Better Short Cruise Options

| 08.27.12

Better short cruise options include newer and better ships in the coming cruise season

Today's short cruises let you sample some of the best new ships in a fewer number of days Unlike the vacation standards in Europe where workers typically get four to eight weeks of vacation every year, many Americans find it next to impossible to take (or they just feel extremely guilty) even a week-long vacation away from their jobs. This has not gone unnoticed by the U.S.-based-cruise industry - many cruise lines have recently focused on providing specifically shorter sailings - anywhere from two to five days.

Five years ago taking a short cruise most often meant you were on a "dinosaur" ship built in the last century. But the major cruise lines have created many new and shorter itineraries on newer and more feature-laden ships as a way for you to see what the cruise industry has to offer, and hopefully entice you to take a full seven day cruise to experience the best the cruise industry has to offer some time in the future.

These shorter cruises can run as low as $60 per person, per night and making these cruises even more convenient, they are scheduled to sail from a bevy of regional homeports across the U.S. such as Boston, Norfolk Virginia and Miami, which that means fewer long flights or time spent traveling to get to your cruise.

Are you aware of any great short cruise bargains? Tell us here: Cruise Deals Forum

Here is a list of some newer ships offering cruises for five days or less.

Allure of the Seas is the most exciting ship on this list but it will be sailing a singular three-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale on February 14, 2013. This is (obviously) Valentine's Day and so it will sell out early even though it is not cheap. Prices start at $699 per person, but as the largest cruise ship in the world any cruise on this ship is spectacular and you will certainly walk away thinking three days was not enough.

Liberty of the Seas is one of the leading ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, arriving in 2007. It also just received a number of upgrades in 2011 under a program called Royal Advantages that brought it many of the features first introduced on the newest ships in the fleet; Oasis and Allure of the Seas. Although it is not as big as those newest ships it is still one of the biggest and most feature-packed cruise ships in the world.

The 3,634-passenger ship features ice skating shows and full-book Broadway version stage productions of Saturday Night Fever in the main showroom. It also just received the DreamWorks Experience meaning kids can meet favorite DreamWorks characters and you can see the latest DreamWorks movies in their fully enhanced 3-D cinema format. Other new amenities include the Cupcake Cupboard and the Brazilian Churrascaria for a wonderful special dinner.

Liberty is offering three and four-day cruises to the Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale in 2012 and four and five-day cruises in 2013.

Celebrity Reflection (debut in November 2012) is the newest and last ship of Celebrity Cruises' Solstice-class ships - known as being among the most beautiful ships ever built. It will not only have all of the features of the original Solstice-class ships but some newer ones as well.

The Solstice-class featured the first real grass lawn at sea. On the older ships it was not much more than a lawn, but on Reflection the lawn will have special Wi-Fi capable cabanas and the "Lawn Grill" where patrons can select and grill their own cuts of the finest meats in a casual setting.

Other new features include three new categories of suites never included on a Celebrity ship before including the Aqua-suite (an upgrade to the Aqua-class stateroom), the Signature Suite and the brand new Reflection suite which will feature the first cantilevered shower at sea (extending out from the ship for a full 360-degree view over the side of the ship - one-way glass, of course).

Reflection will offer a three-night cruise on December 5th from Ft. Lauderdale, but it's really the preview inaugural cruise, more of an event than a savings.

Celebrity Constellation is a newer ship of the slightly older 2,034-capacity Millennium-class ships from Celebrity. It was introduced in 2002 but also recently received (in 2010) a $40-million upgrade of its interior to add and upgrade several new rooms and restaurants.

The new features, mostly borrowed from the Solstice-class, include the Celebrity Martini Bar with a special frosted-ice topped martini bar with juggling bartenders. Cellar Masters is a beautiful wine-bar with free tapas to clear your palate between tastings of specially selected wines you can sample (paying by the ounce) utilizing a self-service wine dispensary system.

The 2012 itineraries include many four and five-day cruises from Miami. But starting in 2013 you can take three and four-day cruises from Miami starting as low as $399 per person. There is even a two-day cruise scheduled January 19.

Carnival Breeze is the very latest and greatest ship from Carnival just introduced in Barcelona and currently still in Europe but ready to start sailing from Miami this autumn (2012). It has a 3690 passenger berth capacity.

The ship is defined by a new onboard concept for Carnival called FunShip 2.0. which includes the RedFrog Rum Bar, The Blue Iguana Tequila bar, Guy Fieri's Burger Joint and a new comedy club with talent found by celebrity comedian George Lopez. Added showtime entertainment includes family night game shows (played on stage) and new, shorter production shows to highlight various music genres.

Although six-days is not usually considered a short cruise because you still need a full week off from work, the advantage is a significantly lower price over the regular 7-day cruise. Breeze will offer six-day cruises 12 times in 2013 with rates starting as low as $399 per person.

Carnival Glory is an older Carnival ship but one that also received a Fun Ship 2.0 overhaul in 2010. Passenger Capacity is 2,974 and it also includes the Guy Fieri's Burger Joint (no extra charge) and the Punchliner Comedy Club-with comedy acts hand-picked by George Lopez.

The ship will offer four and five-day Canada/New England cruises from Boston next summer, 2013. Prices start as low as $299 per person for a ride from Boston to Saint John, New Brunswick. A five-day cruise to St. John and Halifax starts at $349 per person.

In the winter months Glory relocates to Miami, but along the way will offer four and five-day cruises out of Norfolk, Virginia (a really great port if you have not seen it). These cruises sail in May and October of 2013 and start at $429 per person.

It will also sail many three-day cruises out of Miami this coming autumn season (from August 31 through November) starting as low as $219 per person.

Are you aware of any great short cruise bargains? Tell us here: Cruise Deals Forum

Note: this article was based on a submission by: Austin Gambino Marketing Assistant for The Cruise Web, a cruise-only travel agency that focuses on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money.

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