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BellaOnline's Cruises Editor

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Get Away On A Festive Christmas Week Cruise


As the holidays draw closer, thoughts often turn toward planning a festive Christmas week celebration with family and friends. While many families may go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Christmas week, family logistics are leading others to celebrate the holidays in a different way. Rather than going to Grandma’s house, it can often be easier to meet and celebrate on a holiday family vacation instead. In addition, some people may celebrate different religious holidays or simply wish to enjoy a festive Christmas vacation on their own before getting together with extended family at a later date.

The holidays can be a stressful time period, so getting away often sounds appealing. In fact, 87% of parents say they "daydream about going on a getaway with their family during the holidays" according to a recent survey by Wakefield Research. While airfares are rising as Christmas week approaches, there’s good news for last minute holiday vacation shoppers. There are still a number of great deals available on drive-in Christmas holiday cruises. Space is limited, so start planning now.

Here are five great reasons to get away on a Christmas week holiday cruise this year:

Low Cost Tropical Holiday Getaway. Cruises from close-to-home U.S. ports take holiday vacationers to warm weather beaches, often for less than the price of a round-trip international air ticket. These Christmas week sailings feature special holiday activities and events, festive decorations, delectable meals and much more. Prices for Christmas week cruises are generally lower than those over the New Year’s holidays. In fact, last minute prices on Christmas week cruise to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico can currently be found for more than 70% off regular fares. Sites such as Cruises.com, VacationsToGo.com, CruiseCompete.com and others can make it easy to check prices or you can contact your favorite travel agent for more details.

Easy Drive-In Convenience. Seats on flights to sunny tropical islands can be costly and scarce over Christmas week, making these holiday vacations difficult to afford. Cruise lines have positioned their ships in a variety of locations within easy driving distance of major cities, making these drive-to Christmas holiday cruise vacations more convenient and less expensive. During the Christmas holiday week, cruise lines offer sailings from a wide variety of U.S. ports including New York, NY; Bayonne, NJ; Baltimore, MD; Charleston, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Port Canaveral, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Miami, FL; Tampa, FL; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; Galveston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Honolulu, HI; San Juan, Puerto Rico and other areas. Parking can be found near all of the cruise terminals and there’s no limit to the amount of luggage you can bring on the ship other than what can comfortably fit in your stateroom. Cabin space is generally limited, so you may want to leave the larger presents at home and bring along small gifts to exchange.

Festive Christmas Decorations and Holiday Events. Cruises during Christmas week are a great way to celebrate the December holiday season. Ships are lavishly decked out with evergreen wreaths, colorful poinsettias, elaborate gingerbread villages, oversized twinkling Christmas trees and other holiday decor. There are a wide variety of holiday entertainment, parties and celebrations offered around the ships, sometimes including Christmas-themed cooking classes and special holiday shows put on by younger guests. Festive holiday events and activities include caroling and sing-alongs, Christmas parades, High Teas, and other holiday celebrations. MSC Cruises’ brand new ship, MSC Seaside, will be sailing her first 7-night cruise itinerary during Christmas week and the cruise line is going all out for the holidays with stunning decorations, seasonal Christmas movies and Broadway-style festive entertainment, holiday gifts delivered to each stateroom, and a special tree-lighting ceremony. Santa Claus will even fly onboard via one of the ship’s zip lines on Christmas Day.

Spectacular Holiday Dining And Culinary Creations. Dining is an important part of any Christmas week holiday cruise experience. Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch menus typically include such favorites as roast turkey with all the trimmings, venison, duck, goose, English plum pudding, pecan pie, eggnog and champagne for toasting. MSC Cruises guests will enjoy a Christmas Eve Gala dinner with a European flair, serving panettone and yule log in addition to the traditional holiday specialties. Cruise lines generally cater well to special dietary requests. Simply notify your travel agent and cruise line when booking your vacation. If you’re taking a Christmas week cruise, make your specialty dining and entertainment reservations as early as possible. High demand specialty restaurants can fill up quickly.

Holiday Fun For Everyone. While tropical ports of call are incredibly appealing, today’s cruise ships are floating vacation destinations filled with attractions such as massive water parks with thrilling water slides, movie theaters, Broadway-style shows, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, arcades and much more. In addition, newer ships often have well over a dozen specialty dining options as well as numerous bars and lounges. Christmas week sailings can be packed with families and larger ships can have hundreds of children onboard. If you’re cruising with kids, look for ships that offer lots of family-friendly activities on cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and others. Today’s cruise ships cater to kids and teens with extensive age-specific programming, special kids’ and teens’ clubs and lounge areas, kids’ menu items and more. Talk with your travel agent about which ships might be best suited for the age of the children in your party and ask about special "kids sail free" deals and specials for 3rd and 4th guests in the same cabin. Vacationers seeking a quieter cruise with fewer children onboard for their Christmas week cruise can also find their perfect home for the holidays. Best bets might be cruise lines that tend to cater to a slightly older crowd such as Holland America and Windstar. A good cruise agent can help you find one or more options that will be a good fit. With proper planning, you’re sure to have a fun and festive holiday at sea.







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Content copyright © 2015 by Nancy Schretter. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nancy Schretter. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Nancy Schretter for details.

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