A cruise vacation is extra fun around the winter holidays when both river and ocean cruises include a sleigh full of decorations, festive-themed events and activities, seasonal treats, gourmet meals, and even special ports of call—all of which will make you feel like “not home for the holidays” might sound pretty good this year.

Disney Cruise Line’s Very Merrytime Cruises

Magical Winter Holidays with Disney Cruise LineCourtesy Disney Cruise Line

Unwrap a holiday adventure for the whole family with a cruise aboard the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, or Disney Fantasy, all decked out with holiday cheer starting in early November and continuing through the New Year’s celebrations. The Very Merrytime Cruises include “Turkey Day” feasts, Christmas banquets, “snow flurries,” and special treats. Some of the seasonal highlights include a sparkling tree lighting with Disney characters singing carols, a Winter Wonderland Ball with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and seasonal crafts including gingerbread decorating. Even Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is decked out for the holidays. A Disney cruise would make an incredible gift for Disney fans.

MSC Cruises Holiday Sailings

courtesy MSC Cruises

Here’s something you can’t say every day: Martha Stewart cooked me holiday dinner! But thanks to a new partnership with the domestic diva, MSC’s ships sailing in the Caribbean—MSC Armonia, MSC Divina, MSC Seaside, and the brand new MSC Meraviglia (launching in the United States in October)—Martha Stewart’s culinary flair will flavor the restaurant menus onboard for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. Other holiday cruise highlights include nightly menorah lighting for Hanukkah (plus plenty of potato latkes); sparkling lights and decorations, holiday games, and a meet and greet with Santa himself, including gifts for little guests for Christmas; and a special New Year’s Eve Gala and dance party, complete with a champagne toast.

Uniworld’s Rhine Holiday Markets Cruise

Uniworld-holiday-courtesy Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Uniworld offers a number of holiday cruises to soak up the European holiday spirit, including Rhine Holiday Markets, traveling to Switzerland, France, and Germany where you can explore charming villages to experience the best of the winter holidays in Europe. Discover Christmas traditions at Basel’s Christmas Market along its Christmas Street lined with more than 100 decorated and lit trees. Enjoy Uniworld’s “Taste of Christmas” walking tour in Strasbourg to see panoramic views of Old Town. Visit more Christmas markets in Heidelberg, Mainz, Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne to find the best Christmas decorations and traditions and sample all the festive food and wine, too. Here are some more reasons River Cruises are Europe’s best-kept travel secrets.

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