Cruises that will get you in the holiday spirit

You're lounging on a beachfront chaise sipping a cocktail when suddenly a family with small children armed with Day-Glo floaties, sand pails, and juice boxes traipses past you. Now, don’t get us wrong - we love the little tykes, but sometimes you just want to vacation with fellow adults. Here are some of the best adults-only resorts (many are also all-inclusive) where you can enjoy a grown-up version of "time out."
 With its vibrant décor, The Inn of Five Graces is a luxury gem tucked away in the city's historic district. Each room features a cozy fireplace and kitchenette, but guests can also wine and dine on the resort's terrace.  Guests can explore beyond the inn's walls by visiting the San Miguel Mission Church, which was built in the 1600s and is located across the street. The Inn of Five Graces costs around $575 a night.
Slide 1 of 16: Whether you are planning a river cruise to visit Christmas markets in Europe or taking a cruise to the Caribbean for New Year's Eve, this is sure to be a great getaway. Just think: No cooking, cleaning, decorating and then putting everything away on Jan. 2. Just sit back and enjoy. Need ideas for your travel? Here are some specific destinations and cruise lines to boost your holiday spirit, whether you're traveling for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s.
Slide 2 of 16: Every river cruise line that sails Europe features Christmas market itineraries. If you choose a line on the Danube, you will not want to miss the Nuremberg Christmas market. Cruise Critic rates this as one of the most famous and popular markets to visit during the season. Pine wreaths, custom holiday crafts and fresh gingerbread helps awaken the holiday spirit.
Slide 3 of 16: If you're planning a holiday cruise with young children, nothing will thrill them more than a Christmas cruise with Mickey and friends on one of their four ships. Disney calls these itineraries Very Merrytime Cruises and they run from November through the first of the year. From the elaborately decorated lobby to the Disney characters lighting the three-deck-high tree, this is something the family likely will remember a long time.
Slide 4 of 16: From December through early January, the Old Town Square in Prague is the place to be for regional holiday crafts and wares. Avalon Waterways has an itinerary on the Danube River for nine days from Vienna to Prague. Explore Old Town with a warm cup of hot mulled wine while shopping for ornaments, wooden toys and Czech handicrafts.
Slide 5 of 16: Cruise Critic reports that Norwegian Cruise Line really knows how to throw a Christmas party aboard its fleet of ships. Dinner service on Christmas Day will include a holiday-themed menu, and the ship offers an extended Champagne menu as well. On Christmas Eve and Day, crew members perform in the theater and lead carols throughout the ship with a visit from Santa in the morning.
Slide 6 of 16: For a more upscale Christmas cruise, try Crystal Cruises. This line specializes in ocean, river and yacht cruises and even has its own luxury chartered air service. If you choose the ocean cruise, you'll find a flocked Christmas tree forest in the elevator lobby with shimmering glass ornaments and jewels. According to Crystal, a daily assortment of holiday cookies from around the world will be served throughout the cruise, as well as a Christmas Eve dinner of roast goose.
Slide 7 of 16: If you are looking at a Rhine River trip during Christmas, make sure Strasbourg is on your itinerary. Viking River Cruises has an 8-day trip that embarks in Amsterdam and disembarks in Basel, with Strasbourg included as one of the stops. The Christmas market, which sits on the border of France and Germany, has been around since 1570. It’s held from late November and runs through December 31. The market boasts a 100-foot tree, ice skating, caroling and Alsatian beer steins.
Slide 8 of 16: If you and your spouse find yourselves alone for Hanukkah, or want to be away from family this year, Holland America Cruises does a great traditional celebration. They host a passenger get-together each night of the holiday with a rabbi lighting the menorah. Passengers can enjoy traditional dishes such as latkes and brisket, and then head to the Neptune Lounge where electric menorahs are showcased.
Slide 9 of 16: How about New Year’s down under? Azamara Club Cruises has a 15-day trip from Perth, Australia, to Melbourne with an overnight stay for New Year's Eve in Sydney. All guests are invited to a New Year’s Eve White Party on deck with a special dinner menu. From there you will be treated to the harbor air show and Harbor of Light parade.
Slide 10 of 16: Stroll down cobblestone streets decked out with glowing Christmas trees and lined with wooden huts filled with handcrafted treasures. Try this Hungarian twist on Christmas with AmaWaterways. This river line offers a 7-night cruise that starts in Nuremberg and ends in Budapest. Because Budapest is the final port of call, there's plenty of time to stroll the Vorosmarty Square Christmas market, where you can fill up on sausages on a spit and sip a crisp lager.
Slide 11 of 16: You might think it will be impossible to get that football fan out of the house during Thanksgiving, but Celebrity Cruises might just be the ticket. How about a turkey with all the trimmings on the Caribbean Sea. Celebrity offers an 8-night eastern Caribbean cruise over the Thanksgiving holiday. Don’t worry; the ship will have screenings of the games for Mr. Sporto, while you relax at the spa.
Slide 12 of 16: Ring in the New Year the Italian way on the Italian cruise line Costa. Take a seven-night Caribbean and Bahamas cruise from Fort Lauderdale on the Costa Deliziosa. On Dec. 31, the main dining room will offer a six-course dinner, followed by a lavish midnight buffet and party with live music. On the poolside, a movie screen will count you down to midnight while you dance until dawn. Wake up and start eating all over again at the New Year's Day Champagne Brunch.
Slide 13 of 16: If you can’t travel far, how about a river cruise on the Mississippi. Take the historic paddlewheel, American Queen, to Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana. According to the American Queen Steamboat Company, you will attend a traditional Southern Ball performance and an exclusive Holiday Gala where you can enjoy cocktails, indulge in decadent desserts and dance the night away. The evening is capped off with the lighting of traditional bonfires along the levees.
Slide 14 of 16: The City of Light sparkles even brighter during the holidays. Uniworld river cruises offer a round-trip, 8-day, Paris to Paris voyage on the Seine. Take in the grand Christmas tree at Notre Dame, animated window displays on Boulevard Haussmann or the brightly lit trees lining the Champs-Élysées.
Slide 15 of 16: Another top destination for Christmas markets on the Danube is the Christkindlmarkt in Vienna. The event is famous for Weinachtspunsch, a spiced Christmas punch spiked with wine, brandy or schnapps and fruit juice. According to, if you are traveling with younger ones, inside the City Hall on the ground floor there is an area dedicated to children. Here they can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles with dedicated instructors.
Slide 16 of 16: Seabourn Cruise Line is an upper-market luxury line with some nice extras. Of course there will be Christmas trees throughout the public areas and real evergreen decorations on the railings, but extra touches like holiday goodies delivered to each cabin at turn-down will let you know this is a special line. Another European touch are the paper crowns and Christmas crackers at the formal holiday dinner.

Cruises that will get you in the holiday spirit

Nuremberg, Germany

Disney Cruise Line


Norwegian Cruise Line

Crystal Cruises

Strasbourg, France

Holland America Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises

Budapest, Hungary

Celebrity Cruises

Costa Cruises

American Queen



Seabourn Cruise Line

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