The Difference Between a 3-day and 5-day Cruise

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Earlier today I was at lunch with a friend and she wanted to buy her folks a cruise for Christmas, then the million dollar question came up — Whats the difference between a 3-day cruise and a 5-day cruise?

I explained to her the differences that I thought of off hand and they were straight forward and common points.  I figured this would be good to write about because its a question I get asked a lot but have never covered. I listed them in bullet point form, exactly how I explained them.

Keep in mind when I say older crowd, I use that term loosely. 🙂

3-day Cruise

  • Quick escape (wedding parties, girl friend getaways, etc.)
  • Younger crowd
  • Less kids running around
  • One or no sea days (depending on cruise line)
  • Port generally has to be close to destination (Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami)
  • One formal night
  • Less money to budget for spending/tipping

5-day Cruise

  • People tend to use these for a vacation
  • Older crowd with families
  • Kids generally
  • More money needed for spending/tipping
  • Generally two formal nights
  • Ports don’t have to be close to the destination (Tampa, Fla. or Mobile, Ala.)
  • Used for honeymoon cruises or family reunions
  • Usually two days at sea

I want to clarify what a day at sea is. A day at sea is used for traveling to the next destination, mostly used on the first part of the voyage or last day. I know it may sound obvious but to the non-cruiser, it could sound misleading.

Also, watch out for fly by night 3-day cruise companies, make sure you heavily research before you buy. I am NOT talking about the big players (NCL, RCCL, and CCL). The big players in the cruise industry have lots of credibility.

What is your compares and contrasts from the three and five day cruises that you have taken?




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