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Long weekend trip: would you bother with a 2-night cruise?

DH, myself, and our kindergarten-aged son are looking to take a long weekend warm weather vacation over MLK weekend in January. We're in Minnesota, and we almost never get to travel in the winter (due to work), so this is a big deal! I am remiss to take DS out of school more than a day or so, so at the most we're looking at Thursday-Monday. We're looking at Florida because it has the warmest waters that time of year and the cheapest airfares. We're not doing Disney this time because DS is an ocean-lover, so we're looking at Fort Meyers, Tampa, Miami, etc.

It occurred to me that we could instead do a cruise out of Port Canaveral or Miami. DH and I have done a 7 nt. cruise (RC) and really enjoyed it. There are 2 or 3 night Carnival cruises to the Bahamas for $150 per person (total cost for all three of us $650 w/tax). We'd probably have to bookend one or two nights in a hotel. These are Carnival's smallest, oldest ships, geared toward "budget" travel. Fine with us- but will we regret going through all of the hassle of a cruise on such a short vacation? I want it to be a memorable trip for DS since we don't get to travel often, but I'm also leery of doing the "cruise" thing (lines, embarkation, delays, etc) with a kid and on such a short time frame. Would you do it, or would you do something else? TIA!

Re: Long weekend trip: would you bother with a 2-night cruise?

  • I wouldn't worry about him missing a few days of kindergarten especially if he is a good learner and will be able to catch up. Go for a few more days and enjoy. Also IMO go for a balcony room on the cruise. It so improves time spent in the room. I would get a hotel the night before the cruise and just fly home right after the cruise.
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  • How are the flight connections? I've done a 3-night cruise for a weekend and loved it as a chance to just get away for a few days, but I was sailing from my home port.  We could just walk down to the dock to embark and catch a taxi home at the end.  I'm not sure I'd want to tack on a half day or more of flights, airport time, and airport transfers for a quick get-away.  I'd just book a nice hotel nearby for that.

    And I don't think I would ever do a 2-night.  The 3-night was fine for a weekend, because we had two full days to enjoy the ship (and the one port), but I don't find embarkation and disembarkation days to be very relaxing, and you don't get full use of the ship's amenities, since so much time is spent in port.  A 2-night cruise is basically a 1.25-day cruise.
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  • Thanks ladies, good insight. We would fly direct, which is good- but I worry about delays, etc. I think a 3 nt is necessary, too. DS has autism and it's important to keep his school schedule as closely as possible- thus the short trip. It'll likely mess him up for a week after which is another reason I wonder if I should skip the big ship hassle and just hunker down at the beach for a few days in a quiet hotel.. Decisions decisions..
  • In that short amount of time, I don't think I would bother with such a short cruise. It would just seem like a rush just to fly, board the ship, sail for 2-3 days, unboard and fly back home in that short amount of time. I don't see that being relaxing. I would just fly down to a hotel in any of the places you menchioned and have a nice relaxing few days there. I've been on many week long cruises and I could imagine getting off a ship in 2-3 days, I hate getting off after 1 week!
  • I wouldn't bother with a short cruise.  If you're considering Ft. Myers I suggest looking into Captiva Island.  We love staying at the South Seas Resort. 
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  • If I lived near the port ( within a 2 hour drive) I'd do it.  Flying in , no way....just too much travel involved for such a short time.
  • We've done 3 night ones as weekend getaways, but we don't have kids.  We just got back a week ago from one.  It is an easy flight for us from DC. I don't think I'd do a 2 night one unless I lived close you would only get one day on the ship.
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  • I wouldn't bother with a short cruise.. ESPECIALLY a Carnival Cruise.  Even there mid range ships have work to do, so I can't imagine an older ship. There aren't that many things to do on a small ship and by the time you get settled, it will be time to go. 

    I highly recommend Sarasota, Siesta Key, Clearwater or Treasure Island areas for beautiful beaches and lots of family friendly activities. 
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  • I would not take a kid on a weekend cruise.  They are too party-hearty drunk fests.  Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's far from family friendly.  Those low cruise fares aren't worth it after you factor in all the expense & hassle of getting there. 
  • I wouldn't bother on a cruise that short, it's just not worth it IMO. If it's the beach you're looking for I would find an amazing hotel and park yourselves for a few days beachfront. 
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  • I'd say, why not?  That's a great opportunity and you should grab it.  Your kid will probably enjoy this trip, and will remember it for the rest of his life.
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