8 Holiday Cruises to Considerby Kristen O'Neal | December 09, 2016
If there's a holiday marked on the calendar, there's a good chance you can find a cruise that's perfect for celebrating, whether you are looking to ring in the New Year with friends or gather the family to celebrate Thanksgiving with a full spread. Religious holidays are observed as well, with rabbis and ministers on board to lead services before traditional meals are served. Here are eight holidays that you can celebrate at sea, and what you can expect to find on board.
1. New Year's
For New Year’s Eve, you can celebrate with a classic balloon drop and Champagne on many lines, including Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean. For those who want to count down to a new year in style, passengers on river line Uniworld's River Beatrice and S.S. Maria Theresa can attend a gala with waltzing in Budapest or Vienna. Can't imagine ringing in 2017 without fireworks? Celebrity Equinox will be cruising to downtown Dubai on December 31, and you can see the city's always elaborate display right from the deck.
Both the religious and the secular traditions of this holiday are celebrated at sea. Carnival Cruise Line offers a non-denominational Easter service as well as an Easter egg hunt. Royal Caribbean also arranges traditional Easter services on board as well as arts and crafts and an Easter movie, and on Holland America Line, kids get a chance to meet the Easter Bunny and decorate eggs.
While most major lines will make sure that a seder plate is available upon request, some lines will arrange a group Passover meal for all passengers that are celebrating the holiday. Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Cunard Line, Crystal Cruises, and Silversea Cruises all will have a rabbi on board their ships who will preside over the Passover meal.
4. July Fourth
Carnival Cruise Line rolls out a deck party, trivia, and buffet to celebrate Independence Day, while Holland America Line serves up a special barbecue lunch. For a truly American experience, book a river cruise along one of the country's famed waterways. American Cruise Lines offers Independence Day cruises across America, from New England to the Mississippi and Columbia and Snake rivers — all with special concerts, picnics, and fireworks.
It's no surprise that family-focused Disney Cruise Line pulls out all the stops for this holiday, including a costume parade, pumpkin carving, and a screening and character meet-up of "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Carnival Cruise Line arranges trick-or-treating on the promenade, a "frightfully fun" costume parade that is strictly adults-only, and horror movies in the theater. On Holland America Line cruises, you can book shore excursions with a ghostly theme, and a special menu of ghoulish cocktails are offered in the ships' lounges (try the Vampire Martini, a mix of rum, crème de cacao, and Chambord).
All of the major lines offer Thanksgiving cruises where you can sit down to a traditional dinner with all the fixings — without having to set foot in the kitchen. Many Carnival Cruise Line ships have a Seaside Theater where you can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on a big screen while lounging by the pool. Disney Cruise Line's ships feature classic characters such as Mickey and Minnie dressed up as pilgrims for the occasion plus turkey towel animals in your room and football games broadcast in the sports bar.
Kristen O’Neal is a New York City-based freelance writer and editorial intern at ShermansCruise.