Onboard Gifting Service Spices Up Holiday Cruising

November 30, 2007
What do you buy for people on your seasonal shopping list who are spending their holidays on a cruise? You don't have to rent a helicopter and sneak onto the ship dressed as Santa in order to surprise them with a gift neatly arranged in their cabin. This year, options for onboard holiday gifts have transcended traditional strawberries and Champagne. Cruisers' friends and families can now order more personalized gift baskets delivered onboard cruises, as well as destination-specific arrangements of practical gift items, such as a basket of Champagne, chocolates, stargazing charts and astronomy books for a trans-Atlantic cruiser.

Well Wishers International, a gifting service that specializes in sending gifts to travelers in hotels and on cruises, offers customers a way to connect with loved ones on holiday vacations. Friends and families of cruisers can send their well wishes via a themed item delivered to the port of call for a specific sailing -- which is then arranged in the recipient's cabin.

Here are some examples of popular onboard gift options:

The "Christmas in Your Cabin" package includes a fully decorated mini-Christmas tree and box of chocolates set up in the recipient's cabin and is available for Fort Lauderdale and Miami ports. Price: $50

The "Tropical Destination" Package, which includes a beach tote with a disposable camera, sunscreen, lip balm and a beach towel, is delivered onboard ships in Miami. Price: $68

The "Winter Wonderland" floral arrangement includes a vase of holiday flowers with a gold ribbon and is available for cruises departing from New York ports. Price: $85

Well Wishers International gifts range in price from $50 for a simple bottle of red wine delivered to ships visiting Civitavecchia to a $275 gourmet food basket with two glass flutes and a bottle of Champagne, available for the Los Angeles cruise port. Personalized packages are also available -- one client arranged for lingerie he picked out to be wrapped with other romance items and delivered to a loved one onboard. Well Wishers International distributes gifts to over 200 cruise ports around the world; however, shipping prices vary based on ports of call, and some gifts are not available on all sailings.

If you're planning to surprise your friend or family member with a gift strategically arranged in his or her cabin, expect to do some sneaking around first. Grab his or her date book and look up the ship's name, port, sail date and, if possible, cabin or booking number. If this sounds like too much snooping for your taste, you can forego the surprise and directly ask your recipient for the information (or hire a private detective).

The company recommends ordering gifts 24 hours in advance; however, last-minute requests are often accommodated as well. The company delivers to every major cruise line, as well as riverboats and steamboats.

Onboard cruise gifts are sometimes directly available through cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Yet, these cruise lines' gifting options are limited to a few pre-arranged packages, which typically cannot be personalized.

--by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant