The Perfect Holiday Gifts for Cruisers

The holidays are BACK — and so is cruising!

This year, you can hope to gather with family and friends for holiday dinners, drinks, parties, gift-giving, and other festivities that go far, far beyond that 60-minute video call that was the extent of last year’s holiday celebration — the one where you spent the entire hour trying to explain to your Zoom-virgin Aunt Sadie how she could turn on her computer’s camera.

Why not celebrate the return of the holiday season and the return of cruising with gifts that will help family and friends return to sea for the first time since it was anchors (and everything else) away? Here’s Porthole Cruise and Travel’s gift guide for a happier, healthier 2022.

Slim Gym: Forty-two percent of Americans gained an average of 29 pounds during the pandemic, so it’s probably best to keep the chocolate Santas and fruit cakes to a minimum. Instead, consider gifting a gym membership to someone who spent a bit too much time baking — and eating — massive quantities of sourdough bread. (NOTE: Forego this suggestion and consider a gift of one-size-fits-all clothing for the highly sensitive pandemic weight gainer.)

Hairy Scary: Cut! Color! Waxing! The pandemic brought our beauty regimens to a screeching halt, shuttering hair salons and making most of us, after a few months, resemble Wasabi, the 2021 winner of the Westminster Dog Show. And admit it, ladies: Your legs didn’t meet a razor until the warm weather returned and, even then, who ventured above the knee? A pedicure? What’s that? Before we return to cruising, most of us need professional help and a day of beauty at a favorite salon is the answer. And this is an appropriate gift for men, as well — but skip the waxing if your guy is out to ace the “Very Hairy Chest” contest.

About Face (Masks): Will we need masks on board? Will we not? One mask? Two masks? A face shield? What’s next? Earplugs and a tampon? Yes, the rules seem to change in the blink of an eye, so play it safe and consider a gift of some really, really nice face masks from or because those paper ones are so lame. And if masks are not required on board, the recipient will at least look great during the flight.

Old Bag: Like most women, I haven’t applied makeup since March 13, 2020. And since they say that cosmetics “expire” after three months, it might be the perfect time to update the contents of your favorite lady’s makeup bag. (Of course, I’m still using an eyeshadow quad that I bought in the 90s but I’d never admit it to my optometrist.)

Merch On!: Check your favorite cruise line’s website and you just might find a selection of gifts that will tide cruise fans over until they sail again: Apparel, bags, bath robes, beach towels, caps … even bedding! Carnival’s Ornament Fun Pack seems particularly appropriate now. It’s three nautical baubles, an iconic Carnival Funnel, a Carnival Fun Ship and a Palm Tree, to hang on your tree (, $22.99). I, personally, hope to score a Tranquility Mattress from Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises ( and, $1,640 to $4,690).

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This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine. To continue reading, click above for a digital or print subscription.

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.