Put the magic back into the season! We discover ways to escape the stresses of home, but still enjoy some old-fashioned festivities on the high seas.
Christmas at sea
1 Sail away in the Bay of Islands
Chart your own voyage in the Bay of Islands for a self-catered Christmas on azure waters. The Sensation yacht is licensed to cruise more than 270km of coastline from the stunning Poor Knights Islands to the western side of Great Barrier Island. Cook up a Christmas feast while anchored off a secluded island or head to Motorua Island to dolphin watch. When: For Christmas 2017 bookings, visit baycharters.co.nz.
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.
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.co.nz 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.
5 Explore Australia
On P&O’s Pacific Jewel you can treat yourself to a special Christmas lunch and dinner with all the trimmings. Santa pays a visit and there is carolling too. The 11-day cruise takes in the ports of Melbourne, Newcastle, Moreton Island, the Sunshine Coast and Gladstone in Queensland. Waking on Christmas morning to a view of the open sea is a treat in itself.
When: Departs Melbourne December 16. Visit pocruises. co.nz.
European markets perfectly capture Christmas magic.
You’re more likely to see pelicans than reindeer on an Australian cruise.