10 finest Christmas cruises for 2023

It’s essentially the most fantastic time of the 12 months … to go on a cruise.

Commerce the glow of a Christmas tree in your lounge with the heat of the sand and the solar on a vacation cruise. Skip the mulled wine in your stovetop for a number of the world’s finest at a European Christmas market.

Christmas cruises can take your vacation celebrations to the subsequent stage — and are a really perfect alternative to flee the standard vacation celebrations rather than an journey.

On a vacation cruise, you’ll be able to depart the cooking, cleansing and adorning to the professionals and easily take pleasure in time with your loved ones. Christmas and New Yr’s cruises will also be good choices for folks attempting to keep away from the crush of family or who don’t have household however nonetheless wish to spend the vacation surrounded by different folks and festive cheer.

Winter cruises function holiday-themed actions for all ages, particular feasts that seize the magic of the vacation season and port calls at locations that allow you to benefit from the vacation spirit with out shivering from frigid temperatures.

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It’s by no means too early to plan your vacation getaway, particularly as these cruises are among the many quickest to promote out. Listed here are the ten finest Christmas and New Yr’s cruises you’ll be able to absorb 2023.

Vacation cruise ideas

Vacation time on Disney’s non-public island within the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY CRUISE LINE

Earlier than you ebook, remember just a few key information about Christmas cruises.

Charges will likely be excessive

Count on cruise fares to be among the many highest of the 12 months throughout the vacation weeks as demand will increase.

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The most effective costs will likely be for early bookings; you doubtless received’t discover any last-minute reductions. For those who do, they’ll both be on windowless inside cabins or assure cabins, the place the cruise line picks your room location.

Sailings will promote out

Vacation sailings promote out sooner than different itineraries, as folks plan their vacation holidays months upfront. Suites and particular cabins (household, spa, solo rooms, and so forth.) ebook up the quickest.

Take into account reserving your vacation cruise as early as attainable, because the December sailings usually replenish a 12 months upfront.

Take into account your personal decorations

The crew will enhance public areas on board, however passengers usually go all-out adorning their doorways and cabins for the vacations, as properly.

Magnetic doorways on cabins are clean canvases for the creativeness. You’ll discover stateroom doorways on Christmas cruises lined in wrapping paper, adorned with garlands or dotted with holiday-themed photos.

It’s finest to double-check together with your cruise line earlier than attaching something to your door or in your stateroom, as guidelines and rules differ per line. For those who’re not artistic, verify in case your cruise line presents cabin ornament packages for preorder previous to your crusing.

Specialty eating will not be suggested on the precise vacation

A lot of the specialty eating eating places on main cruise traces have set menus that don’t change for the vacations.

Your finest wager for conventional vacation dinner choices (assume roast turkey, smoked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy) will come from the principle, included eating choices on board. It may’t damage to ask if any of the extra-fee eating places are doing a Christmas or New Yr’s menu in the event you’re on the lookout for a extra intimate vacation meal.

Count on vacation hours in port

Most cruise ships will plan for Christmas to be a sea day, however in the event you’re in port on Dec. 25 (or on Boxing Day, as many islands have fun the day after), anticipate retailers, eating places and sights to have modified hours or be closed.

Onboard providers received’t cease, so if all of your prime lunch spots in port are closed, you’re at all times assured a scorching meal on the ship.

Take into account a vacation bonus for the crew

Cruise ship crew members transcend the usual service on all traces for the vacations, whether or not it’s a form notice wishing you properly, a Champagne toast for New Yr’s or a fantastic towel creation.

They’ll’t be at dwelling celebrating with their households as a result of they’re working onerous to make your vacation particular. Whereas gratuities are sometimes included in your fare or added robotically to your closing invoice, think about tipping a bit further on a Christmas cruise. The hardworking workers will recognize your further generosity throughout the vacation season.

Finest Christmas cruises for 2023

For those who’re on the hunt for the perfect vacation getaway, think about these Christmas cruises to your 2023 vacation trip. (Be aware: These sailings had availability on the time of writing, however costs might change, or ships promote out at any time.)

7-night Western Caribbean and Good Day cruise on Royal Caribbean


Sail dates: Dec. 23-30.

Ship: Marvel of the Seas.

This 12 months, Royal Caribbean’s latest ship (and the world’s largest), Marvel of the Seas, is crusing a particular cruise for the vacation week.

Sail by the Caribbean round-trip from Port Canaveral, Florida, with a particular Christmas Eve cease at Good Day at CocoCay, the road’s non-public island within the Bahamas, earlier than heading to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Roatan, Honduras. The crusing ends the day earlier than New Yr’s Eve, with loads of time to make your strategy to any of Orlando’s events.

Vacation highlights on board embrace Christmas Eve caroling, an unpleasant Christmas sweater crafting competitors, Christmas decoration and gingerbread cookie adorning lessons, and vacation video games and trivia.

Most of the ship’s specialty eating places have holiday-inspired specials, whereas the principle eating choices convey just a few contemporary takes on classics, like an almond-crusted fried brie and chestnut truffle risotto.

Charges for inside cabins begin at $1,458 per particular person, not together with $151.85 in taxes, charges and port bills.

10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise on Holland America

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. HOLLAND AMERICA

Sail dates: Dec. 17-27.

Ship: Nieuw Statendam.

The ten-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam is a good way to retreat from the chilly this December. The prolonged itinerary leaves from Fort Lauderdale and sails to Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba, in addition to Half Moon Cay, HAL’s non-public island within the Bahamas.

Don’t neglect your vacation finest, as every ship hosts a Christmas Eve formal ball with dinner and dancing, in addition to midnight mass, holiday-themed excessive tea service, vacation choir performances and Santa meet-and-greets.

Charges for inside cabins begin from $1,299 per particular person, not together with an estimated $220 per particular person in taxes, charges and port bills.

18-day Reefs and Rainforests in Panama and Costa Rica cruise on Windstar Cruises

Two forms of Windstar cruise ship. WINDSTAR CRUISES

Crusing date: Dec. 19, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024.

Ship: Wind Star.

Give your self a bucket checklist present this Christmas and ebook a Panama Canal cruise to your winter trip.

Windstar Cruises’ Wind Star — a cruise ship that’s half yacht, half four-masted crusing ship — is crusing this vacation season by the Panama Canal after which up Central America’s Pacific coast to Costa Rica.

The ship units sail from Barbados and first stops in Bequia, Mayreau and St. George’s within the Grenadines. Then it is on to ports in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colombia and Panama earlier than crusing by the Panama Canal on New Yr’s Eve. The itinerary continues within the Pacific waters with stops at Balboa and Isla Parida, Panama, and Golfo Dulce, Quepos and Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica.

To sweeten the vacation, Windstar presents every cabin with a basket of Christmas cookies, sweet canes, mandarin oranges, roasted nuts and chocolate candies.

Christmas Day occasions embrace complimentary eggnog and contemporary gingerbread loaf, Windstar’s Christmas excessive tea, and a decadent Christmas banquet that features roast turkey and lobster tail.

Charges for the 18-day Central American getaway begin from $4,899 per particular person, not together with port charges and taxes.

4-night Very Merrytime Bahamian cruise on Disney Cruise Line

Disney’s non-public island within the Bahamas, Castaway Cay. KENT PHILLIPS/DISNEY CRUISE LINE

Sail dates: Dec. 22-26.

Ship: Disney Want.

Hop on the brand new Disney Want this Christmas for a four-night crusing from Port Canaveral to Nassau, Bahamas, and Castaway Cay, Disney’s non-public island. This crusing is one in all Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Cruises, so anticipate loads of holiday-themed surprises and particular moments.

Disney’s December sailings imbue the road’s signature magic into the enjoyment of the vacations with snow flurries within the ship’s atrium, pop-up meet-and-greets with Disney characters wearing particular festive put on, and a Christmas wonderland on the seashore at Castaway Cay.

Charges begin at $4,699 for 2 adults sharing an inside cabin, together with all taxes and costs.

12-night Antarctic Explorer cruise on Viking

Viking friends watching gentoo penguins throughout onshore excursions in Antarctica. ALASTAIR MILLER/VIKING CRUISES

Sail dates: Dec. 18-30.

Ship: Viking Octantis.

Whereas intuition would possibly say to cease by the North Pole to verify in on Santa’s operations, it’s simply too chilly, darkish and icy for cruising. As a substitute, head towards the South Pole and Antarctica for a Christmas expedition.

Spend 13 days exploring the farthest reaches of the earth on the Antarctic Explorer itinerary aboard Viking’s Octantis. The route sails round-trip from Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a cease in Ushuaia earlier than traversing the Drake Passage and cruising Antarctica for seven days.

You’ll discover the icebergs and cliffs of Antarctica on Christmas, presumably adopted by a scorching cocoa or a heat cocktail on deck. Afterward, deal with your self to Nordic-inspired dishes like smoked salmon and caviar, together with vacation treats like krumkake (a Nordic tackle the cannoli) and sandkaker (Norwegian sugar cookies).

As with all Antarctica itineraries, ports and locations on the continent change by the day, relying on climate and local weather circumstances. Charges for the cruise begin from $12,995, together with airfare, port taxes and costs.

4-day Bahamas cruise on Carnival Cruise Line


Sail dates: Dec. 22-26.

Ship: Carnival Conquest.

Carnival’s four-day Bahamas crusing is one of the best ways to expertise all the fun of the vacation with out breaking the financial institution or being gone for too lengthy. Carnival Conquest sails round-trip from Miami with stops in Princess Cays and Nassau, Bahamas, for some much-needed seashore time and heat climate.

The road understands its family-forward “enjoyable” ships are constructed for cheery escapes, and its Christmas proceedings match completely into that world. Vacation occasions throughout the season embrace Christmas caroling, an unpleasant sweater competitors and a stay vacation present with appearances by Santa and the Grinch.

Charges for inside cabins begin at $496 per particular person, not together with a further $145.20 per particular person in charges.

7-night Christmas Markets on the Danube cruise on AmaWaterways

The Danube River on the Serbian and Romanian border. AMAWATERWAYS

Sail dates: Dec. 11-18.

Ship: AmaBella.

A river cruise by Europe is essentially the most handy strategy to go to a big selection of the Continent’s well-known Christmas markets.

Your ship will dock within the coronary heart of every metropolis, often only a few steps from the markets. Crusing with AmaWaterways throughout the vacation season, friends return from a day exploring the markets to occasions on board that embrace tree-trimming, caroling and a enjoyable European custom known as “Sneakers for St. Nick,” the place passengers who depart their slippers outdoors their stateroom awake to seek out them full of sweets.

Not like most Christmas-related retail shops within the U.S. that keep open by the vacation season, a lot of Europe’s Christmas markets shut up store by Dec. 22, so that you’ll must take your trip earlier than Christmas itself. AmaWaterways’ seven-night Christmas Markets on the Danube cruise takes place aboard AmaBella. You’ll be immersed within the vacation spirit with port stops in Passau, Germany; Linz, Vienna and Weissenkirchen, Austria; and Esztergom and Budapest, Hungary.

Charges for the weeklong cruise begin at $3,499 per particular person.

13-night New Zealand vacation cruise on Superstar Cruises

Okahu Bay in Auckland, New Zealand. DENIZUNLUSU/GETTY IMAGES

Sail dates: Dec. 21, 2023-Jan. 3, 2024.

Ship: Superstar Edge.

Essentially the most interesting vacation itinerary on Superstar Cruises this 12 months travels for practically all the two weeks of the vacations, round-trip from Sydney, for a vacation season Down Below.

You’ll cruise throughout the area’s summer time season with an itinerary that traverses the picturesque Milford Sound, Uncertain Sound and Dusky Sound earlier than making port stops in Dunedin, Napier, Auckland, Tauranga with a New Yr’s Eve go to on the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

For those who’re feeling the vacation spirit, signal as much as be a part of a bunch of crew and passengers to go caroling across the ship. Cookie adorning, visits with Santa and Christmas video games are a part of the enjoyable of the vacation. On New Yr’s Eve, collect for a particular occasion that features a complimentary midnight Champagne toast, occasion favors and stay music.

The bottom cabin fares begin at $2,331 per particular person, plus $320.10 in taxes, charges and port bills.

14-night South Africa Intensive Vacation voyage on Azamara

Azamara Cruises pool deck. JENNA TAPLIN/AZAMARA CRUISES

Sail dates: Dec. 21, 2023-Jan. 5, 2024.

Ship: Azamara Pursuit.

Azamara is understood for its travels to less-frequented ports, usually with longer stays offering extra time for immersion. The most effective of Azamara’s Christmas and New Yr’s celebrations will likely be on the 14-night South Africa Intensive Vacation that sails round-trip from Cape City with stops alongside the east coast of South Africa, together with Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban and Richards Bay, after which as much as Maputo, Mozambique.

Vacation occasions embrace caroling concert events, pop-ups with Christmas cookies and scorching chocolate, and a particular tree-trimming occasion on Dec. 24. Azamara Journey will time its standard White Night time pool deck occasion to coincide with New Yr’s Eve. The road has a cute custom of looking for out the oldest particular person on board to ring the ship’s bell two minutes previous to midnight to actually “ring out the outdated.” Then the youngest passenger on board will “ring within the new” because the clock strikes 12.

Charges begin from $2,358 per particular person, not together with $204 in taxes, charges and port bills.

15-day Athens to Petra cruise on Silversea

Silversea Cruises’ Silver Moon. MELANIE LIEBERMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Sail dates: Dec. 22, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024.

Ship: Silver Moon.

The most effective Silversea itinerary this winter spans all the vacations whereas escaping to essentially the most unique places. On the 15-day Athens-to-Petra crusing, Silver Moon will alight at distinctive ports reminiscent of Heraklion and Rhodes, Greece; Safaga (for Luxor), Alexandria and Sharm El Keik, Egypt; Jeddah and Yanbu, Ras Al Abyadh, Saudia Arabia, earlier than ending the journey in Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan. The ship will in a single day in Safaga and Jeddah, and spend a day transiting the Suez Canal.

Costume to impress for the ship’s New Yr’s Eve gala, celebrated on this itinerary whereas cruising the Pink Sea. Different particular vacation occasions embrace a vacation music present by the ship’s performers, caroling across the ship and Christmas-themed film screenings.

Charges for this crusing begin from $6,950 per particular person, together with port charges and taxes.

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