Emerald Princess will be the biggest Princess Cruises ship to ever be based in Australia.
Emerald Princess will be the biggest Princess Cruises ship to ever be based in Australia.

Every cruise fanatic or “frequent floater” out there needs to get their cruise fix somehow and when annual leave balances run out or schedules simply don’t permit a longer voyage, a sampler cruise can provide any old salt with the sea fix they need. For many, short sailings can also be a great way for experienced cruisers to bring family and friends who have never enjoyed the same feeling along for the ride. We’ve looked at some of the short sailings on the schedule for next summer and rounded up our favourites.

1. The Queensland Sampler

Pacific Eden Lido Pool Deck 2 (1280x854)

The Ship: Pacific Eden

The Date: 11 November 2016

The Duration: Four nights

The Itinerary: This four night sailing embarks in Cairns before sailing to Airlie Beach to explore the wonders of the Whitsundays. Guests can then enjoy two relaxing days at sea before reaching Sydney.

Why we love it: It’s a great way to add a cruise to a beautiful Far North Queensland holiday and an excellent opportunity to experience the new Pacific Eden.

2. Hop to Kangaroo Island

Adelaide was a recent stop for Cunard's Queen Mary 2 while in Australia.
Crowds line the bank for a glimpse at Queen Mary 2 during a recent stop in Adelaide.

The Ship: Queen Mary 2

The Date: 18 February 2017

The Duration: Four nights

The Itinerary: A four-night sailing that sets sail in Melbourne before heading around to South Australia’s popular Kangaroo Island before continuing back to the Victorian capital.

Why we love it: It’s not very often that Queen Mary 2 is even in our waters let alone offering a dedicated round trip short cruise, so this is a very special opportunity indeed. What’s more, this quick getaway cruise is sure to be attractive to both experienced and new cruisers eager for a tiny taste of Cunard luxury for a few days. We recently checked out the ship and found ten things we love about Queen Mary 2.

3. West Coast to Wineries

Board a cruise in Fremantle
Looking back at Fremantle from onboard a cruise ship.

The Ship: Sun Princess

The Date: 5 December 2016

The Duration: Five nights

The Itinerary: Boarding in Fremantle (the nearest port to Perth) before calling into the quaint seaside town of Albany. This is followed by two days at sea prior to reaching Kangaroo Island and finally disembarking in Adelaide.

Why we love it: This is also the cruise for railway buffs as a journey on the Indian Pacific or The Ghan – or even both – working into the schedule perfectly with this voyage! Sail aboard the ship for five nights before catching either train back home or hop on The Ghan up through the ‘Red Centre’ before flying home from Darwin.

4. Trans Tasman

Princess Cruises' Sea Princess sails out from Sydney on a coastal cruise
Sailing in or out of Sydney Harbour is the highlight of most coastal cruises.

The Ship: Various (Dawn Princess, Golden Princess, Sea Princess, Pacific Pearl, Aurora, Arcadia, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria)

The Date: Frequently during the October to April season

The Duration: 4-6 nights

The Itinerary: Embark in Sydney or Melbourne and cruise to Auckland or vice versa.

Why we love it : If a Trans-Atlantic cruise has always been on your bucket list but the distance or cost is prohibitive, a Trans-Tasman voyage may be just your cup of tea. These short ocean voyages cross the Tasman with leisurely days at sea and no more than one port of call – the majestic Bay of Islands. They give you a taste of everything that is great about ocean cruising without the hefty cost of flights to Europe or America to cross the Atlantic.

5. The Coastal Sampler

Lounge by the pool for a few days on a coastal sailing.
The pool deck on a Princess Cruises ship.

The Ship: Various (Dawn Princess, Golden Princess, Sea Princess, Sun Princess, Emerald Princess, Pacific Jewel, Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden)

The Date: Year-round

The Duration: 2-3 nights

The Itinerary: Embark in one domestic city and disembark in another.

Why we love it: These great deals often pop up for as cheap as $99 per person quad share for two nights. Yes you read that correctly – $99 per person for 2 nights, with many meals onboard included as well! This is a great low-cost way to earn credits for your Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle loyalty program as all P&O Australia voyages count towards your status with the program. They also provide a great chance to jump onboard a new ship and check her out. We also love that you don’t need a passport to enjoy these mini cruises.