Everything You Need to Know About Two-Day Cruise Deals

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Feb 3, 2017
Disney Wonder cruising out of Galveston
Disney Wonder cruising out of Galveston / Disney Cruise Line

Think of the two-day cruise as the sample size of the high seas. If you try it and don’t like it, you haven’t spent all that much money and all of your vacation days don’t go to waste. If you do like it, you’re inspired to go all-in next time.

These short-but-sweet itineraries — which are actually two nights of cruising and just one day at sea or in a nearby port — are great for first-time cruisers looking to test the waters. Even those who’ve cruised before can book a two-day cruise to try out a new ship or a different cruise line than the one they typically book. And with prices as low as $159 per person for an inside cabin (based on double occupancy), these mini-cruises are a great option for a birthday, anniversary, or engagement celebration with friends.

Just keep in mind that your two-day cruise — which is how many cruise line websites and online travel agency sites refer to them — will in actuality be two nights, but only one-and-a-half days. On embarkation day (Day One) you’ll typically board in the early afternoon and set sail around 5:00pm or 6:00pm, with Day Two being a full day in port (or you can opt to stay onboard and treat the ship as a resort), with disembarkation as early as 7:00am the following day.

It’s also important to point out that two-day cruise options are much more limited than three-day and four-day itineraries. You’ll find two-day cruises offered on Carnival's Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination from Long Beach, Calif. to Ensenada, Mexico, or on Carnival Victory from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas — older ships, which, while refurbished, lack the bells and whistles of newer vessels. Disney, too, offers two-day escapes from San Diego to Ensenada on Disney Wonder, while Princess has them from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas. Occasionally, you can also book two-day cruises in Europe, mostly when ships reposition in between longer itineraries. Celebrity, Norwegian, Cunard, Costa, and MSC all offer these types of two-day sailings.

So is a two-day cruise actually worth it? If you live close to a major cruise port (for example, in southern Florida or southern California) and want to feel like you’ve escaped your daily routine for 36-plus hours, these affordable getaways are just the ticket. It can also be fun to tag a two-day cruise to the Bahamas onto a trip to Miami or use a two-day sailing to travel between two European ports rather than fly. However, when it comes to pricing — and determining your cost per night (the true measure of value) — two-day cruises don’t always deliver bargains like some five-day and seven-day cruises do. Even so, if you think of it as two nights at a hotel (plus at least six meals), the cost-per-night per person can still be a decent deal.

By thinking of cruises in terms of the number of nights, you’ll also be able to compare cruises — and cruise prices — in an apples-to-apples way, especially when you’re evaluating sailings of different lengths. To do so, divide the total price by the number of nights you’ll actually sleep on the ship and you can best determine the price per night, a key indicator of affordability. 

With that in mind, ShermansCruise always lists its cruise deals with a number of nights, not days. And we’ll never list cruises with a price “per night” or “per day." Just remember that as you search for your next cruise — and you’ll easily gauge exactly what you’re paying for.

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