Out to Sea for Dec. 23/17
(c) By Jim and Barb Fox
Dreaming of a white (sand beach) Christmas?
Cruise ships go all out to celebrate the holidays whether at this time of year or other party occasions including Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
It’s a special time onboard and visiting foreign ports during Christmas and New Year.
|A white (sand) Christmas at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas on a Holland America Line cruise. (Jim Fox photo)|
This is a time for family gatherings, away from the hustle and bustle of celebrations at home.
Enabling guests to enjoy these special days “has made the holidays one of the most popular and festive times to take a seagoing vacation,” Princess Cruises says.
Many people book a year in advance to secure the cruise and cabin/suite they want but if you hurry, there might still be something available last minute over New Year’s.
It’s a white Christmas on board as Princess makes “snow” in the atrium while cabins have virtual Yule logs.
| Santa, with a beachy
Hawaiian flair, gives the shaka sign (“hang loose”) at Honolulu
City Hall. (Barbara Fox photo)|
It's not hard to get into the Christmas spirit right from the start, as ships are trimmed from stem to stern in festive holiday decor, complete with wreaths, holly, mistletoe, trees and even decorations on the ship’s mast.
There’s nothing like toasting the New Year with champagne and a vast seafood and steak midnight buffet, and grooving at the B.B. King Blues Club on Holland America ships.
Vessels deck the halls throughout December and passengers mingle with Kris Kringle as Yuletide carollers sing classics.
There is seasonal entertainment with themed production shows, live music and films.
|Cruise ships put on spectacular holiday buffets including dessert extravaganzas. (Jim Fox photo)|
On Christmas day, Santa makes an appearance, bringing gifts to the children.
Passengers can sip eggnog while competing in gingerbread house‐making contests and design a special keepsake ornament.
They feast on a Christmas dinner of roast turkey or goose and there’s no need to buy gifts in advance as ships have numerous duty-free shops.
Youth and teen centres host holiday parties and there’s free “kid-sitting” along with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer.
Hanukkah is observed as the Festival of Lights burns brightly with a menorah‐lighting ceremony, themed crafts, festive décor, special events and food.
Ringing in the New Year
|Groove and cruise at the B.B. King Blues Club bringing in the New Year on Holland America ships. (Barbara Fox photo)|
Ships welcome each New Year in style with a fun-filled party with music, confetti, noise-makers and champagne to toast the arrival.
These popular festivities can range from casual attire to black-tie affairs, depending on the ship and itinerary.
Cruisers need not worry about missing the Rose Bowl Parade or football games while recovering from the night before.
The traditional college bowl games are shown throughout the ship, including on poolside big screens complete with a buffet of “munchies” such as hot dogs and burgers, popcorn, chips and assorted goodies.
Celebrations keep on coming
It seems there’s rarely a cruise without a reason to celebrate.
From birthdays and anniversaries when the dining room staff serenades the person or couple, Princess cruises has these special times for all.
|A decorated Christmas tree among the palms at Grand Turk. (Barbara Fox photo)|
Valentine’s Day is celebrated with hearts and flowers and special touches.
You can make a card for your sweetheart, send a singing telegram, indulge with Cupid’s champagne cocktail and the Love Boat dream dessert – or the ultimate, renewing your vows.
There’s also St. Paddy’s Day and Chinese New Year with mythological lion dancers and Easter and Passover, a solemn time but also with visits from the Easter Bunny and egg hunts.
Mother’s and Father’s days are marked along with Halloween and its fright-night party.
To find out more about ships and destinations, check out the Cruise Lines International Association website at cruising.org
Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at email@example.com
For more Out to Sea trip tips: http://outtoseatravel.blogspot.ca