Instead of slaving over a hot turkey – or keeping the peace between distant relatives – you could be eating Christmas dinner prepared by a top chef while gazing out to sea. But more than just escaping the hard work and stress that December 25 can bring, taking a cruise at Christmas means you truly get into the spirit of the season. With the ship festooned with wreaths, holly and mistletoe from bow to stern, eggnog handed out poolside and choirs singing carols on the decks, even Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t help but feel festive.
Here are our top five reasons why you should spend Christmas at sea.
Family time that isn’t all the time
Most people know that cruises are great for multi-generational groups because there aren’t many other holidays where you can keep everyone from a grandmother to a toddler happy in the same place. Which makes cruising at Christmas the perfect way to enjoy family time without the stress. Instead of having your extended family crammed into one person’s house, you can all have your own space and still have plenty of time together. No one has to cook, which means less stress, and there are activities to suit everyone from waterslides to ballroom dancing.
Christmas fare prepared by experts
Here’s the thing about turkey – it’s one of the most difficult things you’ll ever cook. So why not enjoy a sumptuous multi-course meal cooked by professional chefs? Most cruises won’t only have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings (including perfectly moist turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing) but many will put on incredible Christmas Eve buffets with everything from mince pies to biscuits and mulled wine. And, of course, you won’t be asked to do the dishes.
Watch the delight on your children’s faces
Not many of us can afford to hire a Santa Claus to turn up on Christmas Day. On a cruise ship, small children are almost guaranteed to meet the red-suited man on their big day. On some ships there’ll also be Christmas craft and cooking classes, gingerbread houses and festive-themed movies on the in-house TV channel and on-board movie screens. On its family-friendly ships, P&O says it offers children’s parties, a gingerbread village as well as presents for all passengers.
Something for everyone beyond Christmas Day
A Christmas cruise is almost never just a day or two with many itineraries from Australian ports extending from 10 days to three weeks, visiting ports here and abroad. So it’s a good thing most ships will have plenty to offer beyond the end-of-year festivities. There’s plenty to keep everyone aboard amused from famous waterslides such as Carnival’s Green Thunder for young ones, through to ballroom dancing lessons for older family members and just about everything in between.
Discover new places and people
A cruise holiday offers the opportunity to discover intriguing new destinations. Christmas cruises departing from Australian ports in 2015 visit destinations as diverse as New Zealand and Thailand. Royal Carribean’s Explorer of the Seas will do a 13-day tour of New Zealand and the South Pacific, while Star Cruises’ SuperStar Virgo takes an epic 22-night journey to Hong Kong via Singapore, Bali and Bangkok.
It’s easy to see why once you’ve spent Christmas on a cruise it’s hard to go back to reality. Consider taking a few decorations aboard to spruce up your cabin and you’ll get right into the festive spirit at sea.