The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cruise, and LoveToKnow Cruises was privileged to recently speak with Skip Fortier of MacNair Travel and Cruises to find out the best Christmas cruises tips for a great holiday getaway.
About Skip Fortier
Skip Fortier is the Director of MacNair Travel and Cruises, located in Alexandria, Virginia. He has been on more than 20 cruises, including three during the holiday season. For an insider's view of the holiday cruise travel industry, there is no better expert than Skip, who has personally experienced both the craziness and delight of holidays at sea and now enjoys new holiday traditions cruising aboard Princess, Regent, and Royal Caribbean Cruises during the Christmas season.
Why is Christmas an ideal time for a cruise vacation?
As families get together to celebrate the holiday season, being on a cruise is a perfect setting to spend time together, get away from the cold weather, explore new destinations and experiences, and avoid the stress of cooking and cleaning. In addition, it makes a great holiday gift for your spouse or your entire family. Also, most schools have extended holidays so it allows you more time to travel without taking your kids out of school.
Which destinations are most popular for Christmas cruises?
The most popular destination would be the Caribbean because of the warm weather. Numerous ports offer Caribbean sailings with a variety of ports of call during the voyage. From New Jersey to New Orleans and all of the cruise ports in Florida, a lot of variety exists both in departure city and cruise length.
What should interested passengers look for in a Christmas cruise?
There are several factors in deciding on the right cruise. If you are traveling with your family be sure to consider on board activities for everyone. Most of the cruise lines decorate their ships for the holidays and they all have special events on board. When considering the destination and itinerary it is important to consider the travel arrangements to and from the port. Flying during holiday season can be a challenge, so we always suggest a departure port that has direct flights or have your travel professional schedule you to arrive a day prior to the cruise so you won't miss your cruise if there are flight delays.
How can passengers bring holiday celebrations with them on board?
One of the nice things about taking a cruise is that they don't have limitations on how much luggage you bring on board. You can bring your holiday gifts on board and have your own celebration. Of course, if you are flying to the cruise you need to consider airline restrictions on how much luggage you are allowed.
Do cruise lines offer holiday celebrations on board?
Yes! You will find the majority of the cruise lines do a wonderful job in decorating the entire ship for the holidays. According to a Silversea spokesperson, for the holiday sailings, Silversea ships are outfitted with imaginative decorations that echo the spirit of the season. Many of the artful displays are created aboard ship by Silversea master chefs. Whimsical gingerbread cottages and festive cookies often adorn lounges and add a touch of old-fashioned holiday charm throughout the ship. In addition, there will be special activities planned throughout holiday cruises including religious observances.
What is the best way to coordinate airfare and cruise travel for a Christmas voyage?
This is where you need to work with your travel professional. The worst scenario is having your flight delayed so you miss the ship's departure. We always suggest flying to your cruise departure city a day prior to departure. If there are any delays you will still have time to take another flight. You don't want your holiday dream trip ruined from the start.
What won't passengers find on a Christmas cruise?
Most passengers will find very little missing on a holiday cruise! Today's modern ships provide all the comforts of home, 24/7 food, entertainment, shopping, and time together. Many of the ships offer satellite television where the family can still enjoy the college bowl games and the NFL during their cruise. What they won't find is traffic, stress of preparing meals for the entire family and especially the clean up after everyone goes home!
Are holiday cruises right for everyone?
If you enjoy cruising you will definitely enjoy a holiday cruise! The festive atmosphere adds to the holiday spirit and even if it is your first cruise you will find it hard to not have a memorable experience. Cruising over the holidays creates or continues a family tradition.
When should passengers make reservations for the best holiday sailing deals?
Most holiday itineraries sell out 4 to 6 months prior to the sale date. As this is a popular time to cruise, making your reservations early will ensure your space on board. The days of waiting to the last minute for cruise deals have disappeared, especially during the holidays. In addition, airline tickets for holiday travel get more expensive the longer you wait.
What other tips would you offer for passengers interested in Christmas cruises?
Plan ahead. Get with your travel professional early in the year and get your reservation secured. Be sure to discuss your itinerary with everyone in the family. If you're not traveling with children you may want to consider a luxury cruise on a smaller ship or an exotic destination.
Thank You, Skip Fortier!
LoveToKnow Cruises thanks Skip Fortier for sharing his tips and expertise about enjoyable holiday cruises. For more information about MacNair Travel and Cruises, visit the agency's official website, call (703) 836-1101, or arrange to visit the office at 1110 Cameron Street, Alexandria, Virginia.