5 of the Best Holiday Cruises

Hopping aboard a cruise can make for an incredible way to celebrate the holiday season. No matter which holiday you plan to celebrate while on vacation, there’s likely a cruise option for you. You’ll want to make sure that you book a great cruise so you can enjoy time away from work and everyday life. Check out our favorite holiday cruises.

Uniworld Classic Christmas Markets

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Europe is lovely during the winter months, and many top destinations have Christmas markets that worth making the trip for. Uniworld’s Classic Christmas Markets cruise is an 8-day holiday adventure. You’ll make your way from Frankfurt to Nuremberg, and you’ll check out the best Christmas markets along the way. Get ready to enjoy the cobbled streets, wintery weather, and savory treats.

Family Holiday Fun with Disney Cruise Line

A Disney Cruise Line trip is a great option for families with kids. Their Very Merrytime Cruises are the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season. This cruise heads to various locations, depending on the itinerary booked — Nassau, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel are some examples. Families can expect to enjoy exclusive holiday-themed fun like story time with Mrs. Claus, gingerbread house building, and of course character meet and greets. There is holiday fun for all ages. Disney is well known for extra magical touches, and that’s true for their cruise experiences, too.

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Blissful Holidays with Oceania Cruises

Why not celebrate the Holiday season and a brand New Year while on a cruise? The Oceania Cruises Blissful Holidays cruise is your best choice! You’ll leave from Miami and make your way throughout the Caribbean as you celebrate the holiday season. Port highlights include Oranjestad, Aruba, Bridgetown, Barbados, Castries, St. Lucia, and St. John’s, Antigua. Take your winter break to the next level and soak up the sun and sand on this adventure.

Have a Happy Hannukah with Holland America Line

Holland America Line has several incredible holiday cruise options, but we suggest the 14-Day Australia and New Zealand Holiday cruise. You’ll get to visit some of the most incredible destinations — like Wellington, Port Authur, and Sydney. In addition, when you choose to cruise over the holiday season, you can enjoy Hannukah activities and celebrations. There will be candle lighting each night, and rabbi-led services during your cruise.

No Snow and All Sun in Hawaii with Norweigan Cruise Line

For many, the holiday season means cold, snowy weather. Perhaps you want to escape that and spend your holiday in paradise. You can do that when you book a Norweigan Cruise Line Christmas cruise. We recommend the 7-Day Hawaii, Round-trip Honolulu experience. You’ll see some of the very best of the Hawaiian islands while celebrating the holiday season without all the snow! Don’t worry — festive activities and events will be happening while you’re aboard the ship.

Take advantage of extra time off during the holiday season and book an unforgettable cruise experience.

Disney Cruises 101

If you’re planning the most magical cruise on the sea, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Follow our top Disney Cruise tips, and you can expect smooth sailing with your favorite Disney characters.

Get the Disney Cruise Planning Tools.

Both the vacation planning video and e-brochure provide an excellent overview of destinations, ships, restaurants, activities and more.

Cruise During the Off Season

Disney rarely offers discounts on cruises, so if you’re looking to save money, journey during the offseason. Generally, January, early February, May, September, and October draw fewer crowds which mean better prices. Also, watch for “last minute restricted fares.” Available when regularly priced cruises don’t fill up, these fares are typically released 1-2 months before the sailing date. If you’re flexible with planning “restricted” are a great option, but book as soon as you see them as they often sell out quickly.

Ask About “Secret” Verandah Rooms

Certain rooms on Disney ships offer a little more bang for your buck. While not officially classified as verandah rooms due to obstructed views, these staterooms do feature balconies. Ask your Disney Cruise agent about these staterooms; Disney’s Magic & Wonder rooms 6134, 6634, 7120 and 7620; Disney’s Dream & Fantasy rooms 8022, 8164, 8520, 8662. There are even “secret” connecting staterooms on all ships.  Folding back the dividing panel in these rooms connects the verandahs.  And, while there are no guarantees, you can always ask for an upgrade at the port when you check in.

Make Reservations In Advance

To ensure you get your preferred times and activities, book spa treatments, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, popular character breakfasts, babysitting, and the adult-only restaurants in advance. Don’t forget to register for the kid’s club online as well, but remember your cruise does need to be paid in full to take advantage of advanced reservations.

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App

Let the countdown begin. The newly redesigned app lets you access vacation information, send messages to your party once on the ship and even count down the days to your Disney Cruise with the built-in cruise countdown.

Stay in the Port City Before Your Cruise

Avoid any unforeseen delays and stress by arriving the day before your cruise and staying in a hotel near the port. This is also a great way to add on a few Disney days. Often less expensive than booking separately, combining park days with a Disney Cruise cuts down on costs. Ground transportation is available for an additional fee. Speak to your Disney cruise representative for details.

Request a Call from Mickey or Minnie

Get the kids excited about their upcoming cruise by requesting a call from their favorite characters. From the Disney cruise website, login to your reservation and just choose the date and time you want your child to receive the call.

Become A Castaway Club Member

Become a Castaway Club Member from the moment you sail on your first Disney Cruise. Silver membership begins with your first Disney Cruise.  Complete five cruises and become a Gold Member, while 10 or more Disney cruise vacations earn you Platinum status. Membership entitles you to exclusive offers, reservations for port adventures and dining, a dedicated Castaway Club phone line, welcome aboard gifts and much more.

Beverage Options

Soft drinks are available at meals and the beverage stations on each included at no extra charge. While Disney Cruise Lines does not offer daily alcoholic beverage packages, they do provide discounts for bottles of wine during dinner. If you do not finish the bottle, your server corks the wine for your meal the next evening.

Check Out Inside Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise

These tips should get you started on planning your Disney Cruise, but for even more great pointers, check out our post Tips For Your Next Disney Cruise.

Insider Tips for Your Next Disney Cruise

From unadvertised pin trading nights to Mickey ice cream bars delivered right to your room, we are bringing you the magic with top-secret tips for sailing on the Disney Cruise.

Disney Cruise Lines
Credit: Disney Cruise Lines / David Roark

Prior to the cruise, purchase a plush toy or pillowcase. Upon boarding, give your item to the concierge for the characters to sign. Your autographed item will be delivered to your suite the night before you cruise ends. Bonus, bring a gift bag filled with Disney goodies to have the concierge put the signed merchandise in. The “unexpected” surprise makes for a great departure gift.

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Check the Personal Navigator, the daily cruise newsletter, for the Officer Pin Trading. On one surprise night, every officer comes to the main lobby with a new lanyard and a collection of pins, some very rare, to trade with collectors.

Download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App. Rather than using the provided portable phones for getting in touch with family members on the ship or buying the pricy wireless package, the Navigator app allows for free in-app texting and group chats with fellow passengers.

For an adult escape, head to the Meridian Bar. While it’s not public knowledge, the Meridian bar, intended for Palo & Remy guests, is open to the public. Anyone can enjoy craft cocktails and fine wine on the private deck of the bar, but proper attire is required.

Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Join a Fish Extender group online and be part of a gift exchange on the cruise. Purchase small items for everyone in your group prior to the cruise. On the cruise, place your gifts in the fish extender pockets hanging on cabin doors. Everyone in the group returns the gesture.

Disney allows each guest, 21 and older, to bring two bottles of unopened wine and six beers in their carry on. Don’t forget to bring a corkscrew. If you chose to drink your bottle at a restaurant, there is a $25 corkage fee.

The nightly buffet begins around 10:30 P.M. It’s a great place to grab chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers, and other goodies to bring back to your cabin.

Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Each Disney cruise ship has secret suites with ocean views and in some cases verandas. These suites are available for the same price as a standard room. Book early and ask about your options.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Book the concierge room and score some great swag! Besides access to the concierge lounge with complimentary beer wine cocktails and snacks, as well a champagne send-off and private wine tastings, concierge suite guests receive a special gift.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Room service is available free of charge (gratuity isn’t included). There are secret items available that are not shown on the menu; Mickey ice cream bars, the cake of the day and Uncrustables.

Regardless of which restaurant you are dining in, if there is a menu item from another restaurant on the ship that you simply must have again, you can order it! Just ask your server.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit:Disney Cruise Line

Remy and Palo are worth the splurge, but if you can’t fit in a dinner opt for the champagne brunch at Remy. For only $50 per person, it’s an epicurean wonderland.

Disney Cruise Line
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

Suitcases must be left in the hall the night before departure. Be sure to pack a carry on with everything you need for the next day.

Bring small bottles of water on your carry on. The bottled water on board is pricy, and you’re going to want some in your ports.

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