I am taking my parents on the Dec 17 2005 Mariner 10 day
Mexico cruise out of LA.
This will be our FIRST EVER holiday sailing on ANY ship. We have
never spent christmas as sea before.
Just how extra special can I expect this sailing to be from a
non-christmas cruise. I am guessing it must be celebrated in
a subdued manner because I assume not EVERYONE on board
will be christian (we are).
I am very EXCITED about the prospect of a christmas vacation at sea.
I would love to hear anybody's experience with their holiday
cruise aboard the Mariner or any other RSSC ship.
We spent Christmas 2002 (along with New Years 2003) onboard the Mariner. The ship was done up beautifully. Special dinner and show Christmas Eve. Christmas Caroles Christmas Day. A Catholic Priest (Irish) was onboard for the cruise. It was a wonderful experience.
BTW, my father and his wife will also be sailing on your cruise; I wouldn't have recommended it to them unless I was sure they would enjoy it.
Most cruise lines and cruise ships will provide some sort of observance of the holidays; this is not unique to RSSC. While each cruise line will do some things differrently, here are some of the things you can expect from all of them. There will be clergy on all lines (at least Catholic and Protestant for Christmas) and religious observances available. There will be decorations for the holidays as appropriate (ie, Christmas trees in the atrium; appropriate decorations in the dining rooms, etc.). Each cruise line definitely tries to create a holiday atmosphere on board.
There will be holiday menus available on the holidays and, sometimes, on the eves of holidays as well. However, the fact that there is a special menu does not mean that the food quality or service will be better than non-holiday sailings (in my experience, including RSSC, special holiday meals such as Christmas are a notch or two below the routine in terms of food quality). Some of the lines may have holiday-themed parties (this varies from line to line, but usually includes, at least, a holliday themed coctail party). There will certainly be more children on board (because of school holidays) than otherwise and all cruise ships generally have a much higher occupancy rate during the holidays. Thus, it is wise to try to find out the passenger mix and occupancy rate for a holiday trip before you book (a good TA may be able to help with this, but not all cruise lines like to give out this kind of information).
To me, the best way to describe a holdiay cruise is to treat it as a theme cruise with the holiday as the theme. How special it is, then, will depend in great part in how much you wish to participate in the theme and how enthusiastic you are about the cruise line and the theme.
In short, before you book, be sure to find out in detail what RSSC is going to do on this cruise for the holiday - and what normal activities it is going to eliminate - and determine for yourselves if it is how you want to spend the holidays.