I know summer just ended, but for us on the East Coast the weather has already turned chilly and pumpkin spice lattes are all anyone is talking about. So, that means the holidays are going to be here before you know it. Do you know how you are going to celebrate?

Many people choose to cruise for the holidays because it affords time together with the family without the hassles of cooking, cleaning and driving. They also choose to cruise for New Year’s to start the year off right, on a vacation. The cruise lines have special sailings for the holidays and they usually book up very quickly.

Thanksgiving Cruises

All cruise lines that offer itineraries over the Thanksgiving holiday make the traditional dishes for the Thursday meal. On top of that they decorate and have special events, like thanksgiving themed trivia and of course football is shown on the big screens in the lounges.

Christmas Cruises

Most ships have at least one Christmas tree adorned with stunning ornaments. Expect that the holiday spirit will extend throughout the ship with possible special entertainment like Christmas carolers. On shore you can experience how other nations celebrate the holiday and see their beautiful decorations.

For a more culturally focused holiday cruise, practically every river cruise line offers cruises that visit the traditional Christmas Markets in France, Germany and other European nations. A Christmas Market is where local artisans and farmers gather to sell their goods to locals and visitors looking for extremely unique gifts. These cruises book up extremely quickly, but aren’t limited to the week of Christmas; they typically run from the end of November through December.

New Year’s Cruises

What better way to ring in the New Year, than on a cruise to a warm, tropical destination. As opposed to the other winter holidays, New Year’s isn’t as family oriented, so you and your favorite person, be that your spouse, friend or coworker can board a ship, expecting late nights of dancing and delicious foods. And the best part on New Year’s Eve there’s usually a special toast and fireworks.

If you are considering taking a cruise this holiday season here are a few things to consider.

  • You might want to find a cruise that leaves from a port within driving distance to avoid the high airfare and rush of people traveling for the holidays.
  • If you do want to cruise with the whole family, make sure you pick a ship that has a lot of onboard activities so that each member of the family can find something fun to do. Most ships, even some luxury cruise ships, offer programs for children.
  • Get a family portrait. It’s usually hard to gather the whole family in one spot, so on a cruise you have a wonderful opportunity to capture that moment, since most ships have photo studios or portrait sessions.
  • When sailing with a large group it’s better to book as early as possible, this way you can make sure grandma and grandpa get a handicap accessible room if need be and the whole family can stay, if not in rooms next to each other then at least on the same floor.

Have you ever cruised during the holidays, was it a welcome escape from your family’s traditional routine, or did you miss home?

Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation! Visit The Cruise Web for the best holiday cruises.