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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 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).

2020-2021 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 VenicePatrasCorfuKotorDubrovnikSplit. 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 travelers 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 chart to Egypt after three years of absence. On December 4, 2019, Celestyal Crystal arrived from Greece to Alexandria Port with 733 passengers and 401 crew members on board. 7 days, 3 continents, 5 countries, 8 ports and a journey back in time.

The returning of Celestyal Cruises ship to Egypt was saluted by authorities and the travelers were welcomed back to Alexandria by the Chairman of Alexandria Port Authority, the Governor of Alexandria city, the CEO of Rhapsody Agency and representatives of Alexandria Port who worked together to raise up the cruise industry in Egypt. Celestyal Crystal calls weekly at both Port Said and Port Alexandria between December 2019-January 2020 during the holidays through Rhapsody Agency and is due to resume her itinerary in March. 

Company's 2020 and 2021 all-inclusive cruise deals include onboard meals and entertainment, drink packages, selected shore excursions, port fees, service charges, gratuities.

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