12 Reasons Why You Should Take a Short Cruise

For me, I like to take a short cruise because it’s so easy get away and relax for a couple of days. No worries or anxiety about what to pack, researching dozens of shore excursions or extensive travel planning.

Taking a short cruise over the weekend or mid-week can be an exhilarating, convenient and simple escape. You’ll have the same onboard amenities and benefits as a 7-day or longer cruise, too.

Read on to find out why a three- or four-night cruise might be the perfect cruise vacation.

Sherry in front of a Cuban restaurant in Key West, Florida
On a Key West Food Tour during a short weekend cruise. Great food and a lot of fun!

10 Reasons Why to Take a Short Cruise

1. Short Cruises are Perfect for First-Timers

If you’re new to cruising, or wondering if you’ll like the experience, a short cruise is an ideal introduction to traveling on the seas. It allows you to test the waters, so to speak, and discover whether this type of vacation aligns with your travel preferences.

The shorter itinerary provides a taste of cruise life, and can help you decide if you’d like a longer cruise in the future. It can also put any fears of claustrophobia to rest.

2. Time Efficiency

One of the primary advantages of a short cruise is its time efficiency. In our fast-paced lives, finding an extended period for vacation can be a challenge. A weekend cruise lets you escape the daily grind without committing to a lengthy absence.

You can experience the joy of cruising, explore new destinations, and indulge in onboard activities, all within a limited timeframe.

3. Budget-Friendly Shorter Cruises

Short cruises are generally more budget-friendly than their longer counterparts. This makes cruising accessible to a broader audience, including those constrained by budget considerations.

Additionally, the reduced cost can give you more to spend in ports or onboard. Buy a shore excursion or activity in each port.

Try the specialty dining options (reserve these before your cruise!), relax with a day pass to the spa.

Holland America Noordam Spa pool.
Spa pool aboard Holland America Noordam. Photo: Sherry Laskin / Cruise Maven

If the price is right, you could upgrade to a balcony stateroom that would otherwise be too expensive on a longer cruise.

4. Short Cruises are Easy to Plan

Planning a short cruise is easier and less time-consuming than organizing an extended voyage. The shorter duration streamlines the planning process. You don’t need to pack for a 7-day cruise or buy a new wardrobe. Just grab your carry-on bag, travel essentials and documents and you’re good to go.

Once you start to look at these short getaways, you’ll find no shortage of ships that offer long weekend cruises.

This can be particularly advantageous for individuals with busy schedules who don’t have time to plan an extensive trip.

5. Diverse Itinerary Options

Despite the shorter duration, many ships offer diverse and captivating itineraries for weekend cruises. Destinations are always just a short overnight away, ensuring that you make the most of your time at sea and in port.

Whether it’s a coastal city like San Diego to begin your cruise, close to home tropical islands in the Bahamas, or cultural diversity in Mexico, short cruises provide a range of options to suit various interests.

Other destinations you could visit include Ensenada or go snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico; Catalina Island, CA; Labadee, Haiti; Key West, FL; go to Atlantis in Nassau, and Freeport, Bahamas.

View of Perfect Day at CocoCay from our ship.
View of Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamian island, CocoCay from Wonder of the Seas. Photo: Sherry Laskin / Cruise Maven

6. Flexible Weekend Departure Dates

Short cruises often have more flexible departure dates, allowing you to plan your getaway based on your schedule. This flexibility is especially beneficial for those with specific dates or who need to coordinate with work or family commitments.

It empowers you to customize your travel plans without being bound by rigid departure schedules.

7. Less Time Away from Work or Responsibilities

For individuals with work or family obligations, a short cruise minimizes the time spent away from responsibilities. It balances between enjoying a rejuvenating break and fulfilling commitments at home or the workplace.

This makes weekend cruises a practical choice for those who seek a brief escape without causing disruptions to their routine.

8. You Live Near a Port

Nothing is more convenient for a short getaway than living close or even close-ish to a cruise port. Whether you live in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Texas, California or neighboring states, it’s so nice to just hop in your car, drive to the port and sail away.

People at Jetty Park Port Canaveral watching Royal Caribbean ship depart.
Royal Caribbean ship departs from Port Canaveral. Photo: Sherry Laskin / Cruise Maven

No airline tickets to book, no worrying about too-heavy luggage. Just book and go. Easy peasy. In fact, sometimes it’s too easy. You find yourself planning your next short cruise as soon as the current one ends.

If you’re lucky, there are nearly a dozen ports around the U.S within a day’s drive or just a couple of hours from your home. This means you don’t have to hassle with airports, flying delays or airport transfers.

While parking at the port can add about $20 per day to your total tab, there are less expensive, off-site parking options available.

9. Get More Loyalty Points

All cruise lines, like the airlines, have their loyalty clubs. Some cruise lines base their point accumulation on days at sea, how many cruises or even add more points for booking higher categories.

Short cruises can help you add more loyalty points faster than if you wait until you can take a week’s vacation for a 7-night voyage. You can even move into a new loyalty level and enjoy more perks.

10. Perfect for Families with Small Children

I’m already planning for when I can take my brand new granddaughter on a Disney cruise! For our first extended family cruise, it will definitely be a test-the-waters 3-night Bahamas trip.

On a side note, Disney is probably the most expensive of all 3- or 4-night cruises. Luckily, I’m going to wait until she’s close to two years old so I’ll have time to save.

But seriously, families taking small children on their first cruise might want to start small and then go large. Almost all cruise lines offer child care from the very young through teens. But not all kids like the group experiences, so it’s better to find out on a short cruise than be stuck on a longer one.

11. Pre-cruise Preparations Are Easier

Whether you have kids or pets or plants, finding someone to watch them for a long weekend is a lot easier than asking family or a sitter to spend an entire week on call.

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. Plus it’s less expensive. If your boarding place is open on Sundays for pet pickup, even better.

12. 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, under a brilliant blue sky.

Barefoot Beach Club cabana with sun umbrella at Labadee
Cabana at Royal Caribbean’s Labadee private beach area in Haiti. (Photo:Sherry Laskin)

Of course there’s no guarantee on the weather, but if you avoid cruising during hurricane season you can increase your chances of good weather by quite a bit.

Cruise lines with their own private island or have access to one include Disney, MSC, Royal Caribbean’s massive Perfect Day at CocoCay, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian and Virgin Voyages.

In conclusion, a short or weekend cruise offers a delightful escape that combines the thrill of being on a beautiful cruise ship with the convenience of a weekend getaway.

Whether you already love to be on the ocean or a novice traveler, all of the above reasons make a compelling case for choosing a short cruise as your next vacation experience.

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