Mini cruises are the perfect way to satisfy your appetite for cruising, not taking up too much time and often being very cost-efficient. Take a quick trip to the Netherlands, sample Cunard’s Queen Victoria and experience the charm of the Channel Islands, with princes as little as £249.
Let’s go Dutch
Visit pretty Haarlem, famous for its medieval streets and gabled houses, while sailing on Ventura – that means Eric Lanlard’s afternoon teas, wines by Olly Smith and P&O’s famous entertainment.
4-night ‘Western Europe’ cruise aboard Ventura, round trip from Southampton via IJmuiden (for Haarlem), departing 7 February 2020, from £399. pocruises.com
Cruise like a queen
Sample Cunard’s legendary ocean liner experience for a couple of nights aboard Queen Victoria. Bask in the Royal Bath House thermal suite, try a five-star afternoon tea and enjoy a tipple at the Gin & Fizz bar – then explore trendy Hamburg, steeped in maritime history.
- 2-night ‘Southampton to Hamburg’ cruise aboard Queen Victoria, round trip departing 28 March 2020, from £309 inc return flight. cunard.com
Wander the historic streets of Antwerp and Amsterdam in the glorious spring sunshine, visiting the tulip fields and stocking up on Belgian chocolate, all while enjoying the hospitality of Columbus, CMV’s popular modern flagship that hosts an array of mini cruises.
- 3-night ‘Spring Break to Antwerp’ cruise aboard Columbus, from Amsterdam to Rotterdam via Antwerp, departing 6 May 2020, from £449. cruiseandmaritime.com
Take a break in Bruges
Rainy April calls for comfort food, so where better to head than magical, medieval Bruges, with its cobbled streets, legendary restaurants, bars and artisan chocolatiers? You’ll also experience Britannia, with eateries by Marco Pierre White and shows at Headliners theatre.
- 2-night ‘Western Europe’ cruise aboard Britannia, round trip from Southampton via Bruges, departing 10 April 2020, from £290. pocruises.com
Charming Channel Islands
Guernsey is filled with picture-postcard scenery, pretty villages and fascinating WWII relics, and it’s just a short cruise away. Ease yourself towards winter with this relaxing mini-cruise, also stopping in Zeebrugge for Brussels and Bruges.
- 4-night ‘Belgium and Channel Islands Sampler’ cruise aboard Crown Princess, round trip from Southampton via Zeebrugge and Guernsey, departing 7 October 2020, from £399. princess.com
Staycation at sea
A cruise to nowhere may seem like a strange concept, but that means three full days aboard Fred Olsen’s Black Watch. Use the time you save on shore visits to luxuriate in the Jacuzzi, indulge in afternoon tea and treat yourself to five-course gourmet dinners – all while breathing in lots of fresh sea air.
- 2-night ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ aboard Black Watch, from Southampton to Liverpool, departing 24 March 2020, from £249. fredolsencruises.com