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Top 8 Exotic Destinations to Cruise to During Thanksgiving

Instead of hosting family and friends at your house this Thanksgiving, how about having them all join you on a Thanksgiving cruise? All Carnival Thanksgiving cruises let you experience exotic locations before diving into that traditional Thanksgiving meal onboard. Add in Thanksgiving decorations and games, and you don’t need to worry about missing your Thanksgiving traditions if you’re not at home.

Western Caribbean

Carnival’s Western Caribbean holiday cruises over Thanksgiving offer stops in a variety of destinations.

coastal ruins on tulum

1. Cozumel, Mexico

The island of Cozumel is in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It’s the perfect port of call to experience Mexico’s history, culture and natural wonders.

If ancient civilizations fascinate you, be sure to take an excursion to Tulum or Chichen-Itza, both ruins of the Mayan civilization. Adventure seekers will discover thrills aplenty at adventure parks Xenses and Xplor, where you’ll find zip-lines, suspension bridges, swimming and snorkeling. This area of Mexico has unique natural features to explore including jungles, underground rivers and cenotes, which are deep, water-filled caverns. Two special spots to consider are the Rio Secreto natural reserve and Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park.

2. Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula was home to the great Mayan empire. You can explore the well-preserved archaeological sites of Chichen-Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit cenotes or join a cultural tour of the region once populated by Mayans. This stop in Progreso also gives you a chance to relax and enjoy the beach at a private resort or beach club.

3. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios is where you’ll find Dunn’s River Falls, one of Jamaica’s natural treasures. Here, four rivers meet and tumble down cascades and waterfalls into the Caribbean Sea. Spend the day climbing the falls and hanging out in the pools and lagoons along the way. At this port, you can also participate in a canopy adventure, horseback riding, dolphin swim or just relax and enjoy a VIP beach.

4. Grand Cayman

If your idea of paradise is spending Thanksgiving enjoying sun and surf, Grand Cayman Island delivers. Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and is the location of the spectacular Seven Mile Beach. Select excursions that combine swimming, beach time and learning about (and maybe even swimming with) dolphins, stingrays or turtles.

a man holding a stingray during an excursion to stingray city

The Bahamas

If your cruise excursion preference is equal parts exploration and beach fun, The Bahamas is a perfect choice. On a Thanksgiving cruise to The Bahamas you can visit:

5. Nassau

Tour Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, travel underwater on the SeaWorld Explorer or take a catamaran sail and snorkel. For those who prefer the beach, hop over to Paradise Island, where you can enjoy island time at exclusive resorts.

6. Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays

Half Moon Cay, or Little San Salvador Island as it was previously known, is a private port of call that Carnival sails to. With nine miles of beaches, a 1,700-acre interior lagoon and exotic vegetation, this sun-soaked destination is ideal for a day of fun and relaxation. Activities include biking, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking and horseback riding so there’s sure to be something to please everyone.

Princess Cays, located at the southern end of Eleuthera Island, is also a private port of call. It offers 1.5 miles of white sand beaches, water sports, shopping and food. Swim, snorkel, ride a dune buggy, cruise the coast or sightsee on the island.

two women lying on a beach at half moon cay

Baja Mexico

Consider the Carnival cruise from Los Angeles¬†or San Diego that takes you to Catalina Island and Ensenada if you’re departing from the West Coast. It’s the perfect blend of Californian and Mexican flavors.

7. Catalina Island, California

Enjoy the exotic while still in California. Catalina Island, southwest of Los Angeles, is known for its adventures on land and sea. If you love kayaking, ziplining, parasailing or just admiring nature’s beauty at the famous Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, you’ll enjoy an excursion in Catalina Island.

two people parasailing in Catalina island with a carnival cruise ship in the background

8. Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada is reputed to be Mexico’s wine capital, where more than 70 wineries harvest over 25,000 acres of vineyards and produce 90 percent of the country’s wine. You can indulge your love for wine by taking a tour of wine country in either Calafia Valley or Guadalupe Valley.

For those who want to explore the beautiful landscape around Ensenada, check out horseback riding with views of the Salsipuedes Bay, Todos Santos Islands and the Gold Coast or tour the scenic trails of Guadalupe Valley by ATV. One natural phenomenon that Ensenada is famous for is La Bufadora, the second-largest marine geyser in the world. If you’re lucky, you will see migrating whales in the region.

With so many exotic destinations to choose from, it’s going to be easy to convince your friends and family that the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is on a Carnival cruise.