Cruising always feels like a travel option for a certain type of traveler. You have to be willing to release a certain amount of responsibility (and control) and let the boat take you. It’s a set vacation. It’s planned and ordered. Those aren’t bad things — especially around this time of year, when the chaos of the holiday season is at hand.
Travelers love to proclaim that they aren’t “cruise” people (whatever that means). Then they go on a cruise and realize all the dopeness they’ve been missing out on, based on some preconceived notion of what a cruise is. Cruises are changing along with the times — just like every other part of travel. There are cruises for everyone now — from the hipper-than-thou Instagrammarians to 30-something new parents just looking to get away without any planning.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best cruises you can take to escape the melee of the holiday season. Maybe this is the year to forego the family gatherings, office parties, and shopping headaches and do something for you. To escape and see some new corner of the planet. Plus, it’s the end of the year, we’ve all earned a vacation where good food is available 24/7, the bars are always open, and there’s a massage room just down the hall.
PARISIAN ROYAL HOLIDAY by Uniworld
No one’s ever uttered the sentence, ‘I spent last Christmas in France,’ without a sly and satisfied smile inching across their faces. Uniworld offers great river cruises around Europe this time of year, where the Christmas season is in full swing. The halls are fully decked and the atmosphere is “old world Christmas” with plenty of mulled wine flowing through the holiday markets.
Parisian Royal Holiday runs up and down the Seine between Paris and Rouen for eight days.
Departs December 6th, December 13th, December 20th, December 27th, and prices start at $3,210.
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HONG KONG TO BEIJING (VIA JAPAN) by Regent Seven Seas Cruises
A holiday season trip doesn’t always have to focus on the holiday. Sometimes it can just be a plain old escape. Regent’s Hong Kong To Beijing is like a massive moving four-star hotel with great bars, food, and well-appointed rooms. Explore new cities every day, starting in Hong Kong and sailing around southern Japan before landing in Beijing 12 nights later.
This trip will give a great starting point to begin your exploration of the Far East. It’s also an escape from all things Christmas.
Departs December 17th and prices start at $4,620.
SOUTH AFRICAN HOLIDAYS by Crystal Cruises
It’s summertime in the southern hemisphere right now. And unless you’re in the southerly part of America, getting away to azure skies, pristine beaches, and sun-soaked vineyards may well be the best play you can make this Christmas and New Year’s. Crystal Cruises’ South African Holidays gives you the chance to sail the whole of the South African coast with extra stops in Mozambique in Namibia for extra bragging rights. The ship itself is one of the more spacious on the seas and is continually ranked one of the best ships to sail in the cruising world. So you know it’ll be plush.
Departs on December 22nd and prices start at $5,095.
RHINE RIVER CRUISE: HOLIDAY by Adventures By Disney
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Disney’s Adventure cruises are aimed at kids, families, and adults. They know their audience and cater to all of us in unique ways. This one has all the quality of Disney on board with plenty of adult-focused excursions like wine tastings. Hell, you can even get Disney’s iconic turkey legs on board. The Rhine River Holiday Cruise starts off in the very adult-orientated city of Amsterdam before hitting Cologne, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Strasbourg, Breisach, and ending eight days later in Basel, Switzerland.
Departs December 23rd and prices are available upon request.
GRAND CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR’S by Uniworld
Another great option back in Christmas-y Old Europe is a Danube River cruise. The Grand Christmas and New Year’s cruise by Uniworld starts in Nuremberg then hits idyllic towns across the Bavarian and Austrian Alps before hitting Vienna and Budapest over 13 days. There are excursions daily that hit postcard-perfect Christmas markets, Alpine villages, and much more.
This is the probably one of the best ways to see a gorgeous corner of Europe from the comfort of a moving hotel while also going deep into a part of the world that digs on Christmas hard.
Departs December 22nd and prices start at $6,530.
MEKONG EXPLORER UPRIVER by Adventure Life
If you want to straight up escape everything related to the holidays, then this is the one for you. The Mekong Explorer by Adventure Life is a fully immersive, small ship experience. The boat is first class and intimate. And it’s Vietnam and Laos, so the food will be outstanding. The cruise leaves from Ho Chi Minh City and takes you upriver to Phnom Penh over five days. The weather will be hot and Christmas and the holidays will feel like they’re a million miles away as you dive deep into the Mekong Delta.
Departs December 22nd and prices start at $5,140.