Five holiday ideas for the perfect short break with friends

Bond with your besties on one of these great-value, activity-packed short cruises.

Carnival’s recent survey of more than 1,200 Aussies revealed that, for many of us, connecting with friends and family is a holiday highlight. In fact, the survey found relaxing with our mates and extended family is one of the top two activities that define a holiday, alongside experiencing new things.

Most of us have spent a lot of time with our families during the past year-and-a-half, but catching up with close friends has been much more difficult. So, as travel planning comes back into focus, there’s never been a better time to start planning a getaway with your close pals (and maybe even getting all the kids together too).

Here are five short-break cruises that can help you reconnect with friends – without breaking the bank.

3-Day Getaway from Sydney (Carnival Splendor)

It’s all aboard one of our most impressive ships for three days of non-stop entertainment and glorious ocean vistas. Feeling active? Gather your buddies for a day of aquatic fun, including a fling (or three) on the epic Green Lightning waterslide and a sunset screening of the latest blockbuster while you relax by the pool. See which of your friends emerges victorious when you tackle mini golf or relive your youth at the video-game arcade. Spend the afternoon getting creative in a mixology class and then prepare ready for an evening of karaoke, comedy and piano bar lounge fun. And when you want to switch off – don’t forget to book a group session in the Thalassotherapy pool at our signature Cloud 9 Spa – it’s the ultimate bonding exercise. 

Green Lightning waterslide

3-Day Getaway from Brisbane (Carnival Spirit)

Make unforgettable memories with your closest pals on this adventure-filled cruise into international waters. Carnival Spirit is the only vessel in our fleet with a dedicated creative studio, SoulPlay, offering classes in painting, jewellery design and much more. At the Punchliner Comedy Club, you and your mates can kick back while some of Australia’s premier comedians share their best gags. And if group retail therapy tickles your fancy, you’re in luck: many shopping selections aboard the Spirit are duty-free.  

5-Day Tasmania from Sydney (Carnival Splendor)

For the perfect combination of at-sea relaxation and on-land exploration, look no further than Carnival’s signature Tasmanian trip, departing Sydney. On Day 3, you and your companions will love discovering compact, walkable Hobart, with its bustling central market, handsome heritage buildings and tucked-away cafes. Then it’s overnight to Port Arthur, Tasmania’s most-visited attraction, where you’ll gain remarkable insight into the island’s history as a penal settlement. Back on board, there are restaurants, bars and activities galore for your group to experience together – think of evenings filled with craft cocktails, karaoke and Broadway-style shows. (Please note: ports & port order may vary).

4-Day Airlie Beach from Brisbane (Carnival Spirit)

Airlie Beach is the main hub for the Whitsunday Islands, offering visitors an unbeatable range of activities that can each be done in a day. You’re sure to find a group excursion that appeals: perhaps a trip via catamaran to the world’s most photographed stretch of sand, Whitehaven Beach; a snorkelling adventure in a pristine corner of the Great Barrier Reef; or an energy-fuelled jet-ski tour of the region’s myriad islands. After all that excitement, unwind together aboard the Carnival Spirit, home to more than a dozen dining venues from the poolside Guy’s Burger Joint to the made-to-order Bonsai Sushi, a la carte dining, 24/7 pizza & ice cream and more!

4-Day Tangalooma Resort, Moreton Island from Sydney (Carnival Splendor)

Located in south-eastern Queensland, Moreton Island is the third-largest sand island in the world. There’s so much fun for you and your pals to pack into the day ashore at Tangalooma Resort, with white sandy beaches, sliding down sand dunes, sea-scootering through the Tangalooma Wrecks dive site, wild dolphin feeding, and that’s just naming a few.

This is truly one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Whether you’re swimming in the crystal clear waters, whale watching or quad biking, you’ll have easy access to all of the incredible sights onshore and be able to step back into complete serenity aboard afterwards; a perfect day for reconnection.