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12 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
4 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
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2 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
5 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
21 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
Sail Date: January 2018
My family of 6 just returned yesterday from our 1 week cruise. We started our cruise in Montego Bay. The boarding process was simple and the terminal was not crowded, which we were very happy to see. By the time we got a drink in hand ... Read More
My family of 6 just returned yesterday from our 1 week cruise. We started our cruise in Montego Bay. The boarding process was simple and the terminal was not crowded, which we were very happy to see. By the time we got a drink in hand to start our vacation, our luggage had already made it to our rooms. The rooms were fine for us. Nothing fancy, but the bed was comfortable, the shower had hot water, and there was plenty of space for clothes. We didn't plan on spending much time in the rooms except to sleep, so we decided to save our money and not get an upgrade. We did look into it once we boarded. I believe the cost was around $350 to upgrade to a outside cabin with a window, and $450 for a balcony. Entertainment on the boat was exceptional. We went to every show in the evening at 9:00. They mainly consisted of dancers and singers, all of which are from Cuba. The dancers were especially talented. We frequented the Eros Lounge often where there was music every night. The piano and violinist were wonderful. We would also spend time there during the day to participate in the various games/entertainment. There were many games of Bingo, trivia, towel folding lessons, etc. Staff on the Crystal was second to none. We were able to spend a lot of time talking to them and getting to know their stories. Vladimir was absolutely hysterical. He hosted trivia often and would always come by to talk to us and make us laugh. Maherlys(sp?) was also wonderful. She hosted Karaoke every night and was able to get every person in my family to sing, which is quite an accomplishment! Alina was part of the wait staff in the lounges/bars. She was our favorite, although all the others were great as well. Our wait staff in the restaurant was led by Wayan. I would recommend asking for his section. Although there is no assigned seating, after the 2nd night on board, he would come over to the Eros Lounge to let us know that he had a table waiting for us. Lastly, I have to say that the excursions into Cuba were very well done. Havana was definitely my favorite location. It was nice that we had a lot of free time there to explore the city on our own. We did not do the Tropicana tour, but instead ate at a privately owned restaurant in the Old Havana district. It was a wonderful meal, and I would recommend that to anyone trying to get away from more touristy type places for a night. Paladar Los Mercaderes was the name of it, and it was only a 5 minute walk from the cruise terminal. Overall we had an amazing trip. I hope to be back on this boat when it sails in Greece! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This cruise was highly recommended by friends and we decided to try it for our annual Christmas Vacation. I have to say the entire experience was amazing. The nightly shows exceeded my expectations, the staff was friendly, kind, courteous ... Read More
This cruise was highly recommended by friends and we decided to try it for our annual Christmas Vacation. I have to say the entire experience was amazing. The nightly shows exceeded my expectations, the staff was friendly, kind, courteous and extremely helpful. The food and service at the restaurants were exceptional. I also liked the photo shoots and the fact that they were able to capture most of our memorable moments. Of course,I spent close to $100 collecting pictures of special moments with my family, but it was worth it. The cabins were as expected and the housekeeping staff did an amazing job cleaning them twice daily. Loved the daily activities, the zumba, yoga and dance classes. The only improvement I would recommend, however, is to the breakfast menu - having the same menu items every morning was not very appealing for a 7 day cruise. But overall, it was a great first time experience. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I wanted a cruise that was basically exclusive to Cuba. The people to people program was very rich although I was disappointed that a cigar factory tour, Castro's grave and a rum factory (not just the store) were included. The ... Read More
I wanted a cruise that was basically exclusive to Cuba. The people to people program was very rich although I was disappointed that a cigar factory tour, Castro's grave and a rum factory (not just the store) were included. The staff on the cruise were exceptional at every level. They made the entire cruise enjoyable. This is an older ship without many amenities but it was worth taking for the port stops. The ship is not kid friendly. They have a few hours for small kids on the sea days and an hour of Wii time for teenagers. That's all. There is a ping pong table and a gym or the very small salt water pool (max 10 people). So my kids - ages 14, 17, 18 didn't have a lot to do on non trip days. The only problem I had was that food was limited and getting drinks was complicated. The ship was 1/2 full so there was only 1 place to eat for each meal, and the time span was short. This was limiting especially when we disembarked for tours. You can only order drinks on their very limited menu. Even if all of the ingredients were available, they would not make a drink not on the menu. If you are ok with limited amenities I would recommend the ship because it was worth all of the time spent off of the cruise to have an authentic experience. Would recommend upgrading to a suite or you will be very, very cramped in the cheap rooms. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise specifically to visit Cuba, and embarked in Montego Bay. Embarkation was quick, no queues. We were not expecting much with regards to the ship, but we were pleasantly surprised by how new and luxurious it turned out to ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically to visit Cuba, and embarked in Montego Bay. Embarkation was quick, no queues. We were not expecting much with regards to the ship, but we were pleasantly surprised by how new and luxurious it turned out to be. For some reason, this cruise was particularly empty, with only about 200 cruisers on board, which was definitely an advantage, as no crowds anywhere. However, the fewer numbers meant that the ship did not open all the restaurants and buffets due to lack of guests. But the two main restaurants were always open for mealtimes. Our cabin was a Junior Suite with Balcony on deck 6, no complaints there, all in good working order. Cabin staff were very attentive at all times. Due to the few number of guests, it was very unfortunate that there were no optional excursions offered, other than the evening Tropicana one in Havana. We specifically wanted to visit Trinidad, but they only ran an excursion in German for the German speakers, so we were really disappointed about that. The 3 excursions that were included all went ahead as planned, these were included in the cruise price. The last one in Cienfuegos was a bit slow and drawn out. A specific highlight for me was Dr Jorge who did all the lectures - these were truly outstanding! Loved the ones on the Cuban Music, Cigars, History and Culture. The entertainment was great, the Cuban Band very good, all shows lively and well performed. And the entertainment director can really participate, lost count of how many languages he spoke. A good variety of drinks and cocktails, we attempted to try them all, but did not make it! Waiters and Waitresses always to hand for orders. A couple of minor niggles: - The seating in the buffet at breakfast was too cramped, and food not always fresh. - Could not understand why there was an extra charge for Orange Juice and Ice Cream? - We only discovered at the end of the cruise that we were entitled to a $50 cruise credit each, and this caused a last minute flurry and an accounting error on the bill. - More could have been done to ensure that the excursion to Trinidad was available, even if some private arrangements had been engineered etc We were not the only ones affected by this. So, in summary, if you want to see Cuba in reasonable depth (the classis cars alone are worth the visit) we can verify that its awesome, then you could do a lot worse than take this Cruise.......! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We choose the cruise because it was essentially the only way we could see Cuba in a family group. That said, we got to see much less of Cuba and much more of the cruise than we hoped. This was through no fault of the cruise however. We ... Read More
We choose the cruise because it was essentially the only way we could see Cuba in a family group. That said, we got to see much less of Cuba and much more of the cruise than we hoped. This was through no fault of the cruise however. We were supposed to spend an afternoon at a snorkle beach (something like Punta Frances) and the Cuban government closed the port so we spent an extra day at sea. We also got into Havana 3 hours later than expected so we did not get to walk around much there either. That said, the cruise did a very nice job attempting to keep us entertained. I cannot say enough about the amazing and sweet percussionist from the Buena Vista Social club named Lazaro. Be sure to visit with him - he will give you lessons! Also loved the band leader Nidia who plays bass and sings like an angel. I got a kick out of the performers who put together some very respectable shows with multiple props and costume changes considering how challenging their acts let alone on a swaying stage. I would also suggest you go to the cooking demonstrations - both Cuban cooks were a delight. The restaurants are way better than the buffet. We loved our waiters - a delightful team from Indonesia - Wayan. They also performed in an incredible crew talent show that they must repeat if possible.I also got a kick out of the dance lessons. Another nice feature were the on board lectures (for example about rum or cigars or music) and films about Cuba they showed. All of the staff was very sweet and our chamber maid was lovely - Dunia also from Cuba. Our kids (ages 6-13) liked the entertainment - the crew was very nice with them playing Wii and teaching them napkin folding, paper flower making, and fruit carving. Mahelys spent time entertaining my daughter and making a souvenir book with her. We liked our excursions to see 2 Cuban cities but again, would have benefited from spending more time on shore and less time on board. Also our toilet was not functioning optimally but the rest of the cabin was fine. Daniel the cruise director was super organized and helpful. Ultimately, it was a very nice family get together with some fantastic music and art on the side. 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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