At CruiseMapper's "Christmas New Year Cruise" hub you can compares all major cruise companies' December Holiday offers as itineraries and prices. Our Xmas cruise finder allows searching by departure ports, countries and company, also allowing you to choose vessel type (ocean ship or riverboat) and a preferable call port along the itinerary.
Christmas & New Year Cruise Finder
All our Christmas and New Year cruise schedules show only itineraries and prices per person. These are indicative fares on the ships' lowest category staterooms. All rates are based on double occupancy (twin share) and don't include cruise lines or travel agencies promotions, group booking rates or any other special offers and discounts.
Christmas and New Year cruises offer the perfect combination of the three best buys - holiday, travel, vacation. Combined Christmas (Xmas) and New Year's Eve (NYE) voyages are operated with longer and usually roundtrip itineraries. Depending on shipping company and destination, Xmas-NYE itineraries vary from 4-5 days (short-breaks) to 7-10 days and even up to a month, extending from early or mid-December through early January.
All CruiseMapper's Xmas pages have themed photos similar to the one above. These are the so called "Christmas tree worms" (Spirobranchus giganteus / translated "giant spiral gills"). Aka "bristle worms", these are tube-building marine species living on coral reefs in tropical ocean waters. Each of these worms produces two multicolored spirals, which are apparatus for feeding and respiration. These beautiful creatures are CruiseMapper's choice of "Christmas Cruise" photos because of their most obvious "Xmas-themed" look.
Christmas Holidays cruise travel destinations
The list of most popular Xmas-NYE ship travel destinations starts always with the sunny Caribbean, followed by Mexico Riviera and Hawaii (from California), Australia New Zealand and Asia. Another interesting destination with relatively inexpensive Christmas Holiday cruise prices is the Europe's Mediterranean. There, you can enjoy guided tours in beautiful and charmingly big port cities, with much fewer tourists compared to the summer season. Mediterranean travel vacations in December also offer more ashore time to explore museums and attractions without the long queues of the summer tourists.
Christmas Market cruises are the best sellrs of the European river shipping lines. They combine river voyages to some of Europe's best Christmas Market destinations. The unique European Christmas Markets experience features two things - shopping for handcrafted gifts and locally made souvenirs, and the traditional Xmas treats. Spain's Canaries and Portugal's Madeira are also immensely popular island vacation destinations. These are among the best-priced (meaning cheap, of course) choices for cruises during Christmas and New Year on roundtrip departures from UK ports. The so cheap Canary Islands food and drinks, and the stunning fireworks in Funchal are just the tip of the "pleasure iceberg" sinking so many "money ships" there each year.
- South American voyages during Xmas-NYE can be booked mainly through the Italian companies MSC and Costa.
- African voyages (excluding Nile River cruises in Egypt) during Christmas are available with departures from Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). There are also (very limited) departures from South Africa (Durban).
- In Asia, the most popular are Dubai-based ships operated by AIDA, Costa, MSC, RCI, HAL.
- There are many "international" ships deployed in Southeast Asia (homeported in China and Singapore), but for foreigners that market is operated with fly-cruise deals (inclusive of flights from USA, Australia, Europe).
- The list of larger companies with ships leaving roundtrip from Caribbean ports (Puerto Rico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Cuba) includes AIDA, TUI, Carnival, RCI, MSC, P&O UK.
- Australia and New Zealand itineraries offer some of the world's best scenery, tranquility and unique charm. They are operated with round-trips from Sydney NSW and also leaving from Auckland NZ. Ships deployed in the South Pacific visit ports in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tasmania. The list of major companies on this market includes P&O Australia, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess.
- The list of major companies offering Christmas cruises in Europe includes Cunard, Saga, CMV, P&O UK and Thomson. Most ships are departing from Southampton (roundtrip). Other options are TUI and AIDA (departures from Canary Islands), and MSC and Costa (leaving roundtrip from Italian ports). Best companies for Christmas river cruises in Europe are Viking, Avalon, AmaWaterways and Uniworld.
Christmas Holiday cruise travel deals
Xmas-NYE mini cruise deals are Holiday travel specials and pretty hard to find. They are offered mainly in Europe, with roundtrip departures mostly from large port cities in England (Dover, Southampton, Hull). The best chance to book Xmas short-breaks is via P&O Ferries. This ferry line has numerous and large-sized ships with regularly scheduled trips from UK ports to Europe (France, Holland and Belgium) as most preferable shopping and Christmas Market destinations from England. In the Caribbean, mini cruises are operated from Florida ports to Bahamas and from Texas (Galveston) to Mexico (Cozumel).
- Fly-cruise deals are relatively inexpensive Holiday travel package deals. They provide discounted airfare (one-way or round-trip) mostly to airport destinations in Caribbean (regular / cheap flights to Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe) and to USA (Miami Florida), as well as to big Mediterranean port cities (Barcelona, Rome, Venice, Marseille).
- Caribbean "flight and cruise" deals are travel packages with 1-week roundtrip voyages from Florida, Puerto Rico or Barbados. The itineraries often visit Bahamas (Nassau, the private islands Coco Cay, Half Moon Cay, Castaway Cay, Ocean Cay, Great Stirrup Cay), also Jamaica, Puerto Rico, BVI. Caribbean fly cruise deals from UK to Barbados (Southampton to Bridgetown) are P&O UK's top-seller during the Christmas Holidays.
- Each year, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Mary 2 ship offers for Christmas and New Year roundtrips from NYC New York to Canada and Caribbean.
- Carnival Cruise Lines is the only company that offers roundtrip departures from Charleston SC.
The main disadvantages of cruising over Xmas-NYE are the deals' limited availability and their higher cost. This is simply the most profitable time for all passenger shipping companies, and they want to get the most of it. Booking early is essential to secure your Holiday vacation - both as itinerary and stateroom type. Early Fall (October) is a good time to book Xmas deals. Early booking savings are generous, plus this is the time when ship operators start promoting their holiday discount rates. However, to be 100% sure, booking a year in advance is highly recommended.
If you like to gamble, try your best luck with the last minute Christmas New Year cruise deals. These are not recommended for the faint in heart (overly serious won't like it either). Still, last minute travel deals offer the very best prices (highly discounted rates), as well as limited choice of staterooms. Well, may be it's not such a bad idea to check with a travel agency for advice on this one.
Christmas River Cruises in Europe
Christmas Market river cruises are Europe's best Holiday travel deals. They offer ship travel on the most popular European rivers and major inland waterways, including Rhine, Danube, Main, Moselle, as well as Portugal's Douro River and France's big rivers and the navigated by hotel barges canals.
All larger-sized European riverboats dock in big cities and visit some of the most popular port destinations in France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic. Most deals are all-inclusive, with included pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, ship transfers, coach travel (on tours), gratuities, spacious staterooms with luxury cabin amenities, gourmet meals (European wines and beers during lunch and dinner), 24-hour specialty tea and coffee bar with snacks, complimentary city tours (guided by English-speaking experts), themed onboard enrichment and live entertainment programming (by resident pianist and local performers), complimentary use of walking sticks and bicycles. Some river cruise deals are also inclusive of international flights.
Below are listed itineraries that visit some of the best European Christmas Market cities.
- from Basel to Kehl, Mannheim, Mainz, Cologne
- from Cologne to Koblenz, Rudesheim am Rhein, Germersheim, Kehl, Basel
- From Kehl (Germany) is visited Strasbourg (France) located just across the river.
- from Budapest to Vienna, Krems, Linz, Passau
- from Munich to Passau, Linz, Wachau Valley, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest
- from Munich to Passau, Linz, Grein, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest
- From Linz can be visited Salzburg and Oberndorf.
- from Nurnberg to Bamberg, Kitzingen, Wurzburg, Wertheim, Frankfurt
- from Frankfurt to Wurzburg, Kitzingen, Bamberg, Nurnberg
- From Wurzburg can be visited Rothenburg (Germany's best-preserved walled city).
Rhine-Main-Danube Canal passing
- from Vienna to Durnstein, Linz, Passau, Regensburg, Roth, Nurnberg
- from Nurnberg to Regensburg, Deggendorf, Wachau Valley, Vienna
- from Nurnberg to Regensburg, Linz, Wachau Valley, Vienna, Budapest
- From Deggendorf can be visited Theresienthal (famous for its Glass Museum).