Go World Travel is reader-supported and may earn a commission from purchases made through links in this piece
Christmas and Chanukah overlap this year, giving you the perfect opportunity to gift a variety of getaways. Why not give a cruise vacation to your loved ones?
With the demand for travel returning at one of the highest levels ever, there are many options to tempt you. Fortunately, the cruise industry has made the selection easy with choices to please varying interests, schedules and budgets.
Many of these cruises are scheduled for early 2023; others can be taken during 2024. For procrastinators who never seem to find the perfect gift until the last minute, here’s a way to stay ahead of the game with suggestions for a floating holiday to be taken when the time suits. And it’s doubtful that anyone will try to return these gifts – they’re all truly amazing.
With 8 days of Chanukah and 12 days of Christmas for gifting, you have plenty of opportunity.
Here are 20 ways to treat your family and friends to a cruise gift and celebrate the return to travel.
Best Tips & Tools to Plan Your Trip
For those who like to be among the first to try a new experience, Viking’s new all-veranda Viking Neptune is just the ticket. The new small ship sails various itineraries in the Mediterranean with itineraries including stops in Athens, Venice, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome and more.
Pick a 15-day cruise or one as short as eight days to explore the antiquity of the region. With cities like Venice limiting the number of visitors and overcrowding a serious concern in the summer months, the spring and fall cruises are a welcome option for touring this beautiful area.
If you can’t settle on a date just yet, there are sailings scheduled from now through 2024. https://www.vikingcruises.com
This is a historic year for Holland America Lines, celebrating its 150th anniversary, and it’s the perfect time to gift one of their special “heritage cruises.” Choose from a series of cruises that retrace the brand’s origin. Holland America Line will take its guests to ports that share its region-specific story through historical moments, fun facts, photos and much more.
While at sea, guests will experience the cruise line’s Dutch seafaring heritage with classic games like Sjoelen, a Dutch tabletop shuffleboard game, and throwbacks like a Historic Happy Hour with prices and items from the line’s earliest menus.
Itineraries span the globe giving you plenty of choices from Australia to the Caribbean and Europe. https://www.hollandamerica.com/en
The combination of Spain and Portugal is a wow for a summer cruise. Beginning in Barcelona, the 10-day Andalusian Traditions cruise aboard the Regent Seven Seas Mariner stops at three beach ports in the Canary Islands while also visiting historic ports including Alicante near Valencia, Granada, and culture-rich Lisbon, Portugal’s neo-classical capital city.
Wine, food and music are all featured on the cruise which leaves from Spain on July 23 and arrives in Portugal on August 1 after a stop in Tangier, Morocco. https://www.rssc.com/cruises
Summer is the ideal time to sail the inner passage of Alaska. On Windstar’s newly “stretched” Star Breeze, the 11-day Alaskan Splendors cruise has four departures in June, July and August, a perfect time to escape the heatwave back home.
Starting with an overnight in Anchorage, the ship departs from Seward, visiting glacial formations and lagoons including Kenai Fjords, Misty Fjords and Tracy Arm. Daily excursions find guests kayaking alongside the glaciers, dogsledding on a glacier, on wildlife searches and more.
If you’ve ever wanted to see bears, otters and bald eagles all in one trip, this is the cruise for you. The voyage ends in Vancouver, British Columbia. https://www.windstarcruises.com/
If your idea of a cruise is sailing warmer waters, MSC Cruise’s newest flagship, MSC Seascape, offers a six-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas and the Caribbean at a very affordable price. Guests can enjoy some of MSC Seascape’s new amenities including the MSC Aurea Spa, the thrilling ROBOTRON ride, and an aft infinity pool.
If New York City is an easier embarkation point, starting this spring the MSC Mervagilia will home port in Manhattan with a similar Bahamas and Caribbean itinerary.
For MCS Cruises:
Cruising in Mexico is always a pleaser and Princess Cruises knows the country well, offering seven-day sailings from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
Sail on Princess’s newest ship, the Discovery Princess to explore the western coast of Mexico. For a trip you’re sure to remember, plan ahead to book the special 10-day sailing to see the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 from a port call in Mazatlán on the day of the eclipse. This one is certain to sell out even if it’s a year away.
Searching for a cruise for the family? Uncruises introduces a Baja California Whales and Sealife cruise in 2023 with special pricing through Wave Season. The seven-night adventure has a variety of dates, with some featuring grey whale calving and snorkeling with whale sharks.
If you’d prefer to leave the kids at home, there are adults-only options as well and there’s no single supplement for solo travelers in 2023. https://uncruise.com/
Hawaii is a guaranteed winner for a cruise with culture, scenery and varied cuisine. Norwegian Cruise Line’s seven-day Hawaii: Interisland cruise on the Pride of America brings you to five islands, starting from Oahu and visiting Kauai, Maui and the Big Island.
This kick-back holiday encourages you to relax and take in the lush scenery or volcanic backdrop as you drift along. For something more active, you can try your skills surfing or hiking. https://www.ncl.com/
If dipping your toes into a water holiday sounds more enticing when combined with a land stay, Windstar Cruises’ Dreams of Tahiti Air + Hotel Package is the perfect gift. You’ll enjoy Tahiti two ways traveling from Los Angeles to the Tahitian islands.
The year-round program includes round-trip air to Papeete, Tahiti and two nights’ pre- and post-cruise accommodations at the Intercontinental Tahiti Resort. The cruise on the four-masted Wind Spirit yacht carries only 148 guests and sails for seven days stopping at four of the Society Islands.
Polynesian culture, music, food and history are featured along with Windstar’s watersports platform with complimentary activities and snorkel gear for the week. https://www.windstarcruises.com/
With the feeling of being on a private yacht during the “grand age of sailing,” Star Clippers is the definition of romance on the high seas. Adding to the adventure of sailing on a beautiful tall ship, you can climb onto the bowsprit netting stretching over the ocean or further challenge your balance with yoga classes on deck.
Mediterranean, transatlantic and Panama Canal sailings are scheduled for 2023 with the newest seven-night itineraries combining Costa Rica with Nicaragua or Panama. https://www.starclippers.com/us-dom
Can’t wait to go sailing but not ready to pull out your passport? Give the gift of a Maine windjammer cruise on one of the Maine Windjammer Association’s eight hand-built tall ships. You can choose the length of your voyage from three days to a week and enjoy the pleasures of an itinerary that literally changes with the wind.
Think of this as glamping at sea. Sailings from Penobscot Bay begin late spring and end when the foliage turns brilliant in the fall. https://www.sailmainecoast.com/
If a leisurely river cruise is more to your liking, Scenic Cruises offers a new excursion filled with history, gastronomy and romance.
On Scenic’s beautiful five-star Space Ship, you’ll join a maximum of 163 guests on the eight-day Charming Castles & Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle, an all-inclusive, luxurious journey past castles and vineyards along the banks of the Moselle and Rhine rivers with stops at villages including Koblenz and Basel.
The sailing offers a choice of 18 excursions ranging from Riesling wine tastings to walking and biking tours in Strasbourg and half-timbered towns You won’t need to think about anything on this cruise — your butler attends to every whim.
There’s also a Salt Therapy Lounge to help you decompress. A thoughtful touch, gratuities and airport transfers are part of the package. https://www.scenicusa.com/
Music lovers will be entranced by AmaWaterways new Celebration of Classical Music themed cruise. Exploring the rich history of classical music along the Danube River where famous composers including Mozart, Bruckner and Strauss lived, drew inspiration and performed, the cruise also includes live performances at memorable locales like Austria’s Melk Abbey.
The seven-night cruise sails between Budapest and Vienna and is available for seven dates in 2023 and six dates 2024. https://www.amawaterways.com
Indulge your foodie love on a land-and-sea-cruise along the Saone and Rhone rivers on the eight-day Sensations of Lyon and Provence itinerary on the Emerald Cruises Star-Ship Emerald Liberte. The sailing celebrates France’s past and present with stops at storied ports including Arles, Avignon and Lyon, considered to be France’s gastronomic hub.
Visits to the area’s beautiful vineyards and towns are the stars of the itinerary with guided port tours along with guided biking, hiking and canoeing. Top Chef France finalist Fabien Morreale boards each sailing to prepare a seasonal Provencal dinner. The trip culminates in Nice. https://www.emeraldcruises.com/
For eight days, wine lovers will enjoy Uniworld’s Brilliant Bordeaux program sailing the Dardogne, Gironde and Garonne rivers. Active travelers can bike through the Medoc and Sauternes vineyards and get lost in the city of Bordeaux.
To enhance the romance, book one of Uniworld’s Celebration Collection packages and set the stage with fresh flowers, Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. https://www.uniworld.com/en/
Expedition cruises are a great choice for the more adventurous traveler. Dubbed a way to enjoy “active luxury,” Seabourn’s new ship, Seabourn Venture, explores the shores of Iceland and Greenland, taking you into the wilds up north. A cool trip when you need a break from the heat, the July 16-31 Iceland & Greenland Wild Shores sailing ventures to remote, unspoiled coasts.
Active excursions, preceded by onboard lectures, are led by a 26-person team of scientists, historians and naturalists. Daily activities include kayaking along scenic fjords, scuba diving or venturing into the deep in one of two custom-built submarines. The ship itself is pure luxury, designed by Tihany Design. https://www.seabourn.com/
The Adriatic is the focus of Abercrombie & Kent’s “Adriatic Voyage” through Croatia, Montenegro and the islands of Western Greece.
The eight-day Luxury Expedition Cruise stops at the area’s most beautiful ports on its all-inclusive ship. Ideal for those who prefer a combination of luxury with a small ship, the chartered 148-passengber ship eschews some of the more frequented ports for others outstanding in beauty and history with an uncrowded, socially distant feel. Trogir and Split appeal to history lovers as both are UNESCO sites.
Dubrovnik, although one of the busier ports, is viewed through a bike tour in its valley. A&K exclusive excursions include a range of culinary, historic, cultural and nature activities. https://www.abercrombiekent.com/tours/luxury-expedition-cruises
For the person who’s been “everywhere,” Aqua Expeditions offers luxury small-ship expeditions to exclusive locations with an emphasis on style and design. The choice for a distinctive, socially distanced holiday, many sailings offer an early-bird discount for the year ahead.
The 1:1 guest:staff ratio and maximum 16-40 guests per ship ensure as bespoke a sailing as you could have without chartering your own yacht. Choose from river explorations on the Amazon (Peru), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam), and coastal yacht voyages to the Galapagos and Komodo National Park, Ambon and Spice Islands. https://www.aquaexpeditions.com/
Antarctica seems to be on everyone’s mind nowadays, and Silversea has made it easier than ever to explore this amazing continent. With their Antarctica Bridge itinerary on the new Silversea Endeavor, you’ll skip four days of sailing, flying business class directly to King George Island where you’ll maximize your time exploring the continent.
The six-day luxury expedition avoids the oft-rough Drakes Passage and is a godsend for those with limited time or those who would prefer to spend more time in port than on the ocean. https://www.silversea.com/
Disney Cruise Line is always a celebration, whether you’re traveling with your family or as a twosome. Plan ahead for a Very Merrytime sailing next November to enjoy the holiday season on a cruise for all ages. Everyone will enjoy the fun of being surrounded by Disney characters while cruising the California coast from San Diego to Mexico, visiting Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas.
The five-day cruise is filled with festivities with fireworks at sea, character experiences and a Royal Court Royal Tea party with your favorite Disney characters. All ages will be busy with movie screenings, a virtual sports simulator and Broadway-quality entertainment as only Disney can do. http://www.disneycruise.com/
Inspire your next adventure with our articles below: