It's not so much an issue of "What extras do I get" so much as it is one of "Where do I want to be at Christmas?"
One of the best Christmases we ever spent was many years ago aboard Sitmar's Fairwind with our kids and all their grandparents. Wouldn't have traded that for anything.
But would we want to go on a holiday cruise now? Probably not. The kids are grown, the grandparents are all gone but one, and cruising is a lot less personal now than it was then.
You pay a premium during the holidays because the lines know they can sell out. That means you can be sure of a ship loaded to the plimsail line with families. This in itself is neither bad nor good, it just depends on what you want.
During our December 3 cruise last year on Summit, the ship underwent its holiday decorating and really looked beautiful. It can be a gorgeous time to be afloat.
We went on a New Year's cruise this past January. It was great and beautifully decorated. It was just my husband and myself because we left the kids (college age) home alone to have a special vacation together. My husband and I have really busy jobs and the only time to be assured of some time together without work interferring is over the holidays. We did have Christmas at home. The ship was gorgeous and the entertainment was a step up. They had the bowl games on tv, special dinner menu and of course noisemakers,etc. They added extra decorating touches on New Year's Eve and kept them through till the 2nd. Every lounge and the theater had a different kind of party going. The teenagers and 20 year olds were on the pool deck with their band. The main theater had a huge movie screen with NYC and Times Square. They had one lounge set up for rock and roll, another for big band and another for quiet reflection and soft music. There were others but I can't remember. For New Year's Day we were on the private island and that was the best place to be according to my husband. I did notice that the holiday decorations were starting to come down the morning we pulled into port on the 4th.
We thought the extra money was worth it, because we wanted time together doing something memorable. Going later in January it would be just another vacation to us.
Go back as far as December and January on this board and read about some of the complaints about PACKED and OVERPACKED
sailings for the holidays and it may change your perspective about the nostalgia of a holiday cruise.
We've cruised several times over Christmas and New Years. You have to expect the ship's to be busy.. but New Year's Eve is still my favorite night to be at sea. Everyone is out and about and enjoying!
I'd choose New Years over Christmas though I think.