Laboring over a hot turkey and a cold cranberry compote is so yesterday. More and more, couples, families and friends are choosing to combine the Thanksgiving holiday with a vacation and leave the cooking to someone else. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member lines are giving travelers plenty to be thankful for this year with great value, holiday traditions and stimulating new experiences that draw everyone together. Here is a sampling of some of the many ways CLIA member lines are making “away for the holidays” a memorable experience:
The first Thanksgiving. Departing November 16 from Málaga, Spain to Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ m/v Tere Moana will be celebrating its first Thanksgiving cruise with a 14-night Transatlantic Crossing. Its sister ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin will host a 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands voyage departing November 23 with featured guests such as fine artist Guy Buffet, Nobel Peace Prize Winner John E. Hay and Cook Islands expert Helen Henry. Both ships are offering 50 percent off standard cruise fares through 2013, and the m/s Paul Gauguin is including airfare from Los Angeles.
Feed the hungry. On three Thanksgiving sailings – the Mississippi River (Memphis to New Orleans), Historic South and Golden Isles, and Great Rivers of Florida – American Cruise Lines is donating $50 per passenger to help feed the needy. The one-week sailings depart on November 23, honoring the holiday with autumn décor, a Thanksgiving Eve reception/cocktail party featuring cranberry champagne cocktails and a traditional turkey dinner.
Racing down the water slides. Thanksgiving offerings on Norwegian Cruise Line include its seven-day departure to the Caribbean from Miami on November 23 on the Norwegian Epic, and from New York on November 24 on the Norwegian Breakaway. Both ships offer cutting-edge excitement including a diverse array of on-board nightlife and entertainment, extensive aqua parks and enticing teen and kid’s centers.
Thanksgiving with all the trimmings from SeaDream’s famed Executive Chef, Sudesh Kishore. Guests sailing with SeaDream Yacht Club can savor a gourmet Thanksgiving turkey dinner as part of a 13-day Singapore-Phuket Southeast Asia sailing departing November 25 on the SeaDream II, or a 7-day voyage featuring the beaches and the wildlife of Costa Rica on the SeaDream I, departing November 23. On both, travelers will enjoy a gourmet Thanksgiving banquet and festive décor.
Hands-on culture and cuisine. Along with a traditional turkey dinner, immersive “On Location” Caribbean cultural experiences such as learning to play the steel drums and hands-on classes and demonstrations by visiting chefs are featured on Holland America Line’s one- and two-week Thanksgiving Caribbean sailings. Thanksgiving cruises include one-week sailings on both the November 24 ms Eurodam Fort Lauderdale-Western Caribbean departure and on the November 23 ms Westerdam Fort Lauderdale Eastern Caribbean sailings, and a 14-day Western/Eastern cruise on the ms Eurodam departing November 24. Also embark on AmaWaterways’ “Blue Danube Discovery” cruise over Thanksgiving and be immersed in a wealth of art, history and cultural treasures while exploring some of Europe’s most renowned destinations.
Two-for-one pricing. Thanksgiving offerings on Regent Seven Seas Cruises combine exotic ports with 2-for-1 pricing. Featured holiday cruises are available on the 21-night Istanbul to Dubai Seven Seas VoyagerNovember 12 sailing that takes in Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Oman and Dubai, and the 18-night Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro cruise departing November 20 on the Seven Seas Mariner. The line also has an 11-night Caribbean sailing departing November 18 on the Seven Seas Navigator from Miami.
Watching football in the Amazon. Passengers can enjoy a traditional turkey dinner and select NFL and college football games on Oceania Cruises’ four Thanksgiving cruises, including a 25-day “Exotic Amazon” itinerary sailing roundtrip from Miami aboard the Regatta departing November 10. NFL games can also be viewed on the 24-day “Empires of Antiquity” sailing from Barcelona to Dubai on the Nautica, with ports of call throughout Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Jordan and Oman, departing November 14; the 14 day “Enchanted Passage” aboard the Riviera sailing from Barcelona to Miami departing November 18; and the 18-day Brazilian Destiny departing November 20 from Barcelona for Rio de Janeiro.
Thanksgiving for foodies. Savor the flavor with Crystal Cruises this Thanksgiving and indulge in a variety of unique offerings. Creative treats such as butternut squash soup drizzled with pumpkin seed oil, maple-brined, roasted turkey with chestnut, wild mushroom and raisin dressing, praline sweet potatoes and homemade pumpkin ice cream will be featured on Crystal Cruises’ menus on the Crystal Serenity 12-day Lisbon-Barcelona Canary Islands/Iberia cruise departing November 27, and the Crystal Symphony 16-day Miami-Rio De Janeiro South America gourmet Food and Wine-themed cruise departing November 23, where Portugal’s 2012 Chef of the Year Hans Neuner will lead a team of experts offering complimentary hands-on classes, demonstrations and more. Travelers will get insight into local culinary dishes, drinks and traditions with a new feature: a seven-course Vintage Room dinner featuring a modern Portuguese/Brazilian menu with amazing South American wine pairings. The cruise can also be booked as a getaway departing Barbados on November 27, or combined to create a 30-day voyage to Buenos Aires.
Sweet treats and delectable desserts. After a day of thrilling onboard activities and adventure guests onboard Royal Caribbean International Thanksgiving cruises are in for a sweet treat of festive dinners, delectable desserts and the warmth of tropical shores. Royal Caribbean International has five, seven-night cruises to the Caribbean over the Thanksgiving holiday with departures from either San Juan or Fort Lauderdale.
More choice and plenty of options. With unique amenities, diverse itineraries, fun activities and exciting onboard entertainment, Carnival Cruise Lines offers superb dining experiences during Thanksgiving cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico from ports in Florida, the Gulf Coast, Los Angeles, New York, Charleston and San Juan.
Creative contests, parties and dancing the night away this Turkey Day. Disney characters will be dressed in their Thanksgiving attire to interact with guests on Disney Cruise Line’s Thanksgiving sailings. In addition to a bountiful feast, NFL football games will be broadcast on Funnel Vision – the ships’ outdoor, jumbo LED screen. The Disney ships will also be in their Very Merrytime Cruise mode, including a ‘Deck the Deck Holiday Party’ with Disney characters leading games such as limbo under oversized candy canes and a conga line around the pool. Princess Cruises has new activities for families this Thanksgiving including a Turkey craft creation contest, Turkey calling contest, sports games such as flag football, a Turkey trot or after dinner walk and s special “giving thanks tree.”
Great value and expert advice. With cuisine, lodging and activities for every family member all included, it’s no surprise that many find cruising the perfect holiday vacation choice – the convenience and value can’t be beat. Book as early as possible and use a CLIA travel professional to maximize your savings. To find a CLIA travel professional in your area, visit www.cruising.org and click on Vacations.
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