I had always wanted to know what a Christmas cruise was like so I booked a holiday cruise on the Independence of the Seas!
What caught my attention with this cruise line was their advertising. “Deck the Holidays” was their Christmas celebration that runs during the entire month of December, where they decorate their ships for Christmas, have a tree lighting ceremony, offer Christmas entertainment (including holiday trivia, scavenger hunts, and caroling), and even have Santa available for photos from the ship’s photographers!
Keep in mind a lot of cruise lines do a lot of things for the holidays, and some do more than others. I would say the most festive line to cruise with would be Disney Cruise Line, although I haven’t cruised with DCL for a holiday yet, their Halloween cruise is on my wish list.
Our cruise left Port Everglades / Fort Lauderdale Florida on December 20th and returned on Christmas Eve. We were very excited to see all the holiday decorations and events that Royal Caribbean had planned, as this was out first Christmas cruise. We have sailed with Norwegian during the month of December, which was decorated with trees and garland, but that was about it as far as holiday festivities go.
During our cruise on the Independence of the Seas we saw many festive things to do, and lots and lots of holiday spirit!! In the Windjammer, which is the buffet on deck 11 aft, there were gingerbread houses set up on tables to welcome you into the buffet with the smells of sugar and spices. Pretty much everywhere I looked I’d see a crew member with a Santa hat on, which really helped it feel like Christmas on the ship.
Another thing I noticed was that the guests were decked out in their holiday best too! There was one group that wore themed blanket sleepers to The Quest game show one night. So fun!!
If you’re going on a holiday cruise make sure to bring your ugly sweaters, hats, and festive shirts because a lot of people wore them every day and it was fun to see! I personally didn’t bring any holiday themed clothing but wish I had! I had no idea that the guests and the crew would be so festive, Christmas spirit was definitely high!
There wasn’t any special holiday food or buffets on the Independence, but some ships do offer a holiday feast during the Bottomless Galley Brunch, and even at select upcharge restaurants.
I really loved that fact that I could enjoy a holiday cruise, yet be home for Christmas. Arriving back in Florida on Christmas Eve was perfect. You know what they say, there’s no place like home for the holidays (well, at least for me). If you’re considering a holiday cruise I say go for it!! If you’re not sure about being on the cruise on Christmas Day, do what I did and give it a try sometime during December. On Royal Caribbean the festivities last all month long!!