Carnival Cruise Line Plans Special Holiday Events for All Ships

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‘Tis the season for special fun aboard cruises, and Carnival Cruise Line, whose mission has always been the ultimate fun vacation at sea, has plenty of seasonal fun in store for guests with a range of new holiday entertainment, as well as special religious services onboard.

New Holiday Entertainment

All Carnival Cruise ships will soon be decorated for the festive season, but special holiday offerings don’t end with garlands, bows, and lights. Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald shared the upcoming holiday entertainment list, showing just how unique and memorable holiday cruises with Carnival can be. “See just why this a brilliant time to sail with us,” Heald said. “A truly wonderous time to cruise.”

While the exact timing of each activity will vary for different ships, all 24 of Carnival’s ships, including the brand new flagship, Carnival Celebration, will offer a variety of seasonal shows, games, and more, including:

Tree Lighting

Every ship has a large, fully-decorated, star-topped Christmas tree in one of the most popular public spaces, typically in the central atrium where it is visible and enjoyable for all guests as a meeting point, selfie spot, or just a beautiful decoration.

Carnival Cruise Line Christmas
Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock

For every holiday sailing, the tree will be the focus of a special tree lighting ceremony on embarkation evening. This will be synchronized with classic holiday music for a spirited way to set sail on what is sure to be a memorable holiday vacation.

Read More: What to Expect on a Christmas Cruise


Different holiday songs will be part of caroling events onboard, giving guests the opportunity to sing their seasonal favorites no matter what their musical prowess, and holiday music will be playing in different venues.

Guests are invited to wear festive attire for the caroling parties, and may even be surprised with a visit from a special North Pole resident to help celebrate the season.

Ugly Sweater Contests

A quirky favorite that harkens back to the questionable fashion choices of well-meaning grandmothers and their knitting needles, ugly sweater contests onboard will bring extra fun to even the most lurid outfits.

The “ugliest” yet most festively dressed of guests will even receive a prize for their outlandish attire!

Christmas Show

Billed as “a magical show that’s sure to make your heart grow three sizes,” this seasonal production involves each ship’s singers and dancers for the best in holiday entertainment.

Christmas Tree on Carnival Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Turn_Mug / Shutterstock

This show will take place in the ship’s main show lounge, with a cozy fireplace setting that evokes classic holiday vibes. At the height of the show, a surprise guest will be flown in from the North Pole!

Holiday Religious Services

While cruise vacations are often focused on fun and excitement, guests who want to mark the holiday with solemn expressions of faith will have the opportunity to do so. Each Carnival cruise ship will offer Christmas and Hanukah services.

The Christmas services will be non-denominational to celebrate the season with prayer, hymns, and fellowship. Christmas services will be held on both Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25) for whenever guests prefer to worship.

Hanukah services will begin on December 18 and continue through every night of Hanukah, with traditional food, songs, and prayer to commemorate and celebrate this special time.

Holiday Movies, Trivia, and More

In addition to larger holiday events, each Carnival cruise ship will also be showing holiday movies at the Carnival Seaside Theater, for ships featuring that big poolside screen, or in the main show lounge on ships without the theater or if bad weather precludes outdoor showings.

Onboard trivia contests – always popular for those who covet the elusive 24-karat-gold-ship-on-a-stick – will also have a variety of holiday themes, from general holiday trivia to seasonal movies, music, television shows, and more.

Even the ever-popular bingo games onboard will have a holiday vibe, with an extra free card for every guest who wears a holiday sweater when they purchase their bingo cards.

Carnival team members are sure to be showing their holiday spirit, special treats may appear on menus, exclusive holiday merchandise will be available in the gift shops, and elusive Grinch sightings may be reported on every cruise as well!

With so much to enjoy when sailing in the holiday season – happy holidays to all, and to all a good cruise!

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