I have been on two Christmas cruises, spending Christmas day at sea on one and the other in Tenerife. I loved cruising at Christmas and would definitely recommend it, there are some obvious advantages:
- No cooking/cleaning – Somebody else will bring you your Christmas dinner and wash up after you’re done, fabulous!
- Quality time with friends/family.
- No organising or worrying – Christmas can be stressful, but not if you’re away from it all, on a cruise.
- Sunshine – You can cruise to better weather. It’s very strange to wear shorts on Christmas day (in a good way).
- No distant relatives to put up with – (Unless you brought them, then it’s your fault).
Cruise lines do everything they can to make the atmosphere on board traditionally Christmassy. They decorate the whole ship with tinsel, snowmen and gingerbread houses. They usually have a large Christmas tree in the atrium as well as Christmas trees in the restaurants and public areas. Many guests bring Christmas decorations to decorate the doors of their cabins. Some really go all out on this which is interesting to see as you’re walking down the corridors. Onboard NCL they make incredible gingerbread villages which stand in the restaurants. I saw a time-lapse video of the staff making it which made me appreciate the scale, not sure what happens to it after Christmas though. I never got to eat any…
On Christmas eve there is usually a carol service in the atrium. It is a little strange to be in your cabin and hear the
faint sound of carol singing, nevertheless, very festive!
What happens on Christmas day?
- Santa/Father Christmas usually makes an appearance. He made an appearance on a small boat alongside us which did make me laugh. I believe he hangs out on the ship for a while, making a fuss of the children and spreading Christmas cheer.
- Because you’re on a cruise ship here comes the really fun part… you can sunbathe, have a swim and a cocktail (dependant on your itinerary of course).
- Christmas presents! Of course, you can still exchange presents on Christmas day, you just might have to downsize them to fit them in your suitcase…
- Christmas dinner! They do their best to serve a traditional Christmas dinner on board cruise ships. Our Christmas dinner had mashed potatoes instead of roast potatoes though (who does that?!). Suppose it depends on the cruise line. The staff in the restaurants dressed up as elves and sung us Christmas songs, all very entertaining.
- They usually have a Christmas show in the theatre. On NCL this filled up really, REALLY fast with people standing in the aisles in a desperate bid to see the ‘Christmas show’. It really wasn’t really that good, just the normal dancers/singers from the other shows with a christmassy twist.
Christmas cruises can be really expensive but I definitely would like to do another. It is so nice to escape the stress which comes with Christmas and just sit back and relax. A special mention should definitely be given to the cruise line staff who work through Christmas. It must be a horrible time to be away from family but they always do so with a smile!