Going on a cruise’ is usually a response to planning to win the lottery – the traditional image of movie stars sailing across seas on tour has quite an appeal. However, as we head forward to 2016 cruise holidays are becoming more and more affordable for the average person – and we really are taking advantage of it. Last year, the Telegraph reported a year on year increase in demand for cruise holidays, with new ships set to accommodate a total of 60,000 passengers between 2013 to 2016. You can enjoy the best part of being a globetrotting backpacker and a luxurious spa resort on the same holiday – there’s the real incentive to cruising.
Most cruises tend to last anywhere between 5 to 21 nights, but mini cruises are a great option for those who have only a weekend or so to spare. Award Winning travel agent Cruise Deals advise that they are ideal for single professionals or couples looking for a romantic getaway that won’t require extra time off, or families looking to get the most out of the school holidays. There’s lots of benefit for the cruise companies too, as lots of first-time cruisers will go on a shorter duration to see how they like it and cope with sea legs, before booking a longer trip in the future. They’re also incredibly popular for ‘party cruises’, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or even hen and stag dos – with party planners on board for some speciality ships.
If you’re departing from the UK, most short cruises will stay within Europe, either picking you up from Southampton or flying out to Germany or Spain to board. Lasting between two and four nights, popular mini cruise routes include Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, the Baltics, or the western Mediterranean. A great advantage of European mini cruises is the ease of planning and cheap insurance premiums – if you’re an EU citizen, you can apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, to protect you against any medical emergencies on deck or during port excursions.
While a traditional mini or city break can be great fun – exploring a brand new city for a weekend or so, a mini cruise offers more. Travelling through the Mediterranean coast or up the Danube river for a long weekend offers you the opportunity to see so much more, without the hassle of upping sticks from hostel to hostel. Not to mention when you return from your port excursions, you can enjoy cinema screenings, shows, gym and spa facilities, and fabulous fine dining.