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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holidays at Sea. A Great Vacation Option

Holidays at Sea: A Festive Time for Cruising

Friday, December 12, 2014 -  Swapping home and hearth for staterooms and ocean views doesn’t mean doing away with your favorite holiday traditions. With an estimated 46.3 million Americans traveling 50-plus miles from home this holiday season , a holiday at sea is a great option for travelers.  Cruise line members of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are showing off their holiday spirit with festive holiday décor, special seasonal entertainment and traditional rituals for passengers to enjoy. 

Many holiday occasions are celebrated on cruise ships to cater to all passengers.  Highlights include:

Traditional holiday décor is on display across the CLIA North American fleet, with cruises decked out with Christmas trees, poinsettias, twinkling lights, wreaths, mistletoe, and extravagant gingerbread houses. 

Most ships have regular visits from Santa who presents gifts to children.

Holiday-themed shows and theatre performances are planned, including traditional carol singing. 

On many ships, vacationers can enjoy Christmas Eve midnight and Christmas Day masses.

Holiday-themed menus for travelers to feast on are served featuring traditional oven-roasted turkey, honey baked ham, and all the fixings.

For cruisers celebrating Hanukkah, many lines offer traditional celebrations and festive food such as potato latkes, seasonal games like Spin the Dreidel, and Menorah lighting services.

On select fleets, storytellers share tales of Hanukkah and Kwanza, as part of their seasonal festivities.

Calling Holiday Non-Traditionalists and Explorers
For those travelers looking for new adventures this holiday season, many CLIA member lines are turning their attention to more exotic ports of call to jump start traveler’s 2015 bucket list.  Highlights include:
For those who wish to celebrate a European Christmas in festive elegance, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise’s luxurious River Beatric, takes guests on an 11- day river voyage through four countries – Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.  Celebrate holiday musical heritage listening to the largest organ in Europe, lift your voice and sing “Silent Night” in Oberndorf, the birthpace of the beloved Christmas carol, and spend Christmas Day in Salzburg where guests will enjoy a holiday lunch within the walls of St. Peter’s Abbey.
Windstar Cruises ships will sail to destinations including Southeast Asia, the Caribbean’s Windward Islands, and Panama.  Guests can celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah while sailing from Singapore to Hong Kong on the line’s new ship Star Pride.  Highlights include Vietnam, where guests can explore the ancient imperial temples and pagodas of Hue, ride bicycles down the back streets of old Hoi An, and enjoy the countryside.
Silversea Cruises’ new expedition vessel, Silver Discoverer, will spend the holidays cruising New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic, with an itinerary in a remote area described by the United Nations’ Environment Program as “the most diverse and extensive of all Sub-Antarctic archipelagos.”

New Year, New Adventures
There is no better way to kick off the new year than visiting off-the-map destinations, cruise lines are offering more exciting itineries than ever before.  Count down to 2015 with these exciting offerings:

Crystal Cruises is enticing travelers to fulfill bucket lists and holiday wish lists with exotic itineraries that include sailing round-trip from Singapore on a 15-day holiday itinerary. Embarking December 21, it includes ringing in the New Year with the Crystal Symphony berthed at Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.  Cruisers will enjoy a "front row" view of the city’s fireworks countdown celebration, specially-illuminated skyscrapers, musical pyrotechnics and the Symphony of Lights, the largest permanent light show in the world.  The "China Sea Holiday Spectacular" itinerary also includes Christmas day and night in Ho Chi Minh City, and calls in Sihanoukville, Cambodia (for Angor Wat) and Nha Trang, Vietnam.  Shorter six- and nine-day Christmas/Hanukkah or New Year's "Getaways" segments are also available to/from Ho Chi Minh City. 

Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess Holiday 2014 cruise is a 27-day adventure (shorter segments also available) as the ship repositions from Los Angeles to South America, embarking December 23.  Guests will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a stopover in Montevideo, Uruguay.   Other highlights include port calls in Mexico,  Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, the Falkland Islands and Argentina.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice will spend the holidays cruising Australia and New Zealand cruises, between Sydney and Auckland, on 14-day itineraries that begin December 21.  Destinations include Melbourne, Tasmania, Fjordland and Wellington.

Norwegian Cruise Line [4]'s Pride of America [5] will spend New Year's Eve on the Big Island of Hawaii, with potential spottings of natural fireworks courtesy of Kilauea volcano.  From December 27 to January 3, guests can soak up all four Hawaiian Islands including Honolulu, Hawaii;  Kahului, Maui; Hilo, Hawaii; and Nawiliwili, Kauai. 

Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas will make its way to Asia for a unique and adventurous holiday celebration.  Guests can enjoy a 5-night Phuket & Malayasia cruise, including holiday-inspired menus created by Royal’s expert chefs and a stunning New Year's celebration complete with champagne and party favors.

Carnival Cruise Lines Freedom will sail to the Caribbean for a family friendly holiday that begins on December 28. Families will not only enjoy festive holiday decorations and activities, but Carnival Freedom is the only ship in the fleet to feature the new, marine-themed Camp Ocean children’s facility, and a Dr. Seuss Bookville family reading venue for the younger set of travelers.  Destinations include Aruba, Curacao, Grand Turk and La Romana, Dominican Republic.


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