Exploring the Ship
The Celestyal Crystal is a 1000-passenger cruise ship and one of the ships in the Celestyal Cruises' fleet. Two of the ships are leased to Thomson Cruises, and Celestyal operates the Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia. In the past few years, Celestyal Cruises has invested 12 million euros in refurbishing these two ships.
This cruise line is part of the Louis Group, which re-branded its cruise ships in 2015 as Celestyal Cruises. The company continues to use the Louis Cruises name to operate in the chartering and ship management segments of the cruise industry.
Until November 2016, the Celestyal Crystal cruise ship primarily sailed 7-day cruises of the Greek Isles and Turkey. The ship's itineraries and ports of call are the focus of the cruises; not the ship. Rather than sail in the afternoon like many other cruise ships, the Celestyal Crystal often stays into the evening, giving her guests more precious time ashore to enjoy Greece and Turkey.
In November 2016, the Celestyal Crystal began sailing year-round 7-day Cuba cruises. The cruise ship has spent a few winters sailing in Cuba, so it has more experience sailing in Cuba than other ships do. Like its eastern Mediterranean cruises, the Cuba cruises are destination focused, so the onboard entertainment and cuisine includes Cuban touches. Passengers can board either in Montego Bay, Jamaica or Havana. They sail for seven days and disembark in the same port. The Celestyal Crystal has ports of call in Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Maria la Gorda, and Cienfuegos, the gateway to Trinidad. The cruise ship has one day at sea between Santiago de Cuba and Havana.
The Celestyal Crystal is about 25,000 tons, and she has 480 cabins. She can carry up to 1200 guests since many cabins can accommodate three or four guests. The cruise ship was built in 1982, and once sailed as the Leeward of Norwegian Cruise Line. Louis Cruises bought the ship in 2007, and she sailed as the Louis Cristal until the company renamed her in 2015 as part of the rebranding of its cruise ship operation.
Although the Celestyal Crystal is an older ship, she has all the basic amenities and venues of newer cruise ships including two restaurants, casual buffet dining area, poolside cafe, three lounges, two bars, casino, swimming pool, sauna, gym, medical center, spa and massage room, hot tub, beauty salon, Internet area, video arcade, conference room, and retail shops. The ship does not have an onboard water park or other attractions often seen on newer ships.
Cabins and Suites
The Celestyal Crystal cruise ship has 480 cabins and suites, many of which have Pullman or sofa beds so that three or four guests can be accommodated in the cabin. The cabins and suites are spread over six decks and are in about a dozen different categories. The ship has 317 outside cabins and suites and 163 inside cabins. During a recent refurbishment, balconies were added to 40 cabins, so now 55 cabins have balconies.
The cabins on the Celestyal Crystal are similar in amenities to those on the Celestyal Odyssey. The cabins and suites are comfortable, but only 55 cabins have balconies. Since the ship stays in most ports late and is primarily sailing at night, most guests do not seem to miss this feature as much as on a ship with sea days or more time at sea.
The different categories of cabins and suites on the Celestyal Crystal are:
- Imperial Suite - These 2 suites on Deck 6 are about 44 square meters and can accommodate up to 4 persons, with 2 lower beds and sofa (bed), refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, 2 windows, and a balcony
- Balcony Suite - These 8 suites on deck 7 are about 36 square meters and can accommodate up to 3 persons, with 2 lower beds and sofa (bed), refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, 2 windows, and a balcony.
- Suite - These 2 suites on deck 6 are about 34 square meters can accommodate up to 4 person(s), with 2 lower beds and sofa (bed), refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, 2 windows, and a balcony.
- Junior Suite - These 4 suites on deck 6 are about 30 square meters and can accommodate up to 4 person(s), with 2 lower beds and sofa (bed), refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, and 2 ocean view window(s).
- Deluxe Outside Stateroom - These staterooms on deck 6 and 7 are about 15.8 square meters and can accommodate up to 3 persons, with 2 lower beds and sofa (bed), refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, and 2 ocean view windows.
- Premium Outside Stateroom - These outside cabins on decks 3 and 4 measure from 13 to 15.8 square meters and can accommodate up to 4 person(s), with 2 lower beds, refrigerator, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, and 2 ocean view windows.
- Superior Outside Stateroom - These outside Cabins on Deck 3, 5, and 6 are about 11.1 square meters and can accommodate up to 4 passengers with 2 lower beds, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, and 1 window with an obstructed view.
- Standard Outside Stateroom - These outside cabins are on Deck 2 are about 11.4 square meters and can accommodate 2 or 4 persons, with 2 lower beds, TV, hairdryer, safety box, bathroom, and 1 porthole.
- Premium Inside Stateroom - These inside cabins on Deck 5, 6, and 7 are 12.2 square meters and can accommodate 2 or 4 persons, with TV, hairdryer, safety box, and bathroom.
- Deluxe Inside Stateroom - These inside cabins on Deck 6 and 7 are about 11.9 square meters and can accommodate 2 persons, with 2 lower beds, TV, hairdryer, safety box, and bathroom.
- Superior Inside Stateroom - These inside cabins on Deck 4 measure about 12.1 square meters and can accommodate 2 or 4 person(s), with TV, hairdryer, safety box, and bathroom.
- Standard Inside Stateroom - These inside cabins on Deck 3, 4, and 5 measure 11.9 square meters and can accommodate 2 or 4 person(s), with TV, hairdryer, safety box, and bathroom.
Dining and Cuisine
The Celestyal Crystal cruise ship has two casual dining venues: Leda on deck 9 and a poolside cafe. Its main restaurant, Amalthia, is on deck 8 aft, and the Olympus restaurant is on deck 5. All venues feature a breakfast buffet and have open seating at all meals. The casual venues also have buffets at lunch and dinner, with some meals (especially lunch) served poolside. Guests order from a menu at lunch and dinner at Amalthia.
The meals on the ship are varied, and dinners always feature some delicious Greek or Mediterranean dishes like fried cheese with honey, moussaka, fish, and Greek salads. The restaurant also serves delicious pasta like spaghetti with meat sauce.
On the Cuba cruises, the Celestyal Crystal features a Cuban dish at each meal, but still retains some of her delicious ones.
Since the Celestyal Crystal stays in some ports until 10 pm or so, guests who love to try different venues can experience some of the excellent Greek restaurants ashore and then return to their cabin on the ship.
Interior Common Areas
The interiors of the Celestyal Crystal cruise ship are contemporary and comfortable. Muses is the large show lounge, with nightly live music and entertainment. One evening featured an excellent program from the Lyceum Club of Greek Women from Athens. This group's mission is to preserve and promote the traditions and cultural heritage of Greece. Although the "Greek Traditional Wedding" had participants playing the different roles in a wedding, the emphasis was on the marvelous historical costumes, music, singing, and folk dancing. The group had 24 performers of all ages (12 couples).
The Eros Lounge is on deck 8 near the Amalthia Restaurant and the Casino. This smaller venue is used for small live musical groups, parlor games, and socializing before or after dinner. The casino has slot machines, blackjack, and roulette.
Those who enjoy watching the sea will love the Horizons Lounge, which is aft on deck 10. This bar has marvelous panoramic views by day and is transformed into a disco in the evening.
The Celestyal Crystal cruise ship has a very nice spa and fitness center with massages, spa treatments, and a sauna.
The Celestyal Crystal does offer WiFi in the indoor common areas like the lounges, but not in the cabins. The ship also has some computers for guest use near the reception desk.
The swimming pool on the Celestyal Crystal cruise ship has a retractable roof, so it can be used in all sorts of weather. This pool and the pool bar are very popular all day long, as is the hot tub, which is next to the Thalassa Bar aft on deck 5 behind the Olympus restaurant.
One feature that some guests might miss is the outdoor deck aft of several of the cabin decks. This outdoor area has lounge chairs and is sometimes quieter than the outdoor deck near the pool or hot tub.
As noted earlier in this article, the Celestyal Crystal does not offer all the up to date amenities seen on newer ships. However, the ship does sail to some of the world's most beautiful ports of call, so guests are off the ship exploring during much of their cruise vacation. And, they only have to unpack their suitcase once, which is much better than spending a lot of precious vacation time dragging a bag on and off the ferry or airplane.
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