Cruising 101: short cruises

Only have a few days to spare? A short cruise may be the answer.

The popularity of short cruises, with an itinerary of two or three days, has increased in recent years, with more local cruise lines adding them to annual itineraries. Appealing for many reasons, they give curious cruisers the opportunity to try out a new ship without a long-term commitment, and offer an easy getaway for anyone who’s tight on time or budget. So what do you need to know to handle a short cruise like a pro?

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 about what you want – e.g. 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 fill that time with activities. 

Make the most of your time?
Time is of the essence on a short cruise. Board your ship as early as possible and take carry-on luggage to save time spent unpacking. This allows you to enjoy lunch on board and be dipping in the pool by early afternoon – much more appealing than the alternative of hanging up countless clothes in your cabin. It also pays to 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 – priorities!

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 you can, to make sure you you don’t miss out. Casual options don’t require planning in advance, but if you have a fixed sitting for the dining room, check that 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 the aim of the game for your trip is to relax, just take what you need. Make a list early and stick to it. You can probably leave the computer at home if you’re only away for a few days. We all need a technology detox from time to time, and rest assured that most large ships have libraries and shops on board if you forget anything. 

Have a plan for bad weather?
The good news about a short cruise is that, by nature it means you won’t have to suffer bad weather for long. However, that said, it can affect your enjoyment if you were planning to be on deck the majority of the time. So have a backup plan just in case, and take anti-seasickness medicines with you even though you’ll only be cruising for a few days – even a few hours of rough seas can feel like eternity if you’re seasick.

Make travel plans carefully?
This is incredibly 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 that could delay your flight. Short or long, a cruise waits for no one!

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



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    5th Mar 2016
    Did the Australia Day cruise in January with P&O and had a great time watching all the events on Sydney Harbour-boats and planes.But still had time for shows, trivia and sitting by the pool.The only negative was that we were not wised up about making reservations at the restaurant at night!
    6th Mar 2016
    hello Mango, it sure sound as though your cruise was a great time - I am yet to do one so am anxious to read/hear of other's impressions :)

    Tags: travel, cruising, tips,

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