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.
1. Explora Journeys
We are particularly interested in an opportunity with Explora Journeys, the exciting new entrant into the luxury cruise sector from the shipping colossus that is MSC. The first of their four ships is due to launch in May 2023, accommodating up to 922 guests in spacious all-balcony suites on a purpose-built vessel with an abundance of dining choices and facilities. The company is certainly aiming to attract those looking for the type of resort style ship that historically proved so successful for the sadly departed Crystal Cruises, and there is an ideal opportunity to test this out on 21st August 2023, on a three-night itinerary departing Hamburg for Rotterdam, Bruges and finishing in Southampton.
2. Windstar Cruises
If a more immediate getaway is appealing then why not join Windstar's Star Legend on 21st April 2022 for a 5-night voyage from Lisbon to Barcelona calling at Malaga, Cartagena and Palma de Mallorca. Still fresh from an extensive remodelling and refurbishment, the ship now has four superb dining options, more deck space, spacious and comfortable accommodation and all-inclusive fares available.
3. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Fashionistas might be tempted by the five-night sailing on board Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa 2, known within the industry as the world's best cruise ship. See designers showcasing their latest collections on a catwalk over the pool on a Hamburg round-trip sailing that combines couture, cuisine and a party atmosphere, departing 10th June 2022 and calling at Gothenburg and Copenhagen.
4. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
The launch of the long awaited, and much anticipated, 298-guest Evrima marks Ritz-Carlton's entrance into the luxury cruise arena. Having experienced several delays, the inaugural voyage is currently scheduled for August, and 7- to 13-night itineraries are available until November 2023. There is also a small selection of five-night cruises including the 17th November 2022 Barbados round-trip and the 28th February 2023 Fort Lauderdale round-trip, each offering an excellent opportunity for a combined cruise and stay.
Ponant have six-night voyages across their fleet including the groundbreaking Le Commandant Charcot on an upcoming repositioning cruise from Le Havre to Reykjavik. This ocean voyage, departing 24th April 2022, is a rare opportunity to test out this extraordinary vessel before committing to one of the remarkable expeditions it operates in the Arctic or Antarctica. Le Champlain, one of Ponant's sleek and stylish Explorer class vessels, leaves Rome for Athens on 16th October 2023 on a sailing focused on the Mediterranean's ancient civilisations.
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 50 guests. Usually at the start and end of the regular season, these March and November departures are full this year, but call us if you're interested in being the first to hear about dates in 2023.