Is a 3-Day Cruise Worth It?

Is a 3 day cruise worth it? If you are considering a short getaway, we break down the pros and cons of a three-day cruise vacation.

There are many reasons you might consider taking a short three-night cruise, involving factors like budget, time commitment, and more. But is a 3 day cruise actually worth it? Here, you’ll find information on these short getaways including popular destinations and tips for making the most of a three-day cruise. We’ll also walk you through how to determine whether a three-day cruise is right for you.

Is a 3 Day Cruise Worth It?

Popular Destinations for 3-Day Cruises


By far the most popular destination for a three-day cruise is the Bahamas. Three-night sailings typically leave from Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami in Florida. They often stop at the cruise line’s private island or destination in the Bahamas, as well as another Bahamian port such as Nassau. Some three-night sailings may visit Key West, Florida.

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U.S./Mexican West Coast

Cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney offer short three-night sailings from Los Angeles or San Diego down to Ensenada, Mexico. Occasionally those sailings might also include a stop at Catalina Island off the coast of California.

Short U.S. west coast and Canada voyages are also available, usually on Princess or Holland America. They are typically one-way voyages that either start or end in Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle or San Francisco. Often they don’t have any port days, where the middle days of the sailing are just sea days between the homeports.

Western Mediterranean

In the Mediterranean, most three-day cruises you’ll find are out of Barcelona, with a handful also sailing from Genoa, Italy or Marseille, France on MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, and Royal Caribbean. Common ports on these short voyages include Marseille, Naples, and Genoa.


Several cruise lines — including Princess, Disney, and Carnival — offer three-night voyages in Australia, with most cruises roundtrip from Sydney or from Sydney to Brisbane. Offerings vary, with some sailings having no port days, while others visit ports like Eden or Newcastle.

Factors to Consider: Deciding If a 3-Day Cruise is Worth It

Should you go on a cruise? When you’re trying to figure out if a 3 day cruise is worth it, there are many factors that can come into play. Things like how close you live to the port, how much time you may need to take off from work, and how much the cruise costs are all major factors that you will likely need to take into account through the decision-making process. To help you sort through these aspects, we’ve made a list of pros and cons of taking a three-day cruise.

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Pros of a 3 Day Cruise:

It can be a great introduction to cruising.

If you’re brand-new to cruising and want to take a voyage without committing to a full week at sea, a short three or four-night cruise may fit the bill perfectly. It will give you the opportunity to see how things work, enjoy several meals on the ship, and get a taste of why so many of us love cruising so much. Plus, it doesn’t take much commitment time or cost-wise, so it’s a pretty safe gamble even if you wind up realizing that cruising isn’t for you.

You don’t have to take much time (or any) off from work.

Most ships operating schedules that include 3 day cruises offer alternating three and four-night sailings, with one of the turnaround days usually being a Friday or Saturday. This means it can be relatively easy to plan a cruise where you only have to take one day off from work. Or, you can plan your voyage over a long holiday weekend so you may not have to miss any work at all.

If you’ve got kids in school that will be joining you, this benefit extends to their days off from school as well. Just keep in mind that, as with any holiday or common school break time period, ships will likely be fuller and there will be more kids onboard.

Port Canaveral Parking - Is a 3 Day Cruise Worth It?

It likely will cost less overall than a longer voyage.

One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of a shorter cruise is that, in most cases, it’s going to cost less than a longer cruise on the same (or a comparable) cruise line. If you’re on a tight travel budget but still want to get away for a few days, a three-day cruise might easily fit that bill.

Bonus: if you find a really good deal on your short cruise, it can easily cost less overall than it would cost to go to a resort or stay at a hotel and have to pay extra for meals at restaurants.

Cons of a 3 Day Cruise:

The per-day cost could be higher.

Though the overall cost will probably be lower on a three-day cruise than on a longer one, the per-day price may not be such a good deal. For example, a six-day voyage could cost $450 per person, while a three-day might cost $275 per person on the same ship in the same cabin. Yes, the three-day is cheaper, but broken down the six-day is a better deal. The six-day costs $75/person/day, while the three-day costs $91/person/day.

If the per-day value isn’t a big deal to you, this isn’t going to be a huge drawback. But if you’re truly on the hunt for the best deal, it’s something to keep in mind. There are still plenty of three-day cruises that truly do have a fantastic per-day value, but they may be more difficult to find (especially depending on the time of year you’re sailing and the cruise line you choose).

The cost to get to the cruise port could lessen the deal.

If you don’t live within easy driving distance of a cruise port or are looking to take your three-night cruise out of a port that’s not nearby, the cost of transportation and the time it takes to get there could lessen the deal of the trip. For example, you might have found a fantastic deal on a three-night cruise out of Florida, but if you live in New England the cost of flights to get there could end up making it an expensive getaway overall.

Is a 3 Day Cruise Worth It?

Having to fly to your cruise port can also pose a problem if you were trying to minimize how many vacation days you use. Because we recommend flying into any homeport a night early, you may not be able to get an evening flight that doesn’t interrupt your work day.

Factoring in the time and cost commitments it takes for the entire trip — from the moment you leave your house until the moment you get back — is an important part of deciding whether a short three-night cruise is right for you.

It just might not feel long enough.

A 3 day cruise can be rough… because you feel like your cruise is over right after you got on! But seriously, you just may not feel like you have enough time to truly get to know the ship, get to know your servers/bartenders, and truly settle in and relax on board.

There’s just something about taking a longer sailing where you’re getting into a groove, finally starting to find your way around without looking at the deck map as often, and starting to find your favorite spots. A three-day cruise is like just getting to know someone on a trip and thinking you could easily become friends and then you have to up and go home abruptly. Not so fun.

But the good news is, if you do fall in love with a ship during a short sailing, you can always book another one (and maybe even a longer voyage next time, or back-to-back voyages to create your own long itinerary).

It will probably have a more rowdy atmosphere.

This could be considered a pro or con depending on who you ask. If you’re looking to get away for a quick weekend and party hard, you’re going to find many like-minded people on a short three-day cruise. They are popular spring break and bachelor/bachelorette party options. But if you’d like a more relaxed atmosphere, you’re going to be more likely to find that on longer sailings.

Many people take short three or four-day cruises as a way to dip their toes in the water and experience cruising for the first time, as mentioned above. If they’re looking for the party crowd, that’s great. But if they’re not and that’s the experience they end up having on their very first cruise, it could dissuade them from cruising again… even though there would very likely be many other types of voyages out there that they would love.

Cruise Complaints Feature - Is a 3 Day Cruise Worth It?

Choosing the Right Cruise Line for a 3 Day Cruise

To figure out which cruise line is right for your three-day getaway, consider what’s most important to you in terms of the trip. Is it the types/amount of amenities and activities on the ship? Do you want to make sure to visit a port that has a beautiful beach for a beach day? Are you looking for a ship that has the most activities and play spaces for your kids? Are you just looking for the best deal?

These all come into play when choosing a cruise. Look into the best lines for your cruise priorities and go from there. To help, check out our article: “Which Cruise Line is the Best?” This article breaks down which lines are best depending on your priorities/demographic.

When it comes to a three-day cruise specifically, once you’ve narrowed down your top cruise lines you need to determine which brands even offer a three-day cruise in your chosen region. Holland America, for example, doesn’t generally offer three-day cruises. Princess Cruises currently only has a handful of three-day cruises available for booking on the West Coast and in Australia.

If part of the reason you’re taking a short cruise is to get a great deal, one of the best ways to ensure you’ll be doing this is to use an aggregate website that compiles lots of different cruise lines into your search results or talk with your trusted travel advisor.

Princess Cruises 2024-2025 West Coast Cruise Season Now on Sale

How Much Does a 3-Day Cruise Cost?

Like with any cruise, the cost of a short 3 day cruise can vary greatly depending on the cruise line, specific ship, region where it’s sailing, and the time of year. For example, according to a search on, the most expensive three-night cruise currently open for booking is on Disney Fantasy this December, which costs a whopping $1,554 per person, or $518 per person/night for an interior cabin. In contrast, the least expensive three-night cruise open for booking is on MSC Magnifica in April 2024, which costs $139 per person or $46/person/night for an interior cabin.

Of course, these are the extreme ends of the spectrum, but this tells you that the range in cost for three-night cruises (and any cruises!) is extremely wide. It’s also worth noting that these are prices for interior cabins; categories above that will cost more.

As a guide, expect to find better deals on lines like Carnival and MSC Cruises. Mid-range prices will likely be found on lines like Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity. Expect to pay premium prices on brands like Disney, Virgin Voyages, and Cunard. Remember that prices can vary a lot even within the same cruise line, so even though you might find a great deal on Carnival or MSC, those lines also offer short sailings that can cost a premium as well.

Is a 3 Day Cruise Worth It?

Tips For Making the Most of a 3 Day Cruise

Here are some tips for making the most of your three-night cruise:

  • Familiarize yourself with the ship as quickly as possible: try to do a walkthrough of all the public areas on your ship as soon as you can on embarkation day. This way you’ll get an idea of where everything is and start to figure out where your favorite spots might be right away.
  • Book any specialty dining, entertainment, and activities ahead of time if they require reservations and you’re able to reserve in advance. This way you will already have an idea of your schedule and won’t have to waste time doing it on board.
  • Pack your swimsuit, basic toiletries, and a change of clothes in your carry-on. This way you can hit the pool as soon as you get on the ship and don’t have to wait for your luggage to arrive in your cabin.
  • Set yourself up for great service: if you find a bar that you know will be “your” spot for most of the cruise early on, consider giving the bartender a cash tip right away. You’ll likely get faster service and more generous pours this way. (This is in addition to the automatic daily gratuities.)

Consider extending your vacation. Though many people take 3 day cruises because they’re short and don’t require much time commitment, you could stay a few extra days in your homeport city to easily extend your trip and — if you flew into town — make the most of the cost of the flights to get there. I love extending and combining trips to make the most of the time and money it costs me to travel somewhere.


What’s your opinion– Is a 3 day cruise worth it? What are your pros and cons for taking these shorter getaways? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on 3-day cruises.

Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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Is a 3-Day Cruise Worth It?

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