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What the Big Lines Offer On New Year's Cruises

by Kristen O'Neal | December 15, 2016

You can start the year with a bang with these cruise lines, where you'll find parties that include dancing, champagne, and a countdown to midnight, no matter where you are in the world. Many offer extra touches as well, including everything from a live ball drop to fireworks that are set off right from the ship. Another bonus to ringing in the new year at sea? The captain is the only one who has to drive. So go ahead and grab another glass of champagne. Your resolutions don't start until tomorrow.

1. Disney Cruise Line
There is one big, booming reason to book a Disney cruise for New Year's Eve: Fireworks. The line's four ships all set off midnight displays that may just be worth keeping the kids up past bedtime to see. Before the countdown begins, there is a festive dinner and a deck party where props such as hats and horns are passed out, as well as pink champagne served in commemorative flutes.

2. Princess Cruises
On Princess Cruises, you can dance to a live band while balloons and confetti drop after the countdown. Some sailings also host a black-tie event, if you want to begin the new year on a formal note. College football fans will appreciate that, on New Year's Day, the poolside screens and lounge TVs will broadcast bowl games.

3. MSC Cruises
The Miami-based MSC Divina will do a seven-night Caribbean and Bahamas cruise to celebrate the new year, where events on board include a gala dinner followed by a dance party on the pool deck with a countdown and champagne. The family-friendly ship also makes it easy for parents to celebrate. The kids' club has complimentary babysitting until 1am for younger cruisers, while the teen club stays open for a celebration just for passengers age 12 to 17.

4. Carnival Cruise Line
The party extends well past the stroke of midnight on Carnival ships. New Year's celebrations include balloon drop parties as well as soirées on the Lido Deck with live music and a broadcast of "New Year's Rockin' Eve." Anyone who is not quite ready to put 2016 to bed can then head to the nightclub for an afterparty. 

5. Holland America Line
Holland America Line's ships throw parties with music and champagne on the Lido Deck, where a ball lowers as the year turns. Midnight snackers will appreciate that the line also sets up a late-night buffet where you can get in some last indulgences before your new year's resolutions begin.

6. Royal Caribbean
If you prefer to bar hop, New Year's Eve parties are spread throughout Royal Caribbean ships. Make your way between the bars and lounges with live music and complimentary champagne before heading to the atrium for midnight. The captain does the countdown, and balloons and confetti drop as the new year turns.

7. Celebrity Cruises
You can start the year in exotic locales with Celebrity Cruises, which has New Year's itineraries in destinations such as India and the South Pacific. Our pick would be to cruise the Arabian Sea. The line traditionally has an itinerary that includes sailing into Dubai on December 31 in time for you to head to the deck to watch the city's spectacular fireworks display. If you still haven't made plans to ring in 2017, you can book the cruise on Celebrity Equinox. Celebrity Constellation will do the trip to welcome 2018.

8. Norwegian Cruise Line
All of the ships in this line have parties with free-flowing champagne and more than enough noisemakers to go around. If you are really looking for a party, book one of Norwegian's newer ships. A DJ really gets the festivities going on to top deck, and the countdown is projected on the towering LED screen.

Kristen O'Neal

Kristen O’Neal is a New York City-based freelance writer and editorial intern at ShermansCruise.

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