Mini Cruises & Breaks 2023/2024
If you've never been on a cruise but fancy trying it without having to get stuck on a ship for two weeks with no hope of getting off, or you're short on time and want a quick and easy short break, then mini cruises could be for you.
Cruises aren't for everyone so a mini cruise break is a great chance to try one out in 2023 and 2024, and there are a variety of options available from destination, to ship to cruise company. You'll find that each cruise company offers something different and you should choose wisely depending on who you are and what you want from your break.
Popular Cruise Lines To Bruges
Mini Cruise Guide
Mini Cruise Deals from the UK
Traditionally, Southampton was the main port you would cruise from, however a number of other ports in the UK now cater well for cruises. In fact, Liverpool is to undergo a huge redevelopment in order to be capable of taking large cruise ships.
Mini cruises from Southampton and Portsmouth in the south, and Newcastle and Hull in the north mean you don't necessarily have to drive the length of the country in order to enjoy a mini break. However some companies can help organise a car service or coach transfers to pick up you and take you to the right cruise terminal in port.
Whether you prefer a more upmarket experience on Cunard's Queen Victoria or Queen Mary, or you need sall the bells and whistles of a family friendly ship like the MSC Virtuosa, some of the best deals are usually either a year or two in advance or at the last minute (cruise companies hate having empty cabins!).
Mini Cruise Destinations
A mini cruise is great for seeing if you might like to go on a longer cruise but it's also a chance to see somewhere new. There are a number of destinations that can be on a short cruise itinerary. For example DFDS offers mini cruises aboard its ferry ships between Newcastle and Amsterdam (and have often had 2 for 1 mini cruise offers), while P&O offers ports of call like St Peter Port in Guernsey, Bruges in Belgium (from Zeebrugge), and Cherbourg in France, on their short cruises.
It's worth noting that the mini cruises to Amsterdam with DFDS won't have the same level of facilities and activities as with a P&O or Carnival cruise ship, which are catered better for longer periods at sea and offer a much larger selection of restaurants, entertainment and onboard activities.
You can get off in each location and explore the area by yourself or as part of an organised excursion which can be booked in advance or onboard. Alternatively, if you just want to enjoy the facilities on board the ship, you're welcome to stay aboard while the crowds are on dry land.
Exploring the British Isles is an interesting option, with several ships exploring the coast of the UK, stopping in places like Stornoway and the Orkney Islands, as well as cities like Liverpool and Belfast.
Trips to the Norwegian Fjords in northern Europe usually last from 7 nights to 14 nights, so a little longer than a shorter, taster cruise of a few days. However, if you've never cruised before, this can actually be a great option as most days are in a port or travelling through dramatic Fjordlands and incredible scenery, so you'll want to make the most of having a cabin with a window or, better still, a balcony.
While typically fly cruises are longer than just a few nights, there are options available, like 3 nights in the Bahamas from Florida, or 7 nights around the Mediterranean from Barcelona or Palma de Mallorca. While cruises from Southampton or somewhere similar in the UK skip the airports, flying to meet your ship might cost a bit more because you have the extra cost of flights to think about, but it means you can skip the sea days and head straight for the sunshine.
Types Of Mini Cruises
Last Minute Mini Cruises
If you're after a deal, booking a mini cruise at the last minute might be worth it. These ships are departing anyway so if there are cabins on board empty, the cruise companies would rather people in there than it going empty, so you may find that a late deals could save you £££s.
You may need to be flexible in where and when you go, as well as the sort of cabin you stay in. Outside cabins, especially those with balconies are incredibly popular and can get booked up very quickly, leaving inside cabins (which don't have windows) to the latecomers.
If there's a special event coming up (anniversary, birthday or even planned wedding proposal) and you want to celebrate in a unique way, mini cruises are fantastic romantic breaks, especially when you can upgrade to balcony cabins and suites, or order a bottle of champagne to be in your room when you arrive. Enjoy fine dining, fab nights out and romantic destinations too.
There are also themed cruises often available, which can be as extravagant as dedicated fans to a certain celebrity or entertainer on board. These can be a great way to enjoy more of the evening (and daytime) entertainment if you're worried about it not being for you. From classic music and disco themed cruises, to even a Disney cruise, why not take a look at some of the themed breaks on offer?
Generally cruises are suitable for everybody, from couples and families to single travellers. In fact, many ships offer events and meetups dedicated to single and solo travellers so that you can make new friends on your adventures. If you're a first timer, companies also cater well with hundreds, if not thousands of staff on hand to answer questions and make your cruise holiday the best.