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.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents -

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.

Visit celebri­ty­cruises.com.au.

Take in the splendours of New Zealand. Euro­pean mar­kets per­fectly cap­ture Christmas magic.

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