and the house wine was very acceptable. The breakfast buffet was typical of a good resort except the pastries were disappointing. The bar service was excellent - you just needed to order right. I took a bottle of brandy on board as it was not showing on the list of spirits in the drinks package but it was there, so you order a brandy and a bottle of your mixer, ice, and then make your own drink! They do not serve doubles, fair enough. Getting numbers of people off the boat for excursions was done very well and the three tour guides we had were excellent. We only watched one show which was good as we tended to retire early and then be up for the next days activities. The only negatives were the men eating in the restaurants at night in shorts when there were many notices to advise not to. The restaurant staff we spoke to said they thought it was disrespectful to them as they dress up in white jackets etc and most of the passengers make the effort but there are always a few spoilers! Very enjoyable. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not ... Read More
first timers, good staff and attentive service on this smaller ship. Food was not Michelin but was more than satisfactory in all restaurants. One downer though- in the A la carte rest'nt the dress code has been allowed to slip- not saying it should be black tie etc, but sitting down next to persons in flip flops and shorts who have just come back on board from the shore visits is not great fun! if unable to dock, they do need a few more activities during the 'sea time'. would have liked a little 'tour' of the ship for example, just to show the hidden workings and to keep us out of trouble on the aft deck with the Mojitos! Being a smaller ship, we were on some of the smaller islands and away from the larger crowds from other ships. But- friendly, money's worth, and excellent, clean cabins and public areas. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to ... Read More
While preparing to write my impressions of my cruises ( my 123th , I am a professional in the cruise market and I have accompanied groups with almost all the cruise companies over a period of 40 years ) here is the first word that came to mind: kindness! From the moment I boarded I found, as usual (I do this cruise every year) so much courtesy, everywhere! All crew , from the exquisite lady Guest Relation Manager to the very efficient cabin waiters , our table waiter Ali and the restaurant Manager Mr. Alex (a word for describe him: simply outstanding ! ) , just to name a few , all, really all of them , were ready to answer to all my needs with a smile , always offering an impeccable service. The ship : well, Crystal is my favorite Celestyal ship: It looks like a huge yacht, the optimum size to enter small ports but large enough to offer the services of a large ship but scaled down which means personalized service and more spaces Individual. The décor, a bit ' retro ' but bright and airy is the best you could possibly want to sail in the Aegean Sea. My cabin, the 7205 Junior suite, is not really a junior suite: it is actually comparable to a spacious balcony cabin of a today standard cruise ship. I have to open here a small parenthesis of "little disappointment" because a review, to be fair to be credible, must be fair, in good things ( and really MOST are very good ) but also in... not so good . The world’s cruise companies, when they have a less valid hardware (as in this case, a junior suite that is not) compensate with better service as ordinary and here is where Celestyal is wrong: this cabin is part of the “suite” price category (the other two main groups being the outside and inside cabins ) But, while costing just little less than other suites JS doesn’t enjoy any perk at all. Nothing at all. Everything in contrast to the other categories of suites that have excellent benefits ( well done Celestyal for these ! ) . Not even free breakfast service in cabin , and this is really simply unacceptable . Now, tell me, is out there a single company in the world not offering this service in Js ? The answer is: NO or , better YES : Celestyal. The price is certainly not cheap , suitesa are expensive and Celestyal should realize that this is correct at all. The Junior Suites customer thinks that they have booked a "Cinderella" suite. Having said that... everything else has been of my total satisfaction: the catering is much improved compared to past years , it was already good, but this year it was definitely better. Also noteworthy is the excellent presentation (and abundance) of the dishes. The presentation of the buffets has also considerably improved. The bar service is pretty well organized taking into account that on Celestyal there is the all inclusive formula which guests obviously take advantage of and the work of the bars for employees is hard . Well done. What else to say? The style : I mean, the Celestyal cruise style is a little...how to say, retro ? Perhaps, but retro ' in the best meaning of this world : lot of class and this makes it an almost unique product in the International cruise panorama. Hope they don't change because that makes them absolutely different. And, now, the best of the best: the evening shows ! The cabaret offered here is ( light years ) better than the insipid mega shows offered on the big ships, here there’s "pathos" and the result is that I enjoy myself crazy and try not to lose a single one. On premium ships, an example for all Holland America Line : I much prefer reading a book in my cabin than attending their shows . This says all ! The cruise director: Well, one of the best I've ever experienced ( and enjoyed so much ) and between other 122 cruises to compare with , I believe It says a lot. The itinerary is really nice, with the overnights in Mykonos and Santorini that allow you to enjoy all the excitement of these islands that become particularly alive and charming in the evenings (while almost all other cruise ships depart ). The ship had to cancel the call of Milos due to marine weather conditions and we made instead a call at Syros’s capital Ermoupoli , an elegant city that I particularly love and that I recommend to visit. Then Kusadasi , Turkey: apart from the amazing ruins of Ephesus, shopping here is absolutely not to be missed. What have I forgotten? Ah, the beautiful Crete: I have been there at least a dozen times and always I found something new to see, this time I visited a typical farm on the hills that produces oil, raki (the typical Cretan brandy) and typical wines and we were offered excellent local delicacies produced by the farm. Ah, I forgot! Early evening , while the ship was still anchored to Heraklion , came aboard a troupe of local dancers who offered us a show of typical cretan dances: again, a “bravo” to Celestyal . Such shows were once frequent on cruise ships but today they are almost gone. And now, just a little advice to enjoy the Celestyal hospitality at its best : try to "swim against the tide" while aboard . For example,If the mass of passengers likes to dine late in the evening, and this is the case here, try to dine sooner : you’ll enjoy a better restaurant service ! More quiet and relaxed . As soon as the ship arrives, don't rush to the ship’s exit : instead , wait a while and leave queues and stress to others. I do so and for me the cruise is nothing othen than relax as I like it. And when the cruise is over ? Nostalgia of course so the best… treatment ( ehehe  ) is booking immediately another cruise with Celestyal for 2019, so I can dream of a Celestyal cruise for a whole year ! I sincerely believe that with Celestyal you can’t go wrong: if every year I repeat this trip in the Aegean there’s a reason ( hope they will soon introduce new itineraries , for example alternate routes in order to allow passengers to make longer back to back cruises . ) . Of course Greek islands are full of charm but Celestyal Cruises will take you there in an absolutely special way , different from all other cruise companies in the world : the “Greek way” with its special food, its music and its wonderful people which means, simply, a totally different , and far superior experience ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Amazing entertainment team and activities, tasty food and friendly staff. Would definitely visit again. All destinations were really nice as well as the excursions. I enjoyed it a lot. Most negative reviews are from old people who always ... Read More
Amazing entertainment team and activities, tasty food and friendly staff. Would definitely visit again. All destinations were really nice as well as the excursions. I enjoyed it a lot. Most negative reviews are from old people who always complain about the slightest thing. There are things to do for everyone on this ship and you will certainly not get bored. Pool is kind of small though. Room services were always satisfactory...no problems here. I can't say much about a la carte but the buffet was full of variety and the two barbecue evenings were the cherry on top of the cake. There are lots of activities where they show you how the staff carves fruits or ice or how they fold the towels and stuff like that. Danny, the cruise director was the soul of the party, always smiling, dancing and talking with everyone. Very outgoing guy. Disco is alright, they have a Cuban dj so there are lots of good rhythmic songs to dance to. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily ... Read More
Very good food, clean cabins, great night shows and divers entertainment program. Really best value for money I've paid. Great for families with/without friends. I strongly recommend for everybody: you can enjoy the dense daily program or you just can relax in sun bath. I've have chosen 7 nights in Greek island with spectacular views; the atmosphere on the ship was like in (a big) family. The services was really good, the crew was very nice and we have really pleased with the overall atmosphere. Very nice live bands with Greek traditional music or from international . Danny, the cruise director, was a man of pleasant surprises every night with really good shows, that cover professional dance, good music, acrobatics, ballet and so on. The entertainment team was really good and interactive with peoples. Finally I spend very nice time on Celestial Crystal and I will back next year for a new experience. Thank you! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a ... Read More
An ageing vessel, "dirty" engines putting out fumes on departure from ports. Outside deck space is tired, not very comfortable seating and cushions when available dirty with cig burns. Cocktails very watered own, wine a dinner nothing special but drinkable Excursions rather long and padded out with relatively uninteresting visits like carpet factory in Kusadasi which was interesting initially but not the 1 hour plus of resisting the sales pitch. Disappointed that so many cruisers chose to ignore the dress code , tea shirts and sandals even on captains night. Having given all the negatives, we enjoyed our cruise, food in Olympia was excellent and we were well served by Angelo Geny and Elisabeth the wine waitress. Lounge areas were comfortable and really enjoyed the shows which were very professional. Small groups playing in lounges were also good. Overall although Cristal is showing her mature years this is made up for by the really excellent crew, always smiling and helpful. Next cruise will be with a larger more modern ship but I think we will miss the size and friendliness of Criistal and her crew. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 ... Read More
We went the whole family (2 adult children) on a 7 day cruise to the Greek islands. Excellent ship, renewed, great food, good cabins, Staff is very kind. Well prepared itinerary. What I liked the most is the human scale of the ship (1000 passengers), so that you have plenty of space and time to enjoy, no hurries, not being pushed by the herd of passengers coming behind you. Compared with the Costa and MSC ships (5000 passengers) where you just feel another number, and were you may not find a place for breakfast or lunch during rush hours (specially if you go to the buffet, instead of the restaurants), the atmosphere is much more relaxed on the Celestyal ships, And the staff is 10 times friendlier, not completely stressed like in other ships. Just make a simple calculation: in a 5000 passengers ship you have 1000 crew: on crew member every 5 passengers. On the Celestyal ships, you have 1000 passengers and 450 crew members: one crew member every 2 passengers, A huge difference!!. 100 percent recommend Celestyal Cruises. When we wanted to change an excursion from Efeso for another one in Samos (the same day), no problem, no extra charge. Good cruise company!! Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the ... Read More
Coming from Australia, we are used to being savvy about cruising – our country is a dumping ground for older ships with poor facilities (looking at you, Princess and P&O) or decent ships that have their prices massively pumped up the moment they hit our shores for the season (looking at you, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity). Our family of four (parents, 19yo son and 17yo daughter) are experienced cruisers, so we are used to being cautious when booking our cruise holidays whether domestically or overseas. On this occasion, we were attending a family gathering in Europe and decided to extend our holiday by taking a cruise. Having done the Western Med several times, we were keen to concentrate on a different region. In October 2017, I cruised on Azamara Journey ex Athens return with my mother and had thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary, so I was keen to show my husband and children what Greece had to offer. Unfortunately, the choice for family cruising in the region is very limited, as many of the large, reputable cruise ships use Italy and Spain, rather than Greece, as their embarkation/disembarkation points, with limited Greek ports as part of their itineraries. Despite some research, we could find very little information from an Australian perspective on the quality of Celestyal cruising - even the travel agents we consulted had limited information and asked us to provide them with feedback if we went ahead with our cruise. (As we were to find out, most of the people cruising this line do not come from Australia, the UK or even the mainland of the USA; rather, they seemed to be from the Latin American countries and some European nations.) In the end, we decided to chance it, but played it safe by booking the best available cabins which, at the time, were a suite (Cat S) and an obstructed oceanview, both cabins being on deck 6. The total cost for the Idyllic Aegean itinerary (7 days), which included gratuities, selected drinks packages and three shore excursions, was in excess of AUD12,000. (We had hoped to upgrade both cabins onboard if this became an option, but it never eventuated as the cruise sailed at full capacity.) This price was in the ballpark of what I had paid per person for my 8 day cruise on Azamara in an oceanview cabin, so I was hopeful this cruise would be a decent one, though I wasn't naive enough to expect it would be up to Azamara's standards. My thinking was that it might equate to some of Royal Caribbean's older, smaller vessels, such as Rhapsody. THE GOOD: The ship is part of a Greek line and focuses on the islands, which is what we were looking for. We overnighted in Mykonos and stayed two full days in Santorini, which is not an option on larger liners. You can't take away from Celestyal that it offers unrivalled access to the Greek ports. Worth noting is that, at the last minute, the captain allowed all guests to disembark for an hour or so in Samos, while he picked up passengers who had attended an alternative shore excursion - this was unscheduled but appreciated and not something you could expect on larger liners. Our suite was very spacious, but had no opening windows or balcony. In fact, it was more like a very large oceanview, with just one large porthole. The shower stall was generously sized with a sliding glass door and the shower itself had the best pressure we'd ever experienced at sea. Fruit platters were provided each morning and canapes each evening (though the latter was often dry and tired) and there were complimentary toiletries for suite guests. These appeared to be the only privileges for this room category, with no advantages offered at embarkation/disembarkation, dining or for tender tickets. The cabin staff (Shafik and Teresa/Silvia) were excellent, which is usual on any cruise ship we've been on. They were attentive and keen to help with any requests. We ensured they received additional tips, accordingly. THE BAD: Our children's oceanview cabin was tiny - it was uncomfortably small for two adults and was sparsely appointed. The mattresses in both cabin grades were unusually firm and the pillows unusually soft, so we all ended up with sore shoulders when attempting to sleep on our sides. This was the first ship I have ever been on that didn't allow toilet paper in the toilets. As is the tradition in Greece on the mainland, all loo paper had to be disposed of in the bathroom bins. I found this off-putting. We have travelled diversely, from trekking in third world destinations to staying in five star resorts, however, this was the first time I felt the toileting facilities were substandard for the price we were paying. At home, we live on self-sustainable acreage with a biocycle septic system on the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet we have never had issues putting loo paper down the toilet in any system in our country, let alone on a cruise ship. I really think they could make more effort here. At the time of booking, our children were initially assigned an oceanview cabin on deck 2, however, I'd read the CruiseCritic review cautioning about the diesel fumes on this deck and I insisted on a deck change before final payment. Thank goodness I did. As it was, we still experienced occasional diesel fumes in the cabins on deck 6, as well as in the restaurants. Not terribly pervasive, but I can only imagine how bad it could be down on deck 2. THE UGLY: There is no polite way to say this - the food was appalling. We were looking forward to something more tempting than the usual American-influenced fare offered on the larger ships (which we sometimes find overly sweet and heavy). Celestyal claims to offer authentic Greek cuisine. Sorry, but last time I was in Greece, bland boarding school food was not part of the local experience. There were too many times that even the a la carte dinner in the restaurant was inedible (such as an Osso Bucco that was nothing but a bone chunk and fat swimming in packet-tasting gravy with no accompanying muscle meat to be found). Sadly, even breakfast offered little relief. If you strayed from the omelette and waffle station on the pool deck, there was only bland scrambled eggs and stale pastries on offer. The cereals, fruits and yoghurts were all poor quality; given the wealth of produce available in the region, it was unnecessary and very frustrating. The waitstaff in the restaurants were, almost without exception, terrible. They would forget entire courses, often provided the wrong meals to the wrong people and could not be bothered to apologise or seem at all concerned when their mix-ups became evident. Waitstaff on cruise ships are usually hard working and attentive - these guys were clearly not trained in the same manner as any others we've encountered over the years. It was like the Fawlty Towers of cruise ship restaurants. We had the 'all-inclusive' drinks package as part of our cruise and, at the time of booking, I asked our travel agent to find out how much it would cost to upgrade to premium drinks so that we could take care of this upfront. My experience is that included drinks packages with 'selected' drinks are never particularly good. After having some difficulty getting responses from the Australian wholesaler, our travel agent was told it would only be about an additional $5 per day to upgrade and we could do this onboard. The unpalatable truth is that it was an additional EUR14 per day to get the upgrade once on the ship. The included drinks were so poorly prepared that we decided not to risk throwing good money after bad. We found that as long as we stayed away from any drinks that involved mixers (viz. all the cocktails), then we could find something drinkable. Surprisingly (and fortunately), the house wines were not terrible. My husband, who is a whiskey drinker, simply purchased a bottle of Jameson from onshore and kept that in our suite for his drinks, rather than being forced to pay the premium upgrade for a watery version. We had a mixed experience with the included shore excursions. We didn't take the one offered in Oia, but did use the one offered in Heraklion. It was well run and very enjoyable. The shore excursion in Kusadasi was a travesty. When sailing on the Azamara, I did this port with a private guide and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the guide provided as part of Celestyal's excursion couldn't speak comprehensible English and ruined the whole experience. It was so frustrating to know how it could have been presented and to see the faces of so many people glazing over from the way it was presented. Then, to top it off, we were dragged to the unwanted rug sales pitch where a couple fell for the hard-sell and purchased a rug, holding up our entire tour group so that we got back to the ship within 5 minutes of departure. My husband had wanted to explore the options to purchase a leather jacket, but in the end there wasn't even time to shop independently for souvenirs. The whole shore excursion was unacceptable and I would strongly encourage people to use a private guide for this port. The final insult to this cruise was the disembarkation. We arrived in port at the same time as another of Celestyal's ships, holding up disembarkation so that many passengers were in a panic as to whether they would make their flights. Unlike any other cruise I have been on, there was no prior request for information about people's plans for the next stage of their journey and there was no priority offered to disembarkation of suite guests. Frankly, watching people argue with the crew and push and shove to disembark the vessel was a fitting end to this cruise. Not at all recommended. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We ... Read More
My husband chose this cruise for my 60th birthday treat. We live in Cyprus and had always wanted to visit the Greek islands. Especially Santorini. And thought this would be good way to do it. GOOD POINTS Lovely friendly staff. We enjoyed the Buffett dining as the choice was excellent. The islands we visited lived up to our expectations. Especially Santorini. We had 2 excursions included in our package. 1 to Oia in Santorini and an historic visit in Kusadassi. Both were excellent. And the added bonus of a visit to Samos. Beautiful. BAD POINTS The ship needs a complete overhaul. It’s very dated. The pool is a joke. It’s tiny with a sign posted stating no more than 10 people at a time. Which was unbelievable on a ship with 12000 passengers. The pool is totally in the wrong place. There are no loungers on this level. Which means you have to come out of the pool. And either totally dry yourself off or walk up one level in a wet swimsuit to find a lounger. This level is also partially covered by glass. Making it unbearably hot to sit in. There are loads of underused areas on this ship. Many areas with nowhere to sit. And only 1 outdoor bar. Making it a rush every night to get a table. Yet the level directly above this area had no tables or seating. Surely it would’ve made sense to use this area as part of the bar. They could’ve installed furniture that screwed down. Then there was the dining rooms. A total joke. Both dining rooms had exactly the same menu as each other. Why.. That’s why we used the buffet every day. More choice. On the night of my birthday we decided to give one of the dining rooms a try. Wish we hadn’t bothered. There are notices delivered to everyone that smart dress is essential in the dining rooms. That meant no shorts vests or flip flops on men. And smart dresses for women. This was totally ignored. And the staff did nothing about it. The guys at the next table to us were in vests shorts and flip flops. We were sat right next to one of the clearing stations. And the noise plus the sight of leftovers was awful. It felt like a cafeteria. All you could hear was the scraping of plates and clattering of cutlery. And final straw was a waiter asking if he could take our plates, then dumping a tray with other peoples leftovers on our table. And scraping our leftovers onto it. I felt sick. This happened a lot. Even in the buffet restaurant. A fine dining experience it certainly was not. Although our room was nice and roomy (7009), the shower room was tiny. Thank goodness my husband and I are slim. Anyone any heavier would’ve struggled to sit on the loo. And finally. There was the “special evenings” eg the captains cocktail party. We were looking forward to dressing up and having an elegant evening. Another joke. The invitation specifically stated smart dress only. While most people made an effort, some didn’t. And were still allowed entry. To summarise. We won’t ever travel with Celestyal again. It was our first cruise, and has put us off cruising. It felt like a holiday camp on water. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected this cruise after seeing a UK TV show with Jane Mcdonald on board this very ship. It is a relatively small ship 1200 passengers. We loved it, having cruised with Carnival (12 times) MSC (1) and PO (1), we consider ourselves ... Read More
We selected this cruise after seeing a UK TV show with Jane Mcdonald on board this very ship. It is a relatively small ship 1200 passengers. We loved it, having cruised with Carnival (12 times) MSC (1) and PO (1), we consider ourselves experienced cruisers and therefore a bit critical. No worries this is the most delightful ship I have ever sailed on, her crew of 26 different nationalities were a delight, nothing was too much trouble to make our holiday perfect. The food was great the entertainment out of this world . There were 36 different nationalities of passengers onboard all harmonised with each other making it one of the friendliness cruises we have been on. Our cabin was a Junior suite with a balcony, which was excellent. The Crystal and her crew have real style and we will return! We hope to cruise again with her in 2019. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because we had trouble finding much choice is Greek Island cruises departing from Athens. The booking process was difficult as the cruise company did not respond easily to requests and confirmation and we phoned Greece twice to try to pay for the cruise from Australia. The company certainly seems disorganised in this respect. On arrival at the ship the security staff were overzealous about small knives and scissors, which had cleared customs several times prior to arrival there. The reception staff were rude and abrupt when questioned about why a suitcase was missing when it had been checked onto the ship. While waiting in reception a non-english speaking passenger approached the manager of the reception staff to enquire about something, The manager told this passenger to go away as she couldn't understand the passenger. I found this attitude offensive in the extreme, and when I later enquired about a different cabin as I was not happy with mine, I was told to wait 5 minutes, however after 30 minutes nothing had happened about my request and I was ignored by this reception clerk. it took 2 days for anything to happen regarding my request, then it became damage-control on the part of "reception" and we were finally offered a suitable cabin. The ship is in fairly worn condition in many aspects, the smoke from the exhausts penetrates the ship including restaurants and cabins quite often, and the shower recess in our original cabin was so small the bathroom floor flooded each time you had a shower, and the shower curtain stuck to your back while in the shower. There are very limited TV channels. We found all staff except the reception staff to be very friendly and helpful, the food was mostly very ordinary, the restaurants were slightly better however the cafeteria presented plenty of sad, limp food with virtually no changes to the breakfast menus. if you would like bacon and warm toast for breakfast-forget it. There was an omlet and waffle centre where fresh food was cooked while you waited, this was excellent. The entertainment was also excellent with a very skilled compere and cruise director. The range of drinks was also to our taste, and the wait staff were truly excellent. The excursions to the islands were particularly well organised and the process of leaving and returning to the ship was great, smooth and efficient. Despite the security staff being overzealous at the beginning of the voyage, there was very little checking of what the passengers decided to bring back onto the ship from excursions, this inconsistency is an annoying reflection of ship management. The WIFI offered was very expensive, and the threat of paying SatPhone charges if you made or received calls while well offshore seemed petty and officious. The drinks on board could be on an unlimited basis which I thought was good value, however if you wanted a small bottle of water it is more expensive than at an airport! If you are prepared to put up with surly staff in reception and some petty rules, this can be a reasonably enjoyable cruse. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Norwegian, Holland, Celebrity and Oceania in the past, as well as been on board very small cruise ships in Alaska and Patagonia. We selected this cruise via a Friendly Planet booking based ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Norwegian, Holland, Celebrity and Oceania in the past, as well as been on board very small cruise ships in Alaska and Patagonia. We selected this cruise via a Friendly Planet booking based on previous very favorable trips with them and due to the itinerary that would take us to Mykonos, Santorini and Crete in addition to Kusadasi in Turkey. We booked over a year in advance with three friends that travelled with us on this cruise. Embarkation was very easy. It is a small ship. Our tour manager also had us check in at 4 p.m. in the afternoon for a 9 p.m. sailing. This worked out very well. No one was in line ahead of our group (a total of 19 people) and we sailed easily through the process. Bags were delivered to the cabins within 30 minutes of getting on board. First glitch was upon arrival in the cabin. I have used in room safe deposit boxes at least a zillion times. The instructions for the in room safe deposit box left out key information. Everyone in our party could not figure out how to use the darn thing which resulted in a call to reception. An hour later, no one came to fix the problem. With the life boat drill starting in 10 minutes, we were much more insistent and finally a nice member of the staff came and gave us the missing information that resolved the problem. This was the beginning of our understanding that if you have a problem, calling reception is a total waste of time. The public areas of the ship have been updated and are fine. Nothing fancy, but it basically works. The cabins are another story. Luckily, we upgraded as far as Friendly Planet would allow us to (outside, XF cabins with lower beds, a couch and a table - no balcony). This gave us a much larger room than is standard on this ship. The furnishings are outdated and there is limited storage space. Storage space in the bathroom consists of a single shelf under the sink. There were plenty of hangers in the closet at least. Furnishings look to date to the 1980s. Basic, not attractive, but it works. For some reason, they never seem to clean the windows on the ship and seeing out is through a streaked pane of glass. Beds were comfortable. Keep your curtains closed during the day! Cooling system needs to be upgraded. We sailed in late April. In the heat of summer I cannot imagine how long it would take to cool down the cabin to an acceptable level. We kept the curtains shut when we were out of the cabin and in 24 hours we achieved a decent temperature. Food is okay and can be good at dinner but is problematic at breakfast. My advice would be to get a cappuccino from the bar (far better than the coffee that is offered) and a bowl of the very good Greek yogurt with some fruit. Bread is stale and seems to be leftover from dinner service the night before. One of our friends saw the French toast being fixed the night before for reheating the next morning; he avoided it from that point forward. We were only on board once for lunch. We ate as many meals as possible off the ship. Dinner was hit and miss. Some items were good, others a miss. Staff is nice and efficient. Sommeliers were very helpful in selecting Greek wines. Do not drink the wine on the drink package - just awful! You can get the wine list from the sommelier and "upgrade" for around 15 Euros or so to a better bottle or glass. Unfortunately, this is not allowed anywhere other than in the main dining rooms. Every night we upgraded to avoid the standard wine offerings. Cocktails are a bit of a nightmare. Very light hand on the alcohol pourings which resulted in our ordering a shot of whatever liquor we were drinking in addition to the drink to get the drink to taste right. Results in a substantial time delay, but solved the problem. Ask for additional ice as well if you want a cold drink. Drink menu is a bit strange, but we found things to keep us happy. Again, avoid the wine by the glass. The best thing by far about this ship is the itinerary. This is the sole basis of my "Very Good" overall rating. I care far more about where I am going than the ship I am on. At the last minute, they altered the itinerary to allow us an overnight in port in both Mykonos and Santorini. This was simply fantastic. To visit these towns that are packed with tourists during the day after 5 p.m. when they are all gone is magnificent. We had dinner on shore both nights (the ship departed around 11 p.m. on day 2) and walked the empty streets. Milos was also substituted for Ios at the last moment and we very much enjoyed this infrequently visited island. Book a tour in Milos to get you to the beautiful volcanic landscapes and the small towns. Do not just stay in the port area. We had delicious dinner at a restaurant on the harbor as we sailed out late. The late sailings (except in Ephesus) are a signature of this cruise and is a very good reason for booking. We had tours organized through the ship for Santorini to get us to Oia (essential to do this in my opinion), Mykonos, Milos, Crete (Knossos), Ephesus and Athens. All the local guides were very good and the tours operated efficiently and without problems. The ship handles tenders and embarking on the tours efficiently. The big cruise lines filled with American passengers have all abandoned going to Turkey due to the situation in Syria. Celestyal is registered in Malta and has passengers from all over. All announcements are in English, French, Spanish, German and Russian. We were informed that Celestyal is the only cruise line visiting Kusadasi this year. I was there in 1993 and wanted my husband and friends to see this magnificent place. It was wonderful to be able to go back. We did not feel threatened therein any way. Some Americans on the ship refused to get off in Turkey however. So, if you want an excellent itinerary through the primary Greek islands and are not insistent on a well appointed ship with luxury accommodations, this is the line for you! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We selected this cruise because we wanted to travel to Cuba and was told this cruise line offered an amazing experience. We embarked in Montego Bay, Jamaica and thoroughly enjoyed this 7 day cruise. Participating in the Cuba Cruise ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we wanted to travel to Cuba and was told this cruise line offered an amazing experience. We embarked in Montego Bay, Jamaica and thoroughly enjoyed this 7 day cruise. Participating in the Cuba Cruise People to People program was great. The history and cultural information that was presented was factual and comprehensive as well as entertaining. Each Port of Call offered something different yet, provided more of the Cuban culture. . The program did an excellent job addressing the Afro-Cuban influence and culture which is an important part of Cuba's history. . Dr. Arocha, the Destination Expert was very knowledgeable of the Cuban history and culture, and was a great teacher/presenter in all of his presentations. Each of the tours were well planned, and our tour guides were great, too. The daily shows performed by " Cirque Fantastic Concept" were all very well done and quite entertaining, and Danny the Cruise Director, was The Best!!! I must also compliment the chefs, dining staff, bar staff, cabin stewards and of course, musicians. All of them were excellent. Overall, this was an awesome experience and I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We were planning on an extended stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica and this cruise was offered as a gift to break-up that stay. We always enjoy staying there and Doctors' Cave Beach in particular. The beach is an easy walk to Margaritaville ... Read More
We were planning on an extended stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica and this cruise was offered as a gift to break-up that stay. We always enjoy staying there and Doctors' Cave Beach in particular. The beach is an easy walk to Margaritaville but you pass a lot of shops with aggressive sales people. If you stay for several days, they recognize you and are very respectful. The embarkation was remarkable. we were one of two couples in the terminal for registration which went quickly after we paid the Jamaican government $35 each because we stayed in the country prior to boarding the ship. It was made quicker because we did not register our credit card until we were on the ship. No wait there either. At 25,000 tons it is the smallest ship we have sailed. We have always liked the 80,000 to 110,000 ton ships and we were delighted that we were not forced to sacrifice anything cruising this ship. The tiny pool was drained most of the week because of rough waters. If the pool was tiny the casino was miniscule, six slot machines. Everything else was up to par with any ship. Lots of reviews have talked about how well kept the old ship is. We were in cabin 7009, a junior suite.The balcony was a recent addition and turned an oceanview into a suite. My wife was so pleased with it that she refused to let me pay the small upgrade fee for a full suite. If you can make the same deal, take it. The shower was great and the bath roomy, for a ship. With less than 240 passengers, the ship was at about one third capacity. The official passenger capacity is 1,200 but that puts a body in every bed, bunk and sofa-sleeper. Only one of the two MDRs was open and on lido only one of two serving lines was open. The food was pretty clearly a real effort by some hard working chefs to make the best of a limited budget. The wait staff tried hard to sell the beef and seafood upgrades. The nightly shows were fantastic and all of the lounge acts were great. The shows used performers from all over the ship to put on Cuban themed shows with Cuban born performers. No language barrier. Trivia, games,crafts, dance lessons were all there with photogs everywhere. Captains' party was short and short. Service here was the best ever, probably because they were staffed for almost three times the guests. My wifes' native language is Russian so she was delighted that nearly half of the staff spoke Russian. Most spoke several languages and wore ID badges with flags of nations which indicated their proficiency. All were very good English speakers. Since we are US citizens we did not technically purchase a cruise but we paid to participate in an educational "People-to-People program". The excursions were manditory and included in the price, along with all tips and a drink package. The result was a cruise a little more pricey that we generally buget for a week. To everyone who wants to rush to Cuba before it turns into just another tourist trap ... too late. The Tropicana night club show was remarkable, but it rained in middle of the outdoor performance and our guide remarked that it was cut short as a result. Every bus was made in China and modern, clean and comforable. Every excursion included a shopping stop with many other things obviously made in China. There were no country of origin labels so no evidence they were manufactured in Cuba but lots of evidence that the vendor did not "carve this myself from the best woods". All that said, this was probably the best way to see Cuba under the newest rules . A day in Santiago, overnight in Havana and a day in Cienfuegos. Lectures on the ship were entertaining. This ship rotates to Greece in March and I don't think a return is certain. A lot of things had to line-up for us to take this cruise and I don't think I would do it again. We did not talk with many of our fellow passengers to get their opinion but we never encountered an informal gripe session. Read Less
Celestyal Crystal Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 2.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates N/A N/A

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