3-Day California Cruises

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Book a three-day cruise for a relaxing, short vacation.
Book a three-day cruise for a relaxing, short vacation. (Image: cruise ship image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com)

If you're looking for a vacation, but don't have time to take off from work, a three-day cruise might be for you. Multiple cruise lines offer three-day cruises from California's cruise terminals, which include Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Choose your cruise based on where you want to depart from and where you'd like to sail.

Holland America: Amsterdam

Depart from the Port of Los Angeles--park in one of the cruise terminal's 2,560 secured parking spaces--and board a cruise bound for Vancouver, British Columbia.

Spend three days at sea on Holland America's MS Amsterdam--there are no ports of call on this itinerary--dining, relaxing and being entertained. Cruise Critic, a leading cruising website, names the Amsterdam as one of the best ships for first-time cruisers.

The ship features a culinary arts center, sponsored by Food and Wine magazine, and offers cooking classes, demonstrations and tastings. There's also opportunity to dine in a variety of atmospheres, from the upscale La Fontaine dining room to the relaxed Lido Room.

In its review, Cruise Critic notes Amsterdam's newer amenities alongside its traditional, regal elegance. It's not stuffy, though--the ship offers plenty of fun for children at Club HAL for ages three to 12 and the Loft and the Oasis for teenagers.

Holland America Line 300 Elliott Ave. W. Seattle, WA 98119 206-281-3535 hollandamerica.com

Carnival: Paradise

If you'd rather set sail for warmer climates, Carnival offers a three-day cruise along the Mexican Riviera with departure from Los Angeles. The ship makes one stop in Ensenada, Mexico, a beach resort town on the Baja Peninsula.

Carnival's ship Paradise only makes three- and four-day jaunts to Baja Mexico, drawing plenty of passengers from the Southwestern states of Arizona, Nevada and California, according to Cruise Critic. Carnival is well-known for catering to family cruisers, and that's evident in its Twister Waterside attached to the pool, multiple kids clubs, video arcade and mini-golf course. There's also a water retreat just for adults, though, as well as a full spa.

Carnival Cruise Lines 3655 N.W. 87th Ave. Miami, FL 33178 888-227-6482 carnival.com

Carnival: Elation

San Diego cruises can also travel to Mexico on Carnival's ship Elation. The three-day itinerary stops in Cabo San Lucas.

Much like Paradise, Elation features plenty of fun on board. Choose from dancing the night away at Jekyll & Hyde Dance Club, trying your luck at the casino or catching a show at the Mikado lounge. Kids have their own options for a good time at Camp Carnival, Circle "C" or Club O2, depending on their age.

There's also an option to keep in shape on the ship at the spa. The 12,000-square-foot fitness center features treadmills, Stairmasters, elliptical machines and stationery bicycles, according to Cruise Critic. Those looking for a group workout can take a yoga or pilates class for a fee.

Carnival Cruise Lines 3655 N.W. 87th Ave. Miami, FL 33178 888-227-6482 carnival.com

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