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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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