Celestyal Cruises

History, Review, Itineraries, Ships, Deck Plans, News

Celestyal Cruises fleet

Review of Celestyal Cruises

This page contains information on Celestyal Cruises ships schedules and itineraries (itinerary changes, news. Compare sail dates, destinations and Celestyal cruise prices per person.

Celestyal Cruises is a Louis Plc subsidiary company and member of Louis Group, leading tourism group in Eastern Mediterranean. “Celestyal” means “heavenly”, “divine” and “of the stars”, matching the experience guests enjoy when they sail away with the line. The new brand features authentic Greek “Kalimera!” experience, named after the word that is used for the traditional Greek welcome.

Celestyal Cruises logo

Celestyal Cruise Line

Read below what makes all Celestyal cruise ship vacations so uniquely distinctive as a sea travel experience:

  • Celestyal ships are modest, renovated older vessels which offer basic accommodation, revamped menus, programs and themes focusing on Greek wine, food, history, archaeology and music.
  • Celestyal is the only cruise line in the world to home port in Greece, and a preeminent cruise line for Turkey and the Greek Islands. Celestyal Cruises ships sail from the two major ports of Athens (Lavrion and Piraeus) to Crete, Chios, Ios, Milos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Samos, Symi, Syros and Santorini, and to the Turkish ports of Istanbul, Kusadasi and Cesme.
  • “Kali Orexi” is Celestyal Cruises program that is deep into Greek cuisine and is famed for both its simplicity and health benefits. It features fresh local ingredients and, of course, olives and golden Cretan olive oil. The menus include just-baked breads, fresh Greek yogurt, real Greek coffee, Santorini and Peloponnesian wines, as well as dry aromatic Ouzo.
  • Celestyal production shows are not as pretentious as on larger ships, but there is plenty of live music in the line’s bars and lounges, musicians and performers hail from Greece. Celestyal Cruises presents the magic of taverna nights and guests can learn “sirtaki” from “Zorba the Greek”. Members of Lyceum Club of Greek Women perform Greek folk dances on select sailings.
  • The ships also have casinos, shops for sundry items, pool decks and small spa & gym complexes.

New ships

In September 2015, Celestyal Cruises announced its fleet expansion by adding the completely refurbished vessel Celestyal Nefeli (formerly Superstar Gemini). The new ship was delivered February 2016. Built in 1992, Celestyal Nefeli accommodates 1074 passengers in 400 cabins (123 inside, 277 outside), including 31 junior suites and 12 Executive Suites (most are with private balconies). Nefeli replaced Celestyal Odyssey (now MV Glory Sea) which charter ended in October 2015. Nefeli was homeported in Turkey offering Eastern Mediterranean cruise leaving roundtrip from Istanbul, Kusadasi and Izmir.

The new vessels will be relatively small (gross tonage around 60,000 tons, max passenger capacity 1800. Both were specially designed for shorbreak cruises (3-or 4-day itineraries), with all outside cabins with private balconies.

In November 2017, the Celestyal fleet was expanded with two owned by Louis Group and previously chartered to Thomson UK / MarellaCruises ships - Celestyal Majesty and Thomson Spirit.

In September 2016, the company announced its plans to place a shipbuilding order for two brand new cruise ships with scheduled delivery by the year 2021.

Celestyal Cruises new ships

The above shown cruise ship designs are by Knud E Hansen AS (Naval architects, designers, marine engineering company based in Odense, Denmark) for mid-size cruise vessels powered by either LNG (liquefied natural gas)) or HFO (heavy fuel oil)).

The Danish company's designs (LNG vs HFO) differ as scrubbers and catalytic reduction are needed for the HFO version in order to reduce SOx and NOx emissions. The clean version is LNG, which operating expenses are lower (including fuel consumption). The LNG ship design prompted the shipdesign company to explore innovative solutions when designing the engine room's lay-out and funnel locations. The above illustrations showis the design differences and could be based on actual prototypes for Celesytal's newbuilds.

Itinerary of Celestyal Cruises

Celestyal Cruises is a new brand of the Cyprus-based Louis Cruises, launched in 2014. Starting in 2015 two of Louis Cruises ships began sailing from Lavrion and Piraeus under the new "Celestyal" name.

Celestyal Cruises (the former Louis Cruises brand) owns and operates the following ships:

  • Celestyal Crystal (1980, as Viking Saga, former name Louis Crystal) - offers year-round on round-trip Cuba cruises from Havana and Montego Bay (Jamaica).
  • Celestyal Nefeli (1992, as Crown Jewel, former names Cunard Crown Jewel, Superstar Gemini, Vision Star, MS Gemini)
  • Celestyal Odyssey (2001, as Olympic Explorer, former names Olympia Explorer, mv Explorer) - now Glory Sea
  • Celestyal Olympia (1982, as Song of America, former names Thomson Destiny and Louis Olympia). The ship operates on year-round Mediterranean cruises leaving from Greece (Athens) and Turkey (Kusadasi).
  • Celestyal Majesty (joined the fleet in 2017) - the ship was deployed in Western Mediterranean to operate on 3-day and 4-day roundtrip itineraries leaving from homeports Piraeus-Athens (Greece) and Kusadasi-Ephesus (Turkey).
  • Thomson Spirit (joined the fleet in 2017) - the ship was deployed to Caribbean to operate on shortbreak cruises in Cuba leaving from Havana (3- or 4-day itineraries).

Celestyal cruises to Cuba

In 2016, the Celestyal Crystal ship started an year-round Caribbean cruise itinerary program with 7-night voyages and round-trip departures out of Havana Cuba and Montego Bay Jamaica. The new Caribbean program (November 21 through March 2017) was followed by summer Mediterranean roundtrip itineraries out of Greece and Turkey. The line's Cuba operations were formerly branded for the North American market as "Cuba Cruise".

  • The shipl's Cuban itinerary included 2 days (overnight stay) in Havana before departure, and visited Maria La Gorda (later replaced by Punta Frances), Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. Departures from Cuba were on Mondays, from Jamaica - on Fridays.
  • In June 2016, the Celestyal company announced adding a new Cuban port of call (Punta Frances) to its 2016-2017 Caribbean itinerary program. The new port replaced Maria La Gorda on the 7-day Cuban itinerary. Located on Isla de la Juventud, Punta Frances has nearly 3 km (2 ml) of white sand beaches.

The revised 7-day Cuban cruises were all-inclusive deals with embarkation in either Havana or Montego Bay.

  • Havana (Tuesday – departure at 5 pm)
  • Punta Frances (Wednesday – port stay 1 pm - 6 pm)
  • Cienfuegos (Thursday – port stay 7 am - 3 pm)
  • Montego Bay (Friday – arrival 8 am, departure at 8 pm)
  • Santiago de Cuba (Saturday – port stay 8 am - 4 pm)
  • Sea day (Sunday)
  • Havana (Monday - arrival at 9:30 am)

The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba includes:

  • Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - cheapest prices (from USD 480 pp)
  • Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas, leaving from Miami)
  • MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
  • Holland America (ship Veendam) leaving from Fort Lauderdale since December 2017
  • Oceania Cruises (ships Marina and Regatta) starting in 2017, Cuba circumnavigation, stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, also part of some Panama Canal transition itineraries.
  • NCL (ship Norwegian Sky, 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017.
  • Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
  • Compagnie du Ponant (yacht ship Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Thomson / Marella Cruises (ship Marella Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
  • Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida)
  • Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
  • International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
  • Victory Cruise Lines - MS  Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
  • Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.
  • Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort  Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

Each of our Celestyal cruise ships schedule pages will help you in planning better your Greek vacations. See all Celestyal cruise dates of departure and compare their tickets prices - to know where, when, for how long and for how much your Celestyal ship will sail.

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