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Photos: Royal Caribbean cruise ship celebrates Christmas at sea

25 Dec 2020

Merry Christmas! While most of us are unable to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise this year, I wanted to share a look at some of the Christmas fun aboard the only cruise ship in the fleet sailing right now.

Quantum of the Seas is sailing a 4-night "cruise to nowhere" from Singapore, and the ship is celebrating Christmas at sea. Our friends at Singapore Cruise Society are onboard and shared photos of the goings on during the holiday.

Royal Caribbean decorates its ships quite nicely for the holidays, and each ship has a different look and feel for this special time of the year.

Christmas decorative fruit in the Windjammer

Santa meeting guests in Two70

Read moreHow Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas and New Years holidays on its cruise ships

More Christmas desserts in the Windjammer

Special Christmas cocktails

Crew hosting trivia with santa hats on

Tonight's Christmas dinner menu in the main dining room

All the crew members getting into the Christmas spirit

Be sure to follow along with our live blog going on this week from Quantum of the Seas!

How Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas and New Years holidays on its cruise ships

19 Dec 2020

Have you ever thought of celebrating a holiday like Christmas, or ringing in the new year, on a cruise ship?

Royal Caribbean offers holiday sailings on its cruise ships where guests can celebrate the holidays onboard, and it is a tempting way to not only celebrate with family, but escape to warmer temperatures and enjoy a less stressful holiday.

If you are considering planning a holiday cruise in the coming years, here is what you should know about what it is like to wake up on Christmas morning or stay up to midnight on New Years Eve with Royal Caribbean.

When does Royal Caribbean decorate for Christmas?

You will find Christmas decorations all around Royal Caribbean's cruise ships during the holiday season.

While there is no firm timeline, typically public areas of cruise ships get decorated for Christmas right around Thanksgiving or so.  Sometimes it is the week of Thanksgiving, sometimes immediately after.

Every ship in the fleet will have a Christmas tree up, along with menorah-lighting ceremonies. 

The Royal Promenade, Royal Esplanade and Centrum get decorated as well with Christmas decorations.

The decorations remain on the ship through New Years sailings.

Does Royal Caribbean do anything special for Christmas?

If your cruise happens to sail over Christmas Day, Royal Caribbean usually offers a few different Christmas-themed activities onboard.

Keep in mind the exact offering of activities will vary from sailing to sailing and these events are usually only offered on Christmas Day sailings.

Examples of activities Royal Caribbean has offered in the past include:

  • Special appearances by Santa’s elves
  • Gingerbread-cookie decorating
  • Family story time
  • Caroling
  • Holiday movie screenings
  • Craft making
  • Ugly sweater contests
  • Scavenger hunts
Main dining room Christmas menu

A priest will be onboard to conduct mass services on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day during a Holiday cruise.

A special Christmas day menu is available in the main dining room, as well as the specialty restaurants.

Read moreA look at Christmas on Royal Caribbean

What does Royal Caribbean do to celebrate New Year's?

Ringing in the new year is a giant party on Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, with ample space to celebrate the big day.

You will find a smattering of music parties around the ship.  The cruise line will distribute hats, decorations and even noisemakers.

In addition, Royal Caribbean usually reserves certain areas of the ship for purchase to guarantee a spot in the middle of the action. These are usually chairs and tables you can book that provide a reserved spot near the main party.

There is also live television feeds of the New Year's Eve festivities in Times Square that you can watch in your room or in public venues.

For the ball drop, the big party is usually in the main Promenade, Esplanade or Centrum (for cruises that sail through January 1).

Are Christmas or New Year's cruises more expensive?

In general, prices for holiday cruises do cost more because of the higher demand.

The weeks of Christmas and New Year's are times of the year when so many people have time off of school and work, so it is a popular time to getaway.

Due to the higher demand, you will see higher prices for a cruise that goes over Christmas Day or New Year's Eve, compared to the weeks before or after.

The best way to avoid paying higher prices is to try to book your holiday sailing as early as possible. Prices tend to go up over time, and if you can book earlier, you can usually save money in the long run.

Read more10 tips for saving money on booking a Royal Caribbean cruise

Are Christmas cruises crowded?

In general, cruise ships usually sail full (or close to full), and demand for holiday sailings is usually the highest of the year.

Cruise ships have a fixed capacity, regardless of which holiday or time of year you happen to sail on. Therefore, Royal Caribbean cannot and does not add more people to its ships than they would allow on any other sailing during the year.

However, there is usually strong demand for onboard activities related to the holiday season. In addition, specialty restaurants tend to be especially busy on the actual holiday, so pre-book if you know you want to dine at one on a holiday.

If you prefer to avoid ships sailing completely full or avoid a large number of children onboard, a holiday sailing may not be for you.

Families make up a much higher percentage of the guests on a holiday cruise.  Instead, consider cruises in January when school is back in session.

Are the ports of call your ship visit closed?

Despite the holidays, ports of call remain open during the holiday season because this is their busiest time of the year.

While there may be smaller establishments closed on New Years Day or Christmas Day, you will find plenty to do on shore if your ship happens to be in port on the holiday.

Shore excursions are available, and swimming at a beach is always a safe bet for something to do on a holiday.

Moreover, you can see how these holidays are celebrated in each island, including the Boxing Day holiday on December 26.

A look at the Christmas dinner menu on Royal Caribbean

25 Dec 2019

Have you ever thought about going on a Royal Caribbean cruise for Christmas? We get a lot of questions about what it is like to cruise on Royal Caribbean over the holidays, so here is a look at the main dining room menu for Christmas day.

Holly Herrera snapped this photo of the Christmas dinner menu on Oasis of the Seas.  Like other holidays, the main dining room menu on holidays tends to be the same across the fleet.

On holidays, the main dining room menu typically retains the usual options, along with an added holiday menu. 

What would you order for dinner from this menu if you were onboard? Share your answers in the comments below!

A look at Christmas on Royal Caribbean

26 Dec 2018

We often get questions from readers who are curious what it is like on a Royal Caribbean cruise over a holiday such as Christmas. Many are concerned what Royal Caribbean does to celebrate, and what activities or events will be held.

The good news is Royal Caribbean does offer quite a bit for guests to see and do on a cruise over Christmas.

Throughout December, on any Caribbean cruise, guests can enjoy festivities that include special appearances by Santa’s elves, gingerbread-cookie decorating, family story time and much more. Each ship will also host tree-lighting ceremonies.

The Christmas spirit even extends to its private islands, such as Labadee.

While on board, look for the Holly Jolly Holiday Parade, festive photo opportunities, caroling, holiday movie screenings at our AquaTheater (wear your pjs!), craft making and games for all ages.

You will also find special decorations around the ship to celebrate Christmas. In addition, there will be celebratory drinks and specials that coincide with the holiday.

Of course, there will be a special menu offered in the main dining room for Christmas.

Thanks to Earl McGrath, Karen Bartel & Rich Triplett for providing these photos.

Photos from Christmas on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas

25 Dec 2016

Many people choose to celebrate the holidays on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and we have a look at some of the Christmas decorations onboard Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean decorates its ships quite nicely for the holidays, and each ship has a different look and feel for this special time of the year.

Special thanks to Christie McLarty for providing these photos.

Happy New Year!

Royal Caribbean announces Deck the Holidays Christmas celebration

14 Jun 2016

Royal Caribbean is inviting guests to start a new holiday tradition with the "biggest holiday celebration at sea", starring Santa, his elves and all of your favorite DreamWorks characters.

Throughout December, Royal Caribbean’s Deck the Holidays will offer new events that will be celebrated on Royal Caribbean's ships.

The events planned for the Deck the Holidays celebration include: 

  • Snow Days on Deck
  • Tree Lighting Experience
  • Holiday Movies • Caroling
  • Holiday Suites Gift
  • Adventure Ocean Arts and Crafts
  • Holiday Activity Book
  • Family Story Time with Elves
  • Holiday Trivia
  • Holiday Scavenger Hunt
  • Letters to Santa
  • Santa Parade with Elves & Musicians
  • Santa Appearances with his Elves
  • Holiday Theme Stationary
  • Cruise Compass Holiday Version
  • Adventure Ocean Holiday Compass
  • Midnight Catholic Mass
  • Christmas Day Catholic Mass
  • Interdenominational Christmas Services
  • Lighting of the Menorah
  • Hanukkah Services with Cantor or Rabbi

Events will be held on all Royal Caribbean ships, and for a full list of events for each ship, consult this guide.

Photos: Christmas on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas

25 Dec 2015

It's Christmas, and while you may be reading this from your home or a relative's home, we're all hoping there is a Royal Caribbean cruise waiting for us under the tree.  

Today we have photos from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas by Dana Mathis showing what it's like to celebrate this joyous holiday on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Enjoy the photos and Merry Christmas!

Royal Caribbean is celebrating the holiday season this year with brand new onboard activities

05 Oct 2015

Royal Caribbean will be offering a variety of holiday celebrations onboard its cruise ships in December 2015.

Guests sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise this holiday season will be able to experience some festivities sure to get you in the spirit, such as

  • Classic movie screenings
  • Guest and crew caroling
  • Family arts and crafts
  • Cookie decorating
  • Special holiday-themed Adventure Ocean youth program
  • Upgraded stateroom experiences, including themed and adorned towel animals
  • Commemorative seasonal souvenir Coca-Cola cup
  • Holiday ice skating aboard select ships

Royal Caribbean ships featuring the Dreamworks Experience will offer holiday photos with Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo and King Julien from "Madagascar " who will be adorned in festive holiday outfits. 

In addition, there will be a special holiday character breakfast for kids of all ages to enjoy a meal with Dreamworks characters.

These special holiday itineraries will be featured on cruises departing from home ports in the United States, including:

  • Bayonne, NJ
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale)
  • Miami, Fla
  • Port Canaveral, Fla
  • Tampa, Fla
  • Galveston, TX
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis, is excited about the holiday offerings this year, "We are all about bringing friends and family together to share an amazing vacation experience and what better time to do that than during the holidays. We are excited to be introducing many new onboard festivities that will further inspire holiday cheer. With a wide range of innovative onboard amenities and immersive holiday themed experiences, Royal Caribbean cruises are primed to provide distinct experiences that are ideal for families looking to take the stress out of holiday planning by letting them enjoy a memorable Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s holiday at sea."

On top of the special celebrations, Royal Caribbean is offering guests the chance to book December sailings through the BOGOHO HOHO! holidays promotion and gift their travel companion in the same stateroom with half off their cruise fare on all open North American sailings. For all eligible sailings departing December 15-31, 2015 or December 15-31, 2016, vacationers also can receive pre-paid gratuities for the first and second guests in the stateroom in addition to half off cruise fare for their second guest.

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