Next to being at home for the holidays, a luxury cruise ship Christmas is my favorite way to celebrate the holidays. There are just enough decorations and festivities to put me in a Christmasy mood, without going overboard—pardon the pun.
When Alan and I looked for a cruise to Antarctica, choosing an itinerary that included the Christmas holidays was high on our list. Seabourn Quest offered the perfect combination—a luxury cruise ship Christmas combined with the adventure of exploring Antarctica and South Georgia.
In our opinion, Seabourn Quest did Christmas up just right. The holiday decorations started appearing on December 22 and were left up until New Year’s Day. It seemed that suddenly—elves must have worked all night—Christmas trees adorned several areas of the ship. And huge decorated gingerbread houses, accompanied by selections of baked goods, were placed about the ship.
After attending Pat and Rosemarie Keough‘s photography workshop, Alan and I followed their suggestion to practice with our camera settings before arriving in Antarctica. We spent a fun morning roaming the Quest taking photos of the decorations and food. Alan was photographing with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000.
When booking a holiday cruise, find out where the ship will be on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We prefer to spend those holidays at sea versus celebrating after a busy port day.
Seabourn had planned the perfect itinerary with Christmas Eve spent cruising the Chilean fjords and Christmas Day cruising El Brujo Glacier and the southern Patagonian Ice Field. Guests could go outside to view the scenery in between enjoying the holiday celebrations.
Christmas Eve included an elaborate afternoon tea. And the Bar was packed for an early evening round of holiday caroling to start the festivities.
Alan and I chose to dine at the Colonnade, where Celebrity Chef Thomas Keller created a family dinner menu.
The three-course menu was just enough to satisfy our nostalgia for a family-style Christmas dinner.
The turkey, roasted brussel sprouts and sage stuffing deserve a special mention.
Christmas pudding for dessert.
The brandy cream sauce made this bread pudding taste divine.
Afterwards, we enjoyed the holiday show that the entertainment staff had put together. For those who didn’t mind staying up late, a priest performed a midnight Christmas mass.
And everyone found goodies in their suite, as if we hadn’t had enough to eat.
On Christmas morning, guests greeted each other with “Merry Christmas” as we made our way to breakfast. Some had already attended the ecumenical service. Seabourn Quest hosted another holiday tea in the afternoon and a comedian/magician performed a before-dinner show that was accompanied by Christmas cocktails. Since it was formal night, Alan and I dressed in our finest before enjoying a prime rib dinner in The Restaurant, the main dining room. Later, a concert harpist entertained in the theater.
Of course there were guests onboard whose religion doesn’t celebrate Christmas. But most of them joined in the fun anyway, singing the Carols, offering Merry Christmas greetings, while enjoying the food and decorations. And we all shared the joy and anticipation of our upcoming Antarctica adventures.
Although Hanukkah didn’t coincide with the dates of our cruise, if it had occurred during that time, there would have been celebrations and services as well.