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.

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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 bread, 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 tonnage around 60,000 tons, max passenger capacity 1800. Both were specially designed for short break 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 / Marella ships - Thomson Spirit and Celestyal Majesty. In 2018, Majesty was sold to Mano Maritime - Israeli shipping company (a subsidiary of Mano Holdings Group) and owner of container ships. Majesty now operates as Crown Iris.

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, a 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 ship design company to explore innovative solutions when designing the engine room's layout and funnel locations. The above illustrations show 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 roundtrip 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).
  • Thomson Spirit (joined the fleet in 2017) - the ship was deployed to the Caribbean to operate on short break cruises in Cuba leaving from Havana (3- or 4-day itineraries).

In 2019, Celestyal Cruises extends the Mediterranean season into December, calling on Istanbul Turkey with a new 7-day "Eclectic Aegean" itinerary (6 departures between October 21 and November 25, 2019). The cruise includes Istanbul overnight port stay and visits to Volos Meteora mountain tours) and Canakkale (Gallipoli and Troy tours). The 7-day itinerary also visits Santorini and Heraklion and Mykonos (departure at 2 am to allow nightlife experiences).

In 2019, Celestyal also launched 7-day “3 Continents” itinerary (5 voyages in December), the first of which departs from Piraeus (December 2), while the 5th from Piraeus is on December 30. The "Holy Land" itinerary visits Alexandria, Port Said, Ashdod Israel, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Limassol and Rhodes.

In 2020, the company continues its 3- and 4-day "Iconic" cruises to 7-day itineraries via various choices to new and returning guests. The 7-day "Eclectic Cruise" program was scheduled for early summer (April-May 11, 2020) and early fall (September-October 2020). The 7-day "Idyllic Aegean" cruise program runs from May 18 through August 31. The "3 Continents" program runs March 2-30, and November 2 - December 28.

Celestyal Cruises is taking its cruise program west in 2020 fall for 6 departures in the Adriatic, calling at 7 new destinations in Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Montenegro. The new itineraries are operated on Celestyal Olympia. The Adriatic itinerary includes 4 seven-night voyages departing from Venice on December 5,12,19 and 26, 2020 and visiting Corfu, Patras, Kotor, Dubrovnik, and Split. Dubrovnik is also available for passengers as an embarkation port.

There are also a couple of positioning sailings, the first on November 30 with a 5-night trip starting in Athens (Piraeus) and ending in Venice, visiting Katakolon, Corfu, Kotor, and Dubrovnik. A 7-night positioning voyage also departs on January 2, 2021, from Venice, Italy with overnight and ending with an overnight in Piraeus along with visits to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, and Katakolon.

All 2019 and 2020 cruises feature company's all-inclusive deals (onboard meals, drink packages, selected shore excursions, shipboard entertainment, port and service charges, gratuities).

Celestyal Cruises related cruise news