The seven-day cruise is the most popular and widely available itinerary, and major cruise lines offer week-long options all around the globe.
Many seven-day cruises pack in a lot of activity, with early morning excursion departures and late nights at the disco. If you want to mix a little relation with your exploration, look for an itinerary that offers at least one sea day so you can relax by the pool or in the spa, or take advantage of the activities onboard. After all, you don’t want to get home and realize you missed, say, the chance to ride bumper cars, blend your own wine, climb the ropes course, or learn to sky dive.
So, where can you cruise in a week? The most popular seven-day cruises are designed to meet the high demand for sunny island-hopping in the Caribbean, outdoor adventure in Alaska, or packing in a lot of sightseeing with three or four countries in Europe.
Year-round seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean typically embark from Miami or Fort Lauderdale and call on islands in the Eastern Caribbean or Western Caribbean. Islands in the former include St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten, while ports in the latter include Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Cozumel. To explore further south in the Caribbean (Barbados, St. Lucia, and Grenada, for example) look for a seven-day cruise departing from San Juan.
In Europe, you’ll find a wide choice of seven-day itineraries, including cruises that skirt the coasts of Northern Italy and Southern France, island hop from Mallorca to Corsica to Capri, explore the sun-splashed coastal cities of Spain and Portugal, visit the most alluring Greek Isles, call on the historic ports of Croatia or the British Isles, or follow the Midnight Sun from Stockholm to St. Petersburg.
One suggestion: Before you book a seven-day cruise that doesn’t embark and disembark from the same port — as is the case for many cruises in Europe — check flight options thoroughly. Roundtrip airfares, especially in peak season, are almost always cheaper than multi-city fares (such as flying to Venice and back from Athens).
Sun lovers, too, will find plenty of seven-day cruise options in the South Pacific. You can see all four major Hawaiian Islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii, the Big Island) in seven days or head to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, for a week of cruising the dreamy islands of Tahiti.
If Alaska is on your vacation radar, some seven-day cruises sail from Seattle and Vancouver to Whittier (Anchorage) on one-way itineraries, while others cruise roundtrip from both Pacific Northwest cities, making it as far north as Juneau or Skagway.