Louis Cruises announces new Celestyal Cruises with two ships

  Just days after my Louis Cristal cruise ended, Louis Cruises has announced that it will be reaching for the stars and launching a new brand that promises to gives travelers an authentic Greek experience. I’m glad the company is heading in this direction since my Louis Cristal cruise showed me first hand what will be offered to travelers. And I think the new name is quite appropriate. “In September 2014 we will give a name to …

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End of Louis Cristal Cruise: Saying goodbye to Greece

ATHENS, Greece – What a perfect ending to a perfect cruise. Here I am on my last night in Greece, having dinner almost in the shadow of the Acropolis. Dining at Restaurant Atticos, I’m enjoying Greek salad, tender roast beef and potatoes, eggplant, fresh olives, chunks of cheese, olive oil and crispy bread. Other dishes are being passed around the table but I already know what I like, finished off with sweet baklava. And I am certainly …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Ruins of ancient Ephesus filled with historical treasures

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – Carved into stone, the drawing of a footprint may be the first public billboard advertisement ever recorded in history. “It pointed the way to the local brothel,” guide Bulent Yurttas said, leading us around the ancient city of Ephesus. The dots on the stone represent the number of prostitutes in the brothel and the heart carving means the women are eager for love. Never know what you are going to learn on …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Are Santorini ruins the fabled Atlantis?

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – Could this actually be the fabled Atlantis? Some people think it is and some research does support that belief. However, others believe the mysterious Atlantis never really existed. That it was a make-believe place used by the early Greek philosopher Plato to teach a lesson in humility. “I don’t have an opinion one way or another,” guide Maria said showing us around the ruins. “You can hear the story, see the site, …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Christian catacombs, Venus de Milo & much more on Milos

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – It gave me shivers just to be standing here. Tucked into a hillside on the Greek isle of Milos are the graves of  early Christians. These catacombs are from the 1st century AD. It is mind boggling to consider what took place here and how long ago it happened. This shore excursion is just another reason why my Louis Cristal cruise has been so special. “The catacombs are considered to be the …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Mesmerizing Mykonos a major mecca for travelers

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – I could never understand what Jackie Kennedy saw in Aristotle Onassis. But I can certainly see why the former First Lady fell in love with the Greek island of Mykonos. Mesmerizing Mykonos is definitely one of the most popular and most-visited Greek isles. “The first cruise ship docked here in the 1920s,” guide Amaryllis said. But jet setters really put the spotlight on Mykonos in the 1960s. Some say Jackie Kennedy and …

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Louis Cristal cruise: Learning how beautiful Turkish carpets are made

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – Just watching her makes my eyes, back and fingers hurt. But what a beautiful creation she is weaving and what an historic tradition she is continuing. “Every year it gets harder and harder to find weavers,” said Hakan Ogunc guiding us through a tour of Bulbul Mountain Looms. “Today, young people want to sit in front of computers. They don’t want to learn to do this.” The government-authorized carpet cooperative in Izmir, …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Greek cuisine a cruise delight

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – I’ll admit it. One of the things I enjoy most on a cruise is getting to try various foods.  Even a standard steak can taste different according to which chef created the recipe. So I am excited to learn that my Louis Cristal cruise will feature Greek cuisine. Makes sense since we will be cruising to places in Greece and Turkey. But the emphasis on Greek cuisine is a new one, says …

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Louis Cristal Cruise: Meeting the owner & exploring the ship

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL – My first day on the Louis Cristal and who should I meet? The charming executive chairman of the cruise company himself. When I sat down for a cocktail and some hors d’oeuvres in the ship’s Horizons Bar, Costakis Loizou was there. He is the son of the man who in 1935 started the company that became Louis Group – Louis Loizou, known as the “Father of Cypress Tourism.” When Louis died in …

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Heading to Louis Cristal cruise of Greece & Turkey

When I was in grade school, I was always the kid who eagerly awaited the newest issue of National Geographic magazine. I remember devouring each story, especially when it involved one of my favorite destinations – Greece. Reading about the Greek islands and historic sites such as the Christian catacombs, city of Ephesus and temple of Poseidon was thrilling.  For a while, I had a bookmark with a photograph of the Parthenon in Athens. Such treasures seemed …

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