Celestyal Olympia

Celestyal Cruises

Ship information

Celestyal Olympia

About Celestyal Olympia

Celestyal Olympia has undergone a number of reincarnations in its 34 years afloat. The 1,664-passenger vessel, rebranded as Celestyal Olympia in early 2015, started sailing in 1982 as Royal Caribbean's Song of America and was later owned by Sun Cruises as Sunbird. Louis Cruises bought the ship, chartering it for seven years to Thomson as Thomson Destiny before returning it to the Louis fold in 2013 as Louis Olympia. It was rechristened Celestyal Olympia after its 2014/2015 dry dock to reflect the line's greater focus on all things Greek.

Celestyal (which means heavenly in Greek), has successfully established itself as an authentic Greek brand in just two years of operation. The rebrand is not just a marketing exercise. As well as a new livery of gorgeous sky blue and white, which includes the crew uniforms; the entire ship received a massive refurb in 2014/2015. This included the renovation of 160 inside and outside cabins, renovation of all bathrooms for lower cabin classes, flat-screen TVs through the cabins, and a complete overhaul of guest services on Deck 4 -- even the elevators got a refresh. A subsequent refurb (part of a rolling program) addressed an ongoing issue of noise from the theatre, installing soundproofing in the ceiling, as well as refurbishing the rest of the cabins.

The ship embraces its Hellenic heritage with gusto -- and indeed the whole ethos of Celestyal is to celebrate that heritage. This is reflected in the food, the entertainment, which plays on Greek mythology; the shore excursions and the shops onboard, which sell authentic Greek goods such as shoes, food & wine, jewelry and branded goods in a new area on deck 4. Public areas have been redesigned with Greek murals representing the islands visited, and bars and restaurants renamed with Greek names -- again to reflect the Greek heritage.

Celestyal Olympia operates three- four and seven-night cruises exclusively in the Greek isles and Turkey, visiting both well-known and out of the way islands -- often two in a day. Oddly, despite the rapid pace, the cruise never seems hurried and there always seems time to explore at leisure before the ship heads off to the next port of call. Many passengers use it as a way to pack several Greek isles in a few days. Another feature that goes over well with Greeks and Turks is that passengers can embark and debark in various ports, so it's easy to add a day or two in Santorini or Ios, and even catch the ship on its way back a week later.

Celestyal Olympia is not competing with mainstream cruise lines for passengers -- it solely focuses on destination-intensive short trips -- and the experience onboard is vastly different to bigger ships. So keep your expectations in check -- what it might lack in specialty restaurants, variety of entertainment or onboard activities -- it more than makes up in giving you an authentic insight into the Greek islands.

Our view is if you want to see a lot of the islands in just a few days and enjoy an authentic Greek experience, Celestyal Olympia is excellent value for both your time and money.

Cabins

Celestyal Olympia has 9 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

3 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

3 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

3 Outside types to choose from

Suite Cabins

3 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

3 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

3 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

10 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater

Muses Lounge (Deck 7): The ship's main theater is more of a lounge with a large stage and dance floor than the Broadway or West End-style theaters you'll find on more modern cruise ships, and it's also situated in the middle of the ship, with entrances either side so you get a lot of through traffic. In 2017, Celestyal again has again upped its game by partnering with a Canadian company called Cirque Fantastique who produce a variety of exclusive, different-themed shows onboard, mainly Greek-themed and exploring myths and legends, as well as a Cirque-type show, a cabaret show and a Latin-themed show. They may not be the Broadway-style shows you find on the biggest cruise ships, but they are of a good standard, particularly the non-Greek-themed shows.

The entertainment team will inevitably try and drag you up for a dance after the show. You'll also find dance competitions here on some evenings, as well as a live band after the main show. The lounge is used in the morning for people gathering for shore excursions, but apart from that it's not used in the day, except by the performers practicing for their next show. It's worth noting that for any passengers who have travelled on this ship before and stayed in the Junior Suites directly above the lounge, the ceiling is now soundproofed.

 

Daily Fun

 

There is a packed program of predominantly Greek-themed activities, although with no sea days and often two ports in a day, there's little time to take part in any of them. Activities include: Board games and card games, cooking and cocktail making demos, flower making and origami, napkin folding, Greek language classes, Zumba classes round the pool deck, darts and table tennis tournaments, trivia, basketball shoot out, musical quizzes and bingo. Tours of Olympia's unusual open bridge -- unlike most modern cruise ships, part of the bridge is actually outside -- are available daily €10 (€5 for children).

At Night

There is always a sailaway party round the main pool area on Deck 9 (sometimes two). Come early evening you can hear music in the Argo Bar, piano or violin recitals; karaoke takes place in Selene Lounge most nights and there are dance competitions with the animation team after the show in Muses Lounge.

On Deck 5, Casino Royale is a small space positioned right by the spa and near the Argo Bar. It has slot machines, poker and a variety of table games. Smoking is allowed.

 

Celestyal Olympia Bars and Lounges

There's a wide range of bars and lounges on a relatively small ship, each with a different vibe and atmosphere.

Selene (Deck 5): Selene Bar, Olympia's disco on Deck 5, is large for a cruise ship, with screens for music videos and karaoke (which takes place most nights). The action here depends on the makeup of the passengers; one night, we saw Japanese passengers getting down to "Gangnam Style"; other nights, the teenage tour groups kept the disco going till 4:00 a.m., while on others it was totally dead.

Argo (Deck 5): With a sailing theme, the Argo Bar on Deck 5 is a good spot to get a coffee, and one of the nicer places to meet for a pre-dinner drink. It's also one of the best areas for a strong Wi-Fi signal which sometimes drops in the cabins. In the evening, a pianist and singer take requests for favorites.

Eclipse (Deck 7): This a lovely, out-of-the-way bar, which you have to hunt for via a mid-ships staircase. It hosts Cuban and Latino music most evenings, with a dance floor to practice those salsa moves, but it was rarely crowded. It's dark and atmospheric with plush red low chairs and banquettes. This is a good spot to get a (very strong) mojito.

Helios (Deck 9): Helios Bar, adjacent to the main pool, serves up fruity tropical drinks and cater to smokers.

Thalassa Bar (Deck 10): This is in a great spot overlooking the midship pool, with plenty of tables and chairs. Both are lively on sunny afternoons.

Horizons Bar (Deck 12): This is Olympia's most distinctive bar, and certainly our favorite. Located on Deck 12, surrounding the aft funnel, it provides a bit of a conundrum. For one thing, it's difficult to reach; you can only access it by a single elevator and staircase tucked away on Deck 7. Inside, it's a marvel of light blue leather that's both retro and weirdly futuristic. Despite having the best views of the ship, the bar is surprisingly dead (probably because it's so hard to find); on multiple visits, we saw only a handful of customers. It's the spot to go if you want some downtime with your drink.

Celestyal Olympia Outside Recreation

Pools  

There are two pools, both on Deck 9. The aft one (though note, it's not aft as in right at the back of the ship, it's just further aft than the midship pool), is adults-only and beside the Helios Bar. The midship pool has a small splash area for kids, and a main, deeper pool. A cabana-style stage separates the two. Note these are not heated, which is no problem in the summer months of course, but when the season starts in March, they are very chilly. There are plenty of deckchairs and lots of seating, so you shouldn't have a problem finding a spot. There are no hot tubs.

Recreation

A sports deck on the aft of Deck 7 offers ping pong tables and dart boards with netting to shield from the wind. Basketball also takes place up here.

Sun Decks

As befits a ship built before cruise lines decided to cram in more top-deck activities, Olympia has outdoor observation decks to spare. No matter how crowded the ship gets in the summer, there's room for all passengers to be outside. A huge deck space occupies the bow on Deck 10, although you won't find deck chairs here out of season. If the ship isn't too crowded, impromptu football games are also played up here. From here, you can look down on either side and see the ship's open bridge. In addition, another spacious sun deck aft on Deck 7 has a glorious teak wood expanse. Smokers will find a haven in an outdoor alcove aft on Deck 6.

 

Celestyal Olympia Services

Deck 4 is the hub of Olympia's services, containing the reception desk, the shore excursion desk, the library, the duty free shop, a jewelry shop and a shop for sundries. This area received a complete redesign during the ship's 2014 to 2015 dry dock which included a new layout for guest services.

You'll find the photo gallery one deck up on Deck 5, next to the casino, and opposite the open "market" Agora, which sells a lovely selection of good quality hand-made Greek jewelry, sandals, olive oils, soaps and Celestyal-branded products such as pretty mugs and tote bags at reasonable prices.

The ship is Wi-Fi enabled throughout, but note it does drop in cabins and public spaces are better for a good signal. Prices start at 7 euros/hour, 16 euros for three hours and 25 euros for six hours.

 

Dining

Celestyal Olympia prides itself on offering an immersive Greek culinary experience, and the menu reflects this. Bread is baked fresh daily, and staples such as Greek salad, moussaka and baklava are available at every meal. There are also be Greek classics featured as main dishes every day, such as lamb souvlaki, various local fish dishes and chicken with stuffed vine leaves. The line introduced extended restaurant opening hours in 2017, so you'll be able to sate your hunger for 16 hours a day, continuously (should you wish).

The food on our cruise was without exception, was of a very high standard: fresh, authentic and delicious. There is also an extensive Greek wine list, with varietals from many of the various islands the ship visits at reasonable prices; bottles start at 9.95 euros and few are more than 20 euros. The service across the board was also excellent: highly attentive and helpful, especially with children, who are embraced on this ship. And also knowledgeable, particularly the wine sommelier, Terrence, who helped us choose a suitable Greek wine every evening.

Note there is little choice when it comes to dining venues, with no specialty restaurants, just the main dining room and buffet to choose from, with the poolside grill open and an open air BBQ in good weather. However, you can pay a supplement for steak and lobster dishes from a separate, for-fee menu. The restaurants are included in your fare and cater for dietary requirements including gluten-free and offer a good range of vegetarian options.

Aegean Restaurant (Deck 4): The Aegean Restaurant is the ship's main dining room. It provides open seating on a first-come, first-served basis; tables are meant for six and eight, and waiters will try to seat smaller parties with other cruisers (but of course you can ask to be sat alone). There are plenty of large picture windows, and the center is dedicated to two rows of buffet service at breakfast and at lunch.

Breakfast is served buffet-style and there is a wide choice: cereals, fresh made pastries, pre-made omelets, fried eggs, bacon, potatoes, and cold cuts, as well as the ever-present cucumbers, tomatoes and olives. Due to the increasing numbers of Asian passengers there is also an "Asian corner", where you can get noodle soups, congee and dumplings for breakfast. There is also a good selection of fresh juice selections of local fruit, for a fee.

Lunch in the main dining room is also a buffet, although you can order from a menu if you choose. Cold choices from the buffet include salads, smoked fish, meats, and cheese, while hot entrees may include fish skewers and chicken souvlaki. Menu items could be vine leaves stuffed with salmon and cream cheese, beetroot and apple salad or delicious local specialties such as "peinirli" -- dough parcels stuffed with minced beef and peppers. Mains might include a pasta dish, traditional pork gyros or a beef sandwich. There is always a chef's special, which will be a local dish often from the island you're visiting that day.

Kids get their own separate menu both at lunch and dinner, which will include fish fingers, hot dog, burger and chicken nuggets; mac n' cheese or build your own pizza. Desserts include ice cream and jelly.

Dinner is served in three courses (or four, if you would like a soup as well as an app), and there are always vegetarian options. The line no longer offers "Your Favorites" (a selection of always available classics), but if you ask for something plain like grilled chicken, salmon or steak, they will oblige.

Appetizers may include octopus keftedes (balls of deep fried octopus), oven-baked pasticcio (Greek lasagne), a lobster bisque and a salad. Main courses are heavily Greek-influenced, such as seafood saganaki (a tomato sauce with feta cheese), fish filet with artichoke pilaf or chicken stew marinated in a red wine sauce. You'll also find grilled beef or steak and vegetarian paella.

Desserts are again strongly Greek influenced and include Greek chocolate pie, Greek yogurt with honey, ice cream, fresh fruit, a cheese plate, baklava or galatopita (kind of a Greek custard pie).

Open for breakfast (6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.); lunch (Noon to 2 p.m., depending on port times) and dinner (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).

Galileo Room (Deck 4): Just off the main dining room, the Galileo Room has a quieter atmosphere, as well as tables for two. The same menu is served; you can ask to be seated there when you enter the dining room.

Leda (Deck 9): The self-serve Leda buffet is at the back of the ship, and is a space which is semi-open to the elements, in that the roof is not fixed: it's a large awning which can be opened up in warm weather. The age of the ship means you get to walk on real teak floors. This was the place to eat at most times of day on our short cruise, and was very popular with the school groups and families who perhaps don't want a traditional three-course set meal. It's also open later than the MDR. There is always a cooking station set up in the middle of the restaurant at all meals, where you can get eggs cooked to order, or tacos at lunch or interesting desserts in the evening.

The breakfast buffet includes pastries, waffles, eggs, bacon, meats, cheeses, as well as cheese and spinach pies. For lunch, you'll find plenty of Greek salad staples, including tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and onions, as well as moussaka, fish skewers and lamb. Dinner choices are the same that you'd find in the main dining room. During the summer months when student groups board, snacks such as pizza, gyros and burgers are added.

Leda is open for breakfast (6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.), "elevenses" (9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.), lunch (noon to 2:30 p.m.), afternoon tea (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and dinner (7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.).

Aura Grill (Deck 9): Open only on days when the ship is at sea during the lunch hour, Aura Grill on Deck 9 is the buffet closest to the pool, serving up burgers and fries. It's a popular choice in the warmer months, and also attracts passengers looking for non-Greek options.

Once a cruise (Day 2) there is an outdoor BBQ served on the pool deck, just below the Aura Grill, accompanied by live music. Here you'll find mountains of meat -- steaks, pork, chicken, sausages, burgers all being cooked in great big BBQ pits under the starry sky, sending off wafts of delicious aromas; plus salad, sweetcorn and baked potatoes. It's all delicious and there is a lively atmosphere -- it's hard to beat on a warn Aegean night.

Gelato and frozen yogurt are sold from a stand located by the pool on Deck 9. Cones cost one euro per scoop.

Room Service: Room service is available for a fee. A continental breakfast delivered to your room costs €5.95 per delivery and is served 6:00 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. Snacks and sandwiches, ranging in price from €5.95 to €7.95, can be delivered 24 hours a day. There is also X-press pizza delivery; the €7.95 price includes a beer or soda.

The line went all inclusive in 2017, which includes the vast majority of drinks you'll ever need, including specialty coffees plus deep discounts on bottle of wines; however you can upgrade for 11 euro per person per day to a Gold Package which includes champagne and premium brand liquors. You can also upgarde on a day-by-day basis, not for the whole cruise.