Cypriot-owned Celestyal Cruises’ 25,000 gross-ton Celestyal Crystal carries 960 guests. For three years, the ship has been operating on winter cruise service from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Cuba and in 2017, it will be based there year-round. Celestyal Crystal was built in 1980 as the ferry Viking Saga for Viking Line’s Helsinki-to-Stockholm service. In 1986, the Viking Saga was transferred to newly formed Sally Cruises and renamed Sally Albatross for Baltic cruising from Helsinki. In 1988, it was rebuilt with an enlarged superstructure. After suffering a major shipyard fire, the Sally Albatross was completely rebuilt in 1992, taking on the streamlined appearance it has today. Only the engines and portions of the original hull remain. In 1994 and early 1995, the ship was taken to Genoa and further rebuilt for full-time cruising and subsequently chartered to U.S. based Norwegian Cruise Line. As their Leeward, it was deployed on short cruises from Miami to the Bahamas. The Leeward had a double-occupancy capacity of 952 guests and was a popular member of the NCL fleet before the advent of its new generation of Freestyle ships with multiple dining and entertainment venues. In 2000, the Leeward was switched to a new cruising base in Asia as the Superstar Taurus for NCL’s then-parent company Star Cruises. In 2002, the ship returned to Baltic waters as the Silja Opera and in 2007, Silja Opera was sold to Louis Cruises and renamed Cristal. The name was modified to Louis Cristal for several years. In 2015, the ship became Celestyal Crystal for Louis’ new subdivision, Celestyal Cruises. In late 2015, balconies were added and/or extended on Decks 6 and 7. Celestyal Crystal has nine passenger decks, beginning at the top with Zeus Deck (10), the farthest forward portion of which has a narrow observation terrace. Zeus Deck continues on either side of the radio mast with glassed-in sunning platforms. The midships portion of Zeus Deck features an open sunning area that overlooks the pool. More sunning space lines either side of Zeus Deck above the pool area. A sliding glass dome can cover the pool in inclement weather. This is a view facing aft from the starboard side of Zeus Deck while at sea. The indoor/outdoor Helios Bar is just forward of the pool on Hera Deck (9). At night, it is often transformed into an al fresco dance spot. Here is another view of the Hera Deck pool. Tables and chairs line either side of the pool area, providing a popular spot for overflow seating from the nearby buffet. During breakfast, there is an omelette station by the pool and at lunch, there is a stir fry station. A teak-lined platform is located aft of the buffet dining venues on Hera Deck. Celestyal Crystal has terraced afterdecks with open and shaded seating. This is the aft terrace on Ouranos Deck (8). The aft portion of Apollo Deck (7) also has a semi-sheltered sunning terrace. Venus Deck (6) has another semi-sheltered sunning terrace. Dionysos Deck (5) has a full wrap-around promenade that begins at the tip of the ship’s bow. This is forward “clamshell” portion of Dionysos Deck. Teak-lined promenades continue aft on either side of Dionysos Deck. At the aft end of Dionysos Deck, the Thalassa Bar overlooks the ship’s wake. It also features a large whirlpool tub. The Thalassa Bar area is especially popular during sunsets and throughout the evening. The Horizon Bar is a 360-degree observation lounge and nightclub at the base of the ship’s funnel on aft Zeus Deck. On the port side, there is a dance floor and DJ booth. The starboard side of the Horizon Bar is terraced with booth seating on its inner side. The aft portion of the Horizon Bar features a long bar and a great view over the ship’s stern. The Sana Spa is located on forward Hera Deck and offers a wide range of massage treatments and skin therapies. This treatment room is equipped with a thalassotherapy tub and a private hamam or Turkish bath. This is a couple’s treatment room. Several rooms provide unique treatments, including a hydro therapy bath. A compact but well-equipped gym is on the starboard side of Hera Deck. It features three treadmills, two ellipticals, a climber and a small arsenal of free weights. Men and women have their own dressing and steam areas in the Sana Spa. This is the men’s sauna. This is the men’s steam room on Hera Deck. The Sana Beauty Center is located between the Sana Spa and pool area on Hera Deck, offering hair styling and coloring as well as manicures and pedicures. This is the manicure section of the Sana Beauty Center. Two casual dining venues occupy either side of Hera Deck. On the port side, there is the 112-seat Leda Buffet. On the starboard side, directly across from the Leda, there is the 76-seat Aura Buffet. In addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Leda Buffet offers up a daily tea service between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. with fresh-baked cookies, cakes and even small sandwiches. The double-deck Muses Show Lounge is located on forward Hera and Ouranos Decks. The balcony is accessed via staircases within the lounge and seats 94. The lower portion of the Muses Show Lounge begins a full deck of public spaces on Ouranos Deck. It seats 344 guests and features a dance floor and large stage. Entertainment in the Muses Lounge ranges from large production shows and guest singers to cooking demonstrations, enrichment lectures and even rum tastings. The 131-seat Eros Lounge is aft of the showroom on the port side of Ouranos Deck. It is used for language lessons and other scheduled events by day and features live music at night. The Eros Lounge has its own dedicated bar directly across from the stage area. The Eros Lounge continues aft with a seating gallery providing great views through its full-length windows. The Casino is adjacent to the Eros Lounge and features blackjack, roulette, poker and slots. A trio of small rooms called the Symposium is located on the starboard side of Ouranos Deck, beginning with the 12-seat Library. The Meeting Room follows the Library on the starboard side of Ouranos Deck. During the ship’s Cuba Cruise service, the Sports Bar on starboard Ouranos Deck is used as a large conference room. The larger of two traditional dining venues, the 392-seat Amalthia Restaurant is located on the port side of Ouranos Deck. Table settings in the Amalthia Restaurant include blue glass chargers and cloth napkins. The aft portion of the Amalthia Restaurant spans the full width of Ouranos Deck. During the ship’s Cuba Cruise service, menus feature locally themed dishes such as this roasted plantain and vegetable appetizer. The midships-to-aft portion of Dionysos Deck is dedicated to public spaces, beginning with the Photo Shop. Local handicrafts can be purchased from a kiosk adjacent to the Photo Gallery. A large duty-free shop is located along the midships Dionysos Deck passage. The Reception area is near the midships staircase on Dionysos Deck. The Shore Excursions desk is directly across from the Reception area on Dionysos Deck. The L-shaped Olympus Restaurant can accommodate up to 248 guests and is located on the port side of Dionysos Deck. This is the aft portion of the Olympus Restaurant. Table settings in the Olympus Restaurant also feature blue chargers and cloth napkins. Menus in both the Amalthia and Olympus restaurants are identical and feature both Continental-style cuisine, such as this Insalata Caprese appetizer, and Cuban cuisine during the ship’s Cuba service and Greek specialties during its Aegean service. This is a Cuban jerk chicken and okra main course served during the Celestyal Crystal’s Cuba service. Two stairtowers and four lifts provide vertical access aboard the Celestyal Crystal. One of the Celestyal Crystal’s key architectural focal points is an eight-deck-tall, backlit acrylic mural in the aft staircase. Two Category S1 Imperial Suites are the ship’s most luxurious staterooms. Measuring 468 square feet, they are located at the forward end of Deck 6. This is the living room and dining area of Suite 6200. Imperial Suites have separate bedrooms with a queen-sized bed. Imperial Suite bathrooms are especially large and feature a shower and full tub. Forward-facing Imperial Suite balconies are lined in teak and feature a dining table as well as deck chairs and a Jacuzzi tub. Eight Category SB Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7, measuring 388 square feet. This is the entryway, with large built-in closets. SB Balcony Suites have a separate living room, which features a sofa bed and a dining nook. SB Balcony Suites have partitioned bedrooms with a queen-sized bed that can convert to two twins. In the ship’s most recent refit, the SB Balcony Suites were significantly enlarged. SB Balcony Suites have large bathrooms with separate shower, vanity and WC compartments. Six wedge-shaped S Suites on forward Venus Deck have separate bedrooms and living room spaces but do not feature balconies. There are 43 161-square-foot SBJ Junior Balcony Suites on Apollo and Venus decks that feature twin beds, a sofa bed, flat-screen television, refrigerator, phone, individually controlled air conditioning, a writing desk and plenty of storage space. This in an inboard-facing view of an SBJ Junior Balcony Suite. Bathrooms in most suite and cabin categories are modular with a triangular shower compartment, toilet and sink. Standard SBJ Junior Balcony Suite balconies have two chairs and a small table. The two farthest aft SBJ Junior Balcony Suites on Apollo Deck have slightly larger balconies than the rest. Bathrobes are provided to guests in all suite and junior suite categories. In suites and junior suites, Olivia brand shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and soap are provided. All other staterooms on the Celestyal Crystal are stocked with shampoo, shower gel and soap dispensers. Forty Category XF Outside Staterooms are located on Deck 7 and measure 161 square feet. They feature picture windows, twin beds, a sofa bed, flat-screen television, refrigerator, phone, individually controlled air conditioning, a writing desk and plenty of storage space. Fifty-three Category XC Outside Staterooms measure 118 square feet, have four berths in addition to a sofa bed and feature large picture windows. Forty-two Category XBD Outside Staterooms have obstructed views, measure 108 square feet and feature two lower beds and a third or fourth upper berth. This is a wheelchair-accessible Category XB Outside Stateroom with a different bed configuration to provide extra floor space. Wheelchair-accessible staterooms have wider doors and modified bathrooms. Inside Staterooms measure 108 square feet and feature two lower beds. Some have upper berths and accommodate up to four guests. Celestyal Cruises currently operates three ships in Aegean and Cuban Cruise service. Its logo is inspired by the windmills on the Greek island of Mykonos and the Phaestos Disc of ancient Crete.