Imagine waking up Christmas morning to a view of a medieval European village—its spires and 12th-century bridge dusted with snow—or instead, spending the day transiting the balmy Panama Canal.
These are just two of the memorable holiday vacations that the best cruises deliver, along with the pleasure of having the feasts cooked and the halls decked for you. Towering Christmas trees fill cruise ship atriums; carolers stroll through promenades and lounges; and the air is filled with the scents of cinnamon and gingerbread.
Such celebrations do come at a premium. Because cruises over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are in high demand, they usually cost slightly more than the same itineraries on non-holiday weeks. And like the holidays themselves, bookings for such voyages go fast.
All prices are per person, based on double occupancy; unless otherwise stated, fares include the cruise, on-board entertainment, and main dining room meals, but do not include beverages, tips, excursions, Internet, or other extras. —Jane Wooldridge