Year after year, it seems as if Christmas arrives earlier than anticipated, and the sheer thought of holiday preparations stresses many people out. Those of you who want to escape the holiday stress in 2019 should consider booking a Christmas cruise. Various cruise lines offer sailings, both short getaways and long voyages, departing around Christmastime and New Year’s.
Escaping all the hustle and bustle starts right when you board the cruise ship. Just image this: The ship is overflowing with Christmas spirit. Festive Christmas trees fill the foyer and atriums while garland and Christmas decorations adorn the corridors. And the best part about it: You will never have to lift a finger to enjoy any of the Christmas festivities. You also won’t have to pack away any of the ornaments or decorations for the next year.
The crew does its best to make your onboard experience as comfortable as possible, and they tend to get creative to make sure you receive a joyous Christmas experience on board. This even applies on a culinary level. Expect to enjoy a festive multi-course dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day surrounded by interesting people.
Cruises always provide unforgettable experiences, and this is especially true during the holidays. Each country celebrates Christmas differently, so when you’re staying at a port of call in a foreign country, you might see unexpected Christmas decorations or maybe even experience a completely new holiday feeling. Whether you’re looking to unwrap presents on the beach or in the snow, you will always find exactly what you’re looking for. We have picked out some of the best destinations for Christmas cruises in 2019.
Top Destinations for Christmas Cruises
When you think about Hong Kong, the city’s stunning skyline might not come to mind straight away. No matter where you’re standing, Hong Kong’s breathtaking beauty is everpresent. That and more is plenty of reason to spend a couple of days in the Asian metropolis. Just a short trip away is Okinawa: the beautiful collection of history-rich islands dotting a path between Japan and Taiwan. Most cruise ships tend to sail the seas for a couple of days before calling at the port of Subic Bay. Once you’re back in Hong Kong, you can fly back to Australia thanks to Cruise1st’s cruise holiday packages with included return international flights.
Some say that the best holidays are spent at home. With this in mind, what would be better than a cruise around South Australia during the holidays? Start in Sydney and sail on down through Eden, Melbourne, Port Arthur, and Cape Raoul. Other ports of call you’ll visit before returning to Sydney include Phillip Island, Adelaide, and Burnie.
North of the hemisphere: North America, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas
What’s better than a cruise that visits the concrete jungle and paradise islands? Nothing! And lucky for you, several cruises departing from New York City sail down to the gorgeous island destinations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. These cruises will transport you to some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, such as St. Thomas, Philipsburg, and Roseau before returning to the city that never sleeps. Booking your cruise holiday with Cruise1st will also give you return flights to and from your preferred airport in Australia.
How about spending some time in the Big Apple before your set sail? See the iconic sights, such as the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the Empire State Building before you set your eyes on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean and the Bahamas. And don’t forget to try an enormous slice of New York-style pizza or a New York hot dog while you’re in the American metropolis. The sun only shines brighter from there when you head to Orlando, Nassau, and the Great Stirrup Cay before returning to New York City.
Soar to new heights: The Middle East and India
Spend Christmas as you may never have imagined before by observing a full solar eclipse in the Middle East. Most cruises sailing in the Middle East start in Dubai. This starting point will give you a great feel for the culture if you have not already been introduced to it yet. The intrinsically-designed buildings of Doha, the capital of Qatar, and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, are just breathtaking. Before the solar eclipse takes place on 26 December 2019, you can spend some time in the capital of Oman, Muscat. Following your tour of the Middle East, head over the Indian metropolis of Mumbai.
The United Arab Emirates is not necessarily known for constructing small buildings. You absolutely have to see it for yourself! Spend Christmas Eve in the third smallest nation in Asia: Bahrain, which is just a little bit bigger than the Maldives and Singapore. While exploring the Middle East, you must see Dubai, Bahrain, and everything in between, such as Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Is, and the beautiful cities of Oman.
A chilly Christmas: South America and Antarctica
Why not start off 2020 at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro? Many cruises sailing around South America begin in Buenos Aires and will take you to some of the most iconic places in the continent. Whether you want to explore the art déco buildings in Montevideo, stroll through the beautiful parks in the heart of São Paulo, or admire the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, a cruise holiday through South America has it all. Before you return to Buenos Aires, don’t forget to explore the luxurious Punta del Este to complete your South American tour.
Some cruises that sail around South America also include a few days in Antarctica. This kind of cruise is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the holidays by taking a break from everyday life. You will never feel closer to nature than on these cruises to South America and Antarctica. Yes, you will have plenty of time on land, such as port visits to Montevideo, Ushuaia, Puerto Montt, San Antonio, and, of course, Antarctica, but you will also get to enjoy some time cruising the seas. Territories like the Chilean Fjords, Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and the Beagle Channel are what make these cruises truly special.
Christmas market galore: Europe
Get ready for a Christmas full of snowflakes and traditional European cuisine. Whether it’s Bitterballen (Dutch fried meatballs), sharp Dutch cheese in Amsterdam, or traditional Kölsch beer in Cologne, there are many new culinary experiences waiting for you in Europe. European cruises are not only special because of the experiences you will have at the ports of call, but also because of the views from the ship while cruising down the Rhine River. Other cities you must visit include Strasbourg and Basel, two destinations with rich histories.
Europe offers so many cities for you to explore. It can be extremely difficult to decide what cities to visit because there are just so many options. Why not go for a handful all in one go? Intensive European cruises will take you to France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. On these cruises, you will visit iconic European cities, like Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. And the best part is: You will spend multiple days in the larger cities, so you can explore them thoroughly. If there ever was a time to experience Europe, this is it! And with it being for Christmas and New Year’s, you will get to experience the smorgasbord of different cultures and see the charming Christmas markets in each country.
As you can see, there is a huge variety of options for you to escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year’s in 2019 whether that means travelling far away or staying close to home. However, these are not all holiday cruises: If you’re yearning for Christmas cruise festivities but want to be home just in time for Christmas, you can also embark on your dream cruise in the early part of December. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will come pretty close because you will already be feeling the Christmas spirit.
Leave all that holiday stress on shore and look for your dream Christmas cruise or New Year’s cruise now! Give our cruise experts a call on 1300 857 345 or search for your perfect Christmas cruise now.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated in May 2019.