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Exploring the Greek Island and Persian Gulf with Celestyal

Posted: 4/7/2024

Author: Amelie de Moreau

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What could be better than a cruise to discover islands? If you dream of sandy beaches, picturesque villages, and breathtaking sunsets, we have the perfect company for you: Celestyal Cruises.

Celestyal is much more than a cruise company. It is a true expert in the Greek islands, offering journeys filled with authenticity and adventure. With decades of experience in the region, Celestyal guarantees you a total immersion in Greek culture, gastronomy, and history.

In this article, I unveil all the secrets of Celestyal: what is included in the price of your cruise, what is not, the proposed itineraries, the different available ships, types of cabins, and onboard activities.

1. Who is Celestyal?

The history of Celestyal Cruise dates back several decades. Founded in 1986 under the name Louis Cruise Lines, the company started modestly with just one small cruise in the Mediterranean. Over the years, it quickly expanded its fleet and routes, becoming a major player in the Mediterranean cruise sector.

Until 2021, the company was owned by Louis PLC Group, a Cypriot company active in Mediterranean tourism. The group has two subsidiaries: Louis Hotels, renowned for their quality service and upscale dining, with 8 resorts in Greece and 18 in Cyprus; and Celestyal Cruises, which operates two cruise ships.

In 2021, Searchlight Capital Partners invested €30 million in the cruise company, acquiring 60% of it, while Louis PLC Group retained the remaining 40%, according to TradeWinds News1. Searchlight Capital Partners is an investment company specializing in high-growth potential businesses. Just before the Covid crisis, Celestyal was showing excellent growth, which caught the attention of Searchlight Capital Partners.

This investment will enable Celestyal to acquire two new ships and fully renovate them while preserving the brand's identity. Although Celestyal may seem like a small player in the cruise market with only two ships, it benefits from the support of an investment company and the expertise of one of the largest players in the hotel sector in the Mediterranean.

Celestyal's strategy is to acquire ships from other companies (such as Holland America Line, Aïda, Royal Caribbean, etc.) and then completely renovate them. This strategic approach has several advantages: it avoids construction delays while waiting for the delivery of a new ship, allows Celestyal to choose the best-suited second-hand ships according to its needs, and offers the opportunity to incorporate the brand's identity during the renovation process.

1. TradeWinds News, “Searchlight Capital takes majority stake in Celestyal Cruises”, publié le 29/11/2021, disponible à l’adresse suivante:

2. The Itineraries

The major strength of Celestyal is undoubtedly its itineraries. Thanks to its small ships (1,260 passengers) and its deep knowledge of the islands, the company offers itineraries that you won't find anywhere else! Celestyal offers 5 different durations, ranging from 3, 4, 5, 7, to 14-night cruises.

  • 3 and 4-night cruises offer a total immersion in the rich cultural and historical wealth of emblematic destinations. Each day begins with a morning stop, from 7 am to 12:30 pm, in Kusadasi and Heraklion, providing the opportunity to explore these fascinating places at your own pace. The afternoon and early evening (4 pm to 10 pm) are reserved for the enchanting exploration of Mykonos, Patmos, and Santorini. For travelers opting for the 4-night cruise, a full day is dedicated to exploring Rhodes.

Although the schedule is packed, the stops are strategically planned to allow you to explore the iconic sites without being overwhelmed by crowds. Patmos and Kusadasi, in particular, are home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites that should not be missed during your visit. These two itineraries are available year-round.

For those seeking an extended 5-night adventure departing from Athens with full-day stops, two exceptional itineraries await you.

  • Legendary Aegean Sea: Immerse yourself in the magic of the legendary Aegean Sea as you discover gems such as Santorini, Rhodes, Samos, and Istanbul. In Istanbul, you'll enjoy a full-day and overnight stop to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this enchanting city.

  • Legendary Ionian Sea: Set sail towards Kotor in Montenegro, Corfu, and Crete. Additionally, a day at sea offers you the opportunity to relax and fully enjoy your cruise. A perfect combination of exploration and relaxation awaits!

When you opt for the 7-night cruises, you open the door to a multitude of captivating itineraries.

Spend full days exploring the gems of the Greek islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, and Milos. Discover the wonders of the Adriatic Sea during your stops in Dubrovnik, Kotor, Split, Venice, and Bari.

And for an exotic experience, immerse yourself in the magic of the Persian Gulf by visiting fascinating destinations like Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, as well as Oman and Bahrain. Let's not forget the unforgettable stop at the paradise island of Sir Bani Yas, where you can immerse yourself in nature and admire wildlife (hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes, etc.), while relaxing on pristine white sand beaches.

As for the 14-day cruises, they offer you the ultimate experience by combining all the aforementioned stops interspersed with a few days at sea for some well-deserved rest.

Celestyal offers a variety of captivating itineraries with departures from iconic destinations such as Athens, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Limassol (Cyprus), and Thessaloniki. Whether you're passionate about exploration, seeking breathtaking landscapes and stunning sunsets, or eager to discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or even embarking on a religious pilgrimage, Celestyal has everything you need!

Furthermore, the company's excursion catalog is truly captivating, offering a variety of options to satisfy all travelers. Affordable prices allow everyone to fully enjoy these unique experiences with local guides who are experts in their field.

3. The atmosphere and activities

The entertainment team offers numerous activities throughout the day, including dance classes, towel folding workshops, bingo, basketball or darts tournaments, karaoke, and more. Finally, on the last night, you'll enjoy a delicious barbecue on the upper deck with a glamorous and intimate atmosphere, an unforgettable moment!

Every evening, you can enjoy live music on the upper deck while savoring your favorite aperitif. The main restaurant does not require reservations, and you'll often share your table with other travelers. Afterwards, a show is offered in the main theater; no reservations are required, you simply show up at the theater. Depending on the itinerary and return to the ship, two different schedules may be offered. Finally, a nightclub is open until the early hours in one of the lounges!

As you can see, the atmosphere on board is very relaxed; the company does not impose a specific dress code or meal times—you live as you please, at your own pace! The clientele is very international, with many Greeks traveling with family, friends, or as couples. You'll find a very cosmopolitan atmosphere! The official languages on board are English and Greek and all the excursions are in offered in English.

4. The Packages

The pricing on Celestyal is straightforward. At the time of booking, two packages are offered: the Celestyal Experience (included by default) and the Celestyal+ Experience. Both packages include taxes and gratuities. All cabin occupants must choose the same package.

In simple terms, if you opt not to take a beverage package and choose the base rate instead, you can consume soft drinks, house wine, and house beer during meals. There are no water or soft drink fountains available; service is by the glass, so it's not possible to refill a reusable bottle. Additionally, drinks consumed at the bar will be charged separately.

If you prefer peace of mind, I recommend opting for the Celestyal+ package, which offers unlimited drinks at the main restaurants and bars, as well as numerous discounts.

Celestyal Experience

Celestyal + Experience

What’s included?

  • Meals in the main restaurants (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

  • All the activities (daily arts, shows, dance lessons, etc.)

  • Meals in the main restaurants (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

  • All the activities (daily arts, shows, dance lessons, etc.)

Drink Packages

Standard Drink Package:

  • Tea and coffee

  • Draft beer

  • House wine (by the glass), during your meal

  • Juices and soft (by the glass) during your meal

Premium Drink package:

  • Premium hot and cold coffees

  • Cocktails (up to €7 each)

  • Mocktails (up to €6 each)

  • Sodas and juices

  • Draft Mythos beer

  • Wine; red, white, rose and sparkling (up to €6 each)

  • Spirits; vodka, rum, gin, whiskey (up to €6 each)


In the main restaurant

Unlimited package available at the bars and the main restaurants, not applicable in Speciality restaurants

Additional options

£65 excursion discount (almost one free excursion).

  • £130 excursion discount (almost two excursions for free).

  • Wi-FI: one hour/day

  • 25% discount at speciality restaurants


Standard Fare

  • £130/pp for 3 nights cruise

  • £150/pp for 4 nights cruise

  • £220/pp for 7 nights

  • £390/pp for 14 nights

Once on board, it is always possible to opt for a beverage package, which will allow you to consume drinks in the bars and not only in the main restaurants. These packages are per person, and all cabin occupants must choose the same package.

  • Premium Package: if you haven’t opted for Celestyal + Experience available for €30/pp/day

  • Premium Plus Package: see the description, available for €47/pp/day

  • Soft Drinks: Sodas, soft drinks, juices (concentrate), mineral or sparkling water, all by the glass. €10/pp/day

  • Alcohol-Free: Fresh juices, mocktails, milkshakes, smoothies, soft drinks (by the glass), hot chocolate, Premium tea and coffee, mineral or sparkling water (by the glass). €27/pp/day

  • Premium Water: 6 bottles of water per day (still or sparkling). Note that if you do not take all your water bottles during the day, they are not cumulative for the next day. €7,5/pp/day

  • Coffee: Hot and cold Nespresso, and teas, unlimited water by the glass. €10/pp/day

For Children, there are two packages available: the basic package for €16/day/child, which includes milkshakes, non-alcoholic cocktails, soft drinks, hot chocolate, water, and soft drinks by the glass. The premium children's package for €20/day/child also includes fresh fruit juices.

As for Wi-Fi, Celestyal does not offer a daily or per device package, but rather an hourly package. If you opt for the Celestyal+ Experience, you will have one hour of Wi-Fi per day included. Otherwise, you can purchase Wi-Fi hours that you can share across multiple devices. You'll be able to check your emails, use social media, and use messaging apps, but streaming is not possible. I advise you not to forget to pause your session once you're done; simply turning off Wi-Fi on your phone does not pause the session! One hour costs €7, three hours cost €16, and six hours cost €25.

5. The ships

Currently, Celestyal owns 3 ships, but only two are in service: the Celestyal Discovery and the Celestyal Journey (the Celestyal Olympia retired in October 2023).

The Celestyal Discovery

This human-sized ship accommodates 1,266 passengers and was completely renovated in 2023. You'll find 4 restaurants, 7 bars, and numerous activities onboard.

The Celestyal Discovery offers itineraries of 3, 4, and 7 nights in the Greek islands departing from Athens (port of Lavrion or Piraeus) or Kusadasi. The 7-day itinerary includes a stop in Egypt (Port Said).

The Cabins

The Celestyal Discovery features 633 cabins, including 62 with a balcony. All cabins are equipped with a TV, safe, hairdryer, telephone, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. There are suites (maximum 3 people), cabins with balconies (for maximum 2 people), cabins with a view (for maximum 4 people), and interior cabins (for maximum 4 people).

The Grand Dream Suites, located on deck 7, can accommodate up to 3 people. They offer a more generous space than other cabins, with a sitting area and a large balcony. In addition to the amenities common to all cabins, they also feature a minibar and refrigerator. Furthermore, they offer a range of additional services, such as a private concierge, priority boarding and disembarkation, complimentary spa access, and priority access to specialty restaurants.

The cabins with balconies can accommodate 2 people and are located on deck 7, offering a superb view. There are no connecting cabins, except for 2 cabins at the back of the ship, which are connected to two interior cabins (the ideal configuration if you are traveling with pre-teens!).

The cabins with a view feature a porthole or a window and are spread across decks 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Cabins on deck 3 have a porthole, while the rest have a window. Cabins located on decks 6 and 7 offer obstructed views (either by lifeboats or by the promenade deck) and are generally less expensive. They can accommodate between 2 and 4 people; the 3rd and 4th passengers can sleep on a sofa bed or pull-down beds. Additionally, there are connecting cabins, which provide a great opportunity for families with children while maintaining some privacy.

The interior cabins do not have a window and are spread across decks 4, 5, 6, and 7, accommodating up to 4 people (with two pull-down beds or a sofa bed). There are also a few connecting cabins available.

The Restaurants, the Bars and Activities

On board the Celestyal Discovery, you'll find a total of 4 restaurants. The main restaurant, Thalassa, offers a buffet-style breakfast and a 3-course menu for lunch and dinner. The Taverna and Pizza Oven serve Greek specialties (both sweet and savory) and pizzas in buffet style for lunch and dinner. There's also the specialty restaurant, Grill Seekers (with an additional charge), which offers grilled fish and meats.

Additionally, the Greek Deli, located on the upper deck next to the pool, offers delicious gyros to enjoy on your sun lounger while admiring the view (with an additional charge).

The ship boasts several bars and lounges, each with its own ambiance depending on the time of day. Whether you're looking for a quiet spot to relax or a lively bar to chat about your latest adventures, you'll find it onboard.

Furthermore, there's a pool on the upper deck, 3 jacuzzis, a gym, and a spa. The spa offers a variety of massages and treatments as well as a relaxation area.

Lastly, there's a casino, a disco, and a grand two-story theater that offers a different show every night. Younger guests can also enjoy a dedicated space with arcade games.

The Celestyal Journey

The Celestyal Journey is also a small-sized ship with 1,260 passengers, 630 cabins, 7 restaurants, and 7 bars.

This ship has been completely renovated and made its inaugural cruise in April 2024.

The Celestyal Journey offers itineraries of 5, 7, and 14 nights departing from Athens (Piraeus) to the Greek Islands, Croatia, Montenegro, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (Qatar, Dubai, Oman).

The Cabins

The Celestyal Journey features 630 cabins. All cabins are equipped with a TV, safe, hairdryer, telephone, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. There are suites (maximum 4 people), cabins with a view (for maximum 4 people), and interior cabins (for maximum 4 people).

The suites are located on decks 9 and 10 and accommodate between 3 and 4 people maximum. You'll find a large double bed (or two single beds) and a convertible sofa bed. All suites feature a large balcony, a bathtub or shower, a fridge, and a minibar. These cabins offer plenty of space with a sitting area and exclusive access to the specialty restaurant 'Smoked Olive.'

The Stargazer and Grand Dream suites offer numerous additional services such as a private concierge, priority boarding, exclusive access to the Compass lounge, and Rays (an exclusive area on the upper deck with sun loungers).

The cabins with a view are located on decks 4, 5, 6, and 9 and can accommodate between 2 and 4 people. They all feature a double bed (or two single beds) and either a double or single sofa bed, and/or a pull-down bed. All cabins have a a shower and a large window or two portholes (these are the cabins located at the front of the ship on decks 4 and 5). The cabins on deck 6 have a view obstructed by the promenade deck. There are also numerous connecting cabins to accommodate large families.

The interior cabins do not have a window and are located on decks 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10. They can accommodate up to 4 people. They consist of a double bed (or two single beds) and offer a single or double sofa bed and/or one or two pull-down beds. There are no connecting interior cabins.

The Restaurants, the Bars and the Activities

The ship has a total of 7 restaurants and 8 bars. On decks 7 and 11, you'll find the main restaurants included in your base package. Thalassa (deck 7) offers a buffet breakfast and a 3-course menu for lunch and dinner. The Taverna (deck 11) serves a buffet of Greek and Mediterranean specialties throughout the day.

On deck 11, next to the main pool, you'll find the Greek Deli, which offers delicious gyros pitas (at an additional cost). On deck 8, there are four specialty restaurants that are not included in your base package:

  • Grill Seekers: specializes in grilled meats and fish, open for lunch and dinner.

  • Chef's Table: offers a 5-course gourmet menu.

  • Pink Moon: an Asian specialty restaurant, available for lunch and dinner.

  • Smoked Olive: revisits classic Mediterranean cuisine and also offers snacks for those between excursions. There's a dedicated area for guests staying in suites.

    The Celestyal Journey offers numerous activities throughout the day, such as bingo, darts, basketball or tennis tournaments, dance classes, etc. There's also a large two-story theater that offers a nightly show and a casino. The ship has two pools (one with a retractable roof) and three Jacuzzis. Both pools also offer plenty of lounge chairs around the pool. On the upper deck, there's a basketball court and a tennis court. Finally, on this same deck, there's a dedicated children's area with arcade games.

    Finally, an entire area is dedicated to well-being on deck 11 with the spa and fitness center. The spa features multiple massage rooms, a hair salon, two saunas (one for men and one for women), 3 Jacuzzis, and a relaxation room. Access to the thermal area is subject to an additional fee.

6. Conclusion

You will have understood that Celestyal is not just another cruise company. It stands out with its small-sized ships, tailor-made itineraries, exceptional excursions, simple and transparent pricing, as well as renovated ships offering an authentic Greek dining experience and a variety of bars for relaxation and enjoyment.

A cruise with Celestyal will allow you to explore not only famous islands but also lesser-known destinations, at times of the day when the crowds are thinner, for a more intimate and authentic experience. So, what are you waiting for? Book now! Contact us via the form, or by phone at 020 4576 2793, or by email: and let us guide you towards an unforgettable adventure in the Mediterranean Sea!

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