Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 322 out of 500
Accommodation: 133 out of 200
Food: 230 out of 400
Service: 246 out of 400
Entertainment: 65 out of 100
Cruise: 243 out of 400
Overall Score: 1239 out of 2000
Louis Cristal Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Louis Cruises
Former Names: Silja Opera, SuperStar Taurus, Leeward, Sally Albatross, Viking Saga
IMO Number: 7827213
Builder: Wartsila (Finland)
Original Cost: n/a
Entered Service: 1980/Jul 2007
Length (ft/m): 530.5/161.7
Beam (ft/m): 100.0/30.5
Draft (ft/m): 20.1/6.1
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (19,120kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 7
Total Crew: 400
Passengers (lower beds): 966
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 26.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.4
Cabins (total): 483
Size Range (sq ft/m): 107.6-462.8/10.0-43.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 10
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: None
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1 (indoors)
Hot Tubs (on deck): 0
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes
Onboard currency: Euros
A casual ship and friendly crew for port-intensive cruises
Overview. This ship will appeal to first-time passengers who simply want to cruise the Greek Islands in a modicum of comfort, and at a bargain price. The dress code is casual throughout, with no formal nights. The ship is due to be refitted/refurbished.
The Ship. Louis Cristal has undergone a number of changes, modifications, and mishaps during its busy life. Originally built as a Viking Line passenger ferry, it was extensively reconstructed in 1995 to the tune of $60 million, after which it operated under charter to Norwegian Cruise Line as Leeward.
The ship has a smart wedge-shaped profile with a squared-off stern and short, stubby bows, and the enclosed bridge looks like it’s really one deck lower than it should be. But Louis Cristal does benefit from a good, walk-around teak promenade deck. The pool deck is very cramped, although the pool itself can be covered by a sliding glass dome. There is no forward-facing observation lounge atop the ship, but there is a reasonable array of public rooms, lounges, bars, and meeting places. Note that gratuities are not included in the fare.
Accommodation. There are three suite categories (Grand, Imperial, and Royal, plus an interior ‘suite’), and a mix of several outside-view cabins (some of which have balconies) and interior cabins in 19 price grades.
The top-grade suites have neatly-angled private balconies and provide a decent amount of space for short cruises; the bathrooms have a tub, separate shower, and good storage facilities for toiletries. Most of the standard cabins are really quite small. The bathrooms really are dimensionally challenged - dancing with the shower curtain comes to mind. Also, note that some cabins have views obstructed by safety equipment.
Dining. There are two principal dining rooms, plus a number of other dining spots and casual eateries. There are two seatings for dinner on most nights (typically an open seating for the first night), and open seating for breakfast and lunch. Your seating and table assignments for dinner are made by the maître d’ during embarkation.
The cuisine is predominantly Continental, with some Greek specialties. All tables are laid with crisp white linen. Spa and vegetarian dishes are available on lunch and dinner menus. Louis Cruises makes all its own breads, soups, pâtés, jams, pizzas, and beef burgers on board from scratch.
Entertainment. The show lounge has tiered seating and decent sight lines, but entertainment is a weak link in the overall cruise experience.
Spa/Fitness. Facilities include a beauty salon, fitness room, and sauna. Massages, aromatherapy facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments are available.