I’m thinking of spending the holidays on an ocean cruise. How do the cruise lines celebrate?
If you want to have the ultimate family holiday experience—take a cruise! It’s one of the most memorable ways for your family to spend the holidays. Face it, it’s getting harder to find time to gather the family together during the holidays. And the holidays can be just plain stressful. Maybe the solution this year is to plan a relaxing cruise over the holidays and leave the crazy busyness at home–it’s a gift the whole family will cherish for years to come.
Thanksgiving —Mom Doesn’t Have to Cook!
Give mom a break! Let the cruise line prepare the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing while your family enjoys time together on Thanksgiving with no distractions. And after dinner, instead of cleaning up, your family can go do other things together that the ship has to offer. Take in a show, head to the casino, or just relax on deck. Guaranteed your family will be thankful!
Hanukkah—Get Your Fill of Potato Pancakes and Jelly Doughnuts
Many cruise lines celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah with a customary ceremony of lighting the menorah every night. A traditional menu usually includes potato pancakes, jelly doughnuts and Kosher meals. Some cruise lines add to the fun by giving out chocolate coins and providing special games and stories about the history of Hanukkah.
In December, the cruise lines decorate and light up their ships for the holidays and display at least one tall, impressive Christmas tree. There is usually a tree lighting ceremony with the captain at the beginning of the cruise. Expect live Christmas shows and entertainment, caroling from the crew, professionals and passengers, and Christmas movies on the big screens or in your cabin. Special treats like eggnog, mulled wine and Christmas cookies are offered.
Some ships have snow-making machines so their guests can enjoy a daily snowfall out at sea. Disney Cruise Lines decks out their ships like they do their parks. You’ll see the Disney characters dressed for the holidays as well as a parade and a “Deck the Deck” party.
On Christmas Eve, the cruise lines offer a special meal and offer worship services and midnight mass for all Faiths. On Christmas Day, a holiday menu is served and religious services are also available. The kids may even get a visit from Santa.
New Year’s—Ring in the New Year
You can expect a party on every cruise line for New Year’s Eve. Ships provide the noisemakers and party hats and a glass of champagne or sparkling wine for a toast and a countdown—usually led by the captain of the ship. Expect a special menu to kick off the evening and depending on the size of the ship, there could be several parties and some with live music for the adults. Teen parties are also available on some ships. Most ships offer extended hours for child care so you can stay out past midnight without any worries.
If you’re looking for a first-class New Year’s Eve celebration, Cunard has a black-tie gala, Seabourn has a formal dinner and holiday ball, and Windstar serves up champagne and caviar. Windstar also has a long-standing tradition where the oldest crew member rings out the old year, and the youngest crew member rings it in.
If college football is your favorite New Year’s tradition, several cruise lines broadcast the bowl games. CruiseExperts.com can help the football fans find the right cruises so they won’t miss out on watching their favorite teams play.
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Linda Brandt joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in November 2011. She has been working with the marketing team in many capacities. Her new role is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. She studied journalism and writing in college and was a writer for The Campus newspaper for two years at the College of the Sequoias. She is also currently working on her Bachelor’s degree.