If you love Christmas but the thought of preparing a big meal, entertaining once-a-year relatives and small talk over the turkey fills you with dread, it’s time for something different. Increasing numbers of people are choosing to spend the seasonal period on holiday, and what better way to do this than on a cruise where all your meals are included in the price of your holiday! Here’s our lowdown on how to plan and what to expect – here’s some more information on cruise holidays if you’re keen to get cracking.
What will the weather be like?
You may love the UK winter, but if you don’t, then use your Christmas cruise break to get some much-needed Vitamin D. If you fancy waking up on Christmas morning, heading up to the deck and gazing out over swaying palms and soft sands, then a Caribbean cruise could be for you. Destinations such as Barbados also like to get festive, so you’ll find houses and shops lit with lights and Christmas trees, Christmas songs and pop-up shops selling festive trinkets and souvenirs. The Canary Islands are also great for winter sunshine. However, if you’re more interested in sightseeing than sunshine, consider northern Europe instead. There’ll be lots of fascinating ports of call to explore, plus destinations such as Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt will be hosting their glittering Christmas markets.
What are the benefits?
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can be stressful. We all get so immersed in trying to create the perfect celebration that actually enjoying it goes on the back burner. If you’re always the one to organise and host, then a cruise will come as a welcome break; no cooking to worry about, your cruise ship will be decked with twinkling decorations and on the day itself you can often expect a visit from Santa himself – perfect if you’re travelling with youngsters. Just sit back and focus on spending a quality time with your family, whether that’s your partner, a group of friends or the whole clan.
Think about what you want
You’ve decided you want to book a Christmas cruise – great! But what do you want from it? Is food important to you? If so, go for a ship with a wide choice of dining options. Also, what’s the deal on Christmas Day? Will they be serving a traditional feast or something different? The same goes for facilities; sporty types who want to ward off those holiday kilos may want to go for a ship with a gym, pool and maybe a few fitness classes and a spa. Another thing to think about is your itinerary. Med cruises are great if you’re after sightseeing, but if you want relaxation, a Greek or Canary Islands cruise is better suited to your needs.
What to pack
Making sure you pack properly for your destination is important. If you’re going to Europe and planning on sightseeing, then pack as you would for a UK break, but with the option of some lighter tops for warmer days. Layering is key, so think lightweight T-shirts, fleeces, gilets and casual trousers. If you’re going to the Canaries or Caribbean, check the weather and pack accordingly – hopefully you’ll be in your bikini or trunks by Boxing Day! It’s also worth checking if the on-board restaurants have a dress code; better to check than be caught out. Whatever the rules, it’s nice to dress up on Christmas Day, so pack a smart suit or stylish dress and heels so you can get into the party spirit. As you won’t have to spend hours at the stove preparing the feast, you may as well dress to impress!
How much will it cost?
Aside from all the perks you’ll be getting on your cruise – delicious food, plenty of daytime and evening entertainment, and excellent on-board facilities – you might get a better deal than in the summer months. Winter cruises are often cheaper, so if you keep your eyes peeled you can take advantage of some pretty impressive price drops. If you’re going as a family, maybe the adults can agree that the cruise counts as your present and save on the cost of gift-giving. Christmas is costly, and with the average family spending upwards of £700 on gifts, food, drinks, parties and celebrations, a cruise holiday sounds more and more appealing.
A Christmas cruise can be a great way to spend the festive season. Not only do you get to avoid all the preparation, cooking and washing-up, but you can avoid the post-season blues by exploring exciting and beautiful destinations around the globe and enjoying a spa treatment or poolside cocktail or two.