Are you dreading hosting on Christmas Day, already feeling the pressure to buy the turkey with all the trimmings? Is the idea of tidying the house and have friends and family over to stay over the festive season driving you crackers? Does it sound a nice idea for someone else to do all the cooking, serving, and washing up? Everyone deserves to enjoy Christmas, but there is no denying it comes with stress.

Well, why not plan an unforgettable way to spend Christmas away from home? Celebrating Christmas on a cruise ship is indeed a unique way to spend the biggest holidays of the year, with a variety of locations and weather available for your ideal winter holiday.

Different cruise lines get very busy at this time of the due to rising demand, and they know how to go out of the way to create a festive atmosphere and lure customers onboard. You can book early or decide to take a last minute cruise offer and make some neat savings.

Those who are booking a luxury Christmas cruise for the first time can look forward to a special experience. Here is what you can expect from this unforgettable Christmas cheer onboard.

decorations on a christmas cruise
There are plenty of decorations to ensure the Christmas spirit is abundant

Expect grand Christmas decorations

For those worried that they will be missing out or struggle to get into the Christmas spirit, fear not. Festive cruises transform themselves into magical winter wonderlands with stunning festive decorations that score higher when compared to the local traditional decorations you come across. It’s like a floating Santa’s Grotto.

You will see some amazing festive displays based on holiday-themed decor within the ship’s interior, along with grand Christmas trees covered with twinkling lights and ornaments. The garlands and wreaths at every corner create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Expect Christmas-themed entertainment

Every cruise line tries to offer something grand and better in terms of Christmas entertainment. The idea is to get every passenger into the holiday spirit, and thus, you will find live music, carollers, and special Christmas shows during the cruise. You may even get a visit from Santa Claus himself or get the chance to attend a Christmas-themed Broadway-style musical.

Expect Christmas fun

You are sure to enjoy different Christmas theme activities such as ornament-making workshops, gingerbread house decorating contests, craft classes, and special holiday trivia. Those themed games and activities are organized throughout the day and can be enjoyed by one and all. It really is the magic of Christmas at every turn for a festive break you’ll never forget.

Father Christmas on a festive cruise
You might even find St Nick on your festive cruise

Expect Christmas markets

It is not uncommon to see cruise lines organizing Christmas markets on their ships. These markets sell locally made handcrafted goods by local artisans, and one can shop for gifts, ornaments, souvenirs, and other seasonal treats.

Expect elaborate Christmas dinners

Cruise ship dining becomes a festive dining experience, and it is indeed a culinary delight for all the guests. One can look forward to enjoying and savouring traditional holiday dishes and elaborate Christmas buffets with a wide selection of sides and desserts. You can expect festive treats such as yule log cake, Christmas pudding, or a special Christmas morning brunch.

Expect visits from Santa

Lately, it has become common for Santa to pay a visit to all those enjoying a Christmas cruise. It is great fun to watch Santa descending from the ship’s chimney or arriving from across the ocean or on a boat. Families with kids can enjoy a magical experience as Santa hands out gifts and interacts with them.

Expect New Year’s celebrations

Usually, the Christmas cruises extend into the New Year and thus double the fun for the passengers. Thus, the magical xmas celebrations transit seamlessly to some spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations. This is your chance to ring in the new year with a bang with elaborate parties, gala dinners, and fireworks.

a family relax in a pool on christmas day on a festive cruise
Spend Christmas in the sunshine being waited on

What are the best Christmas cruise destinations?

There are several great Christmas and New Year cruises to destinations around the world, each offering unique experiences and festive celebrations depending if you want to escape or embrace the Chrimbo feels.

Winter Sun

The sun-kissed Caribbean islands, such as Barbados, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas, offer warm weather and beautiful beaches during the Christmas season and ideal for some fun in the sun. Cruise lines often decorate their ships and organize festive activities for guests.

Celebrate Christmas Down Under with a cruise to Australia or New Zealand. While enjoying warm summer weather, you can explore cosmopolitan cities, stunning coastlines, and unique wildlife. And of course, if you want fireworks, nothing beats a New Year Cruise that stops in Sydney Harbour.

Picturesque Hawaii is a popular transatlantic holiday cruise destination, offering a mix of tropical beauty, pristine beaches, and festive celebrations. Cruise lines often plan special events and decorations on board, and you can enjoy the beaches, hula performances, and traditional Hawaiian feasts.

You can also escape the winter in Dubai, Maderia or the Canary Islands like Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

sydney fireworks at sea
Enjoy some stunning New Years Eve firework from your cabin or the deck

Embracing the festivity and cold weather

Lapland spans across Norway, Sweden, Finland. So cruising through the Norwegian fjords during Christmas offers breath-taking snow-capped landscapes and charming villages with an authentic location. And while looking up for Santa’s sleigh, you may also have the chance to witness the Northern Lights, adding to the magical experience.

River cruises along the Rhine, Danube, or Seine rivers in Europe allow you to explore the enchanting Christmas markets. Destinations like Cologne, Vienna, and Strasbourg offer a magical atmosphere with traditional food, crafts, and holiday decorations.