My Boutique Greek Odyssey: Inside the 2022 Mini Cruise Trend


First you’re ordering a frozen margarita on the Mykonos waterfront… then you’re winding through an ancient city on the Turkish riviera. Glide across the waves again and you’re making friends with islanders, trying a timeless family recipe. Eat well – you’ll need your energy – tomorrow brings Medieval Rhodes and Byzantine Heraklion. And for the grand finale of your grand voyage, you watch the sun set over the Santorini caldera… then rise over the Athens acropolis. All this in just 4 days. You asked for a bolt from the blue… and you got it!


Welcome to the world of the boutique Greek Islands mini cruise

Since the return of cruising this year, eclectic travellers have been shaking things up with a new approach to summer vacations, annual leave, half-term breaks and all things holiday. Less is more among these action-oriented explorers, who increasingly see time off and time away as sacred.

Instead of the big trip every August, they’re choosing shorter escapes to spread out – through both the seasons and the financial year. Instead of returning to a favourite place or laying down roots somewhere new, they’re staying on the move and sampling more of what the world has on offer. Instead of just choosing to cruise, they’re choosing a boutique mini cruise. And the trend is set to continue in 2023. So what’s it all about?

What is a boutique mini cruise?

A mini cruise is exactly what it says on the tin. Usually sailing for between 3 and 5 days, you’ll visit the same destinations as a longer cruise – with either a shorter itinerary or faster pace. You still have time to bliss out on deck, relax, and linger with your favourite exotic sunset, but the draw for most travellers is to fill every moment with an exciting new memory.

A boutique mini cruise is an odyssey of magnificent moments. All the above, but curated as a cultural voyage that reflects each destination with striking authenticity. Locals run the operation, so guests tap into traditional hospitality, entertainment and stories that can’t be replicated. Ships are smaller and less crowded, able to visit more intimate ports of call. And the daily schedule is designed to balance choice and freedom with a cohesive cultural experience.

Who is a mini cruise for?

You – if the above sounds good already! Joining you will be an eclectic bunch of explorative travellers, often more varied than on a longer cruise because the reasons to go mini are many. Say hello or sit and people-watch as you meet:

Solo travellers checking off their bucket lists.

First-time cruisers sampling new experiences in a new part of the world.

Couples keeping it affordable and all-inclusive, while groups of friends reunite and splash out.

Small families turning a school break into a treasure trove of memories.

Large families reuniting for a special occasion with an extra special twist.

An odyssey of magnificent moments, stitched together seamlessly

When done right, 3 or 4 sunny days of excitement can be the most fulfilling, restorative and inspiring way to escape daily life and reconnect with yourself. But time flies when you’re having fun, so to avoid becoming a holiday that ends too soon, a worthwhile mini cruise needs the right balance of meaningful variety. Not enough is boring. Too much can make you feel rushed. It takes seamless, invisible organisation from a cruise line steeped in local knowledge. When they know how to stitch it all together just so, dreams come true. But…

On the other hand, with some mini cruises, particularly those in the Bahamas or Mexico, you lose a day at sea between destinations. Or you might have to sail on a megaship, which means extensive choices, queues and waiting times. These aren’t necessarily bad things on a longer cruise, when you have a week or two to play with – but it’s needless frustration if you choose a shorter escape. Every moment is precious, so every moment should be full of potential. Why waste time going when you can be doing?

Greek Islands cruises, whether short or long, never have this problem. You can get from Athens to Mykonos in 4 or 5 hours on a modern ship. Whereas our legendary heroes took months and years to complete their odysseys, you can meet just as many Wonders of the World and sample just as many treasures, tastes and traditions in only a handful of days and nights. You can’t beat Greece!


More power to you with a boutique Greek Islands mini cruise


Sample the highlights, unlock the hideaways

Hellenistic Ephesus, the Acropolis of Lindos, blue-domed churches shining in the Santorini sun. On a shorter cruise, you can still see all the monuments and marvels our part of the world is famous for. And because you’ll be taking a more boutique approach on a mid-sized ship, you can also go where most cruises can’t.

Best of all, by fitting more destinations into a shorter time, you can treat your holiday as a taste test. Explore a buffet of islands, cities and cultures, decide which ones you connect to most, then return to your favourites next time for a fuller feast. The way of a true pioneer!

Short escape or simply a chapter

You get a lot of flexibility with a mini cruise. If you’re short on time or budget and want a quick hit of perspective-refreshing paradise, 3 to 5 days is ideal. Unpack once, see a variety of unique destinations, and get all your meals and entertainment included in one low price. Everything’s organised for you, and you save a chunk of your holiday budget for going with the flow on shore.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, or would prefer a longer break, your boutique mini cruise could become the main event of a larger story. Begin with a prelude – a city break in Athens before you sail – or continue your adventures after your cruise by travelling inland. Save yourself some effort with a curated holiday package of cruise, hotels and transfers, or get creative and tailor your own.


Award-winning choices for 2023

If you’re thinking boutique Greek Island mini cruise, there’s an obvious choice. With over 60 awards in 7 years, Celestyal Cruises is the homegrown expert of the Aegean Sea.

Our Iconic Aegean Cruise – the one we walked you through at the start of this article – is available for 3 nights or 4 nights in 2023. Get on board with our odyssey of magnificent moments from only £279 – currently available with up to 40% off.

Award-winning experience & authenticity
Top Cruise Line For Solo Guests – The Solo Travel Awards
Editors’ Pick For Best Service – Cruise Critic
Platinum for Guest Experience – Tourism Awards
Award-winning local authenticity
Greatest Commitment To The East Med Region – MedCruise Awards
Contribution To The Local Economy – Treasures Of Greek Tourism

To join the boutique mini cruise revolution, sailing with the number one choice for travel to Greece and the Mediterranean, explore the Iconic Aegean.