What to Keep in Mind When Planning for a Christmas Cruise


As the classic holiday song goes: “I’ll be home for Christmas”. But does that necessary warrant house arrest for the entire holiday season? If you’re tired of the same old routine – spending an absurd amount of time untangling Christmas lights, waiting in long lines at the shops to buy that perfect present, and remaining cordial to your overserved in-laws, a Christmas cruise is the perfect escape plan to get away from the typical holiday stress. On top of that, your holiday spirit won’t be lost since you’ll be observing new Christmas customs as you travel the world.

Cruise1st has gathered these tips to make sure you’re well informed when you browse, book, and set sail on your Christmas and New Year cruises!

There’s a ship for everyone’s needs

Before you even start searching for your dream cruise, you need to consider two things: the size of your group and everyone’s age in your party.

  • We recommend that you opt for a larger ship if you’re travelling with small children. Bigger vessels are ideal in this situation because they are packed with tons of fun activities, provide childcare services, and offer entertainment for the whole family.
  • A mid-sized ship is most appropriate if your party is a mix of children and adults. The onboard atmosphere is catering more towards adults. With less family programming, adults will have more opportunities to mix and mingle.
  • Look into smaller ships if you’re interested in a luxurious experience complete with gourmet cuisine, top-of-the-line entertainment, and lavish accommodations. Fewer children will be on board, and some luxury cruise ships are adults-only. These vessels carry less than 950 passengers, fostering a more intimate ambience.

Christmas around the world

Would you like to see some of the world’s most beautiful sites upon a wintery backdrop? If so, check out some European Christmas market cruises. You can float down the Rhine River in Germany and make your way to France before you explore the beautiful cities of Vienna and Budapest. Visit the charming Christmas market in every town you stop off in and drink a mug of mulled wine while listening to the angelic voices of carollers.

  • Cruise1st Tip: Book early if you want to secure the best prices. But if you’re a little more spontaneous, check out some of our last-minute deals!

young couple at a Christmas market in Europe and the North Lights

If you want to experience a “white Christmas”, your best bet is the Norwegian Fjords. These magnificent landmarks are full of mystery and wonder and will just wow you with its natural beauty and stunning landscapes.

  • Cruise1st Tip: Consider booking a packaged cruise deal that includes flights and accommodations.

Is the cold not your thing? Then the Caribbean is the perfect destination for you. Explore these paradise islands floating in the turquoise waters. Adventurers can mosey through the local markets and try out the local cuisine; traditional beach holidaymakers can go at a slower pace and sunbathe on the white sand beaches and go for a dip in the warm sea.

monkey eating a coconut and sea turtles swimming in the waters of the Caribbean Sea

Visit our neighbours to the north and immerse yourself in the unique cultures of Asia. The region will reward you with warm weather, lush nature scenes, and booming metropolises. Or just stay “home” and cruise around the Australian coast. You’re probably already familiar with our unspoiled beaches, rugged wilderness, and extraordinary wildlife.

Christmas everything: events, cuisine, and festivities

Every cruise line and each ship in its fleet will have its take on Christmas celebrations. One thing is for sure: Prepare yourself for sensory overload; the moment you step on board, the decorations will make you think you just walked into Santa’s workshop. Without a doubt, you will find Santa, some of his trusty elves, and mistletoe right around the corner. Santa might even make a surprise visit and deliver presents to all the children aboard Christmas morning!

Skim through the ship’s agenda to see what festivities the cruise line has planned for the voyage. From crafting festive DIY ornaments and carolling to storytimes with hot chocolate and winter evening balls, pick out the events you want to immerse yourself in, so you can organise the perfect holiday experience for your family. What you can expect from your Christmas cruise is at least one holiday-themed meal. Get ready to enjoy a smorgasbord of food and drinks without spending hours in the kitchen: roasted turkey and ham, stuffing, Christmas pudding, eggnog, and so much more!

glasses of sparking wine and a Christmas dinner with festive decorations

A highlight on most cruises is the live performances and stage shows, and this remains the case around Christmas and New Year. If you’re cruising on a larger vessel, expect to sit at the edge of your seats at a Broadway-quality Christmas show or for your kids to look on in wonder at the tree lighting ceremony.

The holiday festivities aren’t just restricted to the ship; whenever your ship docks at a port of call, explore the shore and join in on the local merrymaking. Whether you’re observing local traditions or enjoying yourself at the winter carnivals, the Christmas spirit will be wherever you stop off!

Bags packed and stockings stuffed

The clothes you pack for your cruise will depend on the weather at your destinations. However, there are, of course, a few essentials you shouldn’t forget. Check out the Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist from our friends at Coworker.

Evening entertainment and formal dinners make up some of the most special events at sea. You’ll want to dress to impress for extravagant meals, formal evenings, and cocktails and dinner with the captain.

Don’t forget to pack a special holiday-inspired outfit since you’ll be cruising around Christmastime. Whether it’s a Santa hat or an ugly Christmas jumper, you’ll want to look the part when you’re hitting the dance floor at the holiday-themed parties or inducing a food coma at the festive dinners.

a decorated Christmas tree and a Christmas presents

Please keep luggage space in mind when it comes to gift giving on the high seas – that not only goes for your suitcase but the recipient’s suitcase as well. More than likely, the cruise holiday is already the gift, so a little something extra may be the perfect way to show you appreciate one another. If you didn’t manage to make it to the shops before your cruise, there’s no need to worry; you’ll be able to find some shops on board as well as at each port of call.

Why not bring some Christmas spirit into your stateroom? If your suitcase permits, a miniature Christmas tree, a string or two of Christmas lights, or a wreath will make your cruise even more magical. No extra space? Collect some festive souvenirs during your cruise journey.

If you think a Christmas cruise is the perfect new tradition for your family, then check out our hottest cruise deals. Don’t hesitate to ring us on 1300 857 345 if you have any questions.



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