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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.