3-Day Cruises

| January 12, 2009

3-day cruises offer quick relief for people who need to get away. Need a vacation now? Try a 3-day Cruise.

A 3-day cruise is also known as the "cruise fix" or the "I Need a Cruise". In other words, if you love cruising like we do at CruiseMates, 3-day cruises exist to get you on a ship when it has just been too long since the last cruise.

What are the advantages to 3-day cruises? First of all, they are very affordable, often starting as low as $179 per person. The other advantage is that they are almost always scheduled over weekends, so you can take one with a minimum amount of time off work.

Most 3-day cruises sail late Friday afternoon and return early Monday morning. If you are local to the ship's departure point you should only miss a few hours of work. The typical 3-day cruise leaves the port at 5:00 pm and will return to the same place as early as 7:00 am Monday morning.

Assuming you can pack the night before, you can leave work just a few hours early and still arrive at the ship in plenty of time for check-in and sail away. If you don't party all weekend long and pack your work clothes, you should be able to make it back to the office in time for your first coffee break.

The schedule for most ships offering 3-day cruises is that they alternate with 4-day cruises that sail Monday night and return Friday morning. These cruises are less popular because they require a full week off from work, but they have other advantages. See our article on 4-Day Cruises.

What is Different About 3-Day Cruises? The main things you should know about 3-day cruises are:

  1. They are usually offered on older ships, as cruise lines reserve the best, weeklong itineraries for their newest ships.
  2. Younger people of working age often take 3-day cruises because they cost much less than the average cruise and they sail over weekends.
  3. They tend to be among the most "wild" cruises because they are inexpensive and populated with weekenders looking for a good time. Expect more "partying" than on the usual cruise.

3-Day Cruises -- Year-Round Destinations Even 3-day cruises are required to visit a foreign port before the ship can return to the United States according to laws applicable to most cruise lines.

Obviously, there are not many port cities with foreign ports close enough to offer 3-day cruises on a regular basis. Year-round, the most popular 3-day cruises sail out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale only as far as the Bahamas. Most go to Nassau, but some go to Freeport.

On the West Coast, all of the 3-day cruises sail to Ensenada in Mexico, a mere 50 miles south of the border. The may leave from San Diego, Los Angeles or Long Beach, California.

The cruises above are far enough south that they can sail year round. Naturally, the temperatures vary depending on what time of year you sail -- mostly on the West Coast. In December the temperature in San Diego and Ensenada can be in the 60s or even the 50s. During the summer it can get as hot as the high 80s.

On the East Coast, in Florida, the climate has less variation. Look for winter temperatures in the 70s and summer days in the 80s. The humidity is much greater on the East Coast as well, all year round, but worst during the summer.

One of the better 3-day cruise itineraries is the Norwegian Sky sailing from Miami year round. The ship stops in both Nassau and at the NCL private Island, Great Stirrup Cay. The private island has a lot of fun diversions -- especially for kids.

Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas also stops in Nassau and Royal Caribbean's own private island, Cococay.

Seasonal 3-Day Cruises New itineraries open up for 3-day cruises during the summer. You can find 3-day cruises out of Port Canaveral sailing to Nassau, Bahamas.

Both Seattle and Vancouver, Canada offer 3-day getaways to other cities, usually Victoria, Canada. From Seattle a 3-day cruise may go to Vancouver. From Vancouver, a 3-day cruise might go to Victoria. Celebrity Mercury is one ship offering this itinerary from Vancouver next autumn, while Holland America's Amsterdam sails from Seattle to Vancouver on April 24.

On the East Coast you will start to see shorter cruises out of New York City, but actually most of these are 4-day cruises or longer to Halifax, Nova Scotia. If you can get away for a 5-day cruise then there are many cruise options to Bermuda.

Norwegian Sun offers a 3-day cruise from Los Angeles all the way to Vancouver, Canada April 30, 2009 and right now this cruise has a fabulous price of only $169 per person (minimum cabin). The Holland America Zuiderdam offers the same route on May 6, and Coral Princess offers it September 21st.

Distant 3-Day Cruises In Asia, Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas is scheduling 3-day cruises from Singapore visiting Penang, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In South America, Vision of the Seas departs From Sao Paulo, Brazil and stops in Buzios, Brazil. This cruise is available from December 2009 through March 2010.

Costa Romantica departs Uruguay on March 12 and 15, 2009 from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Punta Del Este. Costa Magica departs from Santos (Sao Paulo), Brazil on March 6, 2009 to visit Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and Ilhabela, Brazil.

In Europe, May 21 and June 25, 2009, Norwegian Jade departs From Rotterdam, Netherlands to visit Le Havre, France; Guernsey in British Channel Islands and Southampton, England.

Costa Marina departs From Savona (Genoa), Italy visiting Barcelona, Spain and Ajaccio, Corsica May 9, 2009.

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