Making the most of a short cruise

Short cruises of two or three days have become more popular in recent years, with more local cruise lines adding them to annual itineraries. They’re appealing for many reasons, from giving curious cruisers the opportunity to try a new ship out without a long-term commitment, to offering an easy getaway for anyone who’s tight on time or budget. So what do you need to know? 

Choose the right itinerary
A short cruise can go nowhere, or visit a nearby destination to spend one or two days in port. They can also be part of a celebration, such as Australia Day, for a sporting event such as the Melbourne Cup, or a themed cruise to enjoy music, or food and wine. Either way, be clear of what you want; if you want to sit around the pool and sip on a cold beer, a cruise to nowhere may be ideal, while someone with limited time may wish to keep busy. 

Make the most of your time
Plan to board your ship early and take carryon luggage only to limit unpacking, this way you can enjoy lunch on board and be dipping in the pool by early afternoon. Also familiarise yourself with your ship before you leave home, including where your accommodation is located and key facilities such as the dining room and pool. 

Make plans for dinner
If you’re taking a short cruise to celebrate a special occasion and you’re planning to dine at a special restaurant, make your reservation well in advance online (if available) so you don’t miss out. Casual options don’t require planning in advance, but if you have a fixed sitting for the dining room, be sure you are happy with your allocated time and table size before you cruise, to save time making changes on board. 

Pack only what you need
If you’re planning to do little more than relax, just take what you need. Make a list early 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. 

Have a plan for bad weather
You won’t have to suffer bad weather for long on a short cruise, but it can affect your enjoyment if you’re planning to be on deck much of the time. Have a backup plan just in case and take anti-seasickness medications with you even though you’ll only be cruising for a few days – six hours of rough seas can be just as nasty as three days.

Make travel plans carefully
This is important if you’re travelling from afar to meet your ship. If you’re driving add plenty of time for any road delays and if flying, consider arriving at the departure point the night before in case of bad weather, delays, or anything else which could have your flight arriving late.


To find out more about cruising or to find the cruise of your dreams within your budget, visit

Written by joannaha