The holidays can be a hectic time – shopping, baking, decorating, cards to mail, gifts to wrap, carols to sing and more – wouldn’t you just love to get away from all the seasonal craziness and take a cruise instead? A holiday cruise can be a great alternative to all the traditional hustle and bustle of the season, but is a Christmas cruise worth it?
Pros of a Christmas Cruise
There are many benefits to setting sail during the holiday season. First, you can minimize all the traditional craziness that causes so much stress during the holidays. There is no need to decorate your house when you won’t be home to enjoy it, you don’t need to plan elaborate meals or bake dozens of cookies when the gourmet chefs on board will take care of it and you don’t need to clean your house for guests when you’re the guest and dedicated cabin stewards spruce up your stateroom each day.
You don’t need to shop for gifts that may just get forgotten in a few months, and instead the cruise is your gift and you will make memories to last a lifetime with the different ports of call you visit, shore tours you experience and other fun you have on board.
Taking a cruise lets you escape winter weather and the issues it can cause with icy roads, frozen fingers or snow days. It can also be easier to arrange for family to get together when you’re all on the same ship, rather than juggling many different schedules and commitments. After the holiday is done, you don’t have the hassle of cleaning up after the exuberance or putting away decorations – you just have to unpack your luggage after the cruise.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you miss all the festive trappings of the season when you set sail. Most cruise lines put a lot of holiday spirit into their seasonal sailings, with special menus and shows that are only enjoyed during the holiday season. Onboard decorations, holiday-themed craft projects, holiday trivia contests, visits from Santa, story time events, on-deck caroling and even tree lighting or onboard “snow” celebrations can all be part of a Christmas cruise.
Problems With a Christmas Cruise
There are some problems with holiday sailings that it is important to be aware of, however. Holiday sailings sell out fast, and it may be necessary to book a Christmas cruise a year or more in advance to get the cabins you prefer or to arrange a sailing for a larger family group. Because sailings are more popular during the holiday season, prices can be significantly higher than at other times. That can put a damper on a holiday budget, especially when airfare or other travel arrangements as well as onboard expenses need to be accounted for.
When family traditions have been built up over several generations, it can also be difficult to say bon voyage to the holidays and set sail on a cruise. If you will terribly miss those special decorations, home-baked treats, the excitement of Christmas morning and other parts of the season, it might be best to set sail after December 25th to get a lot of the holiday spirit on board without completely missing your home traditions as well. You can also investigate how to bring your holiday celebration on board with you, such as bringing along a sealed container of a favorite holiday treat, decorating your stateroom door with your favorite holiday scene or packing along your favorite ugly sweater to wear with pride.
Is a Christmas Cruise Worth It for You?
Ultimately, only you can decide if a Christmas cruise is worthwhile for you and your loved ones to celebrate the holidays. Carefully consider what you can get on a cruise versus what you’d be leaving at home, and consider the costs – financial, emotional and traditional – about your choices. You might enjoy trying a cruise for something new during the holidays, and with all the fun and festivity on board, setting sail might just become your new family holiday tradition.