A Guide To An Alternative Christmas Abroad

December 11, 2015

So you’ve thought about all your Christmas plans for this year but have you thought about what you want to do for Christmas next year? The www.CRUISE.co.uk team have recently been hit with a wave of festive cheer (Editor’s note: some of us a bit more reluctantly than others!) and started thinking about what you could do on a cruise for Christmas.

We’ve already written about Christmas markets you can cruise to (which you can read here) but here are some options for a different kind of Christmas getaway…


Spend Christmas morning watching polar bears

Have you ever considered travelling to the Arctic with a cruise line like Hurtigruten? Not only will you be able to enjoy the snow we all dream of at Christmas, you can watch wild animals from the comfort of your ship or whilst on an excursion. Sightings of polar bears, wild birds and whales are all possible. You could also go husky sledding, ice fishing or watch the Northern lights.

You can find out more about Hurtigruten here.

Polar bear watching christmas abroad


Spend the night in an igloo

If you want to spend more time on land in the snow and ice, why not try a very different kind of holiday as you spend the night in a snow or glass igloo in Lapland. The temperature inside will be between -3 and -6 degrees but you’ll have padded sleeping bags and reindeer hides to keep you cosy! And don’t worry, if you get too cold there’s also a log cabin nearby for you to stay in. A night in the glass igloo will allow you to lie back and look at the stars as the snow falls around you… Very Christmassy indeed!


Escape the cold to the Caribbean

For those of you who don’t like the British weather and the colds and sniffles that seem to accompany it – the Caribbean is a perfect area of paradise to spend your Christmas. With white sands, palm trees and scorching sunshine you could spend your Christmas topping up you tan instead of putting your scarfs and gloves on!

Take a look at cruises to the Caribbean here!

caribbean christmas


Explore the tropics and exotics

Be even more exotic and sail to South America for a Christmas stopping in ports such as Argentina, Cape Horn, and Rio de Janeiro. You could be watching the world’s largest floating Christmas tree bob along in the waters of Rio, watching colonies of sea lions in Chile or exploring the rainforest after docking at the port of Belize.

Is there really a more magical way to spend Christmas than discovering the wonders of the rainforest? You’ll also find that local shops and attractions will play Christmas songs that have been reworked to a funky Caribbean beat!

You can find out more about exotic tours in South America here.

rio christmas tree


Go traditional and head to Bethlehem

If you’re a Christian then Bethlehem is where it all began and even if not, where else in the world could you experience such traditional Christmas cheer? If you try one of our tailor made packages you could enjoy the Three Kings, Greek Isles and The Colosseum over the festive period. The energy in Bethlehem Manger Square will amaze and surprise you and warm even the darkest of hearts. Find out more about this here.

christmas star


See the twinkling Christmas stars

To see the Christmas stars, head to Morocco where you can camel trek into the Sahara to watch shooting stars bright stars twinkle above. Whilst we can’t promise the stars will lead you back to Bethlehem they’ll still provide an impressive show!

sahara stars


Enjoy the ship atmosphere

If you have a very small family, you’re annual gatherings might not be very festive or if you don’t have children you might like the idea of Christmas to yourself and not want a huge Christmas meal for one. This can easily be rectified on a cruise ship! You’ll have a proper Christmas dinner made for you, without having to stress over it yourself and you can enjoy the festive atmosphere, lavish decorations and infectious Christmas spirit.

You can find out more about what Christmas on a cruise ship looks like by reading about www.CRUISE.co.uk ‘s Christmas on Cunard here.


Did I mention there where Christmas decorations!!!? #enchantmentoftheseas #christmascruise

A photo posted by @jacqueburton on



Try some new Christmas food

Whilst for some peoples Christmas is all about the traditional turkey – for others it’s a chance to explore something entirely new! Why not head to Puerto Rico to try their version of egg nog which is called coquito? It’s a rum and coconut based drink that’s surprisingly strong! You can also try their pernil which is a seasoned, baked pork shoulder or some of their meat and spice filled pasties. For other culinary delights visit Portugal to discover a Mediterranean Christmas meal with lashings of olive oil, fresh herbs, chickpeas, potato and salted codfish.

Portuguese feast


Adult Only Cruising

After years of family Christmas’ some people just don’t want children running underfoot so an adult only cruise could be the perfect getaway to peace, quiet and relaxation next Christmas. With P&O’s adult only ship Arcadia you could be relaxing on a nine night Baltic cruise or Fred Olsen adult only cruise to the Canary Islands for Christmas and sailing to the Caribbean for New Year.

Other cruise lines also have ships with adult only sections and luxury cruise lines such as Regent have very few children aboard. Your perfect adult only haven awaits!

You can have a look at more P&O offers here or Fred Olsen cruises here.

adult only


Cycle along the Mekong

If you’re feeling like you want to get away from it all and go Christmas alone, why not spend Christmas Eve cycling alongside Angkor Wat in Thailand? You can take a cycling tour of the Mekong River and make your way along the winding riverbanks passing temples, floating markets and farms. It’s the perfect setting to lose yourself and enjoy the scenery at your own pace. You’ll get to experience a Thai Christmas in the evenings, as whilst the majority of the population are Buddhist, the holiday is still widely celebrated with parties and feasts.

cycling Angkor Wat


Take a bite of the Big Apple

Arguably, no one makes as big of a deal of Christmas as Americans and New York is the perfect place to celebrate the festive season. With huge Christmas trees, ice skating beneath Rockefeller Centre and a Santaland at Macy’s, Christmas spirit is literally on every corner. Spend your time watching an amazing performance of the nutcracker ballet, shop till you drop on 5th avenue or explore one of the many holiday markets. For that extra special Christmas moment, take a horse and carriage ride around Central Park whilst you sit wrapped up in thick blankets.

new year


Do you like the sound of any of these alternative Christmas ideas? Would you rather stay at home or would you love to cruise and travel at Christmas?

Have you ever had Christmas abroad?

Let us know in the comments below!