A Christmas Tradition Started at Sea

December 24, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

Christmas Cruise Tree
Most cruisers — well, travelers in general, really — love their souvenirs. Who doesn’t want a reminder of the places they’ve visited, the memories they’ve made while sailing to far-flung destinations?
When Gina Barrett (Cruise Critic member Cruisin Around from Pittsburgh) went on her first cruise on Celebrity Galaxy in 2004, she wasn’t interested in the polo shirts her husband, Tom, was picking out from the ship’s shops. She wanted something special and unique. What she found helped launch a holiday tradition for her family: a Christmas ornament.

With the purchase, a tradition was born.
Since that first cruise, the Barretts have made cruising a part of their lives, usually planning at least one cruise vacation a year.
Christmas Cruise Tree

They’re partial to Royal Caribbean, which offers cruises from ports within driving distance of their Pittsburgh-area home.

Their 5-year-old son, Brett, has been on four cruises and tells everyone how much he loves cruising.
Every time the family cruises, they pick up ornaments — from the ships and destinations.
“Each one reminds me of (the) TNT-excitement you feel when you step on the ship,” Gina said.
In the beginning, the Barretts just hung the ornaments from their main Christmas tree, along with other, noncruise baubles. But they quickly outgrew the tree, so Gina found a smaller artificial option — a 3 1/2-foot tall flat-back tree that hangs on the wall in their hallway. This tree became the official travel tree, and it’s reserved exclusively for the ornaments they pick up when they’re on vacation.
Christmas Cruise Tree
The starfish wearing the sunglasses and Bermuda shorts is Brett’s favorite.
Gina’s partial to the Dolphin Quest ornament — a tree decorated with seashells — they picked up in Bermuda because she loves the colors.
That gold “I climbed the wall” ornament is a reminder that Gina did take on a Royal Caribbean rock-climbing wall. And while she didn’t make it to the top, her daredevil sister did.
The collection is vast, with offerings from places such as Belize, St. Thomas, San Juan, Boston, Maine, New Brunswick and Cozumel.
“I love Christmas,” Gina said. “I’m Christmas crazy.”
 Do you collect something unique from your vacations? Do you have a holiday cruise tradition? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Considering a holiday cruise for 2013? We’ve got you covered.
See our slideshow from the famous Christmas Markets.
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    2 Responses to “A Christmas Tradition Started at Sea”

    1. tyty
      January 2nd, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

      I do the same thing. It’s nice to remember all the places we’ve been when we decorate our tree!

    2. Wendy's Mom
      January 3rd, 2013 @ 11:31 am

      We’ve planned a grab-bag at our Meet and Greet on our last 5-6 cruises. Those who want to participate bring a $10 gift that relates to their home town or state. Some people have gotten really creative and we treasure THEIR state treasures!

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