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Greek Island Cruises

Has anyone taken one of the short (3 or 4 day) cruises offered by Celestyal Cruises? They leave from Athens, visit a few islands and return to Athens. It seems like a practical way to "get a flavor" of the island environment of Greece. I understand that one of their ships (Olympia) was built in 1982 and refurbished on 2015 and the other (Cristal) was built in 1980 and refurbished on 2007. These ships could be pretty "tired".

Any thoughts/ reactions would be appreciated. We are planning to be in Athens mid to late May 2024.



Posted by
3130 posts

The only "flavor" you'll get is what a few short hours ashore will give you of whichever shops and galleries are nearest to your ports of call. If you really want to experience a Greek island or two you have to stay around long enough to relax and get into the rhythm of your surroundings. Spend a minimum of 3 nights on any island. You'll be happy you did.

Posted by
3333 posts

Tom, if you'll be more specific we can really help you with a "do-able" experience in a short stay, & keep you from disillusionment on a deceptive "island cruise" which is mainly at sea, with rushed stops at ports, surrounded by other cruisers.

First, do you already have fixed DATES, not just "mid-late May". And are you required to be in Athens for business immediately upon landing? If not, and you have at least 6 days, you can have a good one-isle experience PLUS athens, by being travel-efficient. Us "old Greece vets" recommend getting a domestic flight ASAP (Allow 2 hr layover) to an island like NAXOS or PAROS for 3-4 days, then returning to Athens for the last part of your stay -- since u should be there the night before departure flight anyway. Another option, depending on what day/time you arrive, would be to catch a ferry on arrival day to a beautiful island such as SIFNOS.

It is hard to advise someone, especially so close to a trip, when so little info is offered -- it would help if we knew age range and desired activity (do you hike, or prefer cafe-sitting?), interests (scenery - nightlife - ancient history/ruins - shopping?). Your concern about ship decor perhaps being outdated may indicate more interest in upscale surroundings vs. wandering thru villages ... but we can only guess, unless you share more. One thing though -- April is VERY late to make transport & accommodation bookings, so PLEASE supply specifics to get the best advice... we want to be helpful.

Posted by
1940 posts

Janet, it looks like the OP is talking about a trip next year (mid to late May 2024).

Posted by
56 posts

I looked at the cruises you are considering. It’s a packed itinerary with two ports in one day on some days. Mykonos, Santorini and Patmos look very rushed, I wonder how much you will get to see at night. These short cruises do get decent reviews for a very good price. Keep in mind that there will be some day time sailing on those two-port days. The 7-day greece intensive cruise spends more time at the ports and will be on a newer ship, called the Celestyal Journey. It will replace the Celestyal Crystal. It has capacity for 1200 passengers. Here is the itinerary:
Thessaloniki (Vergina)
Kusadasi (Ephesus)
Heraklion (Knossos)
Mykonos (Delos)

Posted by
16 posts

Hi Tom. I am taking the 3night Celestyal cruise May 5-8. We will be spending a week in Athens & the Peloponnese before so this seemed like an efficient and somewhat relaxing way to see the islands. I understand the time in ports is short & will be busy but we intend to come back, so this is just a preview. We are also very efficient travelers so can see a lot in the short period of time and still have extra downtime in port.
We like the idea of being able to travel from port to port without constantly moving hotels & the hassle of self transfer for our last few days.
We are using a combination of cruise excursions, independent wanderings, and private guides depending on island sights & time in port.
We don’t care that it’s an older ship because we don’t need all those extra bells and whistles.
We are following Rick’s example on his cruising show.
I’ll post an update on my experience when I return from Greece!