This year we decided to pack it up and take a cruise during the Christmas holiday. Our twins are graduating this year from high school and this was our last large family vacation prior to them striking out on their own! This was my first time taking a large trip during the holiday season. I found it to be a double edge sword in emotions, as our family is very close and enjoys getting together over the holiday season but we also love to cruise and travel! I am sure many have experienced this as well.
We took a cruise with Holland America Line that went to their private island, Half Moon Cay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Key West, FL. It was really a terrific experience on board. The photo above shows the elaborate gingerbread house village that the chefs on board unveiled during the tree lighting on the 24th. On Christmas Eve we also were treated to many of the staff singing Christmas Carols. On Christmas day it was unique for us as we were at sea for the day and it was in the 80's and absolutely gorgeous. Traditionally we celebrate in a much more seasonal cold and snowy climate. It almost did not feel like Christmas as I sat by the aft pool for the day sipping a margarita instead of eggnog. I survived it.
Also, mid morning on Christmas day the Captain made an announcement to everyone that an unidentified flying object was spotted on the port side of the ship. It looked to be a flying sleigh with animals pulling it through the air, the first animal had a red nose. As the morning went on that object did turn out to be a sleigh and Santa made his appearance for all the little ones on board with goodies!
The rest of the day was filled with relaxing and ended with a wonderful dinner in the main dining room with all the traditional fixings plus that added cruise line culinary touch. YUM!
Did I miss the crazy shopping prior to Christmas? No, This was our Christmas gift to our family. Did I miss spending a full day or more in the kitchen baking cookies? A little, but that is one tradition I love doing each year. Did I miss the decorating and parties? Maybe some, but I also do not have to put it all away.
Overall I thought the trip was great! I think we could do it again but not every year for me personally. For us as a family it was a great experience and traveling with Holland America Line is always a terrific cruise. But I think it will be many years before I do a holiday cruise again. I guess you can say I do like being home for the holidays.
-Below photo is of the Main Atrium on the Noordam, this was their Christmas Tree!
Leigh Ann Arnholt