Your Guide to Picking the Perfect Holiday Cruise Destination

Everyone holidays differently. Having a chill holiday at home can be special, but it might just be the perfect time to level up your celebration game. Maybe your loved ones are spread out across the globe and you want to meet up in a central place to create unforgettable memories. Or perhaps this year, you’re in the mood to let someone else handle all of the cooking, cleaning and entertainment. Who knows, maybe you’re even ready to ring in the new year celebrating at sea.  

Whatever the reason may be, a holiday cruise with Carnival is the answer!

We know there can be some coordination involved when it comes to curating the perfect holiday cruise— especially when you want your vacation to capture every bit of seasonal magic. That’s why today, we’re breaking down some of the essentials head-on to help you plan your fun-filled holiday getaway. Join us as we cruise through a few of the questions you may have when trying to choose the perfect holiday cruise destination for you and your crew.

What are the Benefits of Holiday Travel?

Why get away for the holidays? Can a cruise really serve up endless holiday cheer? Do Santa and his reindeer know how to perform a water landing? 

It’s only natural that these are some of your first questions. But if you’re anything like us, the chance to kick back and relax during a holiday vacation is too good to pass up. For many holiday cruisers, the relief of not having to cook, clean or worry about the festive hustle and bustle is a key motivator. Your only job on a holiday cruise is to have fun, relax and discover experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. It’s hard work, but someone’s gotta do it!

But the benefits of holiday travel and cruising go far beyond just skipping chores. There’s something to be said for being able to fully immerse yourself in the spirit of the holidays. It’s a little like putting real life on pause, stepping into a world of full-on festive fun! A Carnival cruise during a holiday means countless activities just a few steps from your door, ships decked out in themed decor, and endless opportunities for fun, however you define it. Whether you and your loved ones want to find the ultimate adventure or chill with maximum relaxation, we’ve got you covered. 

Click here to explore more benefits of traveling for the holidays!

Which Destinations Are in Season During the Holiday Season?


What you’ll Find: Unique Wildlife and Bucket-List Sights

Celebrate the holidays down under, mate! Set sail from Brisbane or Sydney, Australia for iconic landmarks, fun-filled shore excursions, warm weather and immersive historical sights. Australia is a total bucket list destination, especially during the holidays. 

Baja Mexico 

What You’ll Find: Jaw-Dropping Coastal Scenery and Delicious Local Eats

Find your own slice of paradise in Baja Mexico, where vibrant cultural hotspots, local shops, dramatic coastal bluffs and delicious food converge to create the perfect holiday destination. Some people are looking for adventures, while others just want to chill. In Baja Mexico, your group can find every kind of fun you may want.

The Bahamas

What You’ll Find: Laid-Back Culture and Tropical Relaxation

The Bahamas are a tried-and-true cruising destination for a reason— it really doesn’t get better than celebrations set against the tropical backdrop of 700+ islands, including our exclusive destination of Half Moon Cay. Picture yourself with your toes in the sand, surrounded by pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters that are practically begging you to dive in for some serious fun in the sun.


What You’ll Find: Island Adventures and Year-Round Natural Wonders

Cultural richness and natural beauty collide in the Caribbean, where you’ll find endless ways to explore and experience the treasures of this stunning region during your festive getaway. In the Caribbean, your crew can experience fun of all flavors and have a once-in-a-lifetime holiday celebration. You can choose to spend the holidays tasting rum in Barbados, snorkeling off a sailboat in Aruba or even meeting monkeys in the Dominican Republic

South Pacific

The South Pacific is a guaranteed paradise for lovers of untouched beauty, underwater adventures and island serenity. Bask in friendly local culture as you unwind and make unforgettable memories. The warm and tropical weather in the South Pacific means that your number one holiday gift may be an epic tan.

Click here to explore even more unique destinations for holiday travel.

How Long Should I Be Away on a Holiday Cruise?

Another key consideration is how long you want to be cruising for. If you and your loved ones have more time to get away, consider a 5-9 day cruise. Longer durations allow for an extended and leisurely holiday experience so that you can immerse yourselves in the destinations, experiences and onboard amenities, trying out a little bit of everything.

Don’t have as much time as you would like? Never fear! 3-4 day cruises still offer plenty of fun for everyone. You and your group have countless chances for holiday fun, however you define it. Adrenaline-pumping activities? Yep. Days by the pool and nights at the karaoke bar? You bet. Every day on a Carnival cruise is filled with all sorts of awesome activities, moments of pure relaxation and chances to have fun your way—  and that’s just onboard. Off-ship, you’ll find a treasure trove of equally unforgettable ports of call and shore excursions just waiting to be discovered! 

Basically, no matter how many days you get away for, a Carnival cruise is sure to fill your time with nonstop fun from beginning to end. And that, folks, is how you sleigh the holiday season.

Which Port Should I Leave From?

As we like to say, “every great vacation starts somewhere.” And luckily, Carnival offers many “somewheres” to start from. Explore our departure ports and choose the one that’s nearest and/or most convenient for your sailing, or start your vacation out in style by traveling to a big-city port and exploring a new destination before you even board the ship.

No matter the destination, Carnival will be here to make your holiday celebration magical. Get festive with the perfect combination of relaxation, excitement, family fun, delicious food and bucket-list destinations.

It’s never too early to book your holiday cruise for 2024 or 2025 — these sailings are ready for reservations and offer endless good vibes at sea. Booking early also allows you to choose the sailing and stateroom you’ve been eyeing. Who knows, the perfect offer may be waiting for you, right now! It’s a good idea to head on over to our Cruise Deals Page, just to make sure.

Happy holidays to you and yours from the Carnival family! Click here to learn more about fun-filled holidays with Carnival, or click here if you’re ready to book your holiday cruise and get merry.