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All The Ways You Can Celebrate the Holidays on a Disney Cruise



If you love Disney parks during the holidays but hate the crowds, have we got a solution for you. From early November through January, Disney Cruise Line’s four ships transform into seasonal wonderlands for special themed sailings: celebrate the holidays on Very Merrytime Cruises, or celebrate Thanksgiving at Sea or New Year’s Eve at Sea.

On these select itineraries, you’ll get to experience the same signature service, dining and accommodations Disney Cruise Line is known for, but with a heaping helping of festive flair. Here’s what to look forward to when you celebrate the holidays on the high seas.

Terrific Turkey Day

If you’ve spent one too many Thanksgivings slaving away in your kitchen, take a year off and make this Turkey Day a maritime affair. On your Thanksgiving at Sea sailing, offered on select four- to seven-night cruises departing Nov. 22-25, 2019, you’ll enjoy a Thanksgiving feast that’s bigger and better than you could make at home, and instead of your judgmental great aunt Mildred, the guests of honor will be Mickey and Minnie in adorable Thanksgiving garb.

Thanksgiving Mickey and Minnie (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

And, don’t worry about missing the big games: You can catch all the NFL action topside on the ship’s jumbo LED screens or down at the pub over a frosty pint.

O'Gill's Pub on the Disney Fantasy
O’Gill’s Pub on the Disney Fantasy (Photo via Brooke Geiger McDonald)

Spectacular Seasonal Decorations on Very Merrytime Cruises

Nothing tops the feeling of taking your first steps aboard the ship to begin your Disney Cruise. Seeing the atrium decked out in extra layers of sparkle—twinkling lights, wreaths, row after row of garland, a massive tree, and an even more massive gingerbread house—makes this moment even more memorable on a Very Merrytime cruise.

Lifesize gingerbread house on Disney Cruise
Lifesize gingerbread house on Disney Cruise (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

On your first night, you’ll officially kick off the holiday festivities with “Mickey’s Tree-Lighting Magic.”

Sing holiday carols with your favorite Disney characters as you watch the three-deck tree light up.

Disney Magic Merrytime Atrium
Disney Magic Merrytime Atrium (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

Attend a Winter Wonderland Ball Fit for a Princess

It’s party time in the atrium lobby where you’ll join Broadway-style entertainers, beloved Disney pals, and—of course—Santa and Mrs. Claus for an epic holiday celebration. And, because it’s not Disney without that big finish, you just might see the Arendelle sisters paying a visit to let it snow.

Santa's Winter Wonderland Ball
Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

Kids Get Extra Holiday Fun in the Youth Clubs

We can’t say enough about the awesomeness that is Disney Cruise Line kids’ clubs. With five different dedicated spaces specially tailored to engage and entertain kids ages 0-17, your kiddos will beg to keep coming back all cruise long. And, with countless adults-only spaces to kick back and relax, parents will be happy to grant those requests. On Merrytime cruises, youth club programming gets lots of festive additions like holiday animation cels (parents, look out for this one during youth club open houses—they’re fun for moms and dads too!), stocking and gingerbread cookie decorating, and more.

Decorating Gingerbread Men in the Oceaneer Club
Decorating Gingerbread Men in the Oceaneer Club (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

Holidays Get the Island Treatment on Castaway Cay
Even Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay gets a seasonal overlay. At this fan-favorite port, your favorite characters will be out and about rocking their island holiday best. Spot the Christmas tree and maybe even some snow as you kick back to steel drum-laden tropical holiday tunes.

Castaway Cay gets the holiday treatment too
Castaway Cay gets the holiday treatment too (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

Carols and Clauses

Other special holiday experiences include meeting Santa Claus, listening to classic holiday stories told by Mrs. Claus, and hearing plenty of live holiday music from a Dickens-inspired troupe of carolers who sing their way around the ship.

Carolers sing on the ship deck
Carolers sing on the ship deck (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

Keep the Faith

For those looking to celebrate religious holidays while onboard, Christmas Eve and day services, a Christmas Eve midnight mass, and Hannukkah services will all be held.

When to Set Sail

2019 Very Merrytime Itineraries are offered on select three- to 14-day sailings on all four Disney Cruise Line Ships, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy with departure dates ranging from Nov. 8 to Dec. 23 and depart from Port Canaveral, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Miami; Galveston, Texas; New York; and San Diego.

2020 Very Merrytime sailings are also available on select three- to 14-day sailings on all four ships from the same departure ports, with sail dates ranging from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24.

New Year's Eve at Sea
New Year’s Eve at Sea (Photo via Disney Cruise Line)

New Year’s Eve at Sea

What could be more memorable than ringing in the new year at sea? On select four- to seven-night sailings across the fleet, put on your party clothes (your favorite characters will be dressed to the nines in theirs!) and kiss 2019 goodbye. Celebrate with a special dinner menu followed by a blowout bash of a deck party with plenty of music and dancing. The best part?

It’s never been this easy to find a sitter for New Year’s Eve. Kids are of course invited to the deck party but can also have tons of fun in the kids’ clubs and teens and tweens even get to enjoy parties just for them. New Year’s sailings depart Dec. 27–Dec. 30, 2019.

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