Itinerary insight: Exploring the Aegean on Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal
Cruiseco Member Rebecca Smyth tells us about her immersive 7-night cruise on Celestyal Cruises’ friendly Celestyal Crystal
Words: Rebecca Smyth
As the cruise itinerary is very focused on destination immersion, there was plenty of time on shore in each port. We had overnight stays in both Mykonos and Santorini, allowing ample time to explore the islands.
Tell us about your itinerary.
We left Athens for our first port of call, Mykonos, for an overnight stay. We arrived early in the morning so the entire day was ours to explore Mykonos Town or take a shore tour. Next port was Milos, an extraordinary island with a landscape like no other. We then headed to Santorini for our second overnight stay. With a late departure from Santorini, we had two days to explore the island. We arrived in Heraklion (Crete), famous for the Minoan Palace of Knossos, before calling at Kusadasi, Turkey for the ancient city of Ephesus. The cruise finished in Athens.
Which port was a stand-out?
Milos was a really fascinating port. The landscape of spectacular white volcanic rock formations is so extraordinary, it looked like it could be the surface of the moon! We were lucky enough to see Milos by both land and sea and as there were no other ships visiting the island, it was a truly special experience.
What onshore experience is a must-do?
As the cruise itinerary is very focused on destination immersion, there was plenty of time on shore in each port. We had overnight stays in both Mykonos and Santorini, allowing ample time to participate in a shore excursion as well as explore the islands on your own. Sailing around Milos was a fantastic way to see such a unique island, wine-tasting with a spectacular view of Santorini was definitely a highlight as well as the tour of Ephesus – just remember to bring a hat!
What were the highlights of the cruise?
Having been to Greece before it was really interesting to visit some of the more unknown islands as well as the famous ports of the region, it was a good mix. The atmosphere around the ship was friendly and relaxing and the trip as a whole was really enjoyable.
Who does this type of cruise appeal to?
This cruise would appeal to a wide range of people: couples, families and groups of all ages who want to really experience Greece as a destination.
Ship profile: Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal
Cruiseco Member Rebecca Smyth reviews Celestyal Cruises’ celebrated Celestyal Crystal
Words: Rebecca Smyth
Describe your cruise experience in three phrases.
Destination-immersive, friendly service, excellent value.
Tell us about the ship. What were your first impressions?
Celestyal Cruises itineraries are designed to really immerse yourself in the destination and this ship has a great set-up for this type of holiday. It has everything you need – comfortable staterooms, plenty of public spaces and a range of activities when you need some downtime after a busy day exploring each port. The staff were very friendly and always happy to assist in any way they could to make our holiday experience fun.
Tell us about your cabin and its features.
We were in an exterior stateroom which was clean, comfortable and perfect for the journey we embarked on. The stateroom had a picture window and contained twin beds, a sofabed, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, telephone, TV, hairdryer and a safe.
What were the dining options?
For a small ship there were plenty of dining options to choose from. The Aura Grill and Leda buffet were ideal for grabbing a bite to eat before heading ashore for the day. When onboard for dinner, we dined at either the Amalthia or Olympus restaurants.
What was the entertainment like?
There were shows every night in the Muses Lounge & Bar with a wide range of performances to enjoy, including dancing, acrobatics and what is a trip to Greece without an ABBA tribute!
What was your favourite public area on the ship?
Thalassa bar was the place to relax with a cocktail after a day exploring on shore or while sailing to our next port, and Horizons Lounge & Bar was a fun way to finish the day with a bit of karaoke and dancing.
What was included in the cruise?
The cruise is all-inclusive, so all main meals, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), selected shore excursions, entertainment onboard and staff gratuities are included in the cruise fare.
Would you choose to cruise on this ship again?
Absolutely! It was fantastic to experience Greece in depth on this particular cruise. I would definitely like to try some of Celestyal Cruises’ other itineraries that visit destinations such as Turkey, Israel and Egypt.
Cruise line: Celestyal Cruises
Vessel: Celestyal Crystal
Max. guest capacity: 966
Entered service: 1980; refurbished 2016
Facilities: 5 dining venues (main restaurants Amalthia and Olympus, Aura Grill and Leda buffet, poolside grill), 2 bars, theatre, pool, library, casino, 4 elevators.