Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cruises Are The Year's Hottest Gifts

A couple days ago Cruise Diva shared a deal alert for family Christmas cruising on MSC Cruises. But the values don't stop there. For families and friends who want to celebrate a memorable holiday, this may be the year to take a cruise together. With never-seen-before low fares, cruises offer something for everyone and the holidays provide an unforgettable festive atmosphere for guests of all ages.

“We all know the holidays can be especially stressful, so why not truly enjoy yourself with family and friends with the gift of a year-end vacation aboard a cruise ship,” said Bob Levinstein, CEO, CruiseCompete. “Holiday cruises feature virtually all of the festive amenities one would expect this time of year at all-inclusive prices that offer incredible values.”

The winter holidays are a great time to cruise; the following reasons should help motivate you to start packing for a vacation at sea this year:

1. Get in the spirit – To promote the spirit of the holidays, the cruise lines unpack their holiday decorations and transform their ships into floating wonderlands. Cruise lines like Princess spend thousands of dollars annually decorating their ships in high style, featuring enormous, ornate Christmas trees, menorahs, garlands, wreaths, light displays, falling snow and more. Many holiday travelers even bring their own decorations for their cabins (just remember, candles are not allowed). Don’t forget the mistletoe!
2. Relax while a professional staff creates the memories – There is a lot of stress involved in hosting the holidays for family and friends. Take a cruise this year and leave the cleaning and cooking to someone else. On board the ship, these responsibilities are handled by a professional culinary staff that prepares the chef’s bountiful holiday cuisine that almost assuredly beats anything one might prepare at home.
3. Celebrate in grand style – The holidays are a time for celebration on land and at sea. Imagine a New Year’s Eve where everyone can celebrate to their heart’s content, without having to worry about getting home. Not only do guests walk to the elaborate shipboard parties but, if traveling on Costa Cruises, they learn to countdown from ten in Italian to ring in the New Year. Many ships offer a decedent midnight buffet, the perfect way to end a night of revelry and start 2010 off right.
4. Family fun – With school-age children home on vacation, the holidays are a very popular time for family cruise travel. There are plenty of special holiday-themed activities on board most ships to help youngsters and adults alike remember what time of year it is. These include holiday craft sessions, gingerbread house-building contests, holiday sing-a-longs and more. Holland America guests enjoy Santa’s late-night milk and cookies. Most ships even receive a special visit from the big guy himself.
5. Experience the holidays abroad – Cruise guests can see how people in other parts of the world celebrate the holiday season. Lines like AMA Waterways offer European itineraries that explore the beautiful Danube and Rhine Rivers, which are especially spectacular in the wintertime. In Vienna, guests can visit the world-famous Christmas market, resplendent with a variety of old-world shops and light displays. While there, they can enjoy Gluhwein, a hot brew of red wine laced with cinnamon and cloves, or a little citrus and a large splash of brandy.
6. Enjoy new traditions – To experience a different kind of holiday, travelers can take a Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. The port stop at St. Kitts features the island’s national carnival, which runs from the end of December through early January and features parades, parties and street performances. Guests can also enjoy the Caribbean’s white sand beaches instead of snow. Maybe a pina colada instead of eggnog?
7. Express one’s Faith – While there is plenty of fun on a holiday voyage, the cruise lines are well aware of how important the religious aspects of the season are to many of their guests. Celebrity Cruises and other lines invite priests, reverends and rabbis on board to perform holiday religious services for cruisers. As a added bonus, many cruise lines visit ports of call featuring some of the most beautiful churches and synagogues found anywhere in the world, where holiday services also are held.

Virtually all of the major cruise lines are offering special deals on holiday cruises to a number of unforgettable destinations, from the Caribbean to Europe and even Antarctica, and CruiseCompete showcases many holiday specials. was named one of the "25 Best Value Travel Sites" on the Internet by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine and one of 36 Web sites consumers "should know" when planning a vacation, according to The Washington Post. Since 2003, over 1,000 cruise experts have provided nearly 5 million quotes to over 1 million quote requests. For more information, visit

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