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Holiday Cruises – The Reasons To Go & The Reasons Not To Go

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This week is Thanksgiving in the United States; the first major holiday of the season. In my view it’s also the best U.S. holiday in that it’s all about being with family and friends.

 It’s a non-demonational holiday which calls for no shopping  or gift giving. It only calls for everyone to give thanks for what they have, and for the family and friends they have.

 It’s also the best holiday to cruise on, in my opinion, in that it enables everyone to enjoy the holiday, and the company of the friends and family you’re cruising with. You let the cruise lines do all the preparation, service, and clean up, involved in Thanksgiving dinner, allowing everyone to simply relax and enjoy. It also allows you to be together and celebrate for the length of the cruise, not just Thanksgiving Day.

 Aside from that it is also normally the least expensive holiday you can cruise on. There are often incredible deals for Thanksgiving cruises because sometimes it’s unrealistic to get entire families to cruise, whether because of restricted schedules, or due to financial restictions of some family members.

However, if you are able, it’s a great time to cruise, and you’ll be greeted by a very warm and celebratory atmosphere onboard.

The other holiday cruises are some of most popular times of the year to cruise. Therefore they are also some of the most expensive cruises of the year. For many families with children, other than summer, it’s the only time they can cruise; while school is out. Therefore, they are also the times where the ships, on all cruise lines, are sailing with large numbers of children onboard. For some this is viewed as an extra attraction, believe their kids will enjoy the cruise more in the company of more of their peers. For those traveling without children, the large numbers of them present could be considered a fairly serious drawback.

Christmas cruises can be a particularly difficult time for crew members. Not only just because the ships are sailing very full, but also the fact they are away from their own families at this particular time.

On the positive side the ship’s are beautifully decorated for Christmas, most likely much more so than you do in your own homes (and you don’t do the work). Santa Claus is always onboard, to the pleasure of all the kids, and the entertainment staff generally lead caroling and such.

However, despite the decorations, etc. onboard when booking a cruise during Christmas one has to understand it is going to be far from a traditional Christmas celebration. If the traditional Christams experience is what you are after, you’d be best off avoiding a Christmas cruise.

New Year’s cruises are party time! On New Year’s Eve it seems no one remains in their cabins. Everyone is out and about and there are parties going on throughout the ship. All the lounges are filled with energetic atmosphere, and the party on deck is often the pinnacle of the celebration. Unlike Christmas sailings, on New Years you’ll find the crew enjoying the celebrations as much as the passengers. One drawback – cruises over New Year’s are some of the most expensive of the entire year.

As schools are out of session, though less so than on Christmas sailings, there are ample numbers of minors onboard. The ships do their best to organize New Year’s celebratory activities for the kids as well, and do a pretty acceptable job of it. For the parents, they may not be able to let loose as much as they like because they do have children on the ship they have to be responsible for.

On New Year’s Eve one must understand that much of the revelry is fueled by alcohol. I don’t drink much, and I’ve never personally experienced too much excessive consumption over the several times I’ve cruised over New Years. However, those who might be offended by the heavy partying, should likely look to cruise at another time.

As you have probably guessed, from reading this blog, if I were going to list my order of holiday cruises #1 on my list would be Thanksgiving, #2 New Years #3 (since my kids are grown) I’d avoid Christmas sailing from here on in. As the saying goes… “your mileage may vary”.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time November 23, 2011 at 6:45 am

A couple of years ago while enjoying a Baltic cruise with the QUEEN VICTORIA, we were invited to the cruise travel desk, as Cunard Diamonds, for special cruise pricing on a future cruise. So, we went, and yes we booked on of our favorite intineraries, the New York/Caribbean/New York sailing with the QUEEN MARY 2. The thought of the joy and the few months wait for the cruisewere short, time enough to get our formals dry cleaned for the next run.

We booked a hotel package, through Cunard Line, transfers, even air, all good, and then upon arrival back home, we booked two Broadway shows and Radio City Music Hall for their holiday extravaganza.

We told our son and his wife and they were furious. We actually booked the entire two weeks OVER Thanksgiving! We gave the date no thought, as we have taken this similar cruise post Thanksgiving in December. This is one of most cherished pre-Christmas cruises ever, we have taken a Cunarder on this itinerary for years. BUT never over a holiday.

Well, our butcher orderd a turkey for us to cook at home after the cruise, we had a nice non-holiday-holiday at home, and had the wonderful spread that Cunard presented on the QUEEN MARY 2, and as nice as it was on the ship, we sorely missed our family.

My poor kids, they had turkey subs at Subway, basking in their misery, while we were on the cruise.

One valuable lesson, our son never lets us forget each time we take a cruise- not over any holidays – never again.

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