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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.

Celebrating July 4th with Royal Caribbean

04 Jul 2020

Happy Fourth of July! A holiday as festive as American Independence Day is bound to fill Royal Caribbean's cruise ships with decorations and fun onboard.

Many people that book a cruise over July 4th are curious what, if anything, Royal Caribbean does to celebrate.  The good news is Royal Caribbean works hard to make the holiday special for those celebrating onboard.

All over the ship, you will find red, white and blue decorations, complete with streamers, American flags and patriotic music. On top of it, expect special Fourth of July food and drinks to enjoy all day long!

The public areas of Royal Caribbean's ships, such as the Boardwalk or Centrum, will be focal points of a lot of the celebrations.

You will also find special July 4th events onboard, such as July 4th trivia sessions, and special events like a balloon drop.

A lot of guests onboard will get into the spirit of things with plenty of patriotic garb to wear around the pool deck and onboard the ship.

Photo by Cruise Director Mitch

Speaking of the pool deck, some ships offer a poolside BBQ action so you can enjoy traditional hot dogs, burgers and pie between splashing in the pool.

Does Royal Caribbean shoot fireworks for the Fourth of July?

A very common question from readers is if there are fireworks offered either onboard their ships, or at one of their private islands, for the Fourth of July.

Unfortunately, the answer is Royal Caribbean does not offer fireworks at sea. 

On Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships, they do offer a virtual fireworks party in Two70.

Red White & Blue cocktail recipe

Royal Caribbean can celebrate any holiday with a special cocktail, and nothing says patriotic like a red, white and blue drink!

If you cannot be on a Royal Caribbean ship for July 4th, at least you can make one at home to celebrate.

Red White & Blue cocktail Ingredients

  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz blue curacao
  • ice

Red White & Blue cocktail Instructions

1. Add grenadine to a glass

2. Fill glass with ice

3. In a shaker, shake lemonade and vodka then gently pour the mixture over the back of a spoon into the glass creating the white layer of the drink. 

4. Cascade blue curacao over the back of a spoon to make the final blue layer.

Royal Caribbean is celebrating the holidays with December cruises

20 Jul 2017

All December long, Royal Caribbean is getting in the holiday spirit with special holiday sailings.  From a tree-lighting ceremony right on deck to an arrival parade with Santa himself. And it all culminates in the biggest New Year’s celebration at sea.

Guests taking one of these sailings can enjoy a number of fun events onboard:

  • Merry Moments
    • Join us for the ultimate Christmas celebration, featuring holiday hangouts, family story time and even a special arrival from the big boss himself during Santa’s Arrival Parade.
  • Decked out Decor
    • We’re decking the halls – and the hulls – for the holidays. You’ll be transported to an onboard winter wonderland as carolers delight with holiday favorites. And a grand tree lighting ceremony will make sprits merry and bright.
  • Festive Fun
    • Celebrate the season with games and parties, including holiday-themed trivia contests, scavenger hunts and even an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.
  • Christmas carolers and yule tide tunes
  • Story time with Santa’s elves
  • Holiday classics shown poolside and at theaters onboard
  • Holiday arts & crafts at Adventure Ocean youth program
  • Letter writing to Santa at the North Pole
  • DreamWorks characters don their holiday finest
  • New Years Eve events
    • Hottest NYE party at sea
    • Festive hats, confetti and party favors
    • Countdown to Balloon Drop

The 2017 holiday sailings are combinable with the recent WOW Sale that began yesterday.

Here are the Royal Caribbean sailings that will enjoy these great events. Pricing for the holiday sailings begin at these rates (prices subject to change):

Christmas Sailings 2017

Adventure of the Seas12/23/20177 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY$ 1,465
Adventure of the Seas12/22/20188 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,713
Allure of the Seas12/24/20177 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,839
Allure of the Seas12/23/20187 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,465
Anthem of the Seas12/22/20178 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,812
Anthem of the Seas12/21/20188 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,585
Brilliance of the Seas12/23/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,412
Enchantment of the Seas12/26/20173 NIGHT BAHAMAS CRUISE$ 551
Freedom of the Seas12/23/20178 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,172
Grandeur of the Seas12/21/201712 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAYS$ 1,599
Harmony of the Seas12/23/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,999
Independence of the Seas12/21/20179 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,298
Jewel of the Seas12/24/20177 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY$ 1,332
Liberty of the Seas12/24/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,265
Majesty of the Seas12/22/20174 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 715
Empress of the Seas12/24/20175 NIGHT HAVANA OVERNIGHT & COZUMEL$ 1,887
Navigator of the Seas12/22/20179 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 1,527
Oasis of the Seas12/24/20177 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 1,505
Rhapsody of the Seas12/24/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 970
Vision of the Seas12/23/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 478

New Year's Sailings 2017

Adventure of the Seas12/30/20177 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY$ 1,469
Allure of the Seas12/31/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,158
Anthem of the Seas12/30/20178 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,439
Brilliance of the Seas12/28/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,453
Enchantment of the Seas12/29/20174 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,141
Freedom of the Seas12/31/20176 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,041
Harmony of the Seas12/30/20177 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 2,639
Independence of the Seas12/30/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 927
Jewel of the Seas12/31/20177 NIGHT SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY$ 1,199
Liberty of the Seas12/31/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 1,099
Majesty of the Seas12/29/20174 NIGHT BAHAMAS HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 900
Empress of the Seas12/29/20174 NIGHT NASSAU & KEY WEST HOLIDAY CRUISE$ 868
Navigator of the Seas12/31/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN$ 1,265
Oasis of the Seas12/31/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 1,252
Rhapsody of the Seas12/31/20177 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 999
Vision of the Seas12/29/20175 NIGHT WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE$ 489

4 last minute Royal Caribbean Thanksgiving cruise deals

12 Nov 2015

We are just two weeks away from Thanksgiving in the United States, and if you are starting to think about getting away from the holidays (who wants to deal with all that cooking and cleaning), then you might want to consider these Royal Caribbean cruises over the holiday.

We've scoured Royal Caribbean's available cruises and came up with four sailings that take place largely over Thanksgiving weekend, thus requiring the fewest extra days off from work as possible.  Plus they are inexpensive too!

All prices were accurate as of the publishing of this blog post.

4. Majesty of the Seas

Sailing: 3-night cruise, November 27

Prices starting at $279 per person.

3. Independence of the Seas

4-night cruise, November 26

Prices starting at $426 per person.

2. Enchantment of the Seas

3-night cruise, November 27

Prices starting at $410 per person.

1. Brilliance of the Seas

4-night cruise, November 27

Prices starting at $465.66 per person.

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.

Royal Caribbean is celebrating Valentine's Day with vow renewals across its fleet

12 Feb 2015

Royal Caribbean is getting in the spirit of Valentine's Day with vow renewal celebrations across the fleet on Valentine's Day.

Royal Caribbean is inviting couples that have a Royal Caribbean cruise booked to be part of a special vow renewal ceremony on an upcoming sailing with a special new package.

The Valentine's Day Vow Renewal package is $250 per couple and includes

  • Ceremony performed by the captain
  • Champagne toast
  • One-hour reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres
  • Vow renewal certificate
  • Commemorative framed photo with the captain

The events will be held on or about February 14, 2015, with the exact date will depend on the specific itinerary of each ship.

Royal Caribbean promotes holiday cruises

19 Aug 2010

Royal Caribbean is looking to get more people to consider a cruise vacation as a way of celebrating the holidays this year, from from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, aboard its cruise ships.

For those considering Thanksgiving, Royal Caribbean ships will feature a gourmet turkey dinner of course as well as the award-winning Adventure Ocean program, which will provide kids with themed activities including Thanksgiving story time and arts and crafts.

If you're considering December, Royal Caribbean will offer Hanukkah-themed festivities lasting all eight days of the holiday, including a Rabbi aboard every ship to conduct a nightly menorah lighting ceremony and services. For those celebrating Christmas, a Catholic priest also will be aboard to lead the holiday’s observances including a midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  

Speaking of Christmas, there's more onboard if you're considering going during the Christmas season, including classic movie screenings, guest and crew caroling, cookie decorating, special Christmas-themed Adventure Ocean programming, and holiday ice skating aboard select ships.

Or if New Years is when you'd like to be on a Royal Caribbean ship, there are special ways to ring in the new year such as the Captain’s Countdown and themed parties in every onboard lounge. Young cruisers will enjoy the extended late night party zone where kids and teens will be celebrating at their own New Year’s festivities.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president of Marketing Betsy O’Rourke thinks a cruise is the perfect way to celebrate family holidays, "There is really no better holiday value than spending your’s aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise with family and friends. All too often, people get stressed out with holiday preparation and entertaining. Royal Caribbean takes care of all this work, providing guests the opportunity to relax and truly enjoy the holiday season with their loved ones. Additionally, the Diamond Celebration in December will offer exclusive benefits and programs to our Diamond-status Crown & Anchor Society members to recognize our most loyal guests"

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