Cruise Line Focus

Cruise Line Focus: Celestyal Cruises

Flying below the radar in the global cruise industry, Celestyal Cruises is a cruise line brand of Louis Group, one of the largest European cruise ship operators.


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Much of Celestyal’s fleet sails under foreign colours on long-term charter. It leases cruise ships to Thomson Cruises (now Marella Cruises) among others.

Only three cruise ships sail for the Celestyal brand, which started out life in 1986 as Louis Cruises.

They are all second-hand, but have been extensively refitted and refurbished and are today some of the most glorious examples of the classic or vintage cruise experience for those with an interest in historical vessels.

Celestyal Cruises, especially when it was operating as Louis Cruises, had an extensive fleet of former ocean liners turned cruise ships, leading many to claim that the ‘Aegean is where cruise ships go to die’.


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The Aegean Sea is Celestyal Cruises primary cruise market, operating from Greece, but it has also offered cruises from France, Italy and India in the recent past.

In 2017, it won Cruise Critic’s award for “Best Service” and that same year became the only cruise line to begin offering year-round cruises roundtrip from Cuba.

The cruise line has set itself apart as an all-inclusive cruise line for the average passenger, that is to say, it isn’t a ‘premium’ or ‘luxury’ cruise line, but it offers a similar cruise experience at a much lower cost.

For those who do not want to purchase the ‘all-inclusive’ packages, the cruises can also be bought at a base price.

All three of the cruise ships in Celestyal’s fleet are small to medium-sized by modern cruise ship standards.

It’s largest ship, Celestyal Olympia is ‘just’ 37,000-gross tons and carries ‘only’ 1,900 passengers. Aboard Celestyal Cruises then the more traditional, personal cruise experience can be found.


Celestyal Cruises on-board experience

With older cruise ships in the fleet, there isn’t much on-board to keep passengers occupied beyond eating, drinking and suntanning and Celestyal’s itineraries, which are rather short and port-intensive, reflect this.

Celestyal’s mainly short, port-intensive itineraries don’t leave much time for onboard activities, but they stick as closely as possible to the traditional cruise format with dinner and a show in the evening, followed by live music and dancing, and sunbathing and pool games during the day on the rare itinerary that includes a full seaday.

All its cruise ships have pool decks, small spa/gym complexes, casinos and shops for sundry items.


Types of passengers on a Celestyal cruises ship

Celestyal Cruises attract a wide, multilingual spectrum of passengers to its Greek and Cuban itineraries.

The vast majority of passengers are Greek, Cypriot or Italian, but there are also a sizeable contingent of French, German and British passengers on most itineraries, especially the Cuban circumnavigations, which have proven very popular with a diverse, international appeal.

The global nature of the cruise line’s passengers is reflected in the themes of its on-board entertainment, with shows that try to appeal to all tastes.

On the Cuban sailings however, the entertainment teams and boosted with performers and musicians from Cuba itself.

Cruise ships in the Celestyal Cruises fleet:

Celestyal Crystal

Celestyal Experience

Celestyal Olympia

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