PHOTO: Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony in Ensenada, Mexico. (photo by Jason Leppert)
Let’s start with Crystal, who recently announced that its Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Cruises ocean brands would begin offering shorter Crystal Getaways.
Sailings will be available for as few as four days to accommodate those with limitations.
“Luxury travelers continue to seek unparalleled service, amenities and experiences when they explore the world, even with limited time,” said Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez, 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.”
The company is making select segments of its longer voyages ready to book to attract guests with time and budget restrictions. Crystal Getaways last anywhere from four to 13 days aboard the Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Mahler. With fares that begin at only $940 per person, they are indeed quite reasonably priced.
The question is whether or not such an approach might become more widespread.
This is not the first time such a route has been taken, but it’s interesting to see it pop up again. More often than not, the sweet spot for a cruise duration remains seven days. Of course, this makes sense when you take into account the two week or so average that Americans get for annual vacation time.
If you divide that down the middle for a pair of vacations, one can easily be allocated to a weeklong cruise.
The ones shorter than seven days become more pertinent in regards to higher price point luxury cruise lines like Crystal. For those already used to paying such all-inclusive rates, the time component is more likely the appeal of taking a shorter cruise.
But for the rest of the market, the discounted price becomes an opportunity to potentially try a line that was previously too expensive.
One of the great things about Crystal Cruises over the years is that its ocean ships have not been all-suite vessels. Entry-level accommodations more akin in size to standard cabins on other ships have also been featured that have allowed passage and access to the otherwise all-inclusive experience at a lesser cost. Upcoming ship enhancements are replacing a number of these smaller cabins with larger ones, however.
In those cases, a four-day cruise priced lower than a seven-day one might attract someone who has never before sailed on Crystal to give it a shot, and that’s why this marketing technique is wise. It’s a means of broadening the reach of the luxury market with sampler sailings, and it’s one that other lines could adopt as well.
As long as Crystal Cruises doesn’t get rid of its entry-level accommodations entirely, it can always go back to its regular pricing and voyage duration structure without abandoning the ability for the budget-conscious to still buy in. The remaining all-suite ship lines, though, don’t really have that option to appeal to those with thinner wallets.
READ MORE: What Defines ‘Luxury’ In Luxury Cruising?
They should then consider segmenting their longer itineraries to potentially lure in new clientele, coveted millennials included. Whether or not such guests could ever later afford a longer cruise is debatable, but there may be those who simply need a small push in the right direction to make them lifelong loyalists of a luxury brand.
Crystal is smart to be thinking about it now as is Silversea Cruises with some sailings as short as three days, but Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas Cruises do not currently have any under a week.
That may change in time, however.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.