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Christmas With Princess. What’s it like? Especially what goes on for families/kids?


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Decorations go up (generally) on the cruise before Christmas. Usually a candy cane for each passenger is left by the steward at some point just before the big day.

On our last Xmas cruise (Panama Canal transit), there were carolers performing in the evenings in the atrium and possibly other areas around the ship (didn't notice).

Santa arrived via tender and had a gift for each child.

Dinner usually a formal night with special goodies like pumpkin pie, turkey, etc.

 

It's a great time to take a cruise. 

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1 hour ago, JG&Lcruisingnewbies said:

Hi Everyone.

 

im about to book a Christmas cruise with Princess. Myself, hubby, and our 8 year old daughter. Leaning towards the Caribbean Princess east/west Caribbean over Christmas and new year.

 

We have never cruised before on princess or ever over Christmas.

 

Thank you 😊 

Are you looking at Caribbean 12/26/22?  I am currently holding E731 for the four of us (two seniors and two granddaughters 8 & 12.)  Generally I avoid holiday sailings because the fares tend to run high, but this looks like a good option for us to use up some of our FCC from March cancellation.  

 

This would be our 51st cruise, but our girls have sailed just a few times and love it.  We sign them up for the programming and let them choose which activities the want to participate.  We get a lot of adult time as the girls love the fun with other youngsters.  

 

Our girls go to a show or two with us in the evening, but they make friends and want to do kid stuff, too.  It's a nice balance.  We all do lunch on the Lido Deck and swim for a while most afternoons on board.  

 

The MDR children's menu is repetitive and rather boring.  We encouraged our 10 year old last cruise to try ordering from the adult menu...within a couple days, both girls would ask the server "may I please have an adult menu?"  The older one tried something different every night.  The younger one had spaghetti most nights and survived.  

 

The children's programming has a few presentations and event parents can join in.  The girls are all excited to share their cruise experience with us.  They come home with all kinds of crafts and goodies.  PLAN TO EXTEND GRATUITIES TO THE STAFF.  


Our girls LOVED the balcony.  We played cards and games out there, watched the waves and chatted, but the biggest treat was balcony dining.  We've done the ultimate balcony dinner and lots of room service meals out there.  Next time we'll do the breakfast.  Our mini-suite has the oversized balcony and we expect this to be a big treat.  

 

Our granddaughters' parents are careful about their nutrition and we encourage healthy choices on board.  But one of the things Biance & Mia just love is to "belly up to the bar" and order a mocktail.  They can do this no more than once daily, usually as our day winds down.  They think they are pretty darn cool and their favorite part of cruising is ordering a "drink" at the bar!  

 

If you have any questions with which I might be able to help, run them by me!  Hope to see you and your 8 year old on board!  

 

Janet, Buddy, Bianca & Mia

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I  cruised twice during Christmas.   Both on the Regal Princess.  When we first boarded the ship, there were carolers dress in period costumes in the atrium. There was "snow" falling.  Midnight mass was shown on the tv in your cabin, as well as Christmas morning mass. 

There were activities for children in the atrium, making Christmas ornaments and such. Christmas Eve, the children were invited to hear the CD read Twas the Night Before Christmas.  When we went to bed that night, were were greeted with Christmas stockings with candy canes, as well as our chocolates.  I'm told that Santa made an appearance Christmas morning with gifts for the kids.  On our 12/11/16 Regal cruise, the ship was decorated while we were in St Thomas. 

Christmas trees and decorations were put up during our 2019 Thanksgiving cruise on the Crown Princess.  Stolen bread in the buffet is delicious. 

Christmas is probably my most favorite time of the year to sail.

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It’s so magical that I wanna cry thinking about how sad I am that we won’t be at sea for Christmas this year! Once you do one, if you’re like me, you won’t wanna spend it on land again. Santa comes via tender, a gift is given to every child, carols are piped throughout the ship, everyone gathers to sing carols on Christmas Eve, free wear Santa hats, the ship is beautifully decorated, there’s a gingerbread decorating contest, and a traditional Christmas feast. 

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I loved my two Christmas cruises.  Music playing throughout the ship.  Santa visits.  Gingerbread houses all over.  Eggnog available for breakfast.  Gingerbread souffle at dinner.  Small stocking with candy from Santa.  No dishes to clean up.

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37 minutes ago, cruisequeen4ever said:

It’s so magical that I wanna cry thinking about how sad I am that we won’t be at sea for Christmas this year! Once you do one, if you’re like me, you won’t wanna spend it on land again. Santa comes via tender, a gift is given to every child, carols are piped throughout the ship, everyone gathers to sing carols on Christmas Eve, free wear Santa hats, the ship is beautifully decorated, there’s a gingerbread decorating contest, and a traditional Christmas feast. 

Oh Yes....I forgot about the gingerbread houses.  Big display in the atrium.  

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We have done lots of pre Christmas as well as 3 Christmas cruises.  There is a company in Ft. Lauderdale that comes on at the end of the first December cruise to do the decorations during turnover period.   The decorations stay up until the end of the first cruise after New Years.  

 

How Santa arrives depends on if it a sea day or a port day.  Santa only has gifts for those up to a certain age - I believe it is 12.  I have seen older kids in the line and they got a large candy cane and a picture with Santa.  You can snap your own photo or buy the ships photo.  The ship photographer and Santa helper position themselves so it can be hard to get a pic without them in it.

 

All caroling is non-religious.  

 

A 7 day Caribbean cruise will have a lot more children than longer cruises - eg we did a 14 day on the Pacific Princess and there was only about 20 children.  

 

 

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We've been on a number of holiday cruises, mostly with Princess, something like 5.

 

Big plusses: 

+ There is a festive atmosphere throughout the ship .  As others have mentioned, the ship will be (extensively) decorated some days before, generally a turnaround or two prior to the big day.  I think we counted something like 15 different Christmas trees on our last sailing.

+ The background music in most venues will be holiday themed though we found this is often turned down for other events (such as quiz time) and not reliably restarted afterwards.  Still, you'll get your fill of old favorites around the ship.

+ The ship makes a full court press on Christmas Eve and day.  Special menus, lots of opportunities to sing carols, formal dress (some folks break out some really special attire).

+  Without doubt you'll meet new friends who are in a mind to celebrate, we've found it easier to initiate conversation and maintain relationships on holiday cruises.  The conversation never lags, the holiday experience onboard provides endless opportunities to converse and contrast 'normal' shoreside traditions.

+ Santa will make an appearance as others have noted though this can be a challenge if the passenger load is high with lots of kids.  Which transitions me to . . . .

 

Some negatives:

-  These sailings are reliably the most fully booked of any during the year.  We were on Coral one year when the announced load of children was 680.  The ship can legally take on those sorts of numbers, but the venues were really (really, really) challenged to accommodate the much greater than usual passengers loads.

-  Service was at times quite poor, I'm uncertain whether additional crew are boarded or not, but whether they were or weren't the staff available wasn't sufficient.  

-  With hundreds of children aboard, the kids clubs aren't viable, the kids tend to form their own groups which can be really amusing at times - at other times not so much.  I'll save readers details.

-  It can be quite jarring when the holiday(s) past.  The decorations, music and general special ambience disappears abruptly, for those who would prefer to stretch out the season a bit, Princess won't have it.  In a nod to British heritage the season continues through boxing day, but come the morning of the 27th you'll be hard pressed to find any sign of the big day as the focus turns towards New Years (which likewise is banished by the morning of January 2nd).

 

As I wrote, we've done a number, and on the whole have enjoyed each and every one.  The negatives are small compared to the positives and a ship makes and ideal venue to gather a large family for celebration assuming we are able to do that again someday.

 

Hope this helps a bit.  

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I have sailed a few times. Plenty of Christmas music, Christmas movies, Christmas caroling, they had gingerbread house making activities for the kids, decorating cookies, etc... The Captain often reads Twas the Night Before Christmas. Santa arrives on Christmas Day and gives all of the kids a gift (it was a teddy bear). Special menu for either Christmas Day or Christmas Eve (have had it both ways). They used to have Christmas crackers also. Not sure if they still do that.

 

Christmas decor goes up usually right after Thanksgiving (the cruise after) and it will slowly disappear after Christmas. We did a Christmas and New Years cruise and by New Years, all the decor was gone.

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On 11/1/2020 at 2:16 PM, Tak8 said:

I loved my two Christmas cruises.  Music playing throughout the ship.  Santa visits.  Gingerbread houses all over.  Eggnog available for breakfast.  Gingerbread souffle at dinner.  Small stocking with candy from Santa.  No dishes to clean up.

 

18 hours ago, JF - retired RRT said:

One of the many things I :classic_love: about cruising.

And they make the bed!

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We took one Christmas cruise recently:  Dec 23, 2017 - Dec 30, Ruby Princess: 

 

There were lots of decorations, lots of Christmas trees.   There was a great display of a gingerbread village in the Atrium.  

 

Christmas Eve, the cruise director Peter lead a non-denominational Christmas service at 11:30 p.m.  Not what I am used to, but I was very happy that he was able to officiate.    Some of the crew sang – I probably should say this, but generally Filipinos sing very well and are Catholic, so they know the Christmas carols.  A crew member named April (a guy!) had a phenomenal voice.  

 

Christmas Day, there was a show put on by the entertainment performers, in the Atrium.  This was when they had the snow fall in the Atrium  – very nice!

 

I know that there were carols, but I do not recall if this was part of the Christmas Day show or not.  I think that on another Christmas cruise, caroling was done on December 22 or 23.

 

I seem to remember small stockings as part of the evening bed turn-down service.  I think it was Christmas Eve.

 

Because there was no Mass on the ship, we went to Mass in Puerto Vallarta, the first port we visited after Christmas.

 

We have had two other December cruises in the past few years, and there was no Christmas decoration on those.

 

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We've done it with our kids the last few years and love it!  In addition to the activities already mentioned the kids club will have holiday themed crafts and activities with a carnival in the plaza with games and prizes.  There will be lots of Christmas cookies, gingerbread decorating contest and for New Years eve the kids club will host a family dance/New Years party in one of the clubs.  We are just sad we have to skip our Christmas cruise this year!

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These are from 2017 aboard the Regal Princess.  Please ignore the BOBO Happy Hour since it no longer exists.  
Sorry they’re not in the right order  Barbados was Christmas Eve.

I made a notation that Midnight Mass from EWTN (Catholic television) was shown at 4:30 on Christmas Eve in the stateroom.  Christmas Day mass was also shown on the stateroom TV  I think under a special listing.04F919B9-6CDA-440D-AB5F-2921063F45A5.thumb.png.8ee39d5c88e2d92622b6e7d3d56ae778.pngEA0CA967-1206-458E-9DBC-113B1016EAFB.thumb.png.a4c8dedc1c974553bcbe8609647882c3.pngA08F933F-46E4-4CA7-81AE-484211DD19F9.thumb.png.46db6a87950949fea7b774f3c0da7fc0.png1FF2AC15-3374-4EF4-8183-35781A03096E.thumb.png.81a5d37dcf2066d7a749719a8cf37554.png

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We don’t have any kids so our experience is a little different, but as others have said there are a lot of onboard activities for the little ones that they will enjoy.  Cruising for Christmas is one of our favorite things to do.  Yes they are more expensive, and the ships tend to be fuller (pre-COVID) but they do such a great job celebrating the holiday.  The ship is always beautifully decorated.  I hope we can go back one day soon!

 

 

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Princess really does Christmas right. The ship is decorated beautifully, the holiday programming for all ages is great, and Christmas eve and day were packed with events and surprises. We didn't have kids in our group but we had fun watching children visit with Santa on Christmas day. I'm not sure how COVID mitigation measures may impact how things are handled so I won't detail much here but it was a great way to celebrate the season.

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