Celestyal Cruises Coronavirus update
Celestyal Cruises suspended its fleet's passenger shipping operations (all vessels) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures for the period March 14 through July 30, 2020 (previously through May 1 and June 29). Operations were planned to start on July 31 (Celestyal Olympia ship). However, in late-June, the company cancelled its entire 2020 program and planned the restart for March 6, 2021 (Celestyal Crystal ship).
All affected bookings received full refunds, including on prepurchased through Celestyal packages and services. With rebooking is offered 120% refund in FCC (future cruise credit) transferred to the new booking. The FCC is redeemable until December 31, 2021. For rebooking are open all Celestyal Cruises itineraries currently scheduled through December 31, 2022. The FCC voucher is sent directly to the customer or the travel agency. In the FCC is not redeemed by December 31, 2021, upon the voucher's expiration the customer automatically receives a 100% cash refund.
The company also extended its cancellation policy by allowing any Celestyal cruise booking made between March 9 and June 30, 2020 (all 2020-2021 itineraries) to be cancelled up to 7 days prior departure without penalty fees.
Celestyal Cruises fleet
Review of Celestyal Cruises
IMPORTANT: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Celestyal Cruises suspended its fleet's passenger shipping operations (all vessels) by cancelling all voyages with pre-scheduled departures for the period March 14 through July 30, 2020 (previously through May 1 and June 29). Operations were planned to start on July 31 (Celestyal Olympia ship). However, in late-June, the company cancelled its entire 2020 program and planned the restart for March 6, 2021 (Celestyal Crystal ship).
All affected bookings received full refunds, including on prepurchased through Celestyal packages and services. With rebooking is offered 120% refund in FCC (future cruise credit) transferred to the new booking. The FCC is redeemable until December 31, 2021. For rebooking are open all Celestyal Cruises itineraries currently scheduled through December 31, 2022. The FCC voucher is sent directly to the customer or the travel agency. In the FCC is not redeemed by December 31, 2021, upon the voucher's expiration the customer automatically receives a 100% cash refund. The company also extended its cancellation policy to allow any Celestyal cruise booking made between March 9 and June 30, 2020 (all 2020-2021 itineraries) to be cancelled up to 7 days prior departure without penalty fees.
IMPORTANT: in July 2020, Carnival Corporation (via its subsidiary company Costa Cruises) sold to Celestyal the cruise liner Costa neoRomantica (1993-built). Details of the ship's delivery date and deployment (itinerary program) are yet to be announced. All scheduled for 2021-2022 Celestyal cruise itineraries remain unchanged.
Celestyal Cruises (website) is a Louis Plc-owned subsidiary company and member of Louis Group - a leading tourism/passenger shipping company that operates mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean. "Celestyal" (meaning "heavenly", "divine" and "of the stars") was intended to match the customers' experience when they sail with the company. The new brand features authentic Greek "Kalimera" experience, named after the word that is used for the traditional Greek welcome. Celestyal's current CEO is Chris Theophilides.
Celestyal Cruise Line
What makes all Celestyal cruise ship vacations so uniquely distinctive as a sea travel experience?
Celestyal-Louis ships are modest, renovated older vessels which offer standard staterooms, revamped menus, programs and themes focusing on Greek wine, food, history, archaeology, and music.
Celestyal is the industry's only cruise company to homeport in Greece the whole year-round, and also a preeminent travel brand for cruises to Turkey and the Greek Islands. Celestyal Cruises ships sail from the two major ports of Athens City (Lavrion and Piraeus) to the islands of Crete, Chios, Ios, Milos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Samos, Symi, Syros, Santorini, as well as to the Turkish ports Istanbul, Kusadasi and Cesme.
"Kali Orexi" is Celestyal's 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.
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 in February 2016. The 1992-built 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 Louis Group-owned and previously chartered to Thomson Cruises UK ships - Thomson Spirit and Celestyal Majesty. In 2018, Majesty was sold to Mano Maritime (Israel-based shipping company (subsidiary of Mano Holdings Group) and also owner of container ships. Majesty now operates as Crown Iris. Thomson Spirit was scrapped in 2018.
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.
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 travel brand (2014-launched) of the Cyprus-based Louis Cruises. In 2015, two Louis liners started regularly scheduled voyages leaving from homeports Lavrion and Piraeus-Athens under the new "Celestyal" name.
Celestyal Cruises (fka Louis Cruises) owns and operates the following ships:
- Celestyal Crystal (1980-built as Viking Saga, fka Louis Crystal) - offers year-round on roundtrip Cuba cruises from Havana and Montego Bay (Jamaica).
- Celestyal Olympia (1982-built as Song of America, former names Thomson Destiny and Louis Olympia) operates year-round Mediterranean roundtrips leaving from Greece (Athens) and Turkey (Kusadasi).
- Thomson Spirit (joined the fleet in 2017) was deployed in the Caribbean for short-break roundtrips from Havana Cuba (3- or 4-day itineraries). In 2018, the liner was retired and scrapped.
Company's all-inclusive cruise deals include onboard meals and entertainment, drink packages, selected shore excursions, port fees, service charges, gratuities.
Celestyal 2020-2021 cruise itineraries
In 2020, the company continues its 3- and 4-day shortbreads and 7-day roundtrip itineraries.
- The 7-day "Eclectic Cruise" program is scheduled for April-May 11 (2020) and September-October (2020).
- The 7-day "Idyllic Aegean Cruise" program runs May 18 through August 31 (2020).
- The "3 Continents" program runs March 2-30 and Nov 2 - Dec 28 (2020).
Celestyal upgrades its cruise program in 2020 with 6 departures in the Adriatic Sea to 7 new destinations (in Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro) with Celestyal Olympia. The Adriatic itinerary includes four 7-night roundtrips from Venice (December 5,12,19, 26, 2020) visiting Corfu, Patras, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split. Dubrovnik also serves as embarkation port/homeport.
One repositioning cruise (November 30, 2020) is 5-night Piraeus-Athens to Venice and visits Katakolon, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik. A second (7-night) relocation voyage departs January 2, 2021, from Venice (overnight) to Piraeus (overnight) and visits to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Katakolon.
In 2020, Celestyal's Adriatic program for the first time includes the 7-night “Romantic Adriatic” itinerary (December 5, 12, 19, 26) that visits Venice, Patras, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split. The all-inclusive deals start at USD 1250 per person.
Also new for 2020-2021 are
- 3-night short break Cyprus to Athens (January 3, April 1, December 3, 2020) with Turkey, priced USD 340 pp
- 5-night Athens to Venice (November 30, 2020) with Montenegro and Croatia
- 7-night Venice to Athens (January 2, 2021) with two overnights (Athens and Venice).
- 7-night “Steps of Paul” itinerary (tracing the footsteps of St Paul) on October 16, 2021. All-inclusive pricing starts at USD 1500 pp.
In 2020-2021 Celestyal introduces two 14-night / 2-week long itineraries (March 28, 2020, and March 6, 2021) visiting Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, priced from USD 2080 pp (6 included shore excursions). A new feature of the “Eclectic Aegean” itinerary is the optional embarkation from homeports Heraklion Crete and Istanbul.
In 2020-2021 Celestyal continues with the popular 3- and 4-night “Iconic Aegean” mini-cruises and the 7-night voyages.
- 7-night “Eclectic Aegean” is offered from April 4 to May 9 (2020), October 10 to 24 (2020), March 13 to 27 (2021) and October 23 to November 6 (2021).
- 7-night “Idyllic Aegean” is offered from May 16 to October 3 (2020) and April 3 to October 9 (2021).
- 7-night “Three Continents” voyage is offered from February 29 to March 28 (2020), October 31 to December 26 (2020), February 6 to March 6 (2021) and November 13 to December (2021).
For the past years, the authorities in Egypt made efforts to improve tourism in the country and offer the best services for travellers in order to return to the Egyptian lands. From raising the quality of touristic services and enhancing the touristic places to promoting the Egyptian touristic sites around the globe, the governmental authorities along with private stakeholders involved in the tourism industry joined forces and Egypt has made major steps in all tourism sectors in order to boost the tourism in its ancient lands.
An important achievement comes in cruising (where Alexandria Port Authority made significant efforts to increase the number of calls at Egyptian ports) with the returning of Celestyal to Egypt after 3 years of absence. On December 4, 2019, Celestyal Crystal arrived from Athens to Port Alexandria carrying 733 passengers plus 401 crew. 7 days, 3 continents, 5 countries, 8 ports and a journey back in time.
The company's returning to Egypt was a special event participated by the Alexandria Port Authority's Chairman, City's Governor, Rhapsody Agency's CEO and other port and media representatives. Celestyal Crystal made weekly calls in Egypt (at both Port Said and Port Alexandria) between December 2019-January 2020.
Celestyal 2021-2022 cruise itineraries
The company's 2021-2022 program features 3x new cruise ports and 2x new itineraries. Maiden port calls are scheduled for Ermoupoli (Syros Island, Greece), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Agios Nikolaos (Crete Greece).
In winter 2021-2022, Celestyal Olympia operates two new "Iconic Discovery" itineraries (3-4-night in length) priced from USD 610 pp. Both itineraries visit Syros Island, Thira (Santorini Island, full-day stay) and Kusadasi Turkey.
Celestyal Crystal offers the "Idyllic Aegean" itinerary (7-day) priced from USD 1250 pp. The revised voyage visits Crete Island's port Agios Nikolaos instead of Heraklion. The ship also operates a revised "Eclectic Aegean" itinerary (7-day) in which Heraklion is replaced with Thessaloniki and the ship stays a full day in Santorini's Port Thira. “Eclectic Aegean” is also priced from USD 1250 pp and operated in 2021 (October 23 through November 6) and in 2022 (April 9 through 23, October 29 through November 12).
Celestyal Crystal's Egypt-visiting itinerary "Three Continents" was also altered and now doesn't visit Alexandria. The 7-day cruise Greece-Egypt (Piraeus to Port Said) instead includes a full-day Cairo City excursion (also inclusive of a Giza Pyramids tour) and is same-priced (USD 1250 pp). "Three Continents" is operated in 2021 (March 6 through 27, November 20 through December 25) and in 2022 (March 5 through April 2, November 19 through December 31.
The 7-day "Steps of Saint Paul" Mediterranean itinerary is priced from USD 1500 pp and operated in 2021 (departs October 16 and November 13) and 2022 (Oct 15 and Oct 22). The Christian-themed cruise (roundtrip from Piraeus) visits Greece (Thessaloniki, Kavala), Turkey (Istanbul, Dikili, Kusadasi) and Greece (Patmos Island).
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