Three-night cruises leave Friday afternoon, returning early Monday, and usually sail to the Bahamas or a private island.
Four-night cruises leave Thursday afternoon, returning early Monday, and usually sail to Mexico and Key West.
Other short cruises typically leave on Monday and return Friday, though other itineraries are available.
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Most weekend cruises can be purchased for about $100 per person per day; sometimes even cheaper deals are available.
Carnival Cruise Lines, three- and four-night weekend cruises from Miami. Some five-night sailings leave Saturday and return Wednesday. www.carnival.com.
Celebrity Cruises, four-night weekend cruises from Miami in winter, beginning in December. www.celebrity.com.
Discovery Cruise Line offers daily roundtrip cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Bahamas, that can be combined with hotel stays on the island. www.discoverycruiseline.com.
Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, two-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, with alternating Friday and Saturday departures. www.imperialmajesty.com.
Norwegian Cruise Line's three- and four-night cruises from Miami begin July 14. www.ncl.com.
Royal Caribbean, four-night weekend cruises from Fort Lauderdale and three- and- four-night cruises from Miami. Some five-night sailings leave Saturday and return Wednesday. www.rccl.com.
-- JANE WOOLDRIDGE