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Away for the Holidays…A Caribbean Cruise

Even though the dog days of summer are upon us and the holidays are the furthest thing from our minds, now is the perfect time to begin thinking about how to spend the holidays this year.  That’s right, according to Vacation Agent magazine; there is a trend in people booking holiday vacations six months in advance.  Cruising, in particular, is a popular choice for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year holidays.

St. Maartin

A few years ago, my husband and I took a holiday cruise with some close friends.  The southern Caribbean itinerary sailed roundtrip from the Port of San Juan and made stops in St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, Dominica and St. Thomas, plus a day cruising the ever-beautiful Caribbean Sea.  Each port offered its own Caribbean flair; from the exquisite beaches of Barbados to the lush tropics of Dominica.  Lucky for me, I was able to get in some last-minute holiday gift shopping on St. Thomas.  A Caribbean cruise offers something for everyone.

The holiday atmosphere was present throughout the ship, with the central atrium and staircase being tastefully decorated in a holiday theme; thereby creating a gorgeous backdrop for holiday photos provided by the ship’s professional photographers.  Most major cruise lines do a great job of creating a wonderful experience for cruise guests during the holidays.  They celebrate the season with traditional meals, special religious services and holiday-themed events.

Disney Cruise Line pulls out all the stops on its holiday sailing, with nightly tree lighting ceremonies, snow flurries (yes, snow flurries), and storytellers sharing Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza tales throughout the voyage.  Princess Cruises also offers interdenominational services, and special children’s holiday related activities, as does Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and the other major lines.

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

What I found interesting, was the number of multi-generational families on board during the holiday sailing.  This makes a lot of sense since holidays are a time when families typically get together.  This type of vacation can ease the stress that goes along with a traditional family gathering.  Everyone is able to enjoy each other without the fuss of a big meal preparation, dish washing and clean-up after.  Instead, the entire family can have a gourmet dinner served to them in style after a day of basking on a sun-drenched Caribbean beach.

When extended families travel together, there are opportunities to take advantage of group fares offered by the cruise lines.  This makes holiday cruising ideal for families.  The children’s programs provided onboard keep the kids occupied when adults want to experience some quality time, perhaps visiting the spa during a day at sea.  With some of the major cruise lines sailing from home ports such as Cape Liberty (Bayonne, New Jersey), getting to the port may not always involve flying.

No matter where we live geographically, the holidays and the winter weather that comes with them will soon be upon us.  Now might be a great time to call the relatives and begin planning a holiday cruise.

This is Part 2 of a series on “Away for the Holidays”


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