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ak1004

Shorter Itineraries and their impact on cruise experience

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Hello all,

 

Thank you everyone on this board for providing a very valuable information and help to new Crystal cruisers.

 

I read on numerous occasions how short cruises are different from longer ones, and I wanted to get some explanation from veteran Crystal cruisers.

 

We have completed recently our first Crystal cruise from Caldera to San Diego. It was a 10 nights cruise, but it could be done as part of a 21 nights cruise from Miami to San Diego. We met  people who started in both Miami and Caldera (I cannot say the percentage). The cruise could also be broke into two 5 nights segments.

 

Our next Crystal cruise is from Barcelona to Lisbon. This is a 7 nights cruise, but it can be also part of 42 nights from Dubai to London, or 26 nights from Rome to London etc. Some people might take the 7 nights segment from Rome to Barcelona etc. etc.

 

It is my understanding that many (if not most) longer Crystal cruises can be broken into smaller segments of 7-10 nights. 

 

So my question is: when people say that short Crystal cruises provide a different experience from the longer cruises, what exactly does it mean? If someone takes a 21 nights cruise that can be broke into three 7 nights segments, will his experience be different from a 21 nights cruise that cannot be broken into smaller segments? How different? And if most Crystal longer cruises can be broken into smaller segments anyway, then it doesn't really matter anymore? Or does it? 

 

Someone mentioned that "There is a quality cost in dividing longer cruises into shorter ones" - what does it mean?

 

I hope I was clear, and would appreciate any feedback.

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JMO

 I think if you are on a 14 day + cruise  that has no other segments  the vibe is totally different  than 2 seven day cruises

 This is not just on Crystal

We did  the 8day cruise  with the 2nd 8 day   the vibe was different on each segment

In the spring we did  14 day TA on O  ..no segments  same people for 14 days    it was more friendly  as you meet the same people for the whole cruise

But  that is just my opinion and experience

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I've never done a cruise longer than 11 days on Crystal, and I've never done a Crystal cruise that was subsequently broken into a segment shorter than what I took.  I have, however, been on a 7 day segment of a cruise that was also sold as a longer cruise.  In my experience, it made no difference to me if our 7 day cruise was part of a much longer sailing.  I have no idea how it "feel" to be on a longer cruise with people getting on/off every 5-7 days.  I've read that some people (most likely a minority, I certain hope) who feel the comings/goings of people every 5-7 days during their longer cruise is disruptive in some way or another.  I don't understand that sentiment.  I am just using my imagination here, since I've never been on a cruise longer than 14 days, but if I were fortunate to be on a much longer cruise on Crystal with people coming/going during my stay on the ship, I would feel thankful for the opportunity to meet even more people than just the shipful I began the cruise with.  Happy Holidays!

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We usually book longer cruises - 12 to 15 days but we have been on several shorter cruises on Crystal.  Probably five have been BTB.  I am not sure, with you only booking a seven day cruise, how you would notice any difference.  More likely, if you were on a BTB, you might notice some changes in tempo and service with the turnover particularly on the day new passengers board while others depart but not with the passengers who are transparent in the turnover process.  Certainly you may see different faces but with nearly a thousand PAX, you will not know many regardless.  As for a different "vibe", any change is more likely to itinerary, number of sea days, enrichment offerings, weather, etc.

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I don't have to worry about jobs and time off from work any more, and I enjoy longer cruises.  In my limited experience, one difference between one long segment vs two short segments b2b for the same number of days is repetition of the Waterside menus and the evening entertainment.  For a longer segment, Crystal digs a little deeper into their offerings to continue finding new menus, and not repeating the same production shows.  I will be putting this theory to the test in April/May.  I booked 4 b2b segments.  Since I originally booked them, they have been reconfigured as additional offerings both longer and shorter.  I am hoping that from the repetition standpoint, Crystal will consider treat them as their longest offerings and provide more variety.  Time will tell, as Keith likes to say.

 

Because many/most of the passengers will have booked the original offering, my guess would be that a cruise initially offered as 14 days and later subdivided into two 7 day "getaways" would have less repetition than one offered initially as two 7 day segments.

 

Another thing that affects the shorter cruises is trying to give everyone a reservation in each of the specialty restaurants.  This is much easier on cruises longer than a week, so if you are on a short segment it is even more important to make your reservations for Prego and Umi Uma online in advance.  If you wait until you board, you probably won't get your choice of day and time.  If you wait until half way through your cruise, it may be too late altogether.

 

For me, I just like knowing I have plenty of time to enjoy the trip.  On a longer cruise it is easier for me to relax and savor the time, not feeling that I have to make every minute count.  This affects my own experience, independent of the repetition of menus, shows, and the coming and going of other passengers.

 

Karen

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We normally do 2-3 BtoB and what we have noticed on shorter segments is that the bars are busier on the shorter segments, especially late in the Avenue.

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ak1004. the vast majority of the voyages cannot and are not broken into shorter segments.  Sometimes they are to fill rooms if the cruises are not selling well but these are the exceptions not the norm.

 

There are some cruises that are short cruises that are rolled out precisely as short cruises.

 

For example in 2019 there were some six day cruises along with some seven day cruises.

 

When I first started sailing Crystal this was the exception with maybe one or possibly two seven day cruises offered annually.

 

I wil have to say I might have tried Crystal sooner if they did have more seven day cruises because for many years even though  I had the vacation time it was not possible for me to get away from work to take a 12 day or longer cruise which was typical of what Crystal offered.

 

Shorter cruises that are sold that way from the get go can be very busy cruises.   This means to give everyone the opportunity to visit the specialty restaurants they have to load them with a higher number of people dining than you will find on a longer cruise. This means that the waitstaff has less time to spend with the guests and it can be a louder than on a longer cruise.  Also the crew has less time to get to know the guests.  And if you want to go back a second time to the same restaurant it might not be possible.


While I prefer longer cruise I have taken shorter cruise often combined with longer cruises and still enjoy them and believe it or not one time we took a five day cruise that was a stand alone cruise for us and we have a lovely time.

 

If you want a slower paced cruise a longer cruise is ideal but for many who work or for those who want to spend less money or for those who want to give Crystal a try shorter cruises are ideal.

 

Keith

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3 hours ago, ak1004 said:

It is my understanding that many (if not most) longer Crystal cruises can be broken into smaller segments of 7-10 nights. 

 

Only itineraries that are not selling well are broken into shorter segments, and Crystal calls them "Getaways." Here is a list of those cruises, currently:

 

https://www.crystalcruises.com/special-offers/crystal-ocean-getaways

 

It would be an interesting proposition if we could just design our own getaway cruise, but I'm sure that would be incredibly difficult administratively. (I have, however, shortened cruises on my own simply by requesting an early debarkation ...  and, of course, paying full price.)

 

We've also done a seven day cruise on Crystal that was not a getaway, and did not notice any difference in quality.

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I've recently been on 2 seven day cruises. One was a 7 day Alaskan cruise and the other was the first part of a B2B with the first part being Barcelona to Lisbon.

 

The biggest difference between the 7 day cruises and the longer ones, is the majority, (yes I said majority) of the pax on the 7 day cruises were new to Crystal. On our Alaskan cruise, out of 800+ pax, only 110 were previous Crystal cruisers.

 

On our Barcelona cruise, on turnaround day in Lisbon, over 500 pax left the ship and those remaining were not new to Crystal.

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3 minutes ago, suzeluvscruz said:

We normally do 2-3 BtoB and what we have noticed on shorter segments is that the bars are busier on the shorter segments, especially late in the Avenue.

We noticed this too on the one and only 7 night cruise we did earlier this year (LA return). The Crystal Cove was packed out from about 3.00pm  onwards. I kinda liked it that the atmosphere was so upbeat but then again this was on the heels of a North Cape cruise where almost everyone was in bed by 9.00pm 🙂 

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17 minutes ago, ClefsDor said:

We noticed this too on the one and only 7 night cruise we did earlier this year (LA return). The Crystal Cove was packed out from about 3.00pm  onwards. I kinda liked it that the atmosphere was so upbeat but then again this was on the heels of a North Cape cruise where almost everyone was in bed by 9.00pm 🙂 

 

Just a quick add-on to Shirin’s post...this 7 day LA to LA cruise that we took last year in January was the cruise just before the World Cruise. As she mentions, we very much enjoyed that cruise and the vibe. We met a lot of regular Crystal cruisers from the West Coast who were on just for the 7 days + many who were on for either the World Cruise or the first portions of it. I think it is important to note that the per diem on that cruise was priced higher than the per diem that I am seeing on the recent 7 day Caribbean itineraries. It would appear that when there is a lower per diem, the vibe might change somewhat as you probably have people who would normally not spend more on a 7 day cruise taking advantage of the lower fares to try out Crystal for the first time.

 

Glen

Edited by Fly Fast Cruise Slow

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22 minutes ago, drib said:

 

Only itineraries that are not selling well are broken into shorter segments, and Crystal calls them "Getaways." Here is a list of those cruises, currently:

 

https://www.crystalcruises.com/special-offers/crystal-ocean-getaways

 

It would be an interesting proposition if we could just design our own getaway cruise, but I'm sure that would be incredibly difficult administratively. (I have, however, shortened cruises on my own simply by requesting an early debarkation ...  and, of course, paying full price.)

 

We've also done a seven day cruise on Crystal that was not a getaway, and did not notice any difference in quality.

 

How about the example I provided (42 nights from Dubai to London)? I'm sure I can find more where 21 nights are broken into 10 and 11 nights.

 

25 minutes ago, AtA said:

I've recently been on 2 seven day cruises. One was a 7 day Alaskan cruise and the other was the first part of a B2B with the first part being Barcelona to Lisbon.

 

The biggest difference between the 7 day cruises and the longer ones, is the majority, (yes I said majority) of the pax on the 7 day cruises were new to Crystal. On our Alaskan cruise, out of 800+ pax, only 110 were previous Crystal cruisers.

 

On our Barcelona cruise, on turnaround day in Lisbon, over 500 pax left the ship and those remaining were not new to Crystal.

 

How does it change the cruise vibe?

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We have done short cruises on Crystal, longer cruises that have been split into segments and longer cruises that have not been split. The ones that were noticeably different were the specifically short ones - where the vast majority of the passengers were on for the short duration with that short timescale to pack in the whole vacation experience (the 'busy cruise' as Keith quite rightly describes it)

For me this issue draws attention to the difference between staying in a land based hotel / resort vs a cruise. They are totally different. And the reason is connected to the impact a mass / group of people have when engaged in a shared experience. You especially get that on a longer cruise - 'we're all in this together'. Both guests and crew are more engaged, more invested in making the trip memorable / fun / sociable / enriching. On a land based vacation the guests are a transient population coming and going for various durations and various arrival and departure days. Relationships / interactions between guests and staff have less opportunity to develop. Furthermore a ship has an identity (a soul??) that a building does not have - or at least not in the same way.

So, yes, you might feel a difference on a short cruise or a longer cruise where the changeover of passengers between segments is considerable. Note the word 'might'. You might not - it will depend on you, your attitude, any group members you are with (if just a couple you're more prone - I think) and just how it works out.

Sorry - it's just not black & white. We humans are a funny lot. Especially when we go to sea! (But how much better it is to be at sea than being on land imagining we are back at sea.....😕)

A

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38 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

How about the example I provided (42 nights from Dubai to London)? I'm sure I can find more where 21 nights are broken into 10 and 11 nights.

 

That one is the opposite of a getaway, where Crystal makes a longer cruise from its segments with back-to-back pricing.

 

If you are writing about a Symphony cruise embarking Dubai, May 8, 2020 - note that there is a similar itinerary on Serenity in 2021 - the original itineraries for that one are:

 

  • Dubai to Rome (16 nights),
  • Rome to Barcelona (7 nights),
  • Barcelona to Lisbon (7 nights), and
  • Lisbon to London (12 nights)

Those all came online in May 2018. I track these things, so I have a lot of data on that, which I just checked to verify the above. The getaways from that only came online recently. The back-to-backs could have come online in May 2018 also, but I generally don't track those.

Edited by drib

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20 minutes ago, Noggins said:

You especially get that on a longer cruise - 'we're all in this together'. Both guests and crew are more engaged, more invested in making the trip memorable / fun / sociable / enriching. On a land based vacation the guests are a transient population coming and going for various durations and various arrival and departure days. Relationships / interactions between guests and staff have less opportunity to develop. Furthermore a ship has an identity (a soul??) that a building does not have - or at least not in the same way.

 

Very well said and it couldn’t be more true. 

 

We recently took our first land based holiday recently as we have been exclusively cruising since we discovered it back in 2016. We stayed at a resort in Hawaii for 10 days, which we have been to many times before. As we were quite tired from a busy year, my routine was basically a lot of lazing around the pool. I tried daily to interact with the pool attendant, but there was not a lot of interest (I did tip!). Finally on the 9th day he said, “you’ve been here a while haven’t you?” And engaged in further conversation. It was too late. I immediately thought of the boys on the Lido Deck who either remember you from the last cruise or learn your name and preferences in your first interaction.

 

We do love the “all in this together”  feeling of cruising and the camaraderie that come with it on longer cruises. Agree that this is somewhat diminished, not entirely though, on shorter ones.

 

Glen

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17 minutes ago, drib said:

 

That one is the opposite of a getaway, where Crystal makes a longer cruise from its segments with back-to-back pricing.


You stole my post 😁

I should add that Drib will kindly on request add Combos to Fare Compare (no tipping required or expected) to allow you to track them - well he was so kind as to do that for me for a couple of combo cruises we’ve booked

 

One word of warning on these Combo Explorer cruises - my advice is to always check the pricing of the combo versus the sum of the parts - for the Dubai to Dover cruise next May/June it was cheaper to carve off the Dubai to Rome segment and book that separately from Rome to Dover combo. That’s become even more strategic now they are discounting the Dubai to Rome cruise so heavily - the price drops being available to those on the segment but not to those on the combo!

 

Why? I have no idea but it proved to me that combo fares are not always a bargain. On that same set of combos we got Rome to Dover for pretty much the same price as the 7 day shorter Barcelona to Dover combo

 

It was certainly worth spending a few minutes looking at the options for us and some friends to get the best deal 

 

 

Edited by Stickman1990

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55 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

 

How about the example I provided (42 nights from Dubai to London)? I'm sure I can find more where 21 nights are broken into 10 and 11 nights.

 

 

How does it change the cruise vibe?

Definitely the bars, restaurants, and shows were more packed. However there seemed to also be a bit more drinking. Not the falling down getting drunk kind, but more of the slightly louder and more rambunctious kind.

 

Additionally there wasn't the ability to get to know other pax the way you can on a longer cruise. Now granted on our Alaskan cruise we were with family, but on our Barcelona/Lisbon cruise, the one couple we became friends with turned out to be doing the longer crossing segment too.

 

The other difference is most of the 7 day cruises tend to be more port heavy so not as much opportunity to just enjoy the ship.

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1 hour ago, AtA said:

I've recently been on 2 seven day cruises. One was a 7 day Alaskan cruise and the other was the first part of a B2B with the first part being Barcelona to Lisbon.

 

The biggest difference between the 7 day cruises and the longer ones, is the majority, (yes I said majority) of the pax on the 7 day cruises were new to Crystal. On our Alaskan cruise, out of 800+ pax, only 110 were previous Crystal cruisers.

 

On our Barcelona cruise, on turnaround day in Lisbon, over 500 pax left the ship and those remaining were not new to Crystal.

 

We noticed this also when we did some BtoB 7 day cruises shortly after all inclusive was introduced. Most were first timers on Crystal and were, to a person, constantly comparing to Regent and Silver Sea and Seabourn, giving the others the leg up and drinking more heavily than we had seen on Crystal up to that point. 

1 hour ago, AtA said:

 

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23 minutes ago, AtA said:

The other difference is most of the 7 day cruises tend to be more port heavy so not as much opportunity to just enjoy the ship.

 

Agreed. We very much enjoy the transatlantic or transpacific repositioning voyages. Lots of uninterrupted sea days and the opportunity to enjoy the ship without those pesky ports interrupting the continuity of the sea. (We have treated some port days as in-port-sea-days; however, onboard activities are generally limited when compared to full at sea days onboard.)

 

Rob

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My one experience with a 7 day cruise (14 days  -- 2 7-day back to back) (not on Crystal) led me to say "never again."

It was interesting in that the vibe on each leg was totally different.  The crowd was generally younger ( people who still work and have limited vacation time), there is more of a party atmosphere (bars more crowded, more late night activity) and perhaps some of the passengers were a bit less affluent (I did not check their bank accounts) and less well travelled but logic dictates that it is easier to afford a 7 day cruise on any line than a long voyage.  

 

We prefer longer cruises -- at least 18 days.  21 days is perfect.  We can handle 35 with a great itinerary.  We have booked a 47 night cruise on Crystal and I hope I can handle all that good stuff for such a long time.

 

I have friends who have had similar experiences to ours with 7 day cruises and they tend to avoid them.

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2 hours ago, AtA said:

Definitely the bars, restaurants, and shows were more packed. However there seemed to also be a bit more drinking. Not the falling down getting drunk kind, but more of the slightly louder and more rambunctious kind.

 

There's more of a "gotta get my money's worth" approach at the bars, IMO.  Party short, intense and hearty.

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5 hours ago, drib said:

 

That one is the opposite of a getaway, where Crystal makes a longer cruise from its segments with back-to-back pricing.

 

If you are writing about a Symphony cruise embarking Dubai, May 8, 2020 - note that there is a similar itinerary on Serenity in 2021 - the original itineraries for that one are:

 

  • Dubai to Rome (16 nights),
  • Rome to Barcelona (7 nights),
  • Barcelona to Lisbon (7 nights), and
  • Lisbon to London (12 nights)

Those all came online in May 2018. I track these things, so I have a lot of data on that, which I just checked to verify the above. The getaways from that only came online recently. The back-to-backs could have come online in May 2018 also, but I generally don't track those.

 

I understand, but it doesn't really matter if long cruise was created by combining few short cruises, or long cruise was broke into few short cruises - the final result is the same.

 

So you want to sail on Symphony for example in May/June/July 2020, any combination that you take, will include smaller segments, all the way from Dubai to London. If you embark in London on June 19 for a long cruise, that cruise also has few shorter segments. 

 

3 hours ago, bitob said:

My one experience with a 7 day cruise (14 days  -- 2 7-day back to back) (not on Crystal) led me to say "never again."

It was interesting in that the vibe on each leg was totally different.  The crowd was generally younger ( people who still work and have limited vacation time), there is more of a party atmosphere (bars more crowded, more late night activity) and perhaps some of the passengers were a bit less affluent (I did not check their bank accounts) and less well travelled but logic dictates that it is easier to afford a 7 day cruise on any line than a long voyage.  

 

We prefer longer cruises -- at least 18 days.  21 days is perfect.  We can handle 35 with a great itinerary.  We have booked a 47 night cruise on Crystal and I hope I can handle all that good stuff for such a long time.

 

I have friends who have had similar experiences to ours with 7 day cruises and they tend to avoid them.

 

Doesn't it eliminate a lot of options? I can see that many (if not most) of longer cruises can still broken into few shorter segments, so no matter what cruise yo take, there always be some people who take one short segment only.

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18 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

I understand, but it doesn't really matter if long cruise was created by combining few short cruises, or long cruise was broke into few short cruises - the final result is the same.

 

The distance between two points is the same, but the cost to travel between those points could be very different. Enjoy your itinerary, however you got to it ... but know that The Stickman gave you some good advice above.
 
======
 
A general remark about seven day itineraries that are not getaways, I'm sure that these are designed to reach out to people that just can't get away from work for more than a week. So it's smart for them to have some itineraries like that in their schedule.

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3 minutes ago, drib said:

 

The distance between two points is the same, but the cost to travel between those points could be very different. Enjoy your itinerary, however you got to it ... but know that The Stickman gave you some good advice above.
 
======
 
A general remark about seven day itineraries that are not getaways, I'm sure that these are designed to reach out to people that just can't get away from work for more than a week. So it's smart for them to have some itineraries like that in their schedule.

 

I think you missed my point.

 

I completely understand the need to compare costs, but my original question and following remarks were not about the cost. My point was that many longer itineraries still have few smaller segments, and according to many poster, shorter itineraries have a different "vibe". But then the different "vibe" will inevitably impact longer itineraries guests too as they are sharing the ship with those shorter itineraries guests.

 

As for your remark about people that just can't get away from work for more than a week - I agree, but it's also for people like us who like to combine cruise with land programs. We usually like to take 12-14 nights vacations, so in our case, we take a 7 night cruise and combine it with 3 nights pre cruise in Barcelona and 2 nights post cruise in Lisbon. 

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2 minutes ago, ak1004 said:

I think you missed my point.

 

No, I didn't. Like the Toronto Maple Leafs, your posts are all over the ice.

 

I'm not on this thread to convince anyone of anything. My first post was to correct what you said regarding smaller segments ... "that many (if not most) longer Crystal cruises can be broken into smaller segments of 7-10 nights". My second post was to correct your misunderstanding of the difference between getaways and back-to-backs, which I think The Stickman correctly called Combo or Explorer cruises. My penultimate post was a gentle warning because you quoted me and how you got from my original post to there was a total non sequitur. And this is my last post on the subject because sometimes less is more.  

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