All I Want for Christmas is a Cruise with the Family
By Cynthia J. Drake | Published on December 01, 2021
The growing to-do list for a parent around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays can get a little overwhelming: gifts to buy, meals to plan, relatives to host, wrapping and decorating to do, and holiday concerts and school programs to attend. The fact is that sometimes the holidays can start to feel a lot more like work and obligation than joy and togetherness.
Enter: a family vacation, cruise-ship style, where you can spend your days focusing on the things that really matter during the holiday season (like being with family) and less on all the other stuff. And you can bring along as much — or as little — of your traditions as you'd like for the journey.
After a hectic year of homework and school projects, carpooling to soccer games or dance recitals and feeling like you don't have time to just relax with your family, sometimes the best thing you can do is buck your holiday traditions, pack your bags and take the whole family on a cruise. Whether you're cruising during Thanksgiving, Christmas or the New Year, not having to worry about a turkey dinner or the perfect Christmas tree will give you more quality time to spend with each member of your family.
Want to bring along the grandparents, in-laws or extended family? No need to worry about stashing Uncle Earl on the basement couch this holiday season — everyone can be comfortable in the privacy of their own stateroom. Cruise ships have something for everyone, including multigenerational activities. From the kids' activities at Adventure Ocean to holiday movie nights and story time to competitive rounds of musical trivia, your family will truly be together.
Cruises are all about enjoying the comforts of home while onboard. So, if you can't imagine celebrating Hanukkah without a special family meal, or Christmas vacation without homemade cookies or that enchanting holiday theater production — you don't have to! All of those activities are already planned for you onboard, and in some cases, it's even more fun than doing it all on your own. Kids can decorate gingerbread houses, go caroling, be wowed by the holiday parade and even meet Santa Claus himself. And parents will enjoy romantic holiday concerts, cozy movie nights and sharing a kiss as the ball drops on New Year's Eve.
As for getting into the holiday spirit, your cruise ship will be twinkling from bow to stern with grand Christmas trees, cheery decorations and sparkling lights. Every night of Hanukkah, you can gather your family in the lobby with your fellow cruisers to light the menorah. And Christmas dinner in the decked out dining hall means you won't have to forgo your traditional turkey, ham or buche de noel (yule log) — they're on the menu. The biggest difference is that you don't have to lift a finger cooking or cleaning up! There are also opportunities to attend religious services led by a priest or rabbi.
Want to amp up the holiday fun? You should bring along anything that will make the holidays a little merrier away from home. Pack a set of family holiday PJs and have an onboard photographer snap your picture, or decorate your stateroom door with a festive wreath. Or, load your tablet with your favorite holiday movies and books so you can snuggle up before bed for story time.
Many families love cruising for the holidays so much it becomes its own new tradition, and you may find yourself making holiday cruise plans every year, too. Caribbean holiday cruises are truly wonderful for people who want to reinterpret "White Christmas" into something more like "white sand beach Christmas" (especially if you live in a colder climate and aren't necessarily all about chanting "Let it Snow!").
Some families prefer experiences over tangible gifts. For them, the cruise is the present, and the greatest gift is the time spent together. Rethinking the idea of gift giving is another way of creating your own traditions and memories, and it can also mean one less thing to stress over.
Of course, you don't have to give up gift giving if that's something your family cherishes. If that's you, bring along a few special presents to unwrap. Cozy up with a mug of coffee on your stateroom balcony while watching your kids open their gifts — or head to the beach in your Santa hat for some fun photos. You can even save some presents to unwrap back home for something to look forward to.
You can find exciting souvenirs at each port of call, too (I like to collect a new ornament from each new place I visit), or you can collect all of your photographs from your wonderful vacation and turn them into beautiful mementos for your family members later.
Holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year for many people. Above all the beauty of taking your family’s holiday celebrations onboard a cruise ship is that everyone gets to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation. Kids can spend the day making new friends and playing holiday-themed games while the grandparents attend a holiday mass. Meanwhile, Mom or Dad can swap hours of house-cleaning, meal prep and last-minute shopping for a luxurious spa treatment followed by a glass of wine shared together during a much-needed silent night. So, if your heart wants you to be spontaneous and book a family cruise this holiday season, go for it