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Luxury Christmas Cruising

21st December 2017

Instead of ‘what do you want for Christmas’, ask yourself ‘where do I want for Christmas’, and consider all the different options there are for cruising at this time of year. Why not do something extra special, and take yourself and your loved one(s) on the luxury cruise of a lifetime, enjoying all the classic festive traditions onboard while you’re at it?

Cruise lines tend to go the extra mile throughout the Christmas season, to ensure their guests have an unforgettable time enjoying all their favourite things about Christmas. Think elaborately dressed trees, incredible feasts, mulled wine, and pageantry to rival the best pantomimes and carollers around. On a luxury cruise ship, guests can expect all these brilliant features to be of an impeccable standard, and know that all staff onboard will truly go above and beyond to ensure that the cruise is an extra special one.

What can be expected on a luxury Christmas cruise?

Outstanding Cuisine

food on a luxury cruise

Cruise lines such as Viking Ocean Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Saga Ocean Cruises have all won awards for their dining experiences, and so guests can anticipate the very best of the best when it comes to festive fare. Traditional Christmas dinners will be of the highest standard, as will the array of alternative options; kosher, vegetarian, and other dining needs will usually be met with ease. Take the extra stress of cooking and hosting out Christmas, and enjoy being spoiled with all the culinary treats you could want onboard a luxury cruise ship.

Superb Range of Drinks

christmas on a luxury cruise

Whether your Christmas tipple is usually sherry, cherry brandy, or Irish cream, the array of drinks onboard a luxury cruise ship will not disappoint. Of course guests can expect mulled wine, egg nog, mulled cider, and non-alcoholic punch, in addition to the usual extensive bar menus of cocktails, wines, whiskies, and more. Attentive stewards will always be at hand to refresh your beverage, and greet you with a crisp, chilled glass of Champagne.

Perfect Pampering

spa cruise

Spoil yourself on a luxury cruise at this time of year by making the most of onboard spas, salons, and other opportunities to relax. The spa facilities offered by luxury cruise lines like Silversea and Regent Seven Seas are incredible; here you can let yourself sink into a world of calm at the hands of a world-class masseuse, gain invaluable health and lifestyle advice from onboard specialists, and feel fabulous after a rejuvenating, personalised facial. As well as this, or if the spa doesn’t sound like your sort of thing, simply taking time to chill out by the pool, or with a book in the library will leave you feeling fresh and revitalised.

Exceptional Service

cruise balcony butler

Staff onboard luxury cruise lines are well-trained in the needs and wants of their guests. Many passengers will enjoy the services of their own personal butler with cruise lines like Azamara Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, but even those without this can rest in the knowledge that they will be well-taken care of. In addition to waiters and bartenders, stewards, entertainers, receptionists, and anyone else you might encounter will be only too happy to help make your cruise the best it can be.

An Opulent Atmosphere

Luxury cruise ships are known for their grand atriums, plush decor and finishes, and sumptuous furnishings. At Christmas each of these are only enhanced, giving passengers a thoroughly unique and special experience. In addition to the lavish surroundings, many guests find that the ambience is enriched due to the smaller size of the ship. This generally means fewer guests and fewer children, allowing for a more mature and calm atmosphere.

Extra-Special Festive Features

christmas on a luxury cruise

Whether in the form of choir concerts, extravagant balls, religious services, or Cunard’s incredible extensive gingerbread village, most luxury cruise lines can boast that they really do think of some sensational extras for their guests during the festive season. With these events, and stunning decorations to boot, Christmas onboard a luxury cruise ship is an unforgettable experience that everyone should try at least once.

With a great selection of luxury cruises to choose from, the only problem will be deciding which destination you want to explore next.

Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

4th December 2017

Updated July 2022

Have a Christmas or New Year celebration like no other by visiting a new and exciting destination on a cruise. The world is full of incredible places at every corner, and many of these play host to some wonderful parties and Christmas festivities throughout December and January. Here are our top 5 Christmas cruise spots we recommend everyone see at this time of year - at least once in their lives.


New York

For many people New York in winter is the epitome of Christmas spirit. This is in no small part thanks to movie classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, in which New York is the setting for warm Christmas tales. Whether you cruise to New York in the run-up to Christmas or are there for New Year’s Eve, the glittering city that never sleeps will undoubtedly provide you with everything you need to feel like celebrating. From the buzzing atmosphere and lights in Time Square to a frosty, romantic moonlit carriage ride in Central Park, New York offers some truly special experiences.


Amsterdam is a fantastic destination for those who want a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel too far. Close to the UK, there are a number of options for a no-fly cruise here. In the winter months the city comes to life with music, lights, and decorations, and the friendly residents will welcome you with open arms. See the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival, at which global artists put together some beautiful displays through the streets and canals. There are of course Christmas markets as well, and some fabulous parties and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.


The famous City of Lights is, of course, a hub of illumination and bustling activity at this time of year, boasting stunning views and wonderful options when it comes to festive things to do. Revel in the Christmas spirit at the Christmas market on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where you can also take a spin on the ice rink. If you have time, a visit to Disneyland is an absolute must. Whether you’re 6 or 66, a bit of Disney magic at Christmas is a great recipe to get you feeling merry and bright. Start planning your trip and see our cruises to France here.


Visit the land of Frozen and get lost in a real Winter Wonderland. A cruise in Norway is a great option for this time of year, particularly because of the chance to see the Northern Lights. December and January often have a high number of clear nights, meaning the vibrant lights are more likely to be visible. The sparkling scenery and welcoming ambience in this part of the world is perfect for celebrating during the festive season, where simply gazing at the stars with a hot chocolate, sat on the top deck of your cruise ship is truly the stuff of dreams. Find out more about our great range of Norway cruises.


The New Year’s Eve firework display at Sydney Harbour is a well-known event that causes visitors to flock to the city every year. Sydney is a port of call on many world cruises, and if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time, you can have one of the best views of the show available. The famous Sydney Opera House also holds glamourous New Year’s Eve celebrations too, giving you the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a bit of luxury during your holiday. See the New Year in with style on an Australasia cruise.

Whether you are considering a cruise during the main events, or are merely seeking a few days away before or after, you can rest assured that there are plenty of options out there. Take a look at all our December cruises and January cruises, and book your next adventure today.

Five alternative ways to spend Christmas this year

26th October 2016

Updated October 2018

If the pressure of planning Christmas feels like a little too much for you this year, it might be time to consider Christmas abroad. Instead of deliberating over stocking fillers, turkey dinners, and your Christmas card list, how about deciding what to pack for the ultimate getaway.

Whether you’re wishing for warmer weather, a shot of culture or simply a change of scenery, a Christmas cruise could be just the answer.

Christmas in the Caribbean

Swap your scarves for sunnies and the snow for sand with a Christmas cruise holiday to the Caribbean. With the best time to visit being from December to April, Christmas is the ultimate season for some Caribbean flavoured fun in the sun. Sway to the infectious reggae beat, trade your mulled wine for a rum cocktail (with a kick) and work on your tan. January blues? It doesn’t exist in this part of the world.


Caribbean christmas

Caribbean Christmas Tradition: Junkanoo festival every boxing day in the Bahamas is a high energy street parade with creative masks, costumes, and infectious music.

Find Christmas and New Year cruises in the Caribbean

Christmas in Norway

If you long for a white, snowy Christmas, glowing open fires, and plenty of Christmas cookies, Norway could be the festive destination of your dreams. From the end of November, you can expect to see Christmas decorations, fairy-lit trees and Christmas markets as the locals prepare for the joyous season ahead. Trade fireworks for the natural northern light phenomena known as Aurora Borealis.


Flam Norway

Norwegian Christmas Tradition: Try some Risengrynsgrøt, hot rice pudding with cinnamon and butter.


Christmas in the Mediterranean

Get your fill of culture on a Christmas cruise to the Mediterranean. Traverse captivating cities and unique Christmas markets. Pick up one of a kind presents for your loved ones back home and try fresh seafood, flavourful Mediterranean meat or succulent vegetable dishes for your Christmas dinner. Religious references take centre stage during a Mediterranean Christmas and ancient buildings make for a fascinating and historical backdrop.


Greek Orthodox christmas

Mediterranean Christmas Fact: In Greece, St. Nicolas is the patron saint of sailors, saving seamen from the ferocious sea.

Find Christmas and New Year cruises in the Mediterranean


Christmas in North America

Christmas in America is largely a grand occasion involving family, home cooking, decorations, sing-a-longs, Santa Claus, and lots of festive decorations. Today the U.S.A is home to a real mixed bag of cultures and Christmas traditions can differ largely from one state to the next. In the south the Texan Longhorn takes Rudolph’s role pulling Santa’s sleigh, whilst in California Santa Claus is a surfer. If you are in New York City at this time of year, swing by the Rockefeller Centre to admire the iconic Christmas tree, recognised worldwide as a symbol of an American Christmas.


new york christmas

American Christmas Tradition: Eggnog is a popular and indulgent drink enjoyed here during the festive season. The ingredients include eggs, sugar, milk, cream, rum and nutmeg.

Spend Christmas in New York City


Christmas at Sea

A cheerful Christmas atmosphere can be felt from around the 10th of December at sea, with many cruise lines decking the halls and public spaces of their ships with Christmas lights and decorations. Entertainment takes on a festive theme with Christmas cookery classes, craft lessons and live productions. Father Christmas may also make an appearance and has been known to take to all sorts of stunts to make it onboard.


santa onboard cruise ship

Meats and cheeses galore can be expected for a hearty Christmas dinner with plenty of wine and champagne to wash it down. Sweet treats are in abundance, from Christmas puddings to trifles, gingerbread houses, yule log and much more. Christmas at sea is a bubble of good times and a holiday you will treasure for years to come.

Christmas at Sea Fact: Princess Cruises have been known to have snowmaking machines onboard bringing the magic of a white Christmas to their ships.


Getaway this Christmas with a last minute December cruise 

Cruising at Christmas

6th October 2016

Updated October 2018

With this year's festive period just around the corner, many people will already have plans for Christmas this year, but what about next?



We are often asked about Christmas cruises, and so thought it might be useful to put together this short guide, to tell you all about what you can expect on a December cruise.

The celebrations start early

Most people considering a Christmas cruise tend to look at the exact week of Christmas, however, it can be worth looking at cruises just before then as well.

Cruise lines generally start their onboard celebrations at the beginning of December, so you can often have a similar experience, at a lower price.  

Considering many people like to be at home with their families on Christmas day, a cruise just before Christmas can be a great option. What better way to start the festivities than with a pre-Christmas cruise?

An enchanted wonderland

Nothing puts you in the joyful mood like Christmas decorations and of course a Christmas tree. Of all the hotels, resorts, and attractions around the world (OK, maybe apart from New York's Rockefeller Centre), there is nowhere that does Christmas decorations quite like a cruise ship.



Cruise lines really go to town with the decorations onboard, and truly turn the vessels into an enchanted haven of festive delights. From pretty lights, garlands wrapped around grand staircases, festive flower arrangements, and of course, a large Christmas tree – every inch of the ship sparkles.

The grand Christmas tree is the main feature onboard, providing perfect photo opportunities and a focal point to gather around to watch festive entertainment. Usually placed in the main atrium, it's a spectacular sight.

Christmas activities on the high seas

A cruise at any time of the year provides a wide range of activities and entertainment for everyone, however, this is stepped up during December.  Whether you're with family, a partner, or by yourself, you will love all the special activities onboard. Expect Christmas trivia, festive cookery lessons, craft classes, performances, and lots of family-friendly activities – the smiles will not stop.



Disneyland and Lapland are often thought of as the ultimate playground for a kids Christmas treat, however, a cruise can also offer them a fantastic time thanks to the array of special kids activities. Adults be warned - it will make you wish you were a child again!

Some cruise lines really go the extra mile to make sure guests have an incredible Christmas. On Oasis of the Seas, for example, children are invited to write a letter to Santa and post it in a box at the Guest Services desk, before midnight on Christmas Eve.  Then, during the afternoon on Christmas day, Santa will appear sailing alongside the ship on a rescue boat, waving to all the children. A truly magical moment that your little ones will dream about for years to come.

A festive feast

We all love a Christmas dinner, and rest assured that wherever in the world your cruise is taking you, the ship will stock up on all of your favourite festive treats.



The food may differ according to where the ship sails, but a delicious Christmas feast is sure to be served.  Most cruise lines prepare exclusive Christmas menus in the main dining room during the month of December.

Expect gingerbread houses, Christmas puddings, and an array of different meats, cheeses, and more.  

The celebrations do not stop at Christmas

New Year is another great time to cruise. Your ship will turn into one big party, and everyone is in the mood to celebrate. With both guests and staff in joyful spirits, dancing the night away on a stunning ship, while travelling to an amazing part of the world – this is surely one of the best ways to ring in the New Year.

With great prices, fantastic dining, exciting entertainment, and a playground of festive wonder, you will not experience anything like this on land. Guaranteed to create everlasting memories – what are you waiting for? Take a look at our Christmas & New Year cruise deals

By Sally Grimes 


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