Concluding the Greek Islands adventure…..
With our short but sweet four night cruise a bit of a distant memory, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on the whole, overall experience. At the time of travelling, it’s so intense, so full on, that any realistic evaluation is hard to come to.
Of course, it’s destination heavy, with a potential six ports of call over some four days. Most of those calls are four or five hour snapshots, but they do give you enough time to get a flavour of the places themselves.
Think of this cruise as being more like a tapas menu, rather than a full, sit down, five course meal. Pick at the bits you want, and simply recharge for the rest of the time. For instance, we didn’t get off the ship at Heraklion- not out of any disrespect for the port, but simply because we felt the need to rest and recharge after a full day spent on Rhodes the day before. And, with the imminent ‘Grand Finale’ coming up at Santorini just a few hours down the line, some quality down time spent on the ship was definitely a wise decision.
The beauty here lies in the flexibility of your choices; you can take or leave places- much like sampling a tapas plate- and thus build the kind of trip that appeals to you personally the most. Even on a short trip, this is still your leisure time. Pace it to suit yourself.
At around 40,000 tons, the Celestyal Majesty was the perfect sized ship for cruising the more intimate waters of the Greek Islands. Food in the main dining room was served open seating, just as it was at the two main, upper deck buffets. The food options in all three venues are broadly similar.
The food was fresh, plentiful, and with very good taste in general; it also had a pronounced Mediterranean accent at times, an obvious- and appreciated- attempt to showcase the varied, vibrant cuisine of the region that we were sailing through.
There’s also a more exclusive, extra charge restaurant that offers bespoke dining in a more intimate environment. Located on Deck Five, Le Bistro costs around 20 euros a head. My recommendation? Try the surf and turf; at that price, it’s an absolute steal.
Though the ship was not short of entertainment venues, we almost inevitably graduated to the aft located Polo Club each night, where the top notch entertainment and spot on bar and waiter service kept us happy until the small hours of the morning on most nights. On any cruise, most passengers find one particular, late night bar that they keep going back to, and this one proved to be ours.
Deck space was plentiful on our short trip. We never had problems grabbing either a table, or a couple of sun beds. On sea days, if the upper deck does get crowded, you might want to head down to the promenade on Seven Deck, where you’ll find no shortage of sun loungers stacked near the shade of the lifeboats. It’s a great spot for watching the passing scenery unfold.
We had a cabin on that same deck, and the location is hard to beat. It was an outside room, with twin beds that can convert to a double if needed. There’s a shower and toilet, and ample wardrobe space. In all, these come in at around 170 square feet, and they are more than fine for these short cruises.
You also have the option of going for the smaller outside and inside cabins on Deck Three and Deck Four; these are cheaper but, obviously, you lose a bit of floor space. On the other hand, you’re probably not going to be in that room for very long, in any event. And, as the on board dress code is smart casual to match the itinerary (and the feel of being in the Greek Islands) you won’t need to pack a lot, either.
There are also a few balcony cabins on Deck Eight, and a handful of luxurious, quite roomy suites with balconies forward on Deck Nine. If you’re celebrating a special anniversary- or just looking to maximise your chill out time on board the ship- then one of these could well be a sweet little treat.
Overall, this entire package is pretty damned compelling. It has warmth, charm, excitement, history, hedonism, and a certain degree of effortless elegance about it. And it’s all quite beautifully presented. Highly recommended, as it gifts you so much in such a short space of time. More, in fact, than a great many people get to see over the course of an entire lifetime.
In one word? Delicious.