The final morning on the Celestyal Crystal came all too soon. The seven-day cruise whizzed by with so many excursions and activities that I barely found enough time to sleep. Reflecting back on the islands toured, the photos taken, and history lessons learned, my head and heart burst with joyful memories. I’d sign on and recommend this cruise for anyone wishing to capture the spirit of the Greek isles.
The disembarkation process was a breeze. Our luggage was placed outside the stateroom the night before. We were asked to vacate the room by 8:30 am. We received permission to leave the ship by 9:15. Once inside the terminal we found our luggage, clearly marked by area, within a minute and were off to the airport via taxi.
I would rate the 7-Day Idyllic Aegean Cruise itinerary as superior, the only ship that allows passengers two full days in Santorini and an overnight in Mykonos. The visit to less frequented Milos is another standout and the excursion to ancient Delos an additional plus. Add on Crete and Turkey and this cruise is a winner.
The ship itself is not new and staterooms could use a little updating, but I was only in my room to sleep. Beds, pillows and linens were very comfortable. The room steward cleaned the room twice daily. The lounges and dining areas are inviting spaces, places where passengers come together, often making new friends. I also liked the size of the ship with our sailing around 1,000 passengers. The maximum number is 1,200.
Food is always available and plentiful. I ate some exceptionally good meals and others that were not so gourmet, but tasty. I suggest picking the dining room over the buffets for less noise and better quality. Try the Greek specialties; the salads and olives are outstanding. We found the bartenders made the best drinks at the outdoor bar on level 5.
Bravo to the cruise director who has the uncanny ability to repeat every instruction in four languages without missing a beat. The onboard entertainment included a group of singers and dancers predominately from Cuba. Their smooth and sensual Latin sounds and powerful moves captured everyone’s attention. Frequent costume changes and lighting effects added professionalism.
Gratuities are included. Yes, I’ll repeat that- gratuities are included, adding another reason why Celestyal Cruises provide a tremendous value. Americans on this cruise were in the minority, yet the majority of passengers speak English. I think most American’s would prefer the more relaxed and inclusive itinerary of the 7-day voyage over Celestyal’s 3 or 4-day trips. Plus, the 7-day commitment is less likely to attract families if rambunctious children are a concern.
My wish list is small: free Wi-Fi and perhaps a double bed instead of two twins.
If you are considering a Greek getaway, add two or three days in Athens to this cruise, and you will get a remarkable sense of Greek culture and history at a very affordable price.