11 Great-Value Cruises on the Newest Ships for Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Updated on Sep 19, 2019
Celebrity Edge
Celebrity Edge / Courtesy of the Celebrity Cruises

Looking to change up one of the winter holidays this year and trade turkey around the dining room table for a family vacation at sea?  It’s not too late to go for it. Cruises to the hottest tropical destinations — the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Mexico — on the newest and shiniest ships (including Celebrity Edge, Nieuw Statendam, Norwegian Encore, and Sky Princess) are still available at terrific prices. So, take a look and book soon. Here are 11 incredibly great values at sea for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.


This year, our national day of overindulgence falls on November 28th, and by booking one of these three cruises you can savor your turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie without having to cook.

1. 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on Celebrity Edge

The most buzzed-about ship of 2018, the 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge, sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 24, 2019 and visits Key West, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Grand Cayman. Edge has an artistic, grown-up vibe and is a great option for couples, groups of friends, or multi-generational families with kids who are high-school age or older. Fares from $1,149 per person.

2. 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Norwegian Encore

Just a few weeks after its inaugural sailing, 3,998-passenger Norwegian Encore, (the sister ship to Norwegian Bliss) will cruise roundtrip from Miami on Nov. 24, 2019 and visit Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Tortola. Families with kids of all ages will have a blast on this ship, which features the cruise line's largest racetrack at sea — this one extending out over the edge of the ship by 13 feet. The ship also an array of activities including laser tag, the Galaxy Pavilion virtual reality gaming center, more than 16 dining options, and 12-plus bars and lounges including the Sugarcane Mojito Bar for tropical cocktails and The Cavern Club for a fix of Beatles hits. Fares from $629 per person.

3. 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas

Symphony of the Seas, the largest ship at sea, debuted in April 2018 and accommodates up to 5,518 passengers at double occupancy and 6,680 at full capacity. It offers something for everyone as it cruises roundtrip from Miami on Nov. 23, 2019 to Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Royal Caribbean’s private-island playground, CocoCay. Onboard, enjoy 20 restaurants, 25 pools and whirlpools, 42 bars and lounges, and 7 unique neighborhoods — from the Boardwalk with its kid-friendly thrills (zip lining, water slides, the 10-story Ultimate Abyss slide, water slides, and a charming carousel) and casual eateries to Central Park for cocktails and fine dining. Fares from $1,100 per person.


Some of the best things in life — sun, fun, and laughter — don’t come in a box, so why not pack your family’s bags and head to the Bahamas or the Caribbean this year?

1. 8-Night Bahamas & Florida Cruise on Norwegian Bliss

If you live in the Northeast and want to spend Christmas in a balmy locale with white-sand beaches and turquoise waters — without having to fly — check out this roundtrip cruise from New York City aboard 4,004-passenger Norwegian Bliss. The ship debuted in 2018 with the first racetrack at sea, laser tag, and two thrilling waterslides. It departs on Dec. 20, 2019 and overnights at Port Canaveral (for visits to Disney World and/or Kennedy Space Center), Nassau, and Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. Fares from $1,049 per person.

2. 7-Night Western Caribbean Holiday Cruise on Celebrity Edge

This Christmas cruise on design-savvy Celebrity Edge — the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship designed with Millennials and Gen Xers in mind (although Boomers who enjoy creative entertainment and dining will love it, too)—sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 22, 2019. And just like its Thanksgiving voyage above, the ship visits Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. Fares from $1,709 per person.

3. 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on Sky Princess

The newest ship in Princess’s fleet, 3,660-passenger Sky Princess will be fresh from her inaugural voyage for this roundtrip sailing from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 21, 2019 that visits Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. On board,  dining options include Crafted by Curtis Stone menus, a pizzeria, four specialty restaurants, three pools (plus the adults-only Sanctuary), and entertainment for the entire family. Fares from $1,244 per person. 

4. 7-Night Western Caribbean & Perfect Day Cruise on Symphony of the Seas

If you can’t do Thanksgiving on Symphony of the Seas, how about Christmas? This itinerary on Royal Caribbean’s newest Oasis-class ship sails roundtrip from Miami on Dec. 21, 2019 and visits Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and CocoCay. There are so many family-friendly activities to enjoy onboard, it will seem like Christmas for an entire week. Fares from $1,820 per person.

Christmas and New Year's

If you have the time, enjoy celebrations at sea for both holidays by booking a great-value cruise that island hops for two amazing weeks.

1. 14-Night Southern & Eastern Caribbean Holiday Cruise on Nieuw Statendam

If getting away to the Caribbean for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays sounds great — but impossibly expensive — check out this affordable itinerary on Holland America’s newest ship, 2,666-passenger Nieuw Statendam. Enjoy classical, jazz, pop, and rock music in the lively and entertaining Music Walk; dine on a rotating menu of international favorites in the Dining Room or flavorful Asian or authentic French bistro fare in atmospheric settings; and chill out at the two terrific pool areas. This cruise (actually back-to-back seven-night cruises) sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 22, 2019 and visits six islands: Aruba, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. Fares from $1,662 per person. 

New Year's

Ring in 2020 in the Caribbean or Mexico aboard three fantastic new ships—all with cool entertainment and amenities.

1. 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Sky Princess

Looking to visit the islands of the Eastern Caribbean? You can on the newly launched Sky Princess and welcome the brand new decade in style after a day in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Dec, 28, 2019 and call on St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess Cays in the Bahamas as you experience everything this sparkling vessel has to offer. Fares from $1,419 per person.

2. 8-Night Southern Caribbean Cruise on Carnival Horizon

Anyone looking for a truly lively ambience to ring in 2020 will find a party-loving crowd morning, noon, and night on board the 3,960-passenger Carnival Horizon, which debuted in 2018. Cruise roundtrip from Miami on Dec. 28, 2019 and visit Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba. Enjoy onboard revelry at three pools and a dozen bars (including poolside rum and tequilas bars and an onboard brewery), along with fun eateries offering everything from burgers and tacos to barbecue and pan-Asian treats. Fares from $1,349 per person.

3. 7-Night Jewels of the Mexican Riviera on Norwegian Joy

West Coast residents can celebrate the start 2020 at sea as they enjoy an array of onboard dining and entertainment options, which include a buzzing racetrack, a virtual reality gaming area, and 14 restaurants and 16 bars. This roundtrip itinerary departs Los Angeles on Dec. 29, 2019 and visits Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta along the sunny Mexican Riviera. Norwegian Joy, which carries 3,804 passengers and debuted in 2017 for the Asian market, was given a multi-million-dollar makeover earlier this year (to resemble 2018’s Bliss and 2019’s Encore). Fares from $1,149 per person.

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