I've sailed at Christmas a few times. I think it's a wonderful time to cruise. LOTS of families onboard, often multigenerational, which makes for a very nice family atmosphere on the ship.
The ships are decorated for the holidays, and there is often carroling in the atrium.
Do remember though that many of the staff onboard can be a bit down at this time of year, since they're likely missing their families. Going a small extra step to try and share the festive spirit with them can be very much appreciated.
We try and take along a small gift for the staff we interact with the most, and that always seems to be greatly appreciated.
what a great idea Kuki, we are also cruising at christmas on the Ocean Princess and I hadn`t thought of that, I was wondering what I could do to make it extra special and the gift idea sounds great, now, what do you suggest as a gift? jean
I found this on princess.com, I think it will answer some of your questions....
AMERICANS CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS ON THE HIGH SEAS
Princess Cruises Offers Festive Getaways Ranging from the Southern Caribbean to the South Pacific
Many Americans will forego preparing lavish meals and hosting elaborate family gatherings to enjoy their holidays away from home. Research conducted by AAA and the Travel Industry Association (TIA) found that in 1999 more than 44 million American adults intended to spend the holidays away from home, with many of these travelers citing cruise vacations as their destination of choice. For Princess Cruises’ passengers, spending the 2000 holidays at sea will mean a hassle-free and relaxing vacation filled with the special holiday touches such as religious services, traditional cuisine and special seasonal entertainment.
Princess will sail on seven- to 15-day cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Holy Land, South America and South Pacific during the Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Cruisers can enjoy a tropical getaway to the Eastern Caribbean aboard the popular Grand Princess, or transit the Panama Canal while spending Christmas day in Costa Rica on board Sun Princess. The Princess holiday schedule also includes seven-day Southern Caribbean sailings round-trip from San Juan aboard Ocean Princess and Dawn Princess; a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale aboard Sea Princess; a 14-day Athens to Istanbul cruise aboard the original “Love Boat,” Pacific Princess; a 14-day Royal Princess voyage from Buenos Aires to Santiago; and a 15-day journey aboard Regal Princess from Sydney to Papeete. All Princess ships offer passengers the freedom to personalize their cruise vacation through a variety of innovative onboard features and services, including multiple dining and entertainment options, as well as the most balcony cabins of any cruise line.
To celebrate Christmas, all ships are festooned with Christmas trees, wreaths, holly and mistletoe. Passengers can take part in Christmas caroling and can also enjoy a special Christmas dinner with favorites such as roast turkey, Christmas pudding and a chocolate Yule Log. There are even specially themed variety shows during the voyage. On Christmas Eve, ships also hold a midnight Christian church service.
For Jewish passengers, Princess ships display menorahs and fresh flower arrangements decorated in the Hanukkah colors of blue, silver and white. Kosher meals are available throughout the sailing when requested in advance, and specialty items such as matzo ball soup, gefilte fish and matzo are featured during the holiday. A Rabbi conducts prayer and song service each night of the holiday.
Youths on board enjoy the line’s holiday program for children, which offers fun activities including holiday arts and crafts classes, sing-a-longs, parties and much more. They can also participate in a holiday production performed on board for all passengers. On Christmas, Santa bears gifts for all the children.
Confetti, noisemakers and champagne top off New Year’s Eve celebrations, which range from casual to black-tie affairs, depending on the ship and itinerary. Guests will also enjoy a night of dancing as they count down to 2001.
"A Princess cruise offers families the perfect opportunity to share in the magic of the season, while still pursuing their individual interests and preferences," said Dean Brown, Princess’ executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. "With the innovative choices available to passengers on board our ships, we are able to provide something that every member of the family can enjoy not only during the holidays, but every day of the year."
For additional information about holiday itineraries, availability and pricing, contact your local travel agent or call 1-800-PRINCESS.
One of my nicest memories is of a Christmas spent aboard Royal Princess, my only Christmas cruise to date. It was 1985 and my daughter was a teenager. She asked me if there would be a Christmas tree onboard. I had no idea. We arrived at the ship at night, a horrible, stormy night. There bravely glittering in the rain was one very forlorn, windblown tree strapped to the mast. We got onboard and the Christmas decor was everywhere, from many elaborate, beautiful Christmas trees to some lifesize creches. They didn't have children's programs in those days but they did have special stuff going on for the kids on this cruise. We were given a caroling concert by the children and any adults who cared to participate. The captain gave a special children's party with gifts and they had THE most beautiful Christmas buffet I've ever seen. Of course they served Christmas dinner in the dining room, but our waiters told us that the buffet was something very special, and it was. My daughter can never get away for the holidays anymore which is too bad. That was a very special cruise and I absolutely loved it.