Those of us who work Monday to Friday just can’t help but count down to the weekend. But is it us, or are Saturday and Sunday the shortest two days of the week? Rather than wallowing in self-pity until our summer cruise holiday rolls around, we’ve been thinking of ways to make the most of our weekends. Top of our list? A mini cruise.

A mini cruise is the perfect way to spend a weekend, especially if you live within a short distance of a cruise port. Throw some bits in your weekend bag and bid farewell to Saturdays in the supermarket and Sundays at the garden centre; a mini cruise is the best way to get more holiday for less annual leave. Here’s our pick of the best short breaks.

Cunard

Forget what you think you know about mini-cruises, because Cunard offers one quite unlike any other; if you’ve always wanted to experience the White Star Service, now is your chance.

Board Cunard’s iconic flagship Queen Mary 2 and set sail from Southampton for two or three nights of ultimate luxury. You’ll dine on the world-class cuisine for which the age-old cruise line is most famous, sample the delights of the Cunard Insights programme and enjoy entertainment from its excellent performers. Whether you choose a fly-cruise or cruise only, you’ll struggle to find a more luxurious, yet surprising good value, way to spend a weekend.

Queen Mary 2 im Geiranger Fjord, Mittelnorwegen, Norwegen

Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room, Cunard

P&O Cruises

As P&O Cruises’ homeport, Southampton welcomes the fleet to its waters on an incredibly regular basis. Those who have previously only enjoyed a P&O Ferries mini-cruise should expect something totally different on a P&O Cruises mini-cruise. Board brand new ship Britannia and spend three nights finding out what all the fuss is about, as you venture to the pretty Channel Island of Guernsey. Alternatively, get to know fan favourite Ventura, a ship which is perhaps the most popular in the P&O Cruises fleet. A mini-cruise can be a brilliant way to see the charming city of Paris, which is just a short bus journey away from the port of Le Havre. You can go crazy in the Belgian chocolate shops of Brussels too, before landing back on your doorstep in time to crack on with the working week.

Mini Cruise to Paris

Fred Olsen

Thanks to its ports around the country, Fred Olsen offers some of the most varied mini cruise itineraries of any cruise line. Ships sail from ports including Greenock, Bristol, Tilbury and Liverpool, and destinations range from Dublin to Lisbon. Fred Olsen are famous for their themed cruises and they offer a variety of themed mini cruises; enjoy comedy at sea on route to Tenerife or party like it’s the 1970’s again on your way to Bruges.

Fred Olsen mini cruise

Lisbon Mini Cruise

A Cheeky Holiday Extra

It might sound a little extravagant but a mini-cruise can even be incorporated into a longer holiday. Royal Caribbean offer regular sailings from ports including Miami and Fort Lauderdale, with ships sailing to CocoCay, Bahamas and Nassau. If you’re planning on spending a fortnight in Florida or Miami, a short cruise can be a great way to do a little island-hopping whilst you’re there. Plus the amazing facilities on board Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship are great fun for the whole family.

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Miami South Beach sunrise with lifeguard tower and coastline with colorful cloud and blue sky.