Cruising: the best ways to spend Christmas at sea
Put the magic back into the season! Andrea Black investigates how you can escape the stresses of home, but still enjoy some old-fashioned festivities on the high seas.
1 Sail away in the Whitsundays Chart your own voyage on the Whitsundays from Hamilton Island Marina or Airlie Beach for a self-catered Christmas on azure waters. The Whitsunday Escape charter includes an afternoon learning the ropes and the vessel comes with charts, maps and the rule you must check in by radio twice daily. Cook up a Christmas feast while anchored off a secluded island or dive in and swim with turtles. When: For Christmas
2017 bookings, visit whitsundayescape.com.
2 See the Caribbean Spend Christmas with Santa on a surfboard on the waves of the FlowRider simulator. Onboard a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise departing from Florida on the Harmony of the Seas, action Saint Nick will be ziplining and in the skydiving simulator as well. Harmony of the Seas is one of the biggest ships in the world and its mod cons include robotic bartenders. Enjoy your Christmas feast in one of its many restaurants.
When: Spots on the December 16-23 cruise are selling fast.
Visit royalcaribbean.com.au. 3 Cruise the Pacific If the idea of enjoying a delicious Christmas lunch on a newly fitted ship appeals, then consider a 10-night Christmas cruise from Sydney exploring Noumea, Port Vila and Mystery Island onboard the
Pacific Explorer. Santa will be roaming the decks spreading Christmas cheer with presents for all while you relax poolside.
When: December 17-27, 2017. Visit pocruises.com.au for options from Brisbane and Melbourne too. 4 The festive markets Nothing says Christmas more than a cobblestoned town square in Europe, with festive market stalls lit up with fairy lights, selling crafts and decorations. Scenic has two 16-day Christmas Wonderland cruises from Amsterdam to Budapest this December, but you will have to be quick to get any remaining spots; otherwise, Christmas 2018 is your best bet. Along the way take in a gingerbread baking class or a Midnight Mass.
When: December 14 and 19, 2017, from Amsterdam.
Visit scenic.com.au. 5 Explore New Zealand On the Celebrity Solstice 12-day Christmas cruise to New Zealand you can treat yourself to the Tree Trimmers Buffet on Christmas Eve as well as a special brunch on Christmas Day. Carolers roam the ship between visits to the ports of Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, and Wellington. The ship offers a patch of real lawn on the top deck for the Christmas Day picnic. It’s a cruise for romantic nights sipping cocktails and waking on Christmas morning to the open sea as the view from your balcony. When: Departs Sydney on December 21.
Take in the splendours of New Zealand. European markets perfectly capture Christmas magic.