Christmas can be both an amazing and a stressful day all within hours of itself. I think many of us have a love/hate relationship with the day. We look forward to it and many magical memories are made on that one special day of the year - but it can also be a rushed and stressful time of year.
We have taken two Christmas cruises and whilst we are not doing one this year, I would absolutely do it again. Here are my top three pros and cons to Christmas cruising.
PROS to Christmas Cruising
1. No cooking or cleaning!
When at home, Christmas day means someone has to cook and clean - or you go to a restaurant and pay top dollar for the experience. Christmas Day on a cruise means wake up, enjoy the morning opening and playing with kids presents, get dressed and walk to the restaurant for lunch. There is no rush to get a turkey on, a pork in the webber or a ham glazed, it is all done for you!
The restaurant staff go all out with all the traditional trimmings and it is all there to simply order. When you are finished, the waiter clears the table and you are done! No dishes, no clearing, just nap time.
2. No rushing
The two Christmas cruises we have been on departed on 18th and 19th of December. By the time you get to Christmas day you are chilled and in holiday mode. There is no need for any mad last minute rush to the shops to fight for the last minute ham glazing or any fights in busy shopping centre car parks to get that one last present for Uncle Jim who decided at the last minute he was coming for lunch!
You are on holiday, de-stressed and simply enjoying the moment.
3. No car travel
Many people try to squeeze everyone in on Christmas Day. A trip to visit one lot of parents on Christmas Eve, a brother on Christmas morning, parents at lunch, other parents for dinner. There can be a lot of car travel in that 24 hours.
On a cruise you don’t have to drive anywhere. If you are fortunate enough to have extended family on board the most you will have to do is walk one end of the ship to the other to knock on their cabin door. No-one has to drive, there are no responsible drivers needed at the end of the day and there are no sleepy over stimulated children screaming in the car at the end of a long day.
CONS to Christmas Cruising
1. No Family
Whilst some may see this as a Pro, it depends what your traditional Christmas looks like. Christmas to me means being surrounded by family. Having come from a large family of five children, having a crazy day with lots of family is what Christmas is to me.
The first Christmas cruise we did we had a set of grandparents with us. The kids loved having them with us and it was nice to have them there to share the experience.
The second Christmas cruise we were just the ITCHY FEET FAMILY and the kids really missed having all their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents around.
When we asked the kids what they wanted to do for Christmas this year they specifically asked NOT to travel. So instead we are going away for New Years.
2. Packing Presents
Packing gifts for Christmas day can be a bit challenging. If you require a flight to get to the departure point, your airline baggage allowance can put some limitations on what you take.
You certainly can’t have a bike or a swing set under the tree on Christmas Day and you need to be selective with what to take.
We made sure extended family knew well in advance of our travel plans and gifts were purchased accordingly - or left under the tree at home for when we returned.
Thankfully Santa makes his way on board and every child on the ship receives a gift from him - and amazingly Santa also magically left something under our cabin door each year.
3. Missing Out
Because Christmas Cruises in Australia are generally 10 or 12 nights in duration and departing before the 20th December we did miss out on a few family and work Christmas parties.
Sporting club and social group end of year break ups, work break-up parties and the like all seemed to happen in the last week before Christmas.
Most businesses don’t break up until closer to the 25th and this therefore also meant eating into our annual leave more than we would want to. The cruise returns a few days after Christmas and generally businesses are still closed for that week until the New Year which meant we would be returned from our travels but still in enforced annual leave. Annual leave allocations are precious to us as we are always maxing out our allowance and having leave and being at home is not something we enjoy!
Have you taken a cruise at Christmas? What were your thoughts? Would you do it again?
Penny - ITCHY FEET FAMILY
In Australia P&O offer Christmas Cruises departing Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.