December 21, 2001
Spending Christmas on a cruise ship can be a way to avoid the holiday or uniquely embrace it. While you can expect the usual on most -- holiday decorations in public rooms, turkey on the menu Christmas eve or Day, carol-singing, and passenger cabin doors bearing wreaths (for the organized, who packed it in advance) or creative decorations made from found-on-the-ship objects, some ships go a little further. On QE2, you can celebrate Christmas Eve European style at a tea featuring gluhwein and stollen, followed by a dinner of roast goose, potato dumplings and red cabbage. The Americans get their party on Christmas Day, featuring teatime-with-eggnog and turkey for dinner. The Brits get a special Boxing Day treat (December 26, a national holiday) where dinner is roast beef with sherry trifle for dessert. The cool thing is, whatever your nationality, you can celebrate all three ways (then spend the rest of the trip in the gym working it all off). On Seabourn Sun, which wears a Norwegian flag, the Christmas Elf (also known as Norwegian Jule Nissen) is expected to make the trip all the way to the Panama Canal -- where the ship will be on the holiday -- to extend holiday greetings. And in a departure from traditional celebrations, Royal Caribbean’s three Voyager-class ships are the only ones at sea to offer an ice-skating extravaganza. "Happy Holidays" will feature a cast of more than 50 from the ships’ ice-skating troupes along with other performers. The highlight? Kids will be invited on stage to sing "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas."