If you're a first-time cruiser, a mini cruise offers an excellent chance to see for yourself what to expect from a cruise, getting a taste for life at sea - and you may very well find yourself returning for longer sailings! If you're a frequent cruiser, a mini cruise also offers a short getaway, to enjoy all your favourite maritime indulgences.
Generally speaking, a mini cruise will sail from two to five or six nights. Many mini cruises leaving the UK (usually from Southampton) will sail to just one port for an overnight stay (if a two-night mini cruise; longer itineraries will visit more), commonly visiting Belgium, France, the Channel Islands, or Ireland. Slightly longer sailings will head further afield to include the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam), Germany, the Shetland Isles, Norway (Bergen), and Spain. However mini cruises originated in Miami and South Florida with three or four night cruises to the Bahamas, or New York to Bermuda; these are still popular today, and would make for a fun tailored fly-cruise package with an extended stay in America or the Caribbean.
Some mini-cruises will have a theme, perhaps a comedy or a music theme, or visiting Christmas markets or European battlefields or to see the Northern Lights, and they're generally more informal. They're becoming increasingly popular with hen or stag parties, or to mark special occasions such as wedding anniversaries or particular birthdays, often with multiple generations of families cruising together.