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When time and money permit, kicking back on a cruise vacation for seven or more days can seem like a dream. There’s more time to visit distance ports, try dozens of onboard restaurants, participate in a sundry of activities…or do nothing at all the entire time.
A short cruise, at least for me, means I’m under no pressure to see, taste and do everything that’s available. A short cruise experience is more compact, or so it seems. Fewer restaurants to select, big production shows to sit through and certainly less ports. It’s easier to manage your time when there aren’t as many choices.
Here are my seven reasons why you should choose a short cruise.
- Fear of cruising. There’s almost no better way to find out if you are cut out for life on a cruise than a short jaunt out to sea. You know you want to go but for whatever reason, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, fear of mal de mer, dislike of crowds etc., you’ve back-burnered this vacation option. A three- or four-day cruise is the perfect tester. You’re never too far from an island or mainland port, you’ll see other ships nearby and many of the ships used for the shorter cruises are smaller with less passengers. Plus, you won’t be sailing way out in the middle of a vast ocean.
- Finding the time. Unless you’re retired, a vacation means time away from work. If you have a job that if you don’t work, you don’t earn any money, then it’s even more worrisome to take a full week or more off from work. Enter the weekend cruise. Book a three-night cruise that departs on a Friday and you’ll barely have to miss more than one full day of work. Same with a Thursday through Sunday cruise. Great options for a short getaway without the risk of losing income.
- Pre-cruise preparations just got easier. Whether you have kids or pets, finding someone to watch them for a long weekend is a lot easier than asking family or a sitter to spend an entire week with the wee ones. Same goes for pet sitting. It’s much less stressful on your pet and you to board your beloved animal at a kennel for three or four days rather than a full week or more. If your boarding place is open on Sundays for pickup or dropoff, even better.
- Packing. Short cruise = less to pack. Sure, you’ll need most of the same toiletries and (gasp!) makeup, but for clothes, you can get away with a small 22″ suitcase or a rolling duffle. You might even be able to carry on and carry off your own luggage, too. If you can carry off your own bags, then you can get home and back into routine even sooner (if you really want to).
- Easy access to departure port. With so many ports within a day’s drive or just a couple of hours from home, you don’t have to hassle with airports, flying delays or airport transfers. There are at least 20 ports around the US where you can drive to a port for a short cruise. While parking at the port can add about $20 per day to your total tab, there are less expensive, off-site parking options available.
- Cost. It’s only logical that a short cruise is less expensive than a long one. If you don’t go crazy with onboard spending, then for sure it’s true. That’s why you’ll find a huge cross-section of people from all walks of life on short cruises. They know the value of a three- or four-day cruise; costs less yet offers many of the same features and benefits of longer cruises. Whether young or old, partiers looking for a good time and academics who carry their books to the pool, you’ll see all of them. A short getaway doesn’t break the bank and you return home feeling as though you’ve been away for a month. Well, almost a month.
- Life’s a beach. Many short cruises include a day at the cruise line’s private island. There’s really not much better than floating on a foam pad in warm salt water as a gentle breeze cools your skin, underneath a brilliant blue sky. Of course there’s no guarantee on the weather, but by avoiding hurricane season you can increase your chances of good weather by quite a bit.
Whatever length of cruise you decide to try, don’t poo-poo short cruises. There are reasons why shorter-length cruises are always sold out – and these are seven of them.
What would be your reasons to take a short cruise?