Friday, November 19, 2010

Have a Holly Jolly Holiday at Sea

By: Noemi Peruyera

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays. Lights are being strung, presents are being wrapped and cruise ships everywhere are beginning to drape themselves in holiday decor. Although you won’t have a white Christmas on a cruise you will find plenty of good cheer. It’s hard not to get in the holiday spirit when twinkling lights, decorated trees, poinsettias and mistletoe surround you. Carolers stroll the decks singing your favorite holiday songs while kids are busy making ornaments and decorating sugar cookies. There's even a ceremonial tree lighting and plenty of champagne toasts.

All cruise ships get into the holiday spirit but the bigger the ship, the bigger the festivities. So what kind of celebration is right for your you? Here’s a little advice on what you need to know about cruising over Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years:

• Of the four holidays, Christmas is the biggest ordeal.

• Holiday cruises generally offer religious services. Typically, a rabbi, minister and priest sail aboard holiday cruises and hold Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and interdenominational services in the ship's chapel or in a quiet public room.

• All cruise lines decorate for the holidays to some extent, with the larger lines showing more of the holiday spirit. Most ships display at least one Christmas tree decorated from head to toe, a menorah is displayed and lighted each day during the eight-day celebration, and poinsettias, wreathes, mistletoe, and holly are sprinkled about. Decorations generally go up around Thanksgiving and stay up until the New Year.

• The larger family-friendly ships have plenty of holiday activities for the whole family including holiday-themed arts and crafts, caroling by the crew, an appearance by Santa, and sometimes elves too. But Christmas oriented activities are usually kept to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that non-celebrating passengers do not get overwhelmed. On New Year's Eve, a ship-wide countdown is to be expected, as is a champagne toast.

• There is no shortage of food during the holiday celebrations. Naturally, you can expect the traditional turkey and trimmings on Thanksgiving, plus lots of dishes made out of pumpkin. At Menorah lighting services during Hanukkah, you'll likely be offered Kosher wine and challah, while for Christmas look for roast turkey or goose, gingerbread everything, mincemeat pies, chocolate Yule logs, and, of course, holiday cookies.

• The crew gets into the holiday spirit with waiters in Santa hats and cruise staff dressing up like elves, Baby New Year, and other holiday characters.

• To keep up with the loads of holiday activities and full house during the holidays, many lines bring in extra staff to cope.

Planning your holiday cruise just got easier with Cruises Inc.; offering most major cruise lines, the very best direct prices along with excellent personal service, all at no additional cost to the traveler. Contact Noemi Peruyera, your Cruise Specialist at (954) 251-3211 or toll free at (800) 354-0119, or via the web at for more information.


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