Likes and Dislikes on the Celestyal Cruise August 2015

This likes and dislikes blog is for those who might want to ‘cut to the chase’ given the previous blogs on the Celestyal cruise were quite long.  I also have a number of readers who specifically want to read a ‘likes and dislikes’ list.

To those regular readers that may feel I’m being harsh, or if you’re reading my blog for the first time, this is my 6th cruise and 4th around the Greek Islands.  The 3rd cruise on a Louis/Celestyal cruise line.

Before going on I do have to state the ‘must have’ item for people on this cruise was……

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Lord Lunchalot

a captains hat….as modelled by Troy.  Let’s not be picky here, yes I thought you’d notice, it is a little small and lopsided but he was the best model on the day.

 

 

 

Let’s start with the experiences we liked…

  • Our balcony and stateroom on Deck 6 – we had one of the presidential suites
  •  Our bar waiter Ivan on deck 5 Thalasso bar

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    Drinks on Deck 5

  •  Islands visited and some amazing scenery
  • Unpacking once
  • Our cabin person although he didn’t make any towel animals until the very last night of the cruise. Towel animals are an important part of a cruise😀
  • The relaxing facial and massage we had at the on-board salon, although not so sure about the foot reflexology.
  • The first time we went to the Karaoke Lounge
  • The following staff were great: Our cabin steward although I don’t think I ever really knew his name! Elvis Troy’s cabin steward, Kataryna pool bar waitress, Kadek and Wayan in dining room and Ivan (again – he rates a second mention as he was exceptional in looking after our drink needs). These five crew members were outstanding in their customer service, always smiling and helpful.
  • Troy loved his towel animals, a different one was sitting on his bed every night.  he took  a picture of each one to make me jealous because we didn’t have any till the last night.

    Troys Towel animal 1

    Troy’s towel animal #1

  • The check in process was efficient
  • The cruise ship daily newsletter was very informative
  • Cleanliness of cabin and public areas was good
  • Housekeeping staff were very friendly
  • Drinks package and selection of drinks on offer was good
  • Pricing of excursions, places visited and punctuality of commencing the excursions was good.
  • Cruise was chosen for the destinations visited.
  • Amusing ourselves at the Thalasso Bar playing uno and drinking the wonderful cocktails Ivan prepared for us.
  • A couple of the shows on board were enjoyable
View from our balcony

View from our balcony

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Our lounge area

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the experiences we disliked during the cruise………

  • One or two of the breakfast crew who were quite rude when we chose our own seat
  • A male supervisor in the Amalthia Restaurant never smiled or engaged in conversation with passengers (that we saw).  He bumped into a few of us at different times but no apology not even a grunt!
  • This is a Greek Island cruise without the friendliness and hospitality of the Greeks
  • We all felt the cruise director was looking after one cultural group
  • The main meals except for breakfast
  • The fact we purchased the top beverage package and still had to pay for ice cream  (Ty and Troy love their ice cream)!!!  We found that a little odd. Other cruises include ice cream in the top beverage package

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    Ty & Troy & the ice cream cart.

  • The fact that the Olympus dining room was closed for the entire cruise to all but a small group of US citizens of sub continent background meant the choice of dining for the majority of passengers was the buffets or the Amalthia restaurant with a very small al la carte menu.
  • Food at both buffets was repetitive,very bland and much of it appeared to be leftovers from the meal served in the dining room the previous night. The hot food was very often lukewarm or cold.
  • Cancellation of 3 of our excursions…one wasn’t even offered yet we were able to purchase it on the website 6 months before the cruise departure date.
  • Troy’s stateroom on deck 5 was not as advertised. Staff uninterested
  • My beauty therapist trying to sell products before letting me out of the treatment room.
  • One lunch time a bar b que was being cooked on deck when the pool cleaner arrived and proceeded to clean the pool. Passengers had to endure loud noise form the machine and dust particles rising through the air whilst trying to relax and enjoy lunch.  If the pool needed cleaning urgently the most sensible option would have been to just close it and clean it later.  Again lack of customer care from management.
  • Care factor of crew was non existent which reflects on cruise line itself.
  • Several of the breakfast waiters were extremely rude especially if we wanted to choose our own table.
  • Second time we went to Karaoke Lounge when a different cultural group came in and asked DJ to play their country of origin music.  The DJ played the music and ignored requests from everyone else until all other groups eventually left the Karaoke Bar.
  • Reception staff very often couldn’t answer basic questions. Troy’s key was disengaged on the second night of the cruise …. no explanation available.
  • Tour desk staff and excursion guides were mediocre. We were on an English speaking tour but the minority so tour guide conversed in language other than English.
  • Female supervisor around pool area never smiled, tried hard not to make eye contact with passengers and reprimanded a waiter in front of passengers. We thought this very unprofessional behaviour.
  • Early morning excursions. We’re on the cruise to relax so I avoid as many morning excursions as possible!!!

Areas we feel require improvement…

  • Food in all dining areas, provide more menu options in dining rooms
  • Reception staff need to be more informed
  • Most of the crew which means the cruise line itself….happy, engaged crew make for happy passengers. Majority of  workers with sour faces on this cruise ship…rare to see a smiling crew member.  Previous cruises passengers generally develop a rapport with some of the crew and share a joke or friendly banter – not on this cruise. Have to think the issue comes from the top down.
  • Staterooms could do with a revamp especially deck #5. What was advertised as bright and airy was in fact tiny, dark and dingy. Perhaps truth in advertising might be a consideration as well.
  • Uniforms were badly in need of  repair, iron, or to be tossed out and new ones purchased.  Unkempt/tardy dress can often show a lack of interest in the position they hold, lack of pride in themselves and lack of care in the work being performed.
  • If the excursion is English speaking only place English speaking passengers on the tour.  We had several english speaking tours where people that could speak and understand english were placed on the tour. However once on the bus they proceeded to speak extremely loudly across the bus in their language, drowning out the tour guide and acting as if no others were on the bus.  As I mentioned earlier they were from the US so no excuse to be so rude. No one has any objection to people speaking in their native tongue to one another but, in my opinion, when they choose to take an english speaking tour speak english when in the Company of others.
  • If you have a group of 50 people out of a total passenger list of 1000 it may be worth reconsidering how you allocate sections of the ship to allow for the group to hold a private function or to have separate menus for their evening meal without affecting the rest of the passengers. Many felt the food in the dining areas suffered due to a small number being catered for with special menus.
  • If you’re going to charge premium rates for cabins perhaps you should employ a specialist to ensure the cruise lives up to the standard expected for that price range.

In the event readers are wondering or thinking why didn’t you convey this to the cruise line – we completed satisfaction surveys which were less than favourable in many areas but we also mentioned the positives.  The surveys contained much the same information as in this blog so, given we haven’t received any response to any of our feedback forms we assume customer service/customer care seems to be non existent across the business.

I doubt I’ll travel on this cruise line again, I know that one of my friends definitely won’t and as it stands I can’t recommend Celestyal Cruises. There were positives and enjoyable parts but the negatives on board outweigh them unfortunately.  I chose this cruise for the destinations visited as it’s the only one that goes to the smaller islands and for that we weren’t disappointed.

Celestyal Crystal

Celestyal Cristal

A Mocha and Oversize Cabin Baggage

Bags checked in for flight it was now time for coffee except the coffee shop had a long line of customers waiting and there were no seats left.  Through the glass wall I could see another coffee shop so we decided to forgo any duty free shopping and passed through the luggage scanners.  Of course I was stopped for a bag scan and a body pat down.  How many other people out there have the same experience as me? It’s very rare that I can walk through the customs check without anyone stopping me for a scan of some sort.

All that done we lined up for coffee and something to eat. We noticed that there wasn’t much available seating at the flight gate so Ty went to find us seats whilst I waited in line at the cafe.  The line wasn’t too long but gave me time to decide what I should ask for given I find the coffee in Europe too strong and there was no chance of asking for a half shot I decided a mocha would be best. I thought it best to order the food first and then launch into the coffee order…Ty’s was easy he just wanted a coke zero.  Now for mine ‘ Could I have a Mocha please ?’ Blank look….Hmm, why did I think the young barista would know what a mocha was? “Ok”, I said to myself, ”check the list of coffees available on the board”…I see Hot Chocolate…’ I suppose I’ll have a hot chocolate please’.  The next customer was an Aussie and she said ‘easy enough for him to put a shot of espresso into it’….’you’d think so’ I replied.  ‘Could I have a shot of espresso in it please?’  He looked at me then he put a small shot of espresso into my hot chocolate…..I’m sure he thought it was an odd request….didn’t care I got the mocha.  He brought the coffee to the counter and clasped his hands together as if in prayer.  ‘Are you praying? I asked.  He smiled, replied in the affirmative and said ‘I don’t want you to order anything else, it’s too much for me!’ I laughed….so a chicken roll (not much chicken), a donut, a coke zero and a mocha was too much for him!!!!!!

We found seats at the departure gate to wait for boarding.  An announcement came over …..the plane had been overbooked would anyone like to take the later flight…we offer €250 plus a free flight.  We would not be taking up the offer….we just wanted to be sitting by the pool at the Villas.

When boarding was called were were amazed at the size of some of the bags people were bringing on this little plane. The overhead luggage compartments are not that deep so some luggage had to be forced under the seats in front of people. We were on the flight early in the boarding process with seats in the middle of the plane so we had a fun time watching the young men and women trying to place their oversize luggage somewhere, anywhere they could fit it!! The girl behind us originally had her suitcase standing between the back of my seat and the front of her seat then she realised she couldn’t sit down, next she tried placing it on the actual seat and sitting on it…eventually the suitcase was forced under the seat.  GG helped the girl that sat next to him push her suitcase under her seat but it was so big it also encroached on his side of the plane.  Gorging Gonz was also in line of sight of the propeller on the left side..not something he was terribly keen on.  Of course Lord Lunchalot was in row 2….a seat suitable for a Lord I’m sure..hahaha.

We had a slight delay whilst the cabin crew tried to force oversize bags into the overhead luggage compartments.  One of the crew pushed one bag with such force we thought it might go through the side of the plane. That bag wouldn’t be moving anywhere no matter how much turbulence we might have.

It seems that if you’re travelling with a small amount of hand luggage you need to board the plane first to ensure space in an overhead compartment before people with hand luggage and a suitcase board the flight.

The flight was short and smooth, cabin service was fast, no sooner receiving a can of drink when it was collected again in preparation for landing. Once the plane landed it was amusing watching people trying to retrieve their oversize bags form the tiny luggage compartments – much huffing and puffing whilst trying to free the bags. The bag that the crew had forced into the luggage compartment was firmly stuck, even with the help of her friend the girls couldn’t free the bag.  Eventually it wasn’t funny because we couldn’t leave the aircraft till they had the bag out – Ty stepped up and helped release the bag.  So a tip for my readers  –  be mindful when flying to the Greek Islands – the planes are small and luggage compartments are even smaller. Even though you might think it’s a faster exit to take your bag on board because you’ve only packed 2 or 3 pieces of swimwear, a towel, a ton of make-up/toiletries, hair straightener and an outfit or 2 for the evenings the bag just will not fit and may be off loaded to the hold anyway.  What’s the rush it’s the Greek Islands and nothing moves quickly here.

Once on the ground we collected our luggage and proceeded to the car rental desk, then the next and finally the last car rental desk.  Normally we would have booked a car in advance but we weren’t sure what our travelling companions preferred to do. Perhaps they’d want to hire motor bikes or quad bikes.   We wandered over to the taxi rank outside the terminal and a very friendly female driver packed the bags onto the taxi roof and we set off for our Villas in Messaria.

 

Copy of Kerins disc 3 Prague to Munich 026

Santorini