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Celestyal Crystal Review

2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Dining
2018 Best for Entertainment
View More

Find a Celestyal Crystal Cruise from £318

Celestyal Crystal
4.5 / 5.0
214 reviews

High-quality shore excursions pair well with port-intensive itineraries
Visibly worn ship that lacks dining variety and other modern amenities
Bottom Line
Excellent value, with an emphasis on the destination and Greek culture




Passenger to Crew


Shore Excursions
Sails To
Celestyal Cruises Cruise Deals
Gina Kramer
Cruise Critic Contributor

Celestyal Crystal Overview

Celestyal Crystal is all about the destination. The ship doesn't try to woo passengers with a trendy design, Broadway entertainment or thrilling water slides. Instead, it invests all its energy into the places it visits -- spending longer time in port than most mainstream cruise lines and offering top-notch shore excursions, which ultimately won the ship Best for Shore Excursions in Cruise Critic's 2018 Cruisers' Choice Awards.

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With Celestyal Cruises being a Greek-based company, it's no surprise the ship primarily sails the Greek Islands. All cruises begin and end in Athens, and the majority of them include overnights or multiple days in Mykonos and Santorini (as opposed to other lines that spend only half the day); this gives passengers a chance to explore these iconic ports sans all the crowds from other cruise ships. Itineraries vary depending on the season, but generally include at least one stop in another country, such as Turkey or Egypt.

The cruise line's emphasis on the destination and its budget-friendly price tag make it an excellent value, even more so when you see its nearly all-inclusive. The fare includes select shore excursions, most alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, and gratuities.

But to enjoy a cruise on Celestyal Crystal you'll need to be OK with sailing on a bare-bones ship. It's small by modern standards (with a capacity for 1,200 passengers as opposed to the 4,000-plus passengers you see on mega-ships), but it has a big-ship feel. You'll find many of the standard features you would on a big ship -- including two main dining rooms, a buffet, a spa and fitness center, a pool and hot tub, and a number of bars -- but it's all scaled down.

Despite the similarities to newer ships, a cruise on Celestyal Crystal still conjures up images of an earlier age of cruising. Features like wide corridors, polished mahogany decks and distinct decor in each cabin category are a nod to the ship's colorful past, which started off as a passenger ferry in 1980 -- it was converted into a cruise ship in 1986. Since then it's been destroyed by fire, partially sunk, renamed five times and owned by five different cruise lines. But it has also had some high-profile guests, including Sweden's royal couple, who stayed onboard during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and President George H. W. Bush, who stayed onboard in November 1995.

Overall, lovingly worn Celestyal Crystal might not be the prettiest or most innovative ship on the high seas, but it offers arguably the best bang for your buck when it comes to cruising in Greece.

Top Celestyal Crystal Itineraries

Celestyal Crystal
4 night mediterranean cruise

Athens (Piraeus), Alexandria, Cairo (Port Said), Jerusalem (Ashdod), Limassol

View All Celestyal Crystal Itineraries (29)

Fellow Passengers

Passengers mainly hail from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other parts of Europe, including Germany and Italy. In the summer months, the ship sees a large number of passengers from North America -- particularly families with teenage kids. The average age onboard is between 40 and 65, depending on the season.

Celestyal Crystal Dress Code

Daytime: The dress code is casual, with shorts, flip flops and Ts de riguer during the day.

Evening: Mostly casual, except on elegant night (once per seven-night cruise) which is suggested rather than enforced (during the summer it's really too hot to wear a jacket).

Not permitted: Tank tops, flip-flops and swimwear are never permitted in the restaurants; shorts are allowed only during breakfast and lunch hours.

Celestyal Cruises Inclusions 

Included in your cruise fare:

  • Two main dining rooms and the buffet
  • Three excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Most drinks (see below for exceptions)
  • Main theater shows
  • Most daily activities, unless noted below
  • Use of the gym, but not most classes

Not included in your cruise fare:

  • Automatic spa tips
  • Spa treatments
  • Premium beverages
  • Shore excursions (other than the three included)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and artwork

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Celestyal Crystal Ratings

Public Rooms4.03.9
Fitness Recreation3.03.2
Value For Money5.03.9

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More about Celestyal Crystal

Where does Celestyal Crystal sail from?

Celestyal Crystal departs from Piraeus, Piraeus, Laviron, Crete (Heraklion), Istanbul, Kusadasi, Limassol and Ashdod

How much does it cost to go on Celestyal Crystal?

Cruises on Celestyal Crystal start from £318 per person.

Is Celestyal Crystal a good ship to cruise on?

Celestyal Crystal won 12 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2018 Best Overall
  • 2018 Best for Dining
  • 2018 Best for Entertainment
  • 2018 Best for Public Rooms
  • 2018 Best for Service
  • 2018 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2018 Best for Value
  • 2017 Best Overall
  • 2017 Best for Embarkation
  • 2017 Best for Entertainment
  • 2017 Best for Shore Excursions
  • 2017 Best for Value
Show More

Celestyal Crystal Member Reviews

Celestyal Crystal
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We had read the reviews on the Celestyal Crystal and had “lowered the bar” for our expectations slightly - and we were not disappointed!... Read More
Celestyal Crystal
MN Tonester
Sail Date: Mar 2020
I'm surprised Celestyal didn't cancel the cruise. There were 347 passengers on a ship able to carry 1200. The crew outnumbered the passengers and yet, Celestyal honored their commitment.... Read More
Celestyal Crystal
Sail Date: Sep 2019
We traveled on the Crystal ship on Celestyal in September, 2019, to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, and Crete, and to Kusadasi, Turkey.... Read More
Celestyal Crystal
Sail Date: Oct 2019
I would not hesitate to sail on the Celestyal Crystal again.... Read More

Celestyal Cruises Fleet

Celestyal Crystal
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

214 reviews

Holding just 1,200 cruisers Celestyal Crystal is a small ship by modern standards; nevertheless it has everything you would expect on a big ship, just scaled down.

Celestyal Crystal Cruises to the Mediterranean View All Celestyal Crystal Cruises
Celestyal Olympia
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating

Rebranded as Celestyal Olympia in 2015, the 1,664-passenger ship has undergone a number of reincarnations in its 34 years afloat.

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