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The 5 best holiday cruises from NYC for families

All aboard! The best holiday cruises from NYC are wonderful ways to ring in Christmas with the whole family.

Written by
Danielle Valente

Bring the Christmas festivities from land to sea with the best holiday cruises from NYC. 

From one-day journeys around Manhattan with Classic Harbor Line Cruises to tropical Disney Christmas Cruise adventures, the offerings are merry and varied. All families will find a winter getaway that perfectly suits their needs. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York

Once you've booked one of the best holiday cruises from NYC, keep the spirit of the season alive by watching our go-to Christmas movies for kids (while sipping the best hot chocolate, of course), enjoy ice skating in NYC with the whole family or plan more winter weekend getaways if you've caught the travel bug!

Best holiday cruises from NYC

Disney Cruise Line's 6-Night Very Merrytime Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Kent Phillips

1. Disney Cruise Line's 6-Night Very Merrytime Eastern Caribbean Cruise

When: Nov 24–30 

Where: From NYC to San Juan

Mickey and friends are ready to welcome families aboard the cruise for holly, jolly holiday cheer. Join the Disney crew as it makes its way from NYC to San Juan, stopping at Tortola and St. Kitts along the way. Although the destinations might be tropical, the inside of the ship is very much like Santa's workshop. Guests will kick off their holiday with Mickey's Tree-Lighting Ceremony, sing along with carolers, party at Santa's Winter Wonderland Ball, spend one-on-one time with Santa and build sweet gingerbread houses—among many other festivities. A little fun in the sun never hurt on Christmas! Learn more here

Royal Caribbean's 8-Night Bahamas Holiday Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

2. Royal Caribbean's 8-Night Bahamas Holiday Cruise

When: Dec 29–Jan 6

Where: From Cape Liberty, New Jersey to the Bahamas 

Swap the snow for sand thanks to Royal Caribbean's post-holiday getaway. Families will leave from New Jersey and head to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas (docking in Orlando along the way). Kiddos won't need their sleigh for this winter getaway—it's all about the water. Catch some waves in the cruise ship's surf simulator, get a dose of adventure with indoor skydiving, have your minds blown during an aerial show and enjoy fun performances that'll make you feel as though you're on Broadway. Entertainment is aplenty, and you won't mind a tropical escape from NYC winters, even if it's only for eight day. Learn more here

Cunard Christmas Cruises
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

3. Cunard Christmas Cruises

When: Various dates throughout December 

Where: From NYC to various locations

Cunard takes Christmas to new levels with decadent holiday cruises that rival even NYC's most festive spots. Once onboard, peruse the gorgeous (and edible) Gingerbread Village display, scope out Santa's whereabouts for a few photo ops, skip the holiday markets and opt for the ship's small and name-brand shops and end the festivities with a delicious, filling Christmas dinner. All of your typical holiday traditions are here—just on water! Learn more here. 

Classic Harbor Line's Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Dennis Cahlo + Harbor Cruise Line

4. Classic Harbor Line's Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise

When: Various dates throughout November and December

Where: NYC

If you're looking for a brief holiday respite, but can't commit to being away from home on Christmas morning—can't throw off Santa, after all—we have the perfect solution: a Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise from Classic Harbor Line. Enjoy NYC from a new vantage point and take in all the scenes—downtown Manhattan, Governors Island, the Brooklyn Bridge—as you set sail on a festively-clad ship. The hour-and-a-half-long voyage will include talented carolers, snacks such as homemade cocoa and cookies and live performances. A cruise is a wonderful idea, but if you can't resist NYC's holiday magic, this option will give you the best of both worlds. Learn more here

Classic Harbor Line's Holiday Brunch Cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line

5. Classic Harbor Line's Holiday Brunch Cruise

When: Various dates throughout November and December 

Where: NYC 

Christmas breakfast is one of the most anticipated parts of the holiday season. Up the ante with a leisurely a four-course holiday brunch while journeying along the entire circumference of Manhattan in a holiday-themed 1920's yacht. All the festivities are brought onboard to provide New Yorkers with a fun and unique holiday experience—one that'll likely turn into an annual tradition. Learn more here


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