Thanksgiving turkey iStock / bhofack2 | Turkey with all the fixings
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7 Great Thanksgiving Cruises

by Donna Heiderstadt | November 10, 2016

Thanksgiving is time for family and friends, annual traditions ... and hours spent in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal that ends with a mountain of dirty dishes, right? This year, leave the turkey basting, stuffing making, and all those gravy-streaked plates to someone else and slip away on a cruise. The Caribbean perhaps? Hawaii? Or maybe the mighty Mississippi is more your style. Read on for seven no-stress cruises you can sail away on for a Thanksgiving celebration.

1. Azamara Quest
Departs:
November 21, 2016
FromMiami 
You can trade in chilly temperatures for balmy breezes when the 690-passenger Azamara Quest sails its 10-night holiday cruise to the Caribbean. You’ll spend Thanksgiving anchored off the unspoiled U.S. Virgin Island of St. John, then stop at Nevis, which is — attention Broadway fans! — the birthplace of founding father Alexander Hamilton. Lots of other Caribbean islands are on the menu as well: You can snorkel and sunbathe to your heart’s content in St. Maarten and St. Barts, or get some of your holiday shopping done at the duty-free shops. Then, explore the pristine beaches and iconic Baths of Virgin Gorda.

2. Disney Magic
Departs:
November 20, 2016
From: Miami
Enjoy seven nights of fun in the sun and some holiday spirit with Mickey and Minnie decked out as pilgrims as this 2,700-passenger ship sails to the Western Caribbean. You’ll still celebrate the season with a traditional turkey dinner, plus the big football games will be broadcast in the sports bar and there will be a festive turkey towel animal waiting for you in your cabin. Disney Magic's sunny stops include Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, where the festive decorations might scream winter wonderland, but you'll still be soaking up the rays on the sand.

3. Harmony of the Seas
Departs:
 November 19, 2016
From: Fort Lauderdale 

The whole family can find something to be thankful for on the world’s largest ship: the 10-story Ultimate Abyss slide, for example, or bumper cars and surfing. This seven-night Western Caribbean cruise on Harmony of the Seas gives you plenty of beach time, too. The Royal Caribbean ship will visit the line’s private beach in Labadee, Haiti, where you can relax in a private cabana, ride the Dragon’s Breath roller coaster, or zip line with a breathtaking view of the beach. And after lounging on the white beaches in Cozumel on Thanksgiving Day, you'll come back to a full holiday meal with all the fixings.

4. Pride of America
Departs:
November 19, 2016 
From: Honolulu
The name says it all on this newly refurbished, 2,186-passenger Norwegian Cruise Line ship, which island hops year-round in Hawaii. In true aloha spirit, the ship celebrates the nation’s history, spirit, and ingenuity from its décor to its cuisine (John Adams Coffee Bar, anyone?). On Pride of America's seven-night sailing, you’ll take a round-trip from Honolulu and spend two days each on Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai, where you’ll enjoy Thanksgiving with a traditional festive menu — or perhaps a luau.

5. Carnival Vista
Departs:
November 16, 2016 
From: New York 
You’ll watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the big screen at the Carnival Seaside Theater and dine on turkey and all the traditional fixings (hello, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie!) as you cruise on Carnival’s newest and biggest ship, Carnival Vista. The 11-night sailing takes you to some of the sunniest isles in the Caribbean — including Grand Turk, Bonaire, Aruba, and St. Maarten — before disembarking in Miami.

6. Celebrity Silhouette
Departs:
November 20, 2016
From: Fort Lauderdale 
Complete with a holiday feast, this seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailing will call on Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Sophisticated and classy (but not stuffy), 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette is a low-key way to enjoy the Caribbean, with the added bonus of a great Canyon Ranch spa and a real lawn to sprawl out on.

7. America
Departs:
November 19, 2016
From: Memphis 
This cruise is pure Americana: You can celebrate Thanksgiving while cruising down the historic Mississippi River on this American Cruise Lines ship. This festive seven-night sojourn begins in Memphis and ends in New Orleans with a traditional feast on Thanksgiving Day. Port stops include Vicksburg and Natchez in Mississippi and St. Francisville, Baton Rouge, and Oak Alley in Louisiana for a peek at the holiday traditions of each city. On board, you can kick back in a rocking chair and watch the scenery go by at a sweet, slow pace.

Donna Heiderstadt

Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.

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