Launched in 1980, Celestyal Crystal began as a Scandinavian ferry but might best be known to Americans for her brief stint as Norwegian Cruise Lineʼs Leeward. Since resold and renovated (most recently in 2014), the 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal is a perfectly sized ship for island hopping — big enough to carry three restaurants, a double-deck showroom, and a pool, but small enough to dock at lesser-known ports. Celestyal Crystal now sails year-round itineraries in Cuba.
What We Love
Wrap-Around Promenade: There is nothing better than working off a hearty dinner with a stroll around the promenade on a balmy night.
Fantastic Itineraries: Celestyal Crystal regularly calls on some of the most beautiful, historic places combined with stops in off-the-beaten track villages in the Aegean, Adriatic, or Cuba.
Best Known For
Good Value: Celestyal Crystal offers authentic food, abundant cultural enrichment, and comfortable, clean accommodations for a price that feels affordable compared to what other cruise lines are charging.
Land-Sea Combos: Celestyal Crystalʼs itineraries are often sold as part of packages that include land tours in addition to the cruise.
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Who It's Best For
Active Travelers: This is an ideal ship for those who want to see and do as much as possible in a short period of time (and not so much for the floating-resort-type of crowd).
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Packed Itineraries: The itineraries can be hectic, so don't expect a lot of down time, and rest up before you go.
Few Americans: Celestyal Crystal draws an international set, so there are frequent announcements in many languages.
Peter Knego is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Celestyal Crystal at a Glance
- Line: Celestyal Cruises
- Class: Crystal Class
- Number of Passengers: 1200
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 1980
- Refurbish Date: 2014