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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.
    Friday, December 28 2012. The day I had emergency appendix surgery in Mexico and quit smoking. Proof that everything has a good side!! DH and I are happily child-free!! No due date or toddler tickers here!! my read shelf:
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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.
  • 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. 
    "I love being married. It's so great to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." - Rita Rudner
  • 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. 
  • 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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