Mini cruises are an ideal way of getting away for a short break while enjoying the luxury of a magnificent cruise liner at a reasonable price. Usually 2 to 4 days in duration, mini cruises can last up to 7 days. Most mini cruises in Europe depart from domestic sea ports of the UK or those in Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.

You can often enjoy a mini cruise on a world-famous luxury ship although those prices, especially for solo travellers can be quite high. For example, you choose from a selection of short 2- or 3-day cruise voyages with Cunard line on one of their luxury ocean liners; Queen ElizabethQueen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria to celebrate a milestone event. Perhaps you are enjoying a birthday, anniversary, reinvention or even reinventing yourself after a divorce! You can also use a mini cruise to test out a cruise line or just spend a relaxing few nights away by yourself.

So, if you are looking to get the benefits of a longer cruise and experience some of the most spectacular ships on the high seas, a Mini Cruise could offer the ideal voyage! The next question is where you get more information on the options available?

Mini Cruises Seem to Be a Very Well Kept Secret

You would think that you could go to cruise line website and find a tab at the top of the site saying, “Mini Cruises”. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You have to be prepared to do a little digging for companies that specialise in short cruises or cruise lines that make it a priority in their marketing. I have added some that I discovered during my research below.

But first, why consider mini cruise in the first place? Here are 5 reasons I would offer.

Pamper Yourself with a Short Break Away from It All

If you have limited time and don’t want to spend 2 weeks at sea, a mini cruise is a perfect solution. I love long weekend breaks in general and these short 3- or 4-day voyages can offer lots of exciting experiences on board the ship as well as a stop or two in a new place. Perhaps you just need a new perspective on your life. Maybe you have a big decision to make and just want to relax and consider your options without any interruptions or added stress. In my opinion, a mini cruise is a perfect gift to give yourself.

Test Drive a Specific Cruise Line

You may want to experience a cruise line first before making the financial commitment to a longer cruise. Or if you are a first-time cruiser and not sure you are going to love the experience, a mini cruise is the perfect introduction to life on the high seas! You can relax, enjoy gourmet food in the ship’s restaurants, or test drive the evening entertainment or spa facilities. You can get a sense of the style and culture of a specific cruise line and also a good idea of their customer service and staffing priorities.

Enjoy a Less Crowded Cruise Experience

Mini cruise ships are generally smaller. You can therefore enjoy a quieter, more relaxed experience. Small ships also can squeeze into smaller ports and offer unique and wonderful itineraries. You can see a different port every day with some itineraries while others take you point to point and focus on the cruise ship entertainment and experience. Even a 2-night cruise can be an amazing 48 hours!

Experience Lots of Entertainment and Fun

Cruise ship lines differ dramatically. Some focus on luxury spas, others on fitness centres. Some offer peaceful and relaxing swimming pools and other wild and wonderful activities! Not to encourage stereotypes, but some cruise lines are more geared for a younger demographic with live music and casinos.

Others focus on older travellers or solo travellers.  Drinking cocktails in the lounge bar with new friends or sitting quietly gazing out at sea with a book – a mini cruise allows all of that!

The Cruise Deals site offers a link to their page on the major cruise lines. Most of the lines offer a selection of mini cruises some more than others.  There are regular departures from the UK and also Genoa, Barcelona, Amsterdam and New York.

See the World

Many mini cruises start from UK ports. This is because it really is the perfect place to access many wonderful and beautiful European destinations. Mini cruises let you explore the culture and history of the European cities who grew strong over time because of their maritime ports.  You can explore France, The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Spain, or even The Channel Islands. Guernsey is on my list!

Below are some links to mini cruise offerings from a select group of cruise lines that you might want to explore. If you want to take a mini cruise in Europe, one comprehensive resource site I found is 2 for I Mini Cruises. It is dedicated to describing and comparing various Mini Cruise offerings.

Cruise Lines That Offer Mini Cruises

Fred Olsen


PO Ferries


Royal Caribbean




Cruise Companies That Offer Mini Cruise Resources

Reasons to Cruise

Cruise Nation

Cruise 118

Cruise Critic (River Mini Cruises)

Have you ever taken a mini cruise? Where did you go and did you consider it a good value for money? What cruise lines would you like to take a mini cruise with? Please share your comments below – let’s start a conversation! 

Let's Have a Conversation!