To a novice cruiser, the difference between a 3-day and a 7-day cruise is the number of days. However, to most cruisers the difference is far more than the number of days. Most of the cruise lines use their older ships for the short itineraries to the Bahamas. Is this a bad thing? Not at all if you are interested in trying out a cruise for the very first time. Be aware though that the cruise experience on the short itineraries are not reflective of the cruise line as a whole.
Why is this? For starters, the older ships have less space and far less amenities. If you see the commercials on TV and get excited about all the latest and greatest activities that you can participate in while on a cruise, realize that those ships are either new or only a few years old. The older ships have the basics like dining with a main dining room and maybe even a specialty restaurant. On the newer ships you will be able to choose from several or more specialty dining options. Entertainment on the older ships include Broadway-like productions in the main theater. On the newer ships entertainment includes these types of productions, but also new and exciting options like Cirque du Soleil or the Blue Man Group on NCL Epic or a watershow in the AquaTheater on board Royal Caribbean‘s Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas. Overall, there is less variety and fewer choices, but to be honest if you have never sailed before, you won’t know that until you have.
One of my first cruises was aboard Royal Caribbean‘s Majesty of the Seas. Since then I have been back on board quite a few times. I enjoy being able to get away and enjoy a weekend on the water and it doesn’t really matter if we even go ashore. However, when I think about a cruise vacation, I definitely opt for the 7-day or longer cruise because I enjoy the larger ships with more options, but it also takes me a few days to finally relax and get into the groove of vacation. When I compare pricing between the short cruises and a longer cruise, the difference in price is often small. If you can arrange time off work for a 7-day cruise instead of a 3-day cruise, do it. You’ll enjoy the cruise vacation experience even more.