Cruising for Christmas

Five Faves: How to get in the seasonal spirit at sea

Porthole’s Five Faves

Cruising For Christmas

How to get in the seasonal spirit when you’re at sea

When your winter travels include not just being away from home for the holidays, but being away from terra firma altogether, it can be difficult to truly get in the spirit of this wintry season. Here, then, are a handful of stocking stuffer–sized tips for recreating the magic wherever you cruise.

Decorate Your Door

Most ships will dress up the atrium or other popular gathering spots with holiday warmth, but you don’t want your own stateroom to be a splash of cold water. Gift-wrap your door to not only add cheer, but to remind you with each swipe of the key how special the gift of cruising is. For the interior, wait to open all Christmas cards until you’re on board; that way, loved ones and festive well-wishes can brighten your at-sea days and your cabin surfaces.

Trick (and Treat) Your Nose

The olfactory sense is regarded as the one most associated with memories, so playing to your nose might be the best way to invoke the spirit. Fire safety requires that you shouldn’t bring candles, but fragrance oils, sticks and sprays can do the trick of recreating baked cookies, pine trees, and other beloved aromatic memories.

Follow Santa’s Lead

The only person who logs more miles than the savviest Christmas cruiser is Santa himself, and 2015 makes the 60th year in which NORAD has helped the children of the world follow his trek. Grab that massive atlas from the onboard library and use your own smartphone or tablet to track the big guy’s quest. After all, what better way to follow the magical journey than by doing it while on one of your own?

Load Up Those Mobile Devices

Not just with Rudolph-tracking apps, but with the visuals that put you in the holiday spirit. Cherished photos from family Christmases past will help, but so will setting up and updating accounts on WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime to make interacting with those familiar faces easy while at sea. And because a Christmas without multiple viewings of A Christmas Story is like a cruise ship without a porthole, be sure to download that or any other cinematic favorites that put your family in the merry mood.

Remember Those Who Also Aren’t Home

Imagine being on a cruise ship during the holidays … but instead of it being a vacation, it’s your job. Even the faces that appear the most friendly during this time could always use some surprise cheer, so embrace the “it’s better to give than to receive” spirit and make someone else’s holiday bright. Families may be a world away for global cruisers, but a loving community is easy to recreate with a truly open heart.


— Rico Bronte

Photo: Joe Ross


Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!