Best Mini Cruises in Europe

Embarking on a mini cruise is the best way to get a taste for life at sea on a budget and within a short space of time. Whilst standard cruise itineraries generally last between seven and 14 nights and usually cost upwards of £500, mini cruises are usually two to five nights long and generally start from as little as £199 per person.

Best European Mini Cruises: Fred Olsen's Balmoral
Fred Olsen’s Balmoral via Flickr, R~P~M / CC 2.0

With such a vast assortment of cities and countries packed in tightly together, Europe is one of the best locations in the world to take a mini cruise. If you’d like to see some of the continent’s most important cities in less than one week, check out our selection of the best European mini cruises.

Best European Mini Cruises: Bruges in Belgium
Bruges in Belgium via Flickr, Wolfgang Staudt / CC 2.0

Best European Mini Cruises

P&O Cruises UK

Offering a fantastic selection of two-, three-, four-, five- and six-night cruises is P&O Cruises UK. All of these cruises begin and end in Southampton in the UK. These cruises stop at all sorts of famous cities in Western Europe, including Bruges in Belgium, La Havre (for Paris) in France and St Peter Port in Guernsey. Most of P&O’s mini cruises are held on the Oceana, Ventura, Azura, Oriana and Arcadia liners, although there are also selected itineraries onboard the brand new and prestigious Britannia ship.

Prices start from £229pp full board for a three-night cruise in the October during the mid-term school holidays.

Best European Mini Cruises: Bagnoli, Naples in Italy
Abandoned industrial area at Bagnoli, Naples at sunset via Flickr, Alessandro Tortora / CC 2.0

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Another popular option in our list of best European mini cruises is Royal Caribbean. This cruise company features three-, four- and five-night cruises onboard the Anthem of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas – all of which are incredibly luxurious liners with excellent facilities. Ports of all include Zeebrugge in Brussels, Cannes, Marseille and Le Havre in France, Naples and Civitavecchia (for Rome) in Italy and Belgium. Several itineraries begin and end in Barcelona in Spain, so why not extend your holiday and stay at a hotel in Barcelona before or after your cruise?

Prices start from £399pp full board for a three-night cruise in May.

Best European Mini Cruises: Amsterdam Canal in the Netherlands
Amsterdam Canal in the Netherlands via Flickr, Eduardo Arcos / CC 2.0

Fred Olsen’s Cruises

For something more affordable, try Fred Olsen’s mini cruises. These two- and three-night cruises take in iconic cities such as Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Le Havre and Rouen in France, Zeebrugge in Belgium and Dublin in Ireland. One of the itineraries starts off at Southampton and ends in Portugal, where you can spend a few nights at a hotel in Lisbon and make the most of the alluring, historic city before flying back to the UK. Most Fred Olsen mini cruises are on the Braemar or Balmoral ships, both of which are known for their small, cosy size and superb gourmet restaurants.

Prices start from £199pp full board for a two-night cruise in April.

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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