If the dry turkey, soggy sprouts and tired tinsel seem inevitable each December, why not escape the British winter for a Christmas with a difference? Ben Gibson looks at what you can expect on a small-ship Christmas cruise…
Christmas with a difference
It’s got to be the ultimate antidote to the Christmas routine: a cruise to the sunny shores of the Caribbean, Canary Islands or the Mediterranean. Sure there’s no snow, but who cares when the alternative is this exciting?
Sailing on a friendly small ship is a fantastic way to explore lots of great destinations, without foregoing any of the pleasures of a traditional Christmas and New Year. The smaller size means there’s a real community spirit, not to mention the attractions of visiting stunning winter sun destinations, enjoying cocktail parties and celebrations, even an authentic Hogmanay for New Year.
The festive build up
Rather than short days and wet weather, wouldn’t you rather be exploring sunnier destinations in the sunshine? On Saga’s cruises a chauffeur service is included in the price, so after being whisked to Southampton you’ll soon be taking to the high seas, and the chilly British winter will seem so far away.
And before long you could find yourself waking up in a different Caribbean idyll each morning, from Barbados to St Lucia, Antigua and the Bahamas. Or for a more European flavour, why not try an island-hopping adventure around the Canaries or Mediterranean? The only unseasonal thing will be the warm weather!
Embark on a festive cruise to the Canaries.
On the special day…
Christmas Day on board isn’t the same as at home – it’s so much better! Why not indulge in a little buck’s fizz at breakfast… the perfect accompaniment to freshly-baked croissants and pastries still warm from the oven.
Carol singing is all part of the festivities on board, whether you want to join in or just listen, while there’s also Midnight Mass and a traditional morning service if you wish. There’s more than repeats on telly to entertain you too – with the Cruise Director and staff working very hard to ensure everyone has a wonderful time: help dress the tree, join in with party games or Christmas crafts, watch traditional festive films, take your seat for live entertainment, or just sit back and enjoy the get-togethers and seasonal fun.
And when it’s time for the big event – Christmas dinner – you won’t have shopped and slaved over the stove, or even peeled a single potato! The Saga chefs really go to town, offering a festive feast that’s hard to beat, finished with homemade Christmas pudding and mince pies.
And New Year’s too!
New Year’s Eve is the chance to party! Grab your gladrags for a gala night on board, beginning with a cocktail party and followed by dinner and a show. After, you can follow the bagpiper out onto the outside decks to watch a spectacular fireworks display. What a way to start the year!
If the weather is good enough the celebrations will continue outside. If not – it’s back inside where the parties have been known to go on until the early morning.
Or go early December for festive shopping in Europe
Or if you want to spend Christmas at home, how about a pre-Christmas treat – a shop-til-you-drop cruise to the festive markets on the Continent? Amazing handmade gifts, carol singers, beautiful Christmas trees, twinkling lights and a nip of hot Glühwein are sure to put you in the Christmas mood before you return home for the day itself. Plus you can bring back unusual handmade gifts that you’d be hard pressed to find at home!
Christmas market cruises: enjoy the traditional European Christmas markets while on a cruise around Belgium and Holland.
Whichever destination you want to spend your December, my recommendation is to give a Christmas cruise a try. It’ll certainly make for a more memorable festive season – it could even be a real cracker of a Christmas!