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Stefanosthecruiselover

Celestyal Olympia, thoughts?

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We had a 3-night cruise on board the Olympia as part of a larger land-based tour. We made several Greek island stops, as well as one at Ephesus, Turkey. In all, our trip was 10 nights long and almost all in Greece.

 

Because future cruisers will see this thread and may be wondering, I wanted to say what a fabulous sailing we enjoyed on the Olympia. Yes, the ship is small. Her amenities are less than those we come to expect on the larger, mainline cruiseships we've sailed. She's old, and in some ways shows her age.

 

However, we went in with none of those "mainline" expectations in place. We let her be what she is. Which is a surprisingly good experience while transporting between the Greek isles! The ship itself is maintained pretty well. She is freshly painted, and the real wood decks are stained and varnished everywhere. The food was well above any expectation we had....meaning it was GOOD! The Horizons Bar up top was a stunning place to be on sail-away from islands, especially at night.

 

The cruise director was impressive, with a stable of languages he spoke and a great wit. When logistical info (such as tender schedules, etc.) was needed, he was the voice of the ship's operation. He was a good communicator. The entertainment was strong, with a troupe of singers/dancers that were better than some we've seen on quite large ships. Our room was small, as I am sure most on board are. That was okay. There was lots of storage built in. The beds were comfortable. We got easily our best rest of the trip there. Our schedule was busy and full of tours, and once back on board we were busy with shows and dining. We had at least 2 port stops every day. The places we went were amazing.

 

My point is-- let the Celestyal Olympia be what she is. Transportation and a base of operation for sailing in an area that can be quite port intensive. In this area of Greece and Turkey, the daytrips and tours are the star of the show. Let her, then, surprise you with the amenities she does offer. We would go back and do this all over again. Even a longer cruise. A 5-nighter would probably have been ideal.

Edited by CLQ

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This is a Budget cruise line. It's basically a glorified Ferry in the Aegean in between the islands

 

The ship is not too bad. It's the former RCCL 80's flagship "Song of America". Maintenance was quite good for a 35 year old ship.

 

We had a suite with a large balcony which was nice. The bed was in a very bad condition and the cabin steward had to patch it up with lots of extra padding. Room service or extra perks for a suite is non-existent. When I asked the room steward about it he answered that he would clean the room.

Also no suite perks at check in. Just join the line....

 

Food is OK but not terribly exciting. Breakfast is a buffet-style. When you entered the restaurant you are very firmly ordered to sit with other people at a table, which created socially a very awkward situation. The first evening we sat at a table where no one wanted to speak to each other. Service was slow and not terribly inspiring.

After a day I discover the lido buffet did had exactly the same food. So we decided to take it on a tray to our suite and eat there. (Remember the steward just cleaned the room)

 

We had a package with all inclusive drinks (very nice) and an excursion to Ephesus. As my partner is a tour guide himself we just used the bus to get there and did our own thing.

In Patmos you just can share cabs to go the John the Baptist case and monastery. Way much better than a tour.

As the ship is in port in the evening, huge lines tend to built up for the dining room close to departure. One more reason to skip it all together.

 

This is a very casual cruise line. No need for formal gear at all. We didn't do the entertainment at all. So don't know anything about.

The crowd is very European young and casual which is quite a difference if you are used to the mainly retired clientele on more regular cruise lines

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Seriously considering this ship for a 4 day cruise as it is a part of a 13 day tour of Greece through Homeric Tours, which I had never heard of but my travel agent assured me they are a reputable company. Since I have cruised before we were considering doing a Celebrity cruise (new ship) BUT feel we will miss out in immersing ourselves in the culture since we will be on a cruise ship the whole time and they leave each port early evening. I'm thinking this tour is a better way to go as we will be staying in Mykonos 3 nights.

 

Olympia was totally refurbished in 2014/2015 per Homeric. I cruised Song of Norway my very first cruise, so I am familiar with the size, etc....just don't want to be too disappointed, although we are lowering our expectations from what Celebrity would be. Our primary wish is seeing Greece and it's culture, not doing a fabulous cruise. Anyone have any other thoughts on this? Has anyone had experience with Homeric? Thanks for your help.

Edited by bjd3563

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I hope you will hear from others, including Oslo.

 

But, I would say you have your expectations right. Go in with this simply being transportation between the islands. Then, beyond that anything you like will just be a nice surprise.

 

One point Oslo made is important. We, too, tried the main dining room. Had the same thing happen. They just fill up big tables as you walk in. So, for the rest of the cruise we ate in the buffet on Aft. It was the same food and actually surprisingly good. Entertainment was hit-or-miss. But, with a packed (ambitious) port schedule, we didn't much care to be entertained. So, that was fine.

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I am sailing on this ship in September with a group of 10. I have read good and bad reviews, just like any other ship. Our travel agent told us not to expect it to be on the level of a Princess cruise, but it isn't that bad either. The Greek islands are the focal point.

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I am sailing on this ship in September with a group of 10. I have read good and bad reviews, just like any other ship. Our travel agent told us not to expect it to be on the level of a Princess cruise, but it isn't that bad either. The Greek islands are the focal point.
That's right. Go in not expecting what you would on the mainline cruiseships.

 

This ship was actually one of the original Royal Caribbean ships. She's showing her age, but on balance we were more than happy. Our expectations were so cautious (appropriately so) that the ship was far nicer than we had hoped.

 

All a matter of attitude, I think.

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We are doing the 4 night Aegean in October. We agree with you that we will take the ship as she is, just for transportation around the islands. My main concern with this tour is the timing of our arrival into Mykonos and Santorini. I am worried that we get into port late and will have darkness descend on us and spoil our excursions or free time at these ports. Any insight for this issue? Thanks in advance.

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