If your holiday plans this year include cruising during Christmas with your loved ones, you’re all in for a very merry time. Holiday cruises to exotic destinations such as Mexico, The Bahamas and the Caribbean take you far from typical winter weather but you’ll still be surrounded by twinkling stars, sparkling lights and an atmosphere overflowing with all the fun and festivities of the season. There’s no need to worry about Santa struggling to find you out at sea because the man himself will be flying in from the North Pole for a special visit to your ship. With your holiday itinerary packed with days of endless fun onboard and at incredible ports of call, you’ll certainly be full of the Christmas spirit when it comes time to greet him.
1. Onboard Entertainment
During the holiday season, you’re invited to enjoy a variety of special entertainment offerings. Guests can watch their favorite Christmas movies at the Carnival Seaside Theater, at their stateroom televisions or at Camp Ocean. A major highlight is the spectacular live Holiday Show presented on stage by professional singers and dancers as well as talented kids. Dr. Seuss fans young and old will be delighted to see an appearance by The Grinch.
2. Christmas Shopping
Don’t worry if you didn’t get all your Christmas shopping done before you set off for your winter cruise, because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to buy unique gifts at the fun shops onboard and at every port of call. Cruise to Nassau, for example, and you can find handmade straw purses, woodcarvings and shell jewelry at the historic Straw Market. Perhaps you have friends back home who’d love a bottle of tequila from a Tequileria in Cozumel, Mexico, coffee from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica or pearl earrings from Grand Cayman. Back on the ship, clothing, fine jewelry, beauty items and sweet candy treats are all available at a variety of shops.
From the moment you step onboard for your Christmas cruise, you’ll be immersed in an atmosphere of holly, jolly cheer. Your ship will be dressed to the nines in celebration of the season, with decorated Christmas trees large and small, beautiful wreaths, an abundance of glittering stars and snowflakes, and what will seem like millions of twinkling lights all around. As you explore the ship with your significant other, look out for mistletoe overhead — you shouldn’t miss the opportunity for a sweet Christmas kiss.
4. Christmas Dinner
A delicious Christmas dinner is offered onboard, and it includes all the traditional foods you love, including oven-roasted turkey with all the trimmings. The best part (OK, maybe not better than the freshly baked pumpkin pie) is no cooking and no dishes!
5. Magical Moments
The Spirit of the Season Atrium Moments is a series of events uniquely designed for Christmas cruises. The ceremonial Tree Lighting (on select ships only) is the first of the three holiday celebrations, taking place in the atrium lobby on the first evening of a Christmas cruise. The tallest of many Christmas trees on the ship is illuminated in unison with the sentimental sounds of classic holiday music. Let it Snow invites you to play in a winter wonderland with real snow, as well as sing carols and classic Christmas songs. ‘Tis the Season welcomes Santa Claus with songs, bell ringing and competitions for the best ugly sweater or festive holiday hat.
6. Christmas Traditions
Timeless Christmas traditions take place onboard, so your family won’t need to miss out on its favorite seasonal activities. A non-denominational Christmas service is offered on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, featuring bible stories, hymns and prayer. You can also sing carols together around the tree, do some Christmas-themed arts and crafts, and mail letters to Santa in a special mailbox in the lobby.
Your home might be sitting under several feet of snow but the cold will be far from your mind when you’re soaking up the sun beside the pool or snorkeling in the calm Caribbean Sea. Sure, you already mailed out Christmas cards featuring snowmen and you might have a fleeting desire for hot chocolate by a roaring fire… But those thoughts fade as you write postcards adorned with palm trees and sip on a cool cocktail served in a coconut.
8. Room Service
All you want for Christmas is breakfast in bed… On a cruise you can have just that, with 24-hour room service. Call in the morning for steaming hot coffee and breakfast in bed. You might feel like having some snacks while you’re watching a movie in your stateroom or ice cream before bed — they’re just a phone call away.
9. Family Time
Christmas at home involves plenty of family time but it’s always interrupted by the tasks of day-to-day life. Mom is driving the kids to and from friends’ houses, Dad is in the garage untangling strings of lights, you have an office party to attend and neighbors dropping by unexpectedly. When you’re on a family cruise together, you get to enjoy each other’s company in fun, new destinations, have conversations over your meals and go on unforgettable adventures as a family. It’s the ultimate in family time.
10. The Memories
In years to come, the Christmas you spent on a cruise will become one of the most cherished moments of your whole life. Every Christmas is special, but your memories of this one will be of sinking your feet into soft, golden sand, exploring tropical islands and coastal towns and playing onboard from sunrise to sunset. Yet, it doesn’t have to be just a memory — your cruise could become the first of many, and the start of a new family tradition of cruising at Christmas time.
Special cruise activities, entertainment and celebrations start on the day after Thanksgiving and run through Christmas Day, so whether you’re on a quick weekend getaway or a long cruise vacation, you’ll get to experience all the joy and jollities of the season.
Note: Onboard activities may vary by ship.