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Short Cruises 101: Your Guide To High Seas Holidays Of Up To 3 Days

Joanna Hall

Short cruises of up to three days have become somewhat of a trend in the past year or so with more cruise lines including Celebrity and Royal Caribbean adding them to annual calendars. They’re appealing for a variety of reasons: it gives curious cruisers the opportunity to give a ship a “tryout” without committing to a long cruise; it’s a different way to celebrate a special occasion such as wedding anniversary or birthday; and it’s ideal for anyone who’s tight on time but wants an easy getaway. So what do you need to know?

Choosing Your Itinerary

A short cruise can be a voyage to nowhere, or a cruise to a nearby destination involving only one or two days in port. They can also be cruises to be part of a celebration, such as the Australia Day festivities, for a sporting event, such as to attend the Melbourne Cup, or a themed cruise such to enjoy the music of Elvis, for example. Either way you need to be sure of what you want from your short cruise. If you’re aiming to sit around the pool, sip on a cold beer and do little else, a cruise to nowhere may be ideal, while someone else may wish to be busy with limited time. 

Make The Most Of Your Time Aboard

Arrange to board your ship as early as you can, and take carry-on luggage only so you won’t have much to unpack, nor will you have to wait for your luggage to be delivered. You can have lunch on board, and be dipping in the pool by early afternoon if you plan well. Another good tip is to familiarise yourself with your ship, and where things are, before you cruise. Most major cruise lines have deck plans online, so you can work out where your accommodation is located, and where key facilities such as the dining room and pool are while in the comfort of your home, rather than using up precious time on board.

Plan Dinner Before You Cruise

If you’re on board to celebrate a special occasion, for example, and you’re planning to dine at one of the ship’s alternative restaurants, a good tip is to make your reservation well in advance online (if available) so you get the venue and time of your choice. If you are not fussed about dining, casual options don’t require planning in advance or assigned dining times; if you have fixed seating, make sure you are happy with your allocated time and table size before you cruise, to save time making changes once you are on board.

Pack Only What You Need

This is an add-on to the tip above, making the most of your time on board. If you are planning to do little but relax, just take what you need including a good book. Make a list in advance and stick to it, remembering that you can probably leave the computer at home if you’re only away for a few days, and that most large ships have libraries and shops on board if you forget anything.

Plan For Bad Weather

A short cruise means you won’t have to suffer bad weather for long, but it can impact on your enjoyment of a cruise if you are planning to be on deck in the sun. Have a backup plan for your entertainment just in case. Also, it’s a good tip to take anti-seasickness medications or remedies with you even though you’ll only be cruising for a few days - ask anyone who suffers, and they’ll tell you that six hours of rough seas can be just as unpleasant as three days.

Make Additional Travel Plans Carefully

This is particularly important if you are travelling from afar to meet your ship. If you’re driving, build in plenty of time for any road delays or other issues, and if flying, consider arriving at the departure point the night before in case of inclement weather or anything else which could delay your flight’s arrival.

Plan Time Ashore If Needed

If you’re cruise does involve one or more ports of call, and you are keen to get off the ship, explore or just be active, make plans for any shore excursions, or get ideas of what you can do independently before you cruise. While this is good advice for every cruise, on short voyages where time is precious this is particularly important. 

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  1. Posted by on 30th Sep 2018 Verified Customer

    Love Them 5 Star Review

    My wife and I are big fans of short cruises and usally book a least 2-3 per year. But I would say the seasickness thing is pretty big for some people. Last one we did was a comedy cruise which went nowhere and the weather was really rough and a lot of people were sick. When you're cruise doesn't have a destination as such you;re at sea for a long time with no relief!

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