Crystal Serenity off the Greek island of Mykonos, one of the port calls on… (Crystal Cruises )
Crystal Cruises, consistently rated among the world’s top luxury lines, upped its game this year by making its voyages “all-inclusive,” with wine and bar service, gratuities for dining and housekeeping staff and more included in fares. Such pampering does not come cheaply. Even with sale pricing, 12-day voyages often start near $4,000 per person. But by choosing shorter trips, you can cut your outlay by half or more.
The deal: “Crystal Getaways” are voyages of five to eight days that start as low as $1,310 per person, double occupancy, plus port charges and other fees, for the cruise only; airfare is extra. The varied itineraries include popular ports in the Mediterranean region.
When: Nine departures are available through Dec. 1. You must book by Aug. 31.
Tested: I began my search on Crystal Cruises’ homepage, www.crystalcruises.com. I clicked on “Special Offers” at the bottom, then selected “Crystal Getaways.” I chose a six-day Athens-to-Istanbul voyage on the Crystal Serenity that departs Oct. 30. I liked the diverse itinerary, which offered daylong port calls in ancient and beautiful places: the city of Nafplion and the island of Mykonos in Greece, plus Kusadasi in Turkey.
The cruise-only fares listed for this trip started at $1,575 per person, double occupancy, plus $255 in “cruise port, security and handling charges.” That price was for a Class C deluxe stateroom on Deck 7.
When I clicked on “Get a Quote” for that cruise, I was directed to a page that asked me to fill out a form with my contact details. In less than an hour, I received an email stating that “one of our Expert Travel Agencies … will contact you shortly.” I did not immediately hear from the agency. However, when I contacted Crystal spokeswoman Susan Wichmann, she confirmed that there was still room on the cruise in that fare category and that the total price was correct. She said that agents “should get back to you by no later than 24 hours, but usually sooner."
Contact: Crystal Cruises, (888) 722-0021. Or contact a travel agent.