Christmas on a Cruise?

Yes, we finally did it exactly one year ago this month.  And while I had a tiny bit of pre-trip anxiety about what it would be like (well, actually more like a feeling of “nothing can beat Christmas in my jammies at home with my “special eggnog” and sister’s delicious homemade cookies, but go ahead and try to impress me, Mr. Cruise ship. . .), especially since we were half way around the world ‘crossing the ditch’ as they say in the land down under.  To be location specific, the ‘ditch’ is the New Zealand English name for the Tasman Sea, and when one crosses the ditch one is generally going from NZ to Australia.  Yes, that was us on another epic adventure.

But in the end I had no need to worry about whether or not I’d find my cruisin’-Christmas acceptable.  Santa lives!  Elves are everywhere!  They even make Christmas cookies on cruise ships in Australia!

Whew!

Santa DID know where to find me!

 

Even a village of gingerbread houses made its’ way onto our ship.

So, here are some fun pictures and memories of Christmas Day activities on board the Majestic Princess Cruise that had us exploring another continent (my fifth) for a total of 13 days last December.  And I’m happy to report that holiday cruise brought delights and surprises every blessed day, including December 25.

Deckhands were decked out

 

Storytelling on the dance floor

 

Arts and crafts for the little ones and the big kids at heart

Why surprises?  Mostly because I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of a Christmas celebration on board.  For starters, up until Dec 25, we really hadn’t come across that many children on this ship so seeing them all come out of hiding on Christmas morning definitely was a head scratcher.  Were they stowaways?  Did Santa bring them on his sleigh with the elves?  Plus, and I don’t know where this thought came from, I wasn’t totally sure that Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, and all that sparkly jazz we are used to in the states was even part of the holiday culture in Australia so it was a pleasant surprise indeed to discover we share many of the same traditions.   From crafting marshmallow snowmen to placing bets on the wooden reindeer racing games followed by a well attended interdenominational church service in the ship’s giant theater, our Christmas cruise did not disappoint.

Particularly when I discovered this – the annual outlet sale! 

And wow, they weren’t kidding about that 3 hour only business!

Yes, holiday joy can be found in so many different ways and apparently lots of passengers were clearly missing their last minute shopping back home.  I entered this ‘store’ – a large restaurant temporarily converted into a retail heaven –  only for a few brief minutes before realizing this was the spot where everyone NOT participating in the other holiday capers had been hanging out.  It. Was. Packed!  So, getting a sense that most of the shoppers were serious indeed (think black Friday times two being that we were on a ship and a totally captive audience. . .), I didn’t hang around there for long.  Especially after spotting some of the more, shall we say, civil adult activities being offered such as this one at one of the many interesting bars that had special, holiday themed and very enticing offerings all day long.  

Quite a lovely way to toast the holiday, don’t you think?

Finding this little adult beverage niche made listening to the Majestic’s Captain and Crew singing Christmas carols so much more enjoyable.  Just sayin’. 

And finally, while we didn’t get our picture with Santa, sigh, we did manage to have some photo fun under one of the many giant trees on board.

Does Santa think we were naughty or nice this year?

So there’s my little photo essay and story about how I spent my first Christmas on a cruise.  For sure it was different but yet similar in so many ways which is what we usually discover in our world travels.  No matter where your journeys take you, it’s finding out what we have in common with the people we meet and the places we visit that binds us all together.  That includes the discovery of elves and Santa and gingerbread delights, too!

“With a tip of his hat I heard him exclaim, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

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Just your average middle age gal trying to deal with career/life/family changes and issues while studying people and places, one lobby bar at a time.

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