Cruise Length: Which is Right for Me?

Which cruise length is right for me? There are many cruise lengths to choose from!

When you’re new to the world of cruising, it can be a little overwhelming. There’s a plethora of destinations, departure points, and cruise lines to navigate. And what about cruise length? How many nights onboard strikes the perfect balance between budget and quality? In this blog, we’ll cover the different cruise lengths you’ll often see when booking and explore why different lengths of time might be appropriate for different cruisers.

1- to 2-Night Cruises

While rare to find, these quick jaunts make the perfect weekend getaways or staycations. They’re ideal for getting a snapshot of a destination and for saving money — not only are fares lower to reflect the shorter time, but you’d only typically take one if you could drive to the departure port, since the extra cost of airfare likely wouldn’t be worth such a short trip.

So what kind of 1- or 2-night cruises are available? You’ll commonly find sailings that depart from Miami and sail to destinations in the Bahamas such as Freeport or Nassau. That shorter cruise length is also popular from departure ports in Southern California, such San Diego, just a hop, skip, and a jump from alluring ports in Baja California. And of course, given the proximity of so many popular destinations in Europe, you can easily find sailings there that boast a shorter cruise length.

3- to 5-Night Cruises

When you have a few extra vacation days to use up, a 3- to 5-night cruise is just the thing. This gives you plenty of time to visit amazing ports and have a ton of fun onboard experiences without using up all of your PTO for the year. As far as cruise lengths go, this is the sweet spot when you want more than a weekend cruise but your budget won’t let allow for an entire week away. In addition, 3- to 5-night cruises are perfect for first-time cruisers. You get the full cruising experience and the chance to gauge whether a longer sailing would be appropriate for you.

Plus, there’s a huge benefit to 3- to 5-night cruises: They give you much more variety in terms of destinations and departure points than shorter cruises do. This opens up the whole world of spectacular places to sail to close to home and farther afield.

6- to 8-Night Cruises

This cruise length is one of the most popular for visiting some of the top destinations in the cruising world, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda, and Europe. That’s because when you have a week or so to travel, you have the time needed to visit an array of exciting ports that might be quite a distance from your departure point, and therefore not possible on a shorter cruise. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be spending lots of time at sea — on many of these cruises, you’ll visit at least three ports. In fact, some 6- to 8-night cruises visit a new port every day! Imagine trying to hit up that many destinations in an overland trip — sounds expensive and exhausting, right?

Another great thing about choosing this cruise length is that it makes traveling with your whole family easy. Over the course of the trip, surely everyone will get a taste of what they want, whether that’s lounging by the pool and dining at new restaurants (mom and dad) or checking out all the fun and fancy features of the ship (kids).

9- to 11-Night Cruises

Not sure a week or so is enough to enjoy all the pleasures of cruising? A cruise of 9 to 11 nights might be perfect for you. With ample time on board, you can cover more ground and see a huge variety of destinations in Europe, Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as embark on Transatlantic cruises. But this cruise length might be best for those traveling without children, since that much time on one vessel might be a bit much for little ones who get bored easily.

12+ Night Cruises

Perfect for retired travelers or lucky souls with a lot of vacation time, cruises of 12 nights or more offer every benefit of cruising in huge supply — plenty of relaxing days onboard, tons of exciting ports of call, and the chance to get to know other cruisers and make lifelong friends. And to enjoy an extended vacation at sea, you don’t necessarily have to choose from the available 12+ night cruises. In some cases, you can book two back-to-back cruises and simply stay on the same ship in the same stateroom! Since some ships sail alternating itineraries every other week, you’d get two different experiences, all in the same vacation.


No matter which cruise length is right for you, Cruises.com lets you see all of your options in one place. We help you cruise the smart way by getting you our exclusive bonus offers and all qualifying cruise line offers, plus all of the cruise line loyalty program benefits.

Book online at Cruises.com or call 800-288-6006 today.

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