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6 of the best luxury mini cruises in 2024 and 2025

Cruise Advice

In the world of luxury cruising, it's unusual to see itineraries shorter than seven nights, but there are several out there if you want to dip your toe into the world of cruising, or are simply looking for a shorter break. Here are six of the best luxury mini cruises in 2024 and 2025.

Mainstream brands do cater to those looking for a short break, usually from the UK, but the ultra-luxury lines tend to avoid the not so luxurious world of frequent turnaround days, recognising that the level of intuitive service they provide needs time to mature to perfection.

There are, however, some quirks of itinerary planning, which can leave a shorter sailing open for sale, giving a rare opportunity to dip your toe in the water and travel with a particular brand for the first time, or even test whether cruising is for you, before committing to a longer, more substantial voyage.

6 of the best luxury mini cruises in 2024 and 2025

1. Riverside Luxury Cruises

The popularity of river cruising has increased dramatically over the last few years and if you're curious about what all the fuss is about, then river cruise newcomer Riverside Luxury Cruises offers a wide selection of 3, 4 and 5 night voyages to tempt you.

Perhaps take in the delights of the South of France with a 5-night voyage in July 2024 on board Riverside Ravel or extend an autumnal city break with a 3-night Captivating Danube Capitals voyage in September 2024 aboard Riverside Mozart. If you're already thinking ahead to the festive season, a short river cruise is the perfect way to see some of Europe's traditional Christmas markets, too!

Riverside Mozart on the Danube

2. Crystal

2023 brought the return of Crystal, under new ownership and with both beloved ocean ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, emerging from extensive refurbishment with a new lease of life.

If you're keen to try the new Crystal then perhaps consider one of their 5-night voyages in the Mediterranean: Crystal Symphony sails from Rhodes to Athens in April 2024 or Rome to Monte Carlo in July 2025 which offer great value and can easily be worked into a larger itinerary.

Crystal Serenity - Bistro

3. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Why not sample what is referred to in the industry as the world's best cruise ship, MS Europa 2, with this short voyage from Hamburg to Kiel in July 2024?

Availability is very limited but it presents a great way to try some of the facilities on board, including the numerous restaurants and expansive spa, plus you can enjoy a daylight transit of the Kiel Canal and a day in historic Copenhagen to take in the sights.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises - MS Europa 2

4. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

The launch of the long awaited, and much anticipated, 298-guest Evrima marked Ritz-Carlton's entrance into the luxury cruise arena in 2022, and their second yacht, Ilma, launches this year.

Operating predominantly in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, there is a small selection of five-night voyages which offer a great way to sample this new cruise line and an excellent opportunity for a combined cruise and stay. This Greek Isles voyage in September 2024 offers a port-intensive island hopping journey aboard Evrima, and if you'd like to try out new yacht Ilma, take a trip to the Bahamas on this 5-night Caribbean escape in April 2025.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Club - Evrima

5. Ponant

Ponant have a couple of five-night voyages on board the groundbreaking Le Commandant Charcot this year, repositioning from Reykjavik to Tromso in October and from Bergen to Helsinki in November.

These ocean voyages are a rare opportunity to test out this extraordinary vessel before committing to one of the remarkable expeditions it operates in the Polar regions. Plus, you can tag on a land-based trip in one of these iconic cities of Northern Europe.

Ponant - Le Commandant Charcot

6. Hebridean Island Cruises

Finally, the ever popular Hebridean Princess does, on occasion, offer shorter four-night sailings around Scotland's wild and beautiful Western Isles for a maximum of 48 guests. Usually at the start and end of the regular season, these March and November departures fill up quickly but are great for enhancing a land-based itinerary, and in 2024 they are also offering an additional two 4-night sampler voyages in August.

Their second ship, the 38-guest Lord of the Highlands, offers a couple of 5-night cruises in 2024 highlighting the Inner Isles, and a 6-night voyage at the beginning and end of the season, transitting the Caledonian Canal.

Hebridean Princess - Conservatory
Meet the author

Alex is Director of Sales & Marketing at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 10 years and in travel for over 18 years. Most recently he's cruised on Regent Seven Seas and has also sailed with Seabourn, Crystal, SeaDream, Tauck and Ponant. His favourite destination is South America however he's also enjoyed cruises in the Western Mediterranean, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, India, Myanmar, South East Asia and Antarctica. When he’s not travelling he loves walking holidays; a favourite included a trek to Everest Base Camp.

More about Alex

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