What You Need to Know About 3-Day Cruises

by  Laura Motta | Jan 20, 2017
Carnival Elation in Grand Turk
Carnival Elation in Grand Turk / Carnival Cruise Line

A three-night cruise makes for a great getaway. Affordable and fuss-free to book, it can be a good way to extend a weekend and get some R&R without blowing all of your vacation time — or your budget. In fact, some of the lowest-priced cruises on the market are three-night cruises. In North America, these often depart from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, bound for the Caribbean.

Given the budget-friendly focus of these sailings, you’ll find they often take place on a cruise line’s older ships. They may not have the most cutting-edge technology or style, but the whole goal is to help you save. Some are so affordable (think $199 for the entire cruise) that they can technically be cheaper than staying home.

One thing to keep in mind when researching these cruises, though: You may see them referred to as three-night cruises or three-day cruises. And you might have noticed differences in the wording on cruise line websites, online travel agency sites, and here on ShermansCruise.

So what’s the difference?

Many websites advertising cruises like to use days to denote the length of a cruise. You may have even seen a “price per day” listed, with an absurdly low price. In cases like this, websites, cruise lines, and advertisers sometimes include the embarkation and/or disembarkation days in the number of days. Given that these days are short and don’t generally involve much sailing, this can be somewhat misleading. After all, you won’t accomplish much on the day your cruise ship disembarks — unless you’re willing to get up at 4 am for one last dip in the pool. (We don’t recommend this.)

A better policy, in general, is to think about cruises in terms of nights. This should give you a much clearer idea of the actual duration of the cruise and how long you’ll be on board. Think of it like staying at a hotel. It’s understood you can’t check in before the afternoon on your first day, and you’re expected to check out early on the last. Cruises work the same way.

Thinking of cruises in terms of the number of nights also helps you compare cruises — and cruise prices — in a completely clear way, especially when you’re evaluating sailings of different lengths. Simply divide the total price by the number of nights on the cruise — not days — and you can handily gauge the price per night, a key indicator of affordability.

To keep things easy for you, 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." Clearly, you can’t book just one or two nights of a three-night cruise, so we think it’s best to show you exactly what you’re paying for.

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