What does a white Christmas mean to you? To me, it evokes the memory of Currier & Ives prints and sleigh rides. You won't have to pass up that nostalgia if you are cruising on a Princess ship in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, or even Brazil this year. As unlikely as it seems, holiday season passengers on most Princess ships will find themselves in a winter wonderland as snow magically falls in the ships' atriums during December cruises. The falling flakes will vanish on contact, offering wintery bliss without the need to shovel. The snowfall will occur on all Princess ships except for the line' three small vessels: Pacific Princess, Tahitian Princess, and Royal Princess, which do not have large, multi-story atriums.
The daily snow flurry is one of several new onboard activities added to celebrate the spirit of the season. Also new are a gingerbread housebuilding competition, sessions to create personalized photo ornaments, and a crackling "Yule log" on stateroom televisions (the perfect setting for snuggling). For those who yearn to release their untapped American Idol, the ships' Princess Pop Star talent show will feature a holiday edition where competitors can croon their favorite seasonal songs.
Even when the snow isn't coming down, Princess ships will feature a festive atmosphere. Trimmed from stem to stern in holiday décor, even the masts will sport a Christmas tree. Special events will include a reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by either the captain or cruise director, and strolling carolers. Passengers will receive a holiday card from the captain, a stocking turndown gift, and watch classic holiday films. A spectacular display from the ship's culinary team is sure to please palates, and a holiday variety show adds a seasonal element to the ship's entertainment offerings. Passengers can also attend midnight mass or an inter-denominational church service performed by onboard clergy.
Assure your junior cruisers that Santa Claus will find them onboard with his sack full of toys. Youngsters can try their hand at Christmas cookie decorating, balloon making, face painting, games, and other contests during a holiday fair. Each age group will have holiday parties in the Youth Centers where the kids can make decorations to display on the center's Christmas tree. Children can get creative with other holiday-themed arts and crafts projects throughout the cruise and they will hold their own show to perform Christmas carols for passengers. For parents who want to stay up later to celebrate the holidays, free late-night group kid sitting sessions will be available on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
You'll know whether you've been naughty or nice when Santa makes an early delivery of cruise documents. To get in on the action, see a professional travel agent, call 1-800-PRINCESS, or visit the Princess Cruises web site.
Ladies, reassure the family football fans that they won't miss the New Years Day's college bowl games while at sea. The telecasts will be shown (as available by satellite) in a shipboard lounge or on some vessels' giant Movies Under the Stars screen.