How To Make Gift Giving Actually Delightful On Family Christmas Cruises

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesHolidays, Packing
Christmas Cruises - Photo of Santa waiting on beach with pile of gifts

Planning holiday gift exchanges on Christmas cruises warrants some advance thought and planning — particularly if you are traveling with kids.  After taking numerous holiday cruises with family and friends over the years, I have learned some otherwise simple lessons the hard way.  You can now benefit from these prior errors and oversights. Here are a few tips to make gift giving on your family Christmas cruises go more smoothly.

Related Post: Why You’ll Actually Love Christmas On A Cruise Ship

1. Pack All Gifts Unwrapped On Your Christmas Cruises.

Rule No. 1:  Pack all gifts unwrapped. This is particularly true if you will be flying to your embarkation port. Don’t assume that an x-ray machine will provide a sufficient inspection of your wrapped packages. If TSA agents feel like they need to take a closer look inside your gift boxes, your pretty bows and carefully applied beautiful wrapping paper will not fare well.  If you would like to see some examples of TSA re-wrapping at work, check out the photos with this article: The TSA May Unwrap Your Holiday Presents If You Don’t Follow These Rules.  The generous use of TSA security tape adds a special touch.

Also, all of your luggage and carry-ons will be inspected when you board the cruise ship. Although the inspections at embarkation don’t begin to compare to what you find at the airport, they still take place. Anything that looks like potential contraband (e.g., alcohol) will receive a closer look.

Related Post: Kids Love These Awesome Travel Gifts On Family Holiday Cruises.

2. Pack Your Own Wrapping Supplies For Christmas Cruises.

If you are packing gifts, then you should also pack your own wrapping supplies.  Do not, under any circumstances, assume that you will be able to buy any wrapping supplies on board the ship or at a convenient port.  The odds are much more likely that you will come up empty-handed.  So, unless you want to “wrap” your gifts in the paper/plastic shopping bags that the ship uses for customers’ purchases, plan ahead.

The easiest thing to pack are gift bags. They are quick to assemble once on board.  They don’t require much in the way of extra materials.  And, when flat, they can fit in most any luggage.  But, if you prefer traditional wrapping paper, you need to remember to pack not only the actual wrapping paper, ribbons and/or bows, but also your tape and scissors.  These are also items that you are unlikely to find readily accessible on-board.  So toss a pair of scissors and a roll of tape in your checked luggage. Read More …

Why You’ll Actually Love Christmas On A Cruise Ship

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesHolidays
Christmas on a Cruise Ship - 3D rendering
Shutterstock/ Markus Gann

I am a big fan of holiday cruises.  Our family has sailed over the Christmas and/or New Year’s holidays for 9 of the last ten years.  We absolutely love it!   You may be thinking that it’s too late to start planning Christmas on a cruise ship because the holidays are right around the corner, but it’s not!  One of the many great things about cruises is that there are often last minute deals to be had.  And that’s still the case here.  I did a quick internet search to confirm, and the following popular websites are still showing last minute cruise deals on holiday cruises.

You can look for last minute holiday cruise deals here:

Maybe your holiday plans have not yet firmed up, or your original plans have fallen through.  Or, perhaps you have plans, but realize what you really want to do is escape to something less stressful?  A holiday cruise could be just right for you.  Let’s review why.

1. Christmas On A Cruise Ship Provides Stress-free Ways To Spend Quality Time With Family.

The holidays bring opportunities to spend extra time with your family and close friends.  Most folks recognize that the extra opportunities can also bring extra stress.  There can be lots of pressure to conjure up elaborate mouth-watering meals, go all out on home holiday decor, and produce Pinterest-worthy perfectly wrapped gifts.   

A holiday cruise can decrease those stress levels considerably.  You can forget about any pressure to prepare photo-worthy meals.  If you want, you can completely skip having to find a tree, or decorate your home.  And, are you one who feels obligated to make sure everyone in your family is happy and having a memorable holiday experience?  On a cruise ship, dozens of folks are there to help you with that.

Whether celebrating holidays on a cruise ship or a private home, these articles have some great tips on managing holiday stress:  Tips For Parents on Managing Holiday Stress and Simple Practices For Managing Holiday Stress.

2. You Can Set Your Own Pace And Tone.

The holidays can bring much treasured opportunities for lots of family togetherness, but sometimes you need a little break.  Taking time out to take care of yourself is one of the best ways to manage not only holiday stress, but also everyday life stress.

Celebrating Christmas on a cruise ship provides numerous opportunities to relax and have guilt-free “me time.”  You can visit the spa.  Check out some fitness classes.  Take a walk on an open air track against the backdrop of an oceanview.  Relax with a book by the pool (for quiet – try the adults only pool).  Soak in a hot tub.  Or, stretch your mind and spirit with a variety of enrichment classes and activities. Read More …

Kids Love These Awesome Travel Gifts on Family Holiday Cruises

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesHolidays
Travel gifts for vacationing kids. Vector illustration of kids around xmas tree on beach.


(updated July 17, 2018)

Over the years, my family has had dozens of gift exchanges with friends and family on board a cruise ship, between Christmas holidays and various summer birthdays.  So we have gotten a pretty good handle on what makes a good travel gift for a cruise ship based gift exchange.  Scroll through below to see ones that we have found to be big hits! (Also, be sure to check out our post on making gift giving easier on a Christmas cruises.)

Key Issues With Selecting Travel Gifts For Kids

When perusing potential travel gifts that you will actually be traveling with, keep the following three issues in mind:

(1) Can you easily pack this travel gift in standard luggage?  Remember that these travel gifts must be transported at least two times, from your home to the cruise ship and from the cruise ship to the recipient’s home.  So, when considering travel gift ideas you should avoid things that are too heavy, bulky, or fragile.

Travel Gift Ideas For Kids | Photo of girl in dress hugging present(2) Can you use this travel gift, at least in part, on the current trip?   Let’s face it.  Kids want to be able to play with their gifts NOW.  Sensible phrases like “wouldn’t it be better to leave it in the box so that none of the pieces get lost and everything makes it home in one piece” sound like gibberish to the eager excited child.  A related point, it should not be a travel gift that, once opened, consists of 100 pieces, at least 15-20 will be lost between your cruise cabin and home.

(3) Will this travel gift continued to be used once the current trip ends?  I hate the idea of spending good money on travel gifts that turn out to be used one or two times and then shoved in a drawer.  One hallmark of a particularly fun or cool gift is whether it will continue to be used and appreciated once everyone returns home.

Read More …