It is a relatively well-known fact, at least to those of us familiar with the world of cruises, that there exist special Christmas cruises that are offered by nearly every cruise line during the holiday season. For those who fancy the traditional Christmas experience, one that is filled with snow and caroling and other such merriment, it may seem strange that anyone would take a cruise around Christmas, but evidently many people do, often precisely to avoid the traditional Christmas experience (or at least certain components of it – in-laws and cold weather come to mind), and hence the abundance of Christmas cruises available. But what exactly is a Christmas cruise, and more relevantly for the present article, how do you go about finding a good Christmas cruise deal?
The answer to the first question is quite simple. A Christmas cruise is what the name implies: it is a cruise that takes place during the Christmas holiday season. Any such cruise can technically be called a Christmas cruise (what else would you call it?), but generally the term “Christmas cruise” carries with it a little more. In particular, Christmas cruises attempt to recreate the holiday atmosphere on board by putting up Christmas decorations, playing Christmas music, serving Christmas dishes, and so on. Santa can even be found on board some cruise ships on and around Christmas, faithfully cataloging the gift requests of the ship’s younger passengers. All of these holiday preparations undertaken by the cruise lines merely compliment the traditional offerings of a cruise vacation, like trips to the spa and wild nights at the casino. So, a Christmas cruise can offer the best of two competing desires – to take a cruise and participate in Christmas festivities.
That’s what a Christmas cruise is, but how do you find a Christmas cruise deal? There are of course a number of different ways, just as there are to book a regular cruise, but to find a really good deal, we have a couple of tips. If you are particular about which cruise line you vacation with, you should check the official websites of your preferred cruise lines for deals. You may not find the cheapest cruises this way, but you’ll at least know what you’re getting if you book through a cruise line with which you have previous experience. Also, almost all cruise lines have loyalty programs for repeat customers. If you are a part of such a program, you will likely be offered some good deals for Christmas cruises (depending on the program, your participation in it, etc.).
For those who are not loyal to one particular cruise line, there are tons of cruise deals available. Since you aren’t concerned with which cruise line you book with, it is best to search deal sites (e.g., Orbitz) because they will list vacations associated with a broad range of cruise lines, increasing the likelihood that you’ll find a really good deal. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to search explicitly for Christmas cruises. If you have some flexibility in your scheduling, it often best to search multiple dates to find the best deal. In other words, you can look for a Christmas cruise without having to sign up for something that is billed as a Christmas cruise, as the latter may cost more money. You can clearly see the sagacity of this advice when you look for last-minute cruise deals around Christmas time. You can find cruises that depart on, say, Dec. 22nd that are extremely inexpensive, and you likely wouldn’t be able to find this deal if you were searching for a Christmas cruise specifically. Sometimes it is easiest to find what you are looking for when you search for it indirectly.
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