How to Celebrate Christmas on a Cruise

Three Methods:Booking your Christmas CruisePlanning for your Christmas CruiseCelebrating While on Board and at Port

Taking a cruise over the Christmas holiday might not be the traditional way to celebrate, but it can offer you a special time that will produce many memories. It is also a good way to escape the madness of the holiday season. You can sail the seas and enjoy some sun instead of rushing around with last minute shopping lists. Many cruise lines offer special deals and destinations over Christmas. Celebrate Christmas on a cruise by traveling with your closest family and friends, relaxing with a flexible itinerary and taking advantage of special holiday events on board and at your ports of call.

Method 1
Booking your Christmas Cruise

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    Book early. This will ensure you get the ship, cabin and itinerary that you desire. Many people book from 9 months to an entire year in advance.
    • Look for airfares in advance if you are sailing out of a port that requires you to travel. You can often find better deals when you book your flights early.
    • Look online for reduced fares.
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    Arrive in your departure city early. Travel is unpredictable during the holiday season and a delayed flight could mean you miss your cruise if you book too closely to your departure.
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    Choose a comfortable cabin. Whether you are traveling with your special someone or a group of family members, where you sleep will make a difference in how well you are able to celebrate Christmas.
    • Look for a family suite if you have children, or want to wake up together on Christmas morning.
    • Book adjoining cabins or suites if your group is larger. Don't be afraid to ask for upgrades. Cruise lines may be extra accommodating to large parties over the holidays.
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    Choose a ship that suits your vacation style. If you are traveling with children, you might want a cruise ship that has a playroom and a kids pool. If you are religious, look for a ship that has a chapel so you can attend a service on Christmas Day.
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    Consider the holiday when reviewing itineraries. Prepare for Christmas to be spent either at sea or in a specific port of call. This might affect what you do on the actual holiday.
    • Keep your itinerary flexible. You do not want to over schedule yourself while you are celebrating Christmas.

Method 2
Planning for your Christmas Cruise

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    Pack a special outfit for Christmas dinner. Many cruise lines put together a special and more formal Christmas dining event.
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    Pack festive items. Have some fun with Santa hats, jingle bell socks and perhaps a stocking for the door of your cabin.
    • Leave the decorating to the cruise ship. Most cruises will have artificial Christmas trees on board, as well as wreaths and other festive d├ęcor. Packing your own tree and other items will take up space in both your luggage and your cabin.
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    Plan your gift giving ahead of time. You might want to exchange gifts before you leave for your cruise.
    • Pack small items if you want to have something to open on Christmas. Gift cards, candy, jewelry, clothing and other small items are good things to exchange and will not take up a lot of room for you or the recipient.
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    Check your cruise line's alcohol policy. You might want to bring your own bottle of champagne or wine to celebrate the holiday. Some cruise lines will allow this and others will not.

Method 3
Celebrating While on Board and at Port

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    Enjoy holiday menus and meals provided by the cruise ship. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian provide complimentary eggnog and serve turkey and ham on Christmas.
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    Participate in special Christmas activities on board. Many cruise lines will have Santa Claus show up, host holiday parties for adults and show seasonal movies for entertainment.
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    Look for church or religious services. Many ships will have a minister or priest to celebrate Christmas, and a rabbi to celebrate Hanukkah.
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    Take part in local festivities at your ports of call. Many Caribbean islands celebrate Christmas for weeks. There may be caroling, parades and fireworks to enjoy.
    • Ask your cruise line if you will be stopping at destinations that keep their commercial shops and attractions open on Christmas. Carnival Cruise Lines will only cruise to destinations that stay open on Christmas, for example.


  • Remember that most cruise prices include your food and non-alcoholic beverages. You will need to tip your servers and staff before you leave, and many people tip a little more than usual when people are willing to work on a holiday such as Christmas.
  • Consider celebrating other holidays on your cruise, too. Hanukkah often falls near Christmas, and there are celebrations and festivities that include Hanukkah traditions, such a menorah lighting. You could also extend your cruise to the New Year's holiday.

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Categories: Christmas | Travel Cruises