Celestyal Cruises, the new incarnation of Cypriot-owned Louis Cruises, debuted in 2015. The line specializes in Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, having established itself over the past two decades by offering affordable cruises to the Greek Islands and Turkey. In 2016, Celestyal will be operating three ships that will call on both familiar and off-the-beaten-track Aegean and Adriatic ports. This line is ideal for those who enjoy an authentic Greek-style cruise experience on ships that donʼt overwhelm the ports they visit.
What We Love
Greek Yogurt, Spanakopita, and Tzatziki: Not only are these Aegean region specialties served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but many Celestyal cruises also feature renowned Greek chefs who host cooking demonstrations showcasing home-style recipes.
Classic Itineraries: In just three or four nights, guests get to sample the sights in some of the most beautiful, historic, and culture-rich ports in the Aegean, including the volcanic splendor of Santorini, the Roman ruins of Ephesus, and the jet-setting beaches of Mykonos.
Best Known For
Value For the Money: Celestyal is not the fanciest player in the industry, but it delivers clean, pleasant ships that sail to exciting places.
Intimacy: You may actually have a chance to make friends on these human-scale ships that carry hundreds, not thousands, of fellow passengers.
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Who It's Best For
People Who Donʼt Expect an American-Style Cruise Experience: Celestyal caters to an international clientele from places as diverse as Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia — many visiting the Mediterranean for the first time.
Hellenophiles: From bouzouki players to baklava, these cruises are steeped in Greek culture, music, history, and cuisine.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
No-Frills Ships: Averaging 25 years old, Celestyalʼs fleet is from an era when ships were smaller, lacked balconies, and didn't have amusement park-style amenities.
Peter Knego is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.