A few weeks ago, my daughter and I went on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas. We had a great time! We were able to enjoy a long weekend without my daughter having to request several vacation days off from work.
Neither of us had been to the Bahamas before, so we were excited to check out the island country. It was a perfect springtime vacation.
Benefits of a Weekend Cruise
There are many benefits of going on a weekend cruise rather than a longer one. The cost is an obvious factor. Prices for weekend cruises start at around $199. For this amount, the cruiser gets two or three nights lodging, and equivalent number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
- My daughter and I bought a three-day cruise. We got on the ship in time for lunch on Friday, stayed for three nights and had breakfast before we disembarked on Monday. Although there were only two cruising or port days, this was considered a three day cruise. Technically, we were on the ship a couple hours short of three days, but did receive three days of meals and lodging.
Shorter cruises mean less time off work. A weekend cruise might leave on Friday afternoon and return Monday morning. A traveler could work a cruise into their schedule with as little as a half day off on each of Friday and Monday.
- My daughter and I traveled on Easter weekend. She had Good Friday off work and she did not have to take time off at the beginning of the trip. We decided to stay in Miami for Monday and fly home early Tuesday morning. My daughter took a vacation day on Monday and a couple hours off Tuesday morning.
Shorter cruises usually have fewer sea days. The cruise company tries to schedule close ports so you can make the most of your vacation. Our cruise was scheduled to stop at Great Stirrup Cay – Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island – and Nassau, Bahamas. With two scheduled stops, we would be able to enjoy a variety of experiences in the Bahamas.
- Both planned port stops sounded exciting. . We wanted to go snorkeling at Great Stirrup Cay (no charge, since we brought our own equipment) and we booked a snorkeling excursion from Nassau. Shopping in Nassau was also on our list of things to do.
Problems with a Weekend Cruise
There are a few cons with a weekend cruise. First, about the time you start to feel comfortable and know your way around the ship, the cruise is over. In reality, cruise ships are not that difficult to navigate. However, having been on a couple longer cruises, the weekend cruise felt very short. I’ve always enjoyed getting to know the staff on board the ship. With a short cruise, this is more difficult.
- My daughter and I tried out the different complimentary restaurants for dinner. We did not sit in the same area when we returned to the first restaurant, so we did not have the same server for any of our meals. On a longer cruise, it’s easier to get to know the servers and request to sit in their area.
One of the biggest problems with a short cruise, is that if there is a problem with weather, there isn’t time to make it up. When there are only two port days, missing one can make a huge impact.
- On our recent cruise, our stop at Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled. The Cay does not have a ship dock, so guests must be tendered in. It was so windy the day we were scheduled to visit that it was not safe to use the tenders. I was disappointed – I had been looking forward to that visit.
The cruise line, however, did their best to compensate us. Financially, we were refunded an amount equal to the taxes that were paid for that part of the trip. The crew added events and demonstrations during the day to entertain us aboard the ship. The ship sailed ahead and arrived in Nassau the evening before the scheduled arrival. Guests were allowed to leave the ship to explore the city at night.
- We enjoyed the fruit carving and ice carving demonstrations and appreciated the refund of the taxes, but I was still disappointed that we were not able to make the stop. I understand it was out of the control of the cruise line. I read that a different cruise line has recently upgraded their private island to include a ship dock, so tendering is not necessary.
Highlights of Our Cruise
Even though the cruise was short, my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it! From the minute we boarded the ship, the relaxing, “on vacation” feeling took over. While we waited for our rooms to be readied, we found a quiet spot with comfortable chairs and near a window to unwind.
Spring at home has been so dreary this year, that I really hoped for sun. Our first and third days were perfectly sunny. The second day had sun and clouds with a little rain in the evening, but overall the weather met my expectations. The warm cruise was the pick-me-up that I needed.
The snorkeling excursion was nice – we saw many more fish than I was able to catch in photos. I hope to return to the Bahamas to go to Great Stirrup Cay on a different cruise so I can also snorkel there.
The food on the ship was great, as I’ve come to expect. Occasionally, I’ve been served something that I don’t especially love, but on a cruise, it’s easy to order something different. If I can’t decide between two different appetizers, I just order them both. Although I almost never order dessert in a restaurant, I always order it on the ship. (On the ship, I have a habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator to work off some of the extra calories I’m consuming).
My daughter and I were able to take in two musical shows in the evening. The first – on the first night – was a preview show that gave us a glimpse of the talent we could experience for the rest of the cruise. The second night of the cruise offered a comedian show. We skipped this one, since we weren’t particularly impressed by his preview. We thoroughly enjoyed the musical show on our final evening on the ship.
Bands, piano players, and other entertainers performed in the lounges around the ship. This ship was smaller than some of the others I have experienced, so there was a little less variety, but we always found something enjoyable to listen to.
The Cruise Experience
Our main reason for going on the cruise was to getaway – from dreary weather, from work, and from stress. We enjoyed the sunshine, fun activities, and relaxation. Other than missing Great Stirrup Cay, it was all that we could ask for.
If you haven’t cruised before, a weekend cruise is a great way to try it out. You might want to try a couple different cruise lines to get a feel for what the atmosphere is like. So far, I’ve enjoyed Norwegian Cruise Line, but I’ve heard that there are others I might like as well.
Do you cruise? What is your favorite cruise line?