If you thought cruises were always epic voyages of two weeks or more, there might be a few more options you should take a look at. A mini cruise is a short break at sea, of anywhere between 1 and 5 days, and a great idea if you’re short on time or on a budget for your holidays. It’s the chance to relax with a loved one in the warm Mediterranean sun, or take the family away for a quick weekend adventure to Scandinavia.

To get you started with a few ideas, here are five fabulous mini cruise destinations you can try this year:

Hamburg and the Elbe

You can take to the seas on the Queen Elizabeth to Hamburg with Cunard and experience the vibe of Germany’s second largest city. Bodies of water such as the River Elbe and the Alster lake have made Hamburg renowned for its beauty. While in the city, you can stop by at the Kunsthalle, Germany’s largest art museum, or for that something a little bit different, you could always give yourself a fright at the Hamburg Dungeon!

Cruise to Amsterdam in winter

The Cunard Queen Elizabeth can also transport you to the Christmas markets in Amsterdam. You may need to wrap a scarf around you, but the Dutch good cheer will soon warm you up. Experience their renowned bonhomie while purchasing cool Christmas gifts on the markets in Leidseplein and Koningsplein squares, before tucking into festive foods and zipping around on the ice rink.

Hop over to the Channel Islands

Fancy a mini cruise to the Channel Islands? The P & O Cruises ship Britannia will whisk you away to the popular St Peter’s Port, Guernsey in no time at all. Here, the harbour sits under the watchful eye of the Castle Cornet, which houses five different museums. Literature enthusiasts might like to take a wander to Hauteville House, the home of the French writer Victor Hugo.

Take a French Cruise

Francophiles may also wish to book a cruise with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, who run a mini cruise to Le Havre, France, in the run-up to Christmas. The Balmoral will carry you to this city in Normandy which rebuilt itself after the turmoil of the forties and remains a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the 350 foot tower of the Saint Joseph church symbolising Le Havre’s spirit of survival and renewal. You can also visit Le Volcan, the city’s main cultural destination, or see rare plants in the gorgeous green outdoors and greenhouses of the Jardins Suspendus, once a hilltop fortress. And don’t miss the chance to take an optional excursion to Paris while you’re within reach!

Dublin mini cruises

Ever fancied Dublin for a weekend? Again Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is happy to oblige. The charming city of Dublin boasts museums aplenty, such as the National Gallery of Ireland, home to works by Vermeer, Caravaggio and Van Gogh, but there are other ways to enjoy the city too. How about taking a cycle on one of several cycle routes? The Canal Way cycle route covers 3.6 kilometres and provides the chance to take in the docklands and café culture along the way.

A mini cruise is a different type of travel experience, enabling travellers who are pushed for time to see the world from a unique perspective. If you’re intrigued by a mini cruise, we offer a range of different routes from the UK, just take a look over on our main site for more details.

Images by Cunard, Rex Roof and zigazou76, used under Creative Commons licence.

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