Is a 3-day cruise worth it?

TravelMomX3

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Hoping to experience a 3 day Disney Cruise next year. We're a 2 hour flight away from Florida, and would do a long weekend with 3 elementary-aged kids. Is this enough time to enjoy the cruise? Or should we go for a longer period of time.
 

Kwami

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
If you want a long weekend to avoid pulling the kids out of school too much, then the 3-night cruise is really your only choice. Compared to the 4-night option you lose a day at sea and one main restaurant menu. Currently, you would also miss the Believe show, which is... mediocre, anyway. I think it would be a nice long weekend. I don't know if I'd want to fly 2 hours each way for it, though.
 

HiStitch626

Tookie bah wah bah!
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
It will certainly give you a taste of DCL and then you can decide if cruising is the right vacation option for your family.

Hopefully, things will be more normal by next year. If so, there will be a different stage show each evening and you will get to experience all three of the main dining rooms. They each have their own special touches and unique menus. A 3-night usually includes one day in Nassau and one at CC. Some people stay on the ship in Nassau or spend just a short time onshore so they have more time to explore the offerings onboard. There are lots of activities for you to do as a family, but your kids may also enjoy the club activities, while you have some adult time.

If you do enjoy it, make sure and do a placeholder before you disembark. This is a $250 deposit and will get you 10% of your next cruise as long as you sail within 24 months.
 

KVH

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
3 days or 3 nights? Two different things. Be careful as to what counts for a "day". Also, add another day 'cause you're gonna wanna be at the port the evening before. So don't forget to account for that transfer, hotel night and meals. I really, really wouldn't plan to fly day of (no matter what some might tell you).

All that said, for a 2-hour flight (especially with the way travel is now), I don't think it's worth it. You'll unpack one day and pack up the next. 2 hour drive, sure thing. If you've never been on DCL, yeah, it's an inexpensive way to learn about their cruising. Me - I consider anything less than 8/9 nights not worth the effort at this point so take what I say with a grain of salt.
 

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Hoping to experience a 3 day Disney Cruise next year. We're a 2 hour flight away from Florida, and would do a long weekend with 3 elementary-aged kids. Is this enough time to enjoy the cruise? Or should we go for a longer period of time.
If you don't wanna miss too much school, it's a good solution. I believe you can make the best of it if you pick your priorities and don't expect to do everything. I'd pick a very short excursion in Nassau or would stay on the ship and just get off at Castaway Cay.
 

Chrissy-Mickey

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 23, 2016
We have our first 3-night cruise booked next month. It will be our 7th Disney cruise but first on the Fantasy. We're worried that 3-nights will feel too short, but it's not our annual vacation, it's just a quick getaway that requires us to only take one day off and was a great deal with the Florida resident rate. I hope that going into this with that mindset, we'll be able to enjoy it for what it is.
 

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  • JWelch62

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2017
    We've done a few 3Ns, and even a few 2Ns as part of a B2B. I would never do a 2N on its own. I find the 3N just a bit too short. 4N is a good place to start, but with kids the 3N may be your best option if you want to limit missed school days.
     

    Lillebelle

    Luck favors the prepared
    Joined
    Aug 3, 2021
    We just did a 3N on the Wonder that was a 1.5 hour flight away, and I was surprised that we actually got a lot out of it even with the relatively short amount of time. That said, we did not have our small children with us (so only had to pack for two adults) and we have done several cruises before so we had a rough idea of what to prioritize and what could wait for a longer cruise.

    I think if you're looking at it as a weekend getaway and not your big vacation for the year, the 3N could still be fun. But, if 4N wouldn't be too disruptive for your kids and is an option for you in terms of budget, time off work, etc., the extra day would certainly let you enjoy more of what there is to see and do.
     

    cvjw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2005
    We just did our first 3 night on the dream. All our other cruises were a week or longer on the fantasy. We were surprised how relaxing it was and it felt longer than 3 days. Granted, we didn’t do any activities or entertainment. Just spent our days on deck 13 or serenity bay.
     

    bethy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2007
    We have our first 3-night cruise booked next month. It will be our 7th Disney cruise but first on the Fantasy. We're worried that 3-nights will feel too short, but it's not our annual vacation, it's just a quick getaway that requires us to only take one day off and was a great deal with the Florida resident rate. I hope that going into this with that mindset, we'll be able to enjoy it for what it is.
    It depends on your goal. I would do it for the above reasons - a great rate, living near the port, and just wanting to do a little fun Disney magic. Kind of like going to WDW for a day.

    I can also some value in missing as little school as possible. I guess since Disney cruises are so pricey I wouldn't want a 3 night cruise to take away from a more restful vacation.

    That said - travel is tough in these times and cruising is even tougher. We have to fly 6 hours and wouldn't do that for less than a 7 day cruise or land/cruise combo. My minimum for a flight that long with kids is usually 9-10 days to make the effort worth it.
     
  • Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    Hoping to experience a 3 day Disney Cruise next year. We're a 2 hour flight away from Florida, and would do a long weekend with 3 elementary-aged kids. Is this enough time to enjoy the cruise? Or should we go for a longer period of time.
    Yes, you can certainly enjoy a 3-night cruise. We're a 2.5 hour flight from Orlando & Miami, and have enjoyed two 3-night cruises, one of which was our first cruise. I also have a solo 3-night cruise booked for the end of this month, and am looking forward to it.

    Longer cruises are more immersive, but it's also possible for you or the kids to get restless during them, because there is a fair amount of repetition in a cruise. It's a matter of personality and personal taste, what length of cruise you'll like best. Our favorite is 5 nights, which is like spending a work week at sea.

    The key to enjoying a 3 night is being able to relax and not run around manically trying to do it all in order to get your money's worth. Your money went toward a great, extended weekend getaway, and you'll get that if you focus on doing what you want and let go of the rest. Do you really want to see the shows? Then go to them- they're good. If you're not interested, then skip them, no matter that people told you that they're a must-do. If you feel like spending an evening watching Disney on demand in the stateroom eating room service treats rather than a full meal in the MDR, then do that. Remember that the opportunity to be relaxed and carefree is part of what you paid for when you booked the cruise.

    If possible, fly in the day before, so that you aren't tired or stressed on your first day of the cruise. Have your bathing suits in your carry-on bags, so that you can use the pool or waterslide upon boarding, if you want. Having some real fun on embarkation day helps a 3-night cruise to feel longer; don't treat it as a throwaway day. I also recommend fully unpacking and not living out of your suitcase. Making your cabin into a home away from home contributes to the feeling of even a short cruise being a true vacation getaway from the stressors of daily life.
     
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    ladyofthetramp

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2014
    Our first cruise was this length. And we still do them from time to time. We are about 2.5 hours from Orlando by air. If you can fly in the day before (recommended) early, then you have the whole day to explore either in Orlando or at the port. And leave later in the day after you disembark allows you time to have lunch at a WDW resort fore you fly home (you do have to rent a car). It makes for a great and relaxing long weekend. Nothing more decadent than a short, but sweet relaxing cruise.
     

    daisyx3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2009
    I have taken one 7 night, three 4 night, and one three night. The three night did seem short, but we are going on a 3 night the first weekend of November. I am a teacher and this will be my first cruise during the school year--just me and my husband. I wanted to do a Merrytime so here we are and I'm only using 2 personal days (flying out late Thursday night from Detroit). We have a sea day and CC, so our main goal other than holiday decor is just relaxing.
     

    OhDannyBoy

    DISdad #850
    Joined
    Jan 10, 2014
    We used to do weekend cruises to the Bahamas quite a bit. Benefits of living 20 minutes from Port Everglades.

    I've only been on one 5 day cruise and that was just about too much for me. I've never been on a Disney cruise.
     

    Mango7100

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2019
    We have done a 4 night and a 5 night—both we drove in the night before in order to be sure we didn’t have any travel surprises that morning. For me, even having a 5 night instead of a 4 made a huge difference in relaxing and not feeling pressure to do everything. Both we didn’t even leave the ship in Nassau in order to have more time to enjoy the ship. The first day is really a half day and it takes us a day on a new ship to just figure out where everything is. But a 3 night can give you a taste of cruising, but a small taste in which you may not be able to do everything you initially want to do.
     

    ruadisneyfan2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 20, 2006
    I did a 2 night cruise from NYC, it was fabulous. But I lived in North jersey and it was a quick drive to the port. Worth every minute.
    Yes! We live in South Jersey and it was an easy train ride from Hamilton Station and then taxi to the port. Very stress free. It was just our younger ds and myself; he was 12 then. Older ds was 15 at the time. He and dh felt it was too short so why bother. I took a Friday off and we had a wonderful weekend with lots of pictures sailing past the Statue of Liberty. Camera flashes were flying in both directions. It was nice to be able to book another placeholder too. Following the map channel, it looked like we sailed south to approximately VA Beach then turned around back to NYC. I would totally do it again.

    To answer OP, I used to laugh at the thought of doing a 3-nt cruise. Our first 5-6 Disney cruises were all 7 nts on the Magic. This was back when the options were 7 nts on the Magic or 3/4 nts on the Wonder. It seemed like too much work for such a short trip. Well, depending on your stage in life, you might find yourself in desperate need of a DCL fix and just don't have a full week off work or can't pull your kids out of school for a whole week. I was in some desperate need of sunshine, Wilderness Lodge and DCL so we spent a day at MK/WL then sailed a 3-nt. It seemed crazy: like we board, the next night is already Pirate Night, then disembark but it helped keep me sane through a cold, dark winter.
    There were plenty of times later when our kids would have a Thursday & Friday off school and we'd squeeze in a quickie 3-nt.
    Dh and I just sailed a 3-nt again in late August when I wasn't sure how comfortable I'd feel in post covid world of cruising. Now I'm ready for longer. Our 14 nt WBPC sailing, booked before covid, was cancelled for 2021, rebooked for 2022 and we're hoping it still happens.

    Just know that you will most likely want a longer one next time. As kids get older, it's not so easy to pull them out of school.
     

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