All They Want for Christmas is CRUISE

By ,   November 2, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Christmas Cruises are now top of more Brits' wish lists than ever before, with a 60% rise in internet searches during the first 6 months of 2016 compared with 2015.

Pre-season favourites are European Christmas markets, either on river cruises or Channel-hopping trips. 

Zeebrugge on Belgium's coast is a short train ride from the chocolate-box city of Bruges, while in Amsterdam the Ice Village on Museumplein this year will include an ice rink in front of the Rijksmuseum and stalls selling gifts, hot drinks and traditional oliebellen dumplings. 

River cruises through the heart of Europe can take passengers to a different Christmas market virtually every day, though, with the River Danube itinerary between Nuremberg in Germany and Vienna, Budapest or Prague the most popular.

But transatlantic crossings to New York are proving the glitziest Xmas treat while the Canaries and Caribbean remain the most popular get-away from it all winter sun Christmas cruises. 

Over 1.8 million people will sail from UK ports in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, with P&O Cruises even providing festive-free zones - although mostly its ships are bursting with Xmas decorations. 

And Celebrity Cruises ships will all have a visit from Father Christmas during its seasonal cruises - from the UK or elsewhere. 

Disney Cruise Line takes the prize for the most festive ships, with its traditional Very MerryTime cruises. 

Activities include Mickey's Tree-Lighting Magic on the first night of each cruise, when a three-deck-tall tree is lit up during carols led by Disney characters, and the Santa's Winter Wonderland Ball, also in the lobby, with guests of honour Santa and Mrs Claus.