Written by on Monday November 24, 2014
So you want to make this year’s Christmas one to remember - something different, something truly special and ultimately more Christmassy than ever!? Well, a Christmas Cruise may be exactly what you are searching for. Christmas cruising is very popular, after all isn’t it everyone’s dream to, just for one year, not have to think about accommodating relatives, being rushed off your feet and pulled in every direction - not to mention the pressure of having to cooking that all-important Christmas dinner? Instead, imagine having an entire crew take care of your every whim and need, whilst you and your family simply relax and enjoy your Christmas holidays.
Here at CruiseKings, we understand that for many, the prospect of a Christmas Cruise maybe a bit daunting. Surprisingly, there is actually very little online in the way of guides and advice as to what you can expect on a Christmas cruise. Always keen to share our passion for cruising, as well as our years and years of knowledge and experience, we rose to the challenge and have created this; The Complete Guide to Christmas Cruising.
Where to Cruise Christmas?
This really depends on the type of Christmas you are looking to have. Many Christmas cruisers opt for cruises towards warmer climates as this offers something different to the norm; for instance, have you ever decorated a Christmas tree in the Caribbean? Many others prefer something more traditional and therefore cruise to destinations that guarantee the complete winter experience.
To give you an idea of what’s available we have compiled a few top Christmas Cruise destinations below.
As mentioned above, many people choose to escape the cold at Christmas and instead prefer to spend their festive period in warmer climates. Well it doesn’t get much warmer than Christmas in the Caribbean. You can forget about snow here and you can certainly forget about Christmas stress. Caribbean life is all about taking it easy and really savouring each minute of the day; warms you just to think about doesn’t it?
Norway – Northern Lights Cruise
Ever wanted to witness the natural spectacle that is the Northern Lights? On a Northern Lights Cruise, you will adventure through frozen lands, witness awe-inspiring landscapes and nature as well as visit many historic towns, all oozing festive cheer and tradition - all whilst on search of this once in a lifetime phenomenon.
Another highly popular Christmas cruise destination is the Canary Islands, offering passengers temperatures in the low 20’s without having to travel too far away. Famed for its world class beaches, a cruise of the Canary Islands will please those simply looking to get away and enjoy Christmas in a hotter climate – what could be better than a dip in the warm ocean after opening those presents, .
For those looking for the full Christmas experience, then you may wish to consider a cruise of The Baltics; where they take Christmas very seriously indeed. On a cruise of The Baltics you will visit towns and cities absolutely steeped in Christmas tradition such as Bruges, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam. Wonderfully decorated and full of Christmas cheer you will be able to soak up the excitement as you visit some of the most famous Christmas markets in the world!
What to pack on a Christmas Cruise?
Again this is dependant as to the type of Christmas Cruise you have planned, Iceland could be a bit chilly in shorts and T-shirts in December, likewise a hat and scarf are going to generate some strange looks on a white sand beach in the Caribbean.
Be aware that Northern Europe can be extremely cold and wintery from October through until March, so do pack warm and insulated clothing such as your best, most colourful Christmas jumpers!
Other than sensible clothing based on your destination you may wish to take a look at, or print off, our Essential Cruise Packing Checklist. This list was comprised using genuinely feedback from seasoned cruisers, who have identified these items as essentials when embarking on a cruise holiday.
What is it like on board a Cruise Ship at Christmas?
One of the most common worries regarding Christmas Cruising is whether or not it will feel likes Christmas on board. Well, having had first-hand experience, we can tell you that from what we’ve seen, it would be hard to get any more festive than on board a cruise ship at Christmas!
The crew go to extraordinary lengths to make sure you feel merry. The ship is spectacularly decorated with some of the largest Christmas trees you are likely to see and the most extravagant decorations as well.
The on board chefs create a wonderful menu that incorporates all your favourite festive flavours and aromas. Of course, on Christmas Day they pull out all the stops to cook up a hearty Christmas banquette which will leave even the jolliest stomachs happily full. One culinary highlight of many larger cruise ships are the impressive ginger bread house displays that the ship's talented and skilful chefs create; these can usually be found within the ships atrium area!
Entertainment wise, you will find Christmas choirs dotted around the ship, special Christmas shows and in the cinemas, you will be glad to know, you can still keep up with that all important tradition of watching your favourite Christmas movies!
Our Top Recommended Things to Do on Your Christmas Cruise
When it comes to Christmas Markets nobody “decks the halls” with festive cheer more than the Europeans! Forget what you have seen your local council throw together - these cities and towns take it to the next level! Among our favourite and the most impressive are the markets located in Bruges, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen. Expect towering Christmas trees, magnificent decorations, amazing local crafts and mouth-watering food stalls as all around you people enjoy and spread the festive cheer.
Snorkelling and Diving on Christmas Day
It may not be the first thing you traditionally associate with Christmas, but then again neither is spending Christmas Day in the 27 degree sunshine of the Caribbean! If you book a Caribbean cruise this Christmas. then do not pass up the opportunity to go snorkelling or diving. The Caribbean is home to some of the clearest, warmest waters on the planet and is populated with some the most amazing sea life you are likely to ever witness first hand.
If you decide to embark on a cruise of Norway or the Baltics be sure to take the time to see the Northern Lights. There are many cruises that operate these special excursions and it truly is the best way to see this beautiful spectacle. Just remember to pack some warm clothes because, as you may suspect, the Arctic Circle is very cold!
For the ultimate Christmas experience, why not treat your family to a day out in Lapland where you can all meet Santa himself before he sets out on his busiest day of the year! Lapland offers a magical experience this time of year, join Santa and his reindeer for a test run sleigh ride or explore wintery forests on an exciting husky sled!
“The Night Before Christmas” – Read by your Captain
On some ships, such as Carnival Glory, you can still indulge in those most homely of traditions such as the reading of “The Night Before Christmas” – but to make this tradition even more special, the ship’s Captain takes up the duty of reading the Christmas classic himself!
Whale Watching in Norway
Another once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot be missed during a Norway or Baltics cruise is a day’s excursion to go whale watching. These day excursions are well organised and extremely exciting, giving you the opportunity to see Humpback Whales, Porpoises, Pilot Whales, Orca, Minke Whales and giant Sperm Whales in their natural habitat!
Nativity – Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona is a popular port of call on most Mediterranean cruises, there is much to see and do within the city at Christmas, such as lively traditional parades and bustling Christmas markets. However, for us the Nativity scene within Santa Esglesia Catedral Basilica de Barcelona is a must see! View this spectacular life sized Nativity scene complete with small river, ducks and swans! For an even greater photo opportunity, visit at night when the entire scene is lit up with red candles!
We hope that this guide has painted a lovely picture of what you can expect on a Christmas Cruise. Perhaps we have answered a few questions or cleared up a few doubts. Perhaps we have simply inspired you to book your very first Christmas Cruise! If you found value in this guide or know someone who may find it of interest, please share it with them today and help as spread the Christmas-Cruise-Cheer!
Merry Christmas from the team at CruiseKings!
With all this in mind, why not book your next cruise with CruiseKings. Our Cruise Experts are here to advise you on all of these things, ensuring you are best placed to have the most perfect holiday and choose the right cruise for your needs - Call now on: 0800 197 8050.