As the day approaches, the negotiations begin - who is going to be where and how long are they staying? The in-laws make their claim, and all of your plans need to change. You agonise over how you are going to accommodate everyone, and just when you think you are on top of everything, the complications set in - this one doesn't eat turkey, that one is gluten free, oh little Jane has just decided to be vegan. In despair you book a local restaurant, and pay through the nose for a dispiriting meal….
That's not how the holidays have to be! Either escape everyone and opt for a bit of R&R, or if you are feeling flush, take the lot of them with you! Here are our favourite Christmas cruise options for December 2019:
1. Best small ship: Crystal Esprit
The bijou Crystal Esprit is the perfect choice for a family group - relaxed, laid-back, with the best food at sea and the most attentive service. Cruising out of Dubai on 23rd December, enjoy 11 nights of all-inclusive self-indulgence from £7,634 per person (cruise only) including all drinks and gratuities, and the legendary New Year's Eve celebrations in Dubai.
2. Best river cruise: AmaWaterways
AmaWaterways' newest and largest river cruise ship, AmaMagna, with its wonderful spacious suites, leaves Budapest on 22nd December on a 7-night cruise along the Danube, bound for Vilshofen. Glorious frosty days, beautiful decorations and Christmas celebrations in lovely Vienna all contribute to a magical holiday experience from just £2,100 per person cruise only.
3. Best no fly option: Saga
What could be nicer than a relaxed departure from the UK, with no worries that the weather will disrupt your travel plans? Saga's beautiful new ship Spirit of Discovery sets forth from Southampton on 5th December for a wonderful 35-night cruise to New York and the Caribbean. True, you can't take your grandchildren… but you don't have to put up with anyone else's either! Fares start at £8,999 per person.
4. Best expedition cruise: Silversea
The perfect Antarctica cruise, including the islands of South Georgia, departs Ushuaia on 17th December on board Silversea Expeditions' Silver Explorer for 18 nights of adventure and exploration. A guaranteed white Christmas in spectacular surroundings - this will be a Christmas treat you will never forget. Once in a lifetime doesn't come cheap - cruise only fares start at £16,380 per person.
5. Best Caribbean itinerary: Seabourn
There's a big buzz about Cuba at the moment, but take a look at the majority of itineraries and you will find limited calls and not much opportunity to explore. Seabourn Sojourn's 25-day Grand Cuban Holiday departing Miami on 10th December really stands out, with seven Cuba calls including four overnights. Fares from £8,998 per person cruise only.
It may only be May - but don't delay! Flights fill up over the Christmas period, and fares are inflated, so you need to get ahead of the pack to secure your perfect holiday getaway.