Best Cruise Ships for Christmas and New Year's Eveby John Roberts | January 04, 2016
Imagine: No cooking or cleanup — just gourmet meals in elegant and festive surroundings, complete with decorated trees and mistletoe. Most ships are sold out for this year. Of the 10 ships below that we love for holidays at sea, only Disney, Viking, and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas still have availability on New Year's sailings. Still, it’s never too early to think about next year. Act fast, or start planning for 2016.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney calls it Very Merrytime on Disney Magic, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Wonder as families watch Mickey light the atrium tree, and enjoy holiday parties, story time, caroling, Santa's Winter Wonderland Ball, and a New Year’s Eve gala.
Regal Princess: The line's newest and most luxurious ship gets trimmed with holiday decor from stem to stern in preparation for a holiday menu of roast turkey and goose, along with sweet desserts. Come New Year’s Eve, dress your best for a confetti-filled party.
MSC Divina: Santa joins the Christmas cruise in the Caribbean, strolling amid a gingerbread village and decked-out trees. The New Year's itinerary includes a gala dinner and pool-deck dance party countdown with Champagne.
Carnival Breeze: See whether you can warm the Grinch's heart next Christmas. The grumpy green guy is Santa’s co-star as part of Carnival’s Seuss at Sea holiday program.
Viking River Cruises: Europe’s Christmas markets are a fantastic way to feel the holiday spirit. Visit several on Viking Longships along the Rhine and Danube rivers, calling on cities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary as you savor mulled wines, sweet treats, and sausages in bustling town squares.
Nieuw Amsterdam: This Holland America Line ship dazzles with a New Year's gala, countdown party with balloon drop, and college football bowl games in the lounges. Christmas is celebrated with holiday movies, crafts, and a concert — plus a visit from Santa with gifts for the kids onboard.
Allure of the Seas: Not only is Santa is on hand to take letters, pose for photos, and join the holiday parade, but Shrek and the entire DreamWorks crew dress up for the holidays. On Christmas, the ship’s chefs carve into Vermont roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing and other classic goodies.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.