Planning a cruise over the winter holidays this year? These cruises are some of the most popular because the cruise lines create a wonderful, festive atmosphere on board with all the trimmings, including holiday dinners, activities and even a myriad of religious observances. In fact, it’s become a holiday tradition for many world travelers.
Another treasured tradition is the holiday gift exchange and happily, with a little planning, it can be done magnificently while on board. Here’s the secret: the true key to gift giving while traveling is to find thoughtful, compact presents that are easy to pack, while still creating that “Wow!” reaction we all love to see.
Here are 7 great reasons to take a holiday cruise:
- Relaxation at Its Finest – The holidays are a time to relax and recharge- something made simple on a cruise, where so much of the holiday preparation work is done for you! The food is made, the decorations are hung, activities are planned; the only thing you have to do is enjoy! There is simply no better way to spend an afternoon in December than lying poolside while sailing across the ocean or snorkeling through a secluded reef on a cruise line private island.
- No More Slaving in the Kitchen –Food preparation is one of the most exhausting demands of the season, but a top selling point of the cruise lines is the variety and quality of dining choices they offer. (Nobody goes hungry on a cruise vacation, especially during the holidays!) A variety of eats are available 24/7, and cruise menus fit the season, with world-class chefs preparing traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, plus special kosher foods during Hanukkah. Fill your plate with delectable turkey, creamy potatoes, and exceptionally decadent deserts… and that’s just a “taste” of a myriad of options. Even better, someone else does the cooking.
- Joyeux Noël! –A joyful season is all around! Cruise lines create a festive atmosphere for Thanksgiving and Christmas with special holiday meals, Christmas trees, sparkling lights, garlands and special events. You’ll find that many observe Christmas and Hanukkah customs and offer a variety of religious services onboard. Some even bring the season to life with artificial snow… and spend more than $100,000 annually on holiday decorations!
- Baubles, and Trinkets, and Treasures, Oh My! –A holiday cruise is a magical gift unto itself, but it doesn’t end there. Find treasures for yourself, and your loved ones, via the one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities onboard (The Jackie Kennedy Jewelry Collection on board the Golden Princess is quite reasonable and very beautiful) and in the foreign ports you visit while sailing. Special shipping arrangements can be made to get the gifts home. If Santa is going to visit the kids, the cruise lines recommend small token gifts that are easy to hide and transport. Leave big gifts at home to open before or after the trip.
- Ho, Ho, Ho! – No need for the young (and young at heart) to miss out their annual visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves! Many lines feature these special guests, and the experience is complete with Santa’s bag of goodies for the children on board. They make appearances on many ships during the holiday season in the spirit of fun and relaxation leading up to Christmas Day.
- New Year’s fun – Ringing in the New Year is a splash aboard a cruise ship. Elaborate parties take place at sea for people of all ages and tastes. Special food, entertainment, toasts, party favors and more make the night memorable. Plus, sports fans will love the New Year’s Day parties, complete with New Year’s Day football games.
- No snow – A holiday cruise is ideal for people looking for a change of scenery as colder weather moves in at home. Winter doldrums are just a memory on a cruise. Leave cold temperatures, snow and slush behind; instead, bask in the sunshine and swim in the waters of the warm Caribbean. With Caribbean temperatures in the low 80s during this time of year, the closest you’ll come to cold weather on a cruise ship is the air conditioning. (Some ships do feature snow falling in the ship’s atrium, but it is manmade- and wonderfully designed to melt before hitting the floor.)
See Thanksgiving Cruises
See Christmas Cruises
See New Year’s Cruises