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Overview: An AIDA Cruise is for youthful German-speaking couples, solo travellers, and particularly families seeking good value for money in a party-like environment, with excellent entertainment. This is all about über-casual cruising, with two main self-serve buffet restaurants instead of the trad


Louis Hellenic Cruiselines - Mv Cristal. by Kennedy, Limerick

Louis Hellenic Cruiselines - Mv Cristal.

Overall Rating: 4


Cruise Line:
AIDA Cruises
Cruise Ship:

Reviewed By: on
We took Louis Cruise Lines MV Cristal 'Splendours of Greece and Turkey'

We embarked in Piraeus. Getting to the Post is a breeze from Athens city centre. The green line does all the way to Piraeus from Monastiriki station for €1.00. The cruise terminal is at gate E11 so its about a 20 minute walk from the station or a 5 minute cab ride. Embarkation takes place at 2PM and you are taken directly to your cabin once you board.

Our inside cabin was extremenly spacious and beds were laid in an L shape which gave us loads of room. The bathroom was a wet room so when you showered the water went everywhere.

The itinerary for this ship was great

Day 1 - Depart Piraeus
Day 2 - Sail to Istanbul arriving at 3PM
Day 3 - Free in Istanbul depart at 5PM
Day 4 - Sailing to Mykonos arriving at 3PM departing at midnight
Day 5 - 7AM arrival at Patmos, depart at 10AM for Kusadasi and leave at 8PM
Day 6 - 7AM to 5PM at Rhodes
Day 7 - 7 AM to 11AM at Agios Nikolois and 5PM to 8PM at Santorini
Day 8 - Arrive in Athens

Shore excursions were crazily priced - to do one in each port would cost €450 per person. We only did the one in Patmos as the time there was so short. We went to the Monastery and Grotto but we couls easily have taken a cab as it is only 4.4km from the tender boat dock. It is easy to do your own thing in most ports. Agios Nick was not a very nice place and we only stopped so people could see Knossos - in hindsight we should have done this excursion as there is not much else to do in the area. Better still would be that the ship bypass Agios Nick completely and allow passengers more time in Santorini.

Food was not available 24/7 and dining times changed everyday depending on the ports. You had to monitor the ships news letter each day for operating times. On sailing nights there were two dinner sittings in the La Scala and Carruso restaurants.and the buffet was closed. When in port dinner was open seating and had one extended sitting with the buffet also open. Breakfast was anytime for 2 hours between 6 and 10. Lunch was from 12 - 2. Afternoon tea from 4 - 5. Dinner seatings were at 7.30 and 9.15. Food was fair to good but the desserts were outstanding. There was a midnight Butler service serving finger food that lasted 30 mins. Not having food available all day was a pain. For example in Rhodes we had breakfast at 8 and came back to the ship at 1 for lunch. We returned to the ship at 5.15 for a 5.30 sail away to have missed afternoon tea and no food until dinner at 9.15 - that 8.25 hours without food.

Entertainment was very amateurish on board we had an ABBA night, Greek night, songs from the Movies, songs from the musicals, an illusionist, a magician, talent show and music and dance from around the world. Costumes were great but the singing and dancing was very mush like what you see at a high school concert.

Fellow travellers were most European with some Americans. Many tour operators like Contiki, Globus, Trafalgar Tours use Cristal as part of their Greece and Turkey cruises. We travelled as individuals.

The cruise was excellent value for money and even with the annoyances of no food at times and the highly irritable photographer - I would do it all again. One thing I would change is that I would have embarked in Istanbul and disembarked in Piraeus and forfeited the first night as it would have allowed me more time to explore Istanbul. In fact wiith this itinerary you can embark and disembark where you choose making the cruise as long or as short as you like.

Times cruised before: 1-2
Sailed: August, 2009
Age: 36-45
Cabin: Inside
Occasion: Wedding anniversary

Quality of Food
Desserts outstanding. Food not available 24 hours per day

High school stuff but great costumes

Shore Excursions
Only did one - very expensive and we could have easily done it ourselves

Cabin and waiting staff were great. Photographer was less than pleasant. Shore excursion staff and entertainment were very aloof and not at all friendly.

Children's Facilities
Not applicable

Onboard Activities
Loads to do. Library was only open for one hour in the morning. Gym was small with many queues. Had all the usual like line dancing, greek classes, cooking, vegetable carving, towel folding, fashion show etc but no art auction!

Separate shower that did not flood the room would have been good. Eventhough the ship was not full they refused to upgrade which I thought was poor form as it would improve advocacy.

Overall Rating

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