CELESTIAL CRUISES is to extend its successful cruise programme in Turkey for a further two years with itineraries embarking from Istanbul, Izmir and Kusadasi. A new ship, the Celestyal Nefeli (ex Gemini) will replace the Celestyal Odyssey. The name ‘Nefeli’, which comes from Greek mythology, was a goddess of hospitality and a nymph of the clouds.

The Celestyal Nefeli (ex Gemini) is due to be delivered to Celestyal in February and refurbished prior to the commencement of the 2016 cruise season. Of her 400 cabins (277 outside and 123 inside), 12 are executive suites and 31 are junior suites. Most of the executive suites have private balconies, and the junior suites have extra storage space. The Celestyal Nefeli is the perfect size for docking in the smaller, unique harbours throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, just like her fleet mates, the Celestyal Crystal and the Celestyal Olympia.

Celestyal Cruises 2The focus on smaller ports is part of the strategy to open new destinations in Eastern Mediterranean cruising. Since 2014, Celestyal has added 15 new destinations, including Milos, Ios, Kos, Samos, Symi, Chios, Cesme and Syros. These gems are only accessible to small and mid-sized vessels that comprise Celestyal’s fleet. An added benefit of the smaller ships is warm and personalised service. All of Celestyal Cruises’ source markets have responded to these new destinations with enthusiasm.

Due to popular demand, Celestyal Cruises will also increase the number of themed events on its cruises in 2016, so as to provide even more passengers with the best of Greek culture, gastronomy, history and wine. These themed events have become core to the real Greek experience that Celestyal offers its cruisers, whether it is a cooking demonstration with a local chef, performances from leading Greek musicians and dancers, or a talk from an archaeologist.

Celestyal Cruises 4You can choose from quick breaks that allow you to see the best of Greece and Turkey in one three-day weekend, through to 10-day themed cruises that get under the skin of the destination.

Greece and Turkey are famed for their good value, and Celestyal Cruises makes sure you get the best of both for the price of one trip. Over a three-day weekend the new Nefeli will take you to the whitewashed churches of Patmos, the peaceful sunsets of Santorini, the olive groves and hiking trails of Crete, and the beautiful beaches of Mykonos. Starting and finishing at Kusadasi in Turkey, this cruise can be combined with a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus, as well as giving you half a day to explore the historical sites in Athens. Prices start from £215 for departures in 2016, and the cruise includes full board, accommodation and entertainment. Cruises start on 12 March and run through to October.

Celestyal Cruises 3See the best of the Greek islands on a 7-day idyllic cruise on the Celestyal Crystal. Famous highlights like the volcanic drama of Santorini’s coastline, photogenic Mykonos with its windmills and ‘floating’ Alefkhandra neighbourhood, and the beaches of Ios and Kos are combined with lesser-known gems. Discover Milos, home to ancient catacombs and stunning beaches. Explore the thick forests, wetlands and spectacular waterfalls of Samos, and get a taste for Greek specialities like halva pie, loukoumi and local cheeses.  On board, guests can immerse themselves in Greek culture through the Greek food, wine, music and themed events. You also get two tastes of Turkey with stops in Istanbul and the former fishing port of Kusadasi. Cruises run in July and August 2016 and prices start at £597 per person. The cruise includes full board, accommodation and entertainment.

For further information, or to book, visit www.celestyalcruises.com or call +30 210 4583400.