Holiday cruises are gaining in popularity, and cruise lines have responded with a wide variety of itineraries to suit every taste. Whether it’s a Christmas gift for Mom or a way to escape the hectic rush of December, a cruise provides an excellent value and a perfect chance to spend quality time with the family.
Cruise vacationers don’t have to leave their traditional holiday observances at home, either. In addition to special holiday festivities, entertainment and decorations, on-board clergy conduct Catholic, Protestant and Jewish services. Some ships also accommodate Kwanzaa celebrations.
“It’s a great time to cruise because the kids are out of school and the grandparents can come along, too,” said Gloria Sanderson of Chicago.
Sanderson says cruising over the holidays with three generations of Sandersons has become a new family tradition.
“The important thing is being together,” she said. “We still have a big holiday dinner with all the trimmings, but without having to cook and clean up.”
A wide selection of holiday cruises ranging from seven to 21 days is available from Holland America Line. Most sailings are in the warm blue waters of the Caribbean, and most of those call at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private Bahamian island.
Additionally, Holland offers a cruise along the Mexican Riviera and, for the ultimate white Christmas, the line’s Amsterdam flagship will spend Christmas with the penguins, visiting Antarctica on December 25.
Holland America’s on-board festivities include holiday decorations, special movie showings, traditional dinner selections, religious services and a Christmas show by the crew on Christmas Eve. The line also arranges to broadcast some college bowl games on board the ship.
“There are facilities and programs for the kids, and plenty of different activities for us and the grandparents,” said Doug Sanderson, Gloria’s husband. “We can be as active or relaxed as we want, and it’s a lot warmer on a cruise than it is in Chicago!”
And if you think that a holiday cruise will break the bank, Holland America has seven-day sailings starting at $899 per person, and even lower promotional prices.