There's No Place Like Disney Cruise Line for the Holidays: Why We Choose to Cruise at Christmas -
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There's No Place Like Disney Cruise Line for the Holidays: Why We Choose to Cruise at Christmas

by Renee Latta, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 11-11-2010 > Articles > Disney Cruise Line > Cruising  

For the last five years, we have had the family tradition of going on a Disney Cruise for Christmas. I have discovered many people who share this tradition -- we see some of the same groups every year, and most years this cruise sells out early.

There are many reasons Disney Cruise Line is our first choice for holiday travel. Here are some of the top reasons:

Our tradition began with the birth of my first child. We soon learned that vacation time became very limited. Sure, we didn’t have to deal with school schedules yet, but time off from work for travel became a premium commodity! My husband works for a company that closes between Christmas and New Years and my job really slows down at that time as well, so it was the logical time to get away.

Since we live in Texas, we don’t just do weekend trips to Florida. We usually spend a few days at the Disney parks and a week at sea. Disney Cruise Line is a great way to experience Disney at Christmas without the big crowds. A ship can only have as many people as rooms, so although the holiday cruises usually sell out early, it is relaxing and I really don’t have to plan around crowd control like I do in the parks during this time of year.

christmas cruise photo
christmas cruise

A MAGICal moment - photo by RLatta

I really don't decorate my home much for Christmas since we will be away -- this saves a lot of time and money and my family gets to experience first class holiday décor! When you experience Disney at Christmas time you will be amazed at the beauty and detail of the decorations. The ship is decorated with a large tree, a big Mickey Mouse-themed gingerbread house that fills the halls with the wonderful scent of the holidays, lots of garlands, wreaths and bows, and all the characters wear Christmas attire.

Many people are concerned about taking their small children on a Disney cruise for Christmas because Santa may not be able to visit them, but Santa fills our stockings in our room (the same way he does at home) and leaves small gifts in the stateroom. We leave out cookies and milk, which are easy to find on the ship so he still gets his snack! Mrs. Claus has been known to come out and read The Night before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus then visits with us in person on the ship after making his deliveries the night before! Santa (and also Santa Goofy at times) has the children sit in his lap on Christmas day and he personally supplies a treat for Christmas. Santa also visits our home while we are away with larger items. So it is always fun arriving home to even more excitement!

There are quite a few holiday special activities, like gingerbread house decorating, Christmas carols, holiday drink specials, a special Christmas day meal, church services on board, and New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks. There is also a very good chance you will get to be one of the first to see the Disney movie that is released over the holiday time. One of my favorite things about the holiday cruise is the limited edition holiday lithograph that is delivered to your stateroom. It is a wonderful souvenir! I have also found some great sales on board in the shops for items like photo books with the current year date that is about to change!

If you enjoy seeing the characters in special attire, the holiday cruise is the only time I have seen Donald Duck dressed as Baby New Year, complete with a big bottle, and Goofy as Father Time!

Castaway Cay, which is normally the highlight of our cruise, does not disappoint with the holiday theme! When we disembark, we are greeted by a giant Christmas tree with beach decorations. The transportation trolley is decorated like a reindeer, there are a few snowmen or maybe sandmen – in the tropics it could go either way, and best of all it snows on Castaway Cay! It is so much fun to enjoy snow on your way to swim on the beach.

I know the song says "Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays," but I personally like to change the lyrics to "Oh there’s no place like Disney for the holidays," and Disney Cruise Line really adds extra magic to the most wonderful time of the year!

Castaway Cay - Tram at Christmas photo
Castaway Cay - Tram at Christmas

Even the tram is decorated during the holidays! - photo by OffKilter_Lynn

About the Author:
Renee Latta is a travel consultant at WDWTravels with a passion for Disney, especially Disney Cruise Line. She has a tip in the 2010 edition of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line guidebook as well as a past issue of PassPorter News. She and her family will be cruising on the Magic again this year on the 11-night holiday cruise in December and they look forward to exploring the renovations on Castaway Cay and making her own sandman on the beach.

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