Crystal Symphony exterior

(8:29 a.m. EDT) -- Crystal Cruises is offering shortened versions of many of its remaining 2017 river and ocean cruises, including those in the British Isles, the Seychelles, the United Arab Emirates and Europe's Christmas Markets.

Billed as Crystal Getaways, the sailings range from four to nine nights. Essentially longer itineraries broken up into shorter segments, the cruises are designed to draw passengers who might have less vacation time (or money for a longer sailing). In the industry, the move is often used to juice up interest in cruises that might not be selling out or attract new passengers within a certain region, like Europe or the Middle East.

"Luxury travelers continue to seek unparalleled service, amenities and experiences when they explore the world, even with limited time," Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez said in a press release. "Crystal Getaways allow travelers to enjoy a standard of luxury, excellence and unforgettable adventures, without stressing their calendars -- while also realizing tremendous savings on the all-inclusive Crystal Experience."

Breaking long itineraries into shorter sailings  is somewhat controversial among Cruise Critic members on the Crystal Cruises forum. "This may be great for hose who can only take a shorter time to travel. But if you are booked on a longer segment which suddenly gets split into shorter ones, it completely changes the feel of the cruise," said wripro. "You are dealing with new people, turnaround days, possible extra crew changes, etc. Not my cup of tea."

Others noted that shorter "taster" cruises is what turned them into Crystal fans. "I will confess our first cruise was a "half/A" cruise on Crystal Symphony. We were Crystalized and haven't stopped since," said Bodogbodog. "So the strategy does have some merit in terms of giving guests the chance to try Crystal.  The numbers doing the short cruise were relatively small and I don't think we disrupted the flow of the cruise. I do know that when the time came for us to disembark we were already booked on our next cruise."

The 2017 Crystal Getaways are as follows:

Crystal Cruises

  • August 13, Honfleur to Liverpool, 5 days, Crystal Symphony
  • August 18, Liverpool to London/Dover, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
  • August 25, London/Dover to Bordeaux, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
  • August 31, Bordeaux to Lisbon, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
  • November 22, Dubai to Abu Dhabi, 4 days, Crystal Symphony
  • November 26, Abu Dhabi to Port Louis, 13 days, Crystal Symphony
  • December 1, Mahé/Victoria to Port Louis, 8 days, Crystal Symphony
  • December 6, Fort Lauderdale to Barbados/Bridgetown, 8 days, Crystal Serenity
  • December 9, Port Louis to Maputo, 7 days, Crystal Symphony
  • December 14, Barbados/Bridgetown to Charleston, 6 days, Crystal Serenity
  • December 16, Maputo to Cape Town, 6 days, Crystal Symphony

Crystal River Cruises

  • November 17, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
  • November 24, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
  • December 3, Budapest to Nuremberg, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
  • December 12, Nuremberg to Amsterdam, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
  • December 19, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
  • December 26, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor