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The Best Christmas Cruises for 2023 & 2024

Cruise Advice

Whether you embrace or avoid the festive season, there is no denying that it is fast approaching as we enter the final months of the year. If you'd like an alternative to a Christmas spent at home, then there are plenty of options offering a change of scenery but still maintaining that festive feel. Here are some of our favourites for this year and next…

1. Riverside Luxury Cruises' Danube Cruise

For a magical holiday fully embracing the festivities, look no further than a European river cruise. We love the 3- and 4-night itineraries from Riverside Luxury Cruises operating throughout December, offering a great value festive getaway and the chance to visit a Christmas market or two.

The elegant Riverside Mozart then rounds out the year with a 12-night Dazzling Danube Celebration voyage over Christmas and New Year, during which you can spend Christmas Day exploring historic Salzburg and enjoy the New Year's celebrations in Bratislava.


2. AmaWaterways' Christmas Markets on the Rhine

Another river cruise option is with AmaWaterways who offer an abundance of cruises during the festive season including their Christmas Markets on the Rhine itinerary. This 7-night voyage operates from the end of November for a magical pre-Christmas getaway.

Visit the fairy-tale city of Strasbourg, the site of France's oldest Christmas market, and Cologne's iconic market in front of the city's UNESCO-designated Gothic cathedral. On all AmaWaterways Christmas Market itineraries you can enjoy festive traditions, a holiday feast and seasonal décor on board.


3. Cunard's Caribbean Voyage

A classic festive experience awaits with Cunard and you can immerse yourself in the excitement of New York City during the holiday season before boarding the elegant Queen Mary 2 for an extended 20-night voyage. Spend the relaxed days around Christmas and New Year sailing between sun-soaked Caribbean islands before an iconic transatlantic voyage brings you back into Southampton.

On board, expect Cunard's special traditions like festive menus and carol singing plus beautiful decorations including the sparkling Christmas tree standing proud in the Grand Lobby.


4. A white Christmas in Antarctica

Looking ahead to next year, if the ultimate white Christmas is on your bucket list, why not tick it off with an ultra-luxury expedition to Antarctica on board Seabourn Pursuit? The brand-new purpose-built vessel from Seabourn joins the fleet this year and this trip of a lifetime departs next December, taking in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

December is an incredible time to visit the White Continent with long hours of daylight and the chance to see migrating whales, plus you can ring in the New Year as you sail towards the Antarctic Peninsula - what an experience!


5. Look for emperor penguins in the Weddell Sea

Join Scenic in Buenos Aires on 14 December 2023 then fly to Ushuaia to start a 14-night Antarctica adventure on board Scenic Eclipse, which takes you deep into Antarctica to the ice choked Weddell Sea, to gasp at the extraordinary scenery and watch the amazing wildlife. You may even get to see an emperor penguin with an optional helicopter excursion to Snow Hill Island.

Emperor penguin chicks on Snow Hill

6. Ponant's Le Commandant Charcot in the Arctic

Another option worth planning well in advance is Ponant's just-released new season itineraries for their pioneering polar explorer Le Commandant Charcot, featuring a selection of unique Arctic voyages.

Their 2024 Christmas music-themed sailing features festive concerts from a range of guest musicians and offers the rare opportunity to cruise in the Baltic during winter. Guests will immerse in the enchanting and illuminated towns surrounding the lesser-travelled Gulf of Bothnia, including the snow-covered landscapes of Swedish and Finnish Lapland, for a truly magical festive getaway.


7. Enjoy a yachtsman's paradise

Join SeaDream I or II this December or next and you can look forward to a Christmas Day spent pottering around the pristine beaches of the British Virgin Islands or Anguilla. Clamber through the extraordinary boulders of Virgin Gorda known as The Baths, then explore the hidden bays and water-level caves of Norman Island.

Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

8. Summertime Christmas in Australia and New Zealand

Alternatively, if snow is not on your holiday wish list, then perhaps 2024 is the year to experience the warmth of a summertime Christmas in Australia and New Zealand. Silversea's beautiful and intimate Silver Muse offers the perfect holiday sailing with a balance of bucket-list sightseeing and relaxing sea days to see out the year in style.

Begin in sunny Australia to see Sydney and Melbourne's Christmas decorations in the lead up to the big day before being amongst the first in the world to see in the New Year, off the coast of New Zealand.

Meet the author

Louise is Marketing Executive at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for nearly a year and in travel for over 8 years. Most recently she's cruised on Explora Journeys and has also sailed with Crystal Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Seabourn, Ponant and Uniworld. Her favourite destination is New Zealand however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands, Norwegian Fjords, Indian Ocean and South Africa. When she’s not travelling she loves cooking and trying new restaurants.

More about Louise

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