12 Reasons to Go on a Thanksgiving Cruise

A traditional Thanksgiving usually involves gathering with family around the dinner table to feast on turkey and pumpkin pie. While Thanksgiving at home is still something to appreciate, it also takes a lot of work. If you love to travel and want a less stressful holiday, you may be considering a Thanksgiving cruise.

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As you will discover, cruising on Thanksgiving provides plenty of reasons to be thankful. A Thanksgiving cruise can be a relaxing, joy-filled and unforgettable way to cherish the holiday, whether you wish to sail with loved ones or embrace the freedom of solo travel.

Is Thanksgiving a Good Time to Cruise?

Yes, Thanksgiving can be an excellent time to cruise if you want to visit less-crowded ports or escape the chilly autumn weather. November is considered a “shoulder” month, which means it fits between the peak travel season in the summer and the off-season in the winter. Therefore, you can expect fewer crowds in ports that usually draw tourists in the summer. The Mediterranean, for example, experiences less tourist activity in the fall, so November may be the ideal time to finally cruise this must-see part of the world.

If you’re craving sun-drenched beaches in November, a cruise can also take you back to the summer. Warm Caribbean and South Pacific destinations offer a welcome getaway from cold fall weather.

Lastly, a Thanksgiving cruise can be a way to celebrate other special occasions with loved ones, such as weddings, graduations, anniversaries or birthdays, in addition to the holiday. You can honor any milestone while you have your family or friends all in one place.

Why Cruise on Thanksgiving?

Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee as you feel the salty breeze brush your skin and gaze at the glittering blue expanse. You think about the day ahead, which includes relaxation, world-class dining and just enough stimulation to stir your soul and spark conversation. This is Thanksgiving Day at sea. 

What else can you expect to enjoy on a Thanksgiving cruise to a beautiful location? Here are a few more reasons to put the frozen turkey back and head to the luggage department instead.

1. Enjoy Little to No Preparation

If you’ve ever hosted a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you know the effort it takes, from properly roasting a turkey to making sure there’s more than enough food to go around. Needless to say, preparing for a Thanksgiving feast on your own can be stressful.

With a Thanksgiving cruise, stress is left back at the departure port. You don’t have to spend the morning prepping recipes or cleaning up the guest room. The only thing you need to do to prepare for your ship’s Thanksgiving feast is to peel yourself off the deck chair and head to your dining venue of choice

2. Savor a Chef-Prepared Meal

Many things can go wrong preparing a Thanksgiving meal at home, like discovering that the turkey isn’t fully cooked or that you forgot the cranberry sauce. A cruise eliminates worry and cooking mishaps and allows you to be the guest. If you’re excited to taste your favorite Thanksgiving foods, you can expect that, too, with dishes prepared by a talented and experienced chef.

With Windstar Cruises, for example, you can expect culinary excellence, whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or any day of the year. As a Windstar guest, you’ll enjoy fresh, high-quality cuisine, including traditional Thanksgiving dishes infused with artfully selected ingredients. As a result, you and your travel companions will experience an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast that’s just as delicious as it is relaxing. 

3. Spend Zero Time Cleaning Up

Cleaning up after a Thanksgiving meal is no easy task, especially if you host a smorgasbord for the family. When you celebrate the holiday on a cruise, you can leave all the cleaning tasks to the staff. So, if you feel like napping after a dessert or sipping an after-dinner drink under a starry sky, you are free to do as you please. You won’t find any dirty dishes or accidental spills holding you back.

4. Explore Diverse Destinations 

One of the best parts of taking a cruise is getting to explore various destinations in highly desirable parts of the world — all in one trip. This includes stops at enchanting ports, plus hidden gems that may be hard to reach by plane or car. On a Thanksgiving cruise to Tahiti, for example, you might spend one day snorkeling in Bora Bora and learning about medicinal plants in Huahine the next.

If you have several places around the world you want to visit, a cruise can be your chance to check many off at once. As an added benefit, you do not have to worry about planning transportation between stops or accommodations at your various destinations. You and your fellow travelers can completely relax as you experience breathtaking locales and create an unforgettable holiday. 

5. Keep Your Traditions

If you look forward to Thanksgiving traditions each year, like watching football or a holiday parade, you can still enjoy these activities aboard your cruise ship. It can be even more fun to participate in Thanksgiving traditions as you cruise because you can relax the entire time and watch the game with like-mind travelers. If you want to enjoy a few drinks, you can do that as well, and not have to worry about driving home. 

On a Windstar ship, you might kick back in the Lounge with a tasty cocktail for the game or stretch out on your stateroom’s cozy bed and relax in front of your flat-screen TV. It’s up to you how you want to spend your Thanksgiving on board, and it’s up to us to make it possible.

6. Have Extra Time to Bond

It can be challenging to spend quality time with relatives on Thanksgiving when you’re busy cooking, cleaning and putting away leftovers. Also, once dinner is over, friends and family might go home, and you may have to wait until the next holiday to see them again. However, when you take a Thanksgiving cruise with loved ones, you can talk, relax and bond over new experiences, pressure-free.

Cruises are usually at least seven days long, but some may spend several weeks exploring a specific region. Whether you book a week-long Thanksgiving cruise to the Caribbean or a month-long expedition in the South Pacific, you’ll have plenty of time to strengthen relationships and build lasting memories.

7. Use Fewer Vacation Days

With a cruise, you can see more and do more in fewer days — and use less paid time off. That means, if your employer offers paid vacation, you may not have to use all of it to have the experience of a lifetime. And if you have any extra paid days off once your cruise is over, you can put them toward a future cruising adventure. 

8. Stay in Shape

Going on a Thanksgiving cruise doesn’t have to derail your health and fitness plan. On the contrary, taking a cruise can actually help you stay in shape and enjoy good health. For example, you can burn off that decadent dessert or fruity cocktail by spending time in your ship’s fitness center. You’ll also encounter numerous opportunities to get active once you dock, whether you take a guided excursion or tour on your own. If you enjoy biking, hiking, swimming, dancing or kayaking, you will have your pick of activities when you take a cruise. 

With Windstar Cruises, guests are invited to work out in the Fitness Center or dance to live music in the Lounge. In certain ports and weather permitting, you can also head to our Water Sports Platform to enjoy unlimited use of kayaks, water skis, snorkeling gear and other sports equipment. The platform is ideal for lounging in the sun or taking a dip in the sea as well.

We also make it easy for our guests to book unique and thrilling shore excursions. Depending on your cruise, you might glide through a rainforest on a zip line, hike to a tropical fruit plantation or dive for pearls. We want our guests to have immersive experiences they’ll never forget, so we did the planning for you. 

9. Get Pampered

If you think it’s time to remove stress from holidays and replace it with pampering, welcome aboard. Cruises are all about making guests feel pampered 24/7. For example, if you feel like having a snack in the middle of the night, give room service a call, and they’ll accommodate you with a smile. Or, if you’re feeling a little tense, head to the spa for a stress-relieving massage.

At World Spa by Windstar, guests can choose from a range of massages, scrubs and wraps. If you want to look radiant for your Thanksgiving celebration, or just because, consider our salon services, like hair styling, manicures and pedicures.

10. Meet Interesting People

Will you be spending the holiday alone? There’s no need to. If you enjoy solo traveling and want to be around like-minded people on Thanksgiving, a cruise may be the ideal way to spend the holiday.

Cruises attract people from all kinds of backgrounds, and many cruise lovers have experience traveling to magnificent places around the world — which you may want to learn about. It’s also easy to mingle with fellow travelers on a cruise because there are countless opportunities to make a connection, whether you join a conversation about an upcoming excursion or participate in an onboard class. 

11. Have What You Need

Do you usually have guests stay the night on Thanksgiving? You can avoid running around trying to accommodate your guests when you move the celebration onto a cruise ship. You and your guests will have just about everything you require to enjoy your journey together, from laundry services to an onboard medical facility. 

12. Try Something New

Although there’s nothing wrong with spending another Thanksgiving at home, trying something new can bring an array of benefits to you and your guests. Whenever you try something new, you get a chance to learn, grow and discover different pleasures in life. It frees you from the same-old routine and rejuvenates your spirit. Cruising is an easy way to have new experiences with the people you love, and you get to do things you can’t possibly enjoy at home.

For instance, on a cruise to Alaska, you might kayak by tidewater glaciers or ride a seaplane over an ice field. A cruise to Italy invites you to tour ancient cities and sample different wine varieties. If you love history, art, culture, food, adventure, nature and wildlife, taking a cruise, whether on Thanksgiving or any time of the year, is like finding a treasure chest filled with unique experiences.

Are Thanksgiving Cruises Crowded?

No, holiday cruises with Windstar are not crowded. Windstar’s ships are built to accommodate roughly 148 to 350 guests — not thousands of passengers like other cruise ships. When you sail with Windstar, you won’t have to wait in long lines, deal with crowds or get lost looking for your stateroom. Our intimate ships are spacious enough for our guests to find a quiet nook but small enough to navigate easily. We want our guests to enjoy the amenities available to them and to feel welcome the moment they step onboard.

What to Pack for a Thanksgiving Cruise

To pack for your Thanksgiving cruise, you’ll need to consider where you’re going, what you plan to do and how long you’ll be traveling. For instance, if you’ll be exploring the coast of Spain, you’ll need to dress warmer than if you’re heading to Bermuda.

To help you get started, here are some essential items to bring on your Thanksgiving cruise:

  • Rain jacket and umbrella: November can be rainy in some parts of the world, but it’s a good idea to prepare for rain no matter where you’re heading. Be sure to pack a waterproof jacket and an umbrella so you can stay dry as you explore.
  • A variety of clothing: Even if you’re visiting a warm location, pack a sweater and a sweatshirt to keep you comfortable if it gets chilly. Try to bring a variety of clothing overall so you can easily adjust to weather changes. Also, include at least one formal outfit in case you plan to have a special evening out.  
  • Travel documents and wallet necessities: Remember to pack essential travel documents such as your airline tickets, passport and copies of your passport. Check your wallet before you leave, and be sure you have your medical insurance cards, driver’s license, credit and debit cards, and a small amount of cash.
  • Cell phone and charger: Although you may not spend much time on your phone as you cruise, you’ll still want to bring it along. Don’t forget to toss your charger in your luggage, and if you have a waterproof phone case, bring that with you, too.
  • Medical necessities: Make sure to pack any medications you take so you can enjoy your cruise fully. Even though you can visit the ship’s doctor for common over-the-counter medicines, they won’t have prescriptions on hand. Bring anything that will make your voyage more comfortable, such as earplugs or insect repellent.
  • Excursion-friendly shoes: What will you be doing during your Thanksgiving cruise? Do you plan to wander around a new city, hike through the forest or spend hours resting on the beach? If you’re looking forward to exploring each port, bring shoes that are comfortable and fit you well. Make sure you pack whatever type of shoes you need for your excursions.
  • Toiletries: It’s recommended to bring only the toiletries you need in small, travel-size bottles. Essentials include a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush and sunscreen. Some toiletries will be provided for you aboard your ship, like soap and shampoo.
  • Thanksgiving-related items: Does your family have a unique Thanksgiving tradition you want to enjoy on the ship?Consider what you may need to bring to make your Thanksgiving cruise extra special and keep traditions going.
  • Anything else to enhance your journey: A Thanksgiving cruise is a time to relax, enjoy your company and relish new experiences. Although you will want to pack as light as possible, consider if there’s anything else you can bring to enhance your journey, whether that be a new novel you want to read or your travel journal to document your getaway. 

If packing for your cruise makes you feel overwhelmed, remember you can always use your ship’s laundry services. So, if you realize you didn’t pack enough bathing suits, you can always wash what you have. 

What to Expect on a Thanksgiving Cruise From Windstar

Windstar Cruises isn’t like other cruise lines. Whether you step onboard for Thanksgiving or any other occasion, you can expect the following as a Windstar guest:

  • Attentive service: You will not have to fight for an employee’s attention aboard a Windstar ship.Our staff members truly enjoy pleasing guests and will ensure your every need and want is met. With a 1-1.5 staff-to-guest ratio, you’ll always have a friendly face waiting to serve you, whether you have questions about the next port of call or simply want a refill on your beverage.
  • Five-star food: You can be sure your Thanksgiving feast, and every meal onboard, will be prepared by chefs who share a passion for exceptional cuisine. Our chefs use fresh, local ingredients and create regionally inspired dishes to help you taste new cultures. 
  • Immersive experiences: At Windstar Cruises, we value immersive experiences as much as our guests and have curated thrilling excursions to help you dive into a region’s history, nature and culture. In addition, you’ll find plenty of enriching onboard opportunities, including lectures, cooking demonstrations and time to chat with the ship’s captain. 
  • Intimate ambiance: You won’t have to yell over a crowd to have a conversation when you travel with Windstar. Instead, you can expect an intimate, friendly environment where you’re free to relax, indulge your senses and completely lose yourself in the magic of travel.
  • Comfortable and elegant staterooms: We care about our guests’ comfort and know the details matter. In every stateroom, you can expect a cozy queen-size bed, crisp cotton linens, fresh flowers and a serene ocean view. If you need anything at any hour, our crew is happy to accommodate you.

Explore Windstar Cruises

If you look forward to gathering with loved ones on Thanksgiving but would like to do something unexpected and unforgettable, a holiday cruise makes a special treat for everyone. You’ll get to spend time with those you cherish without stress or rushing around. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy everything there is to love about cruising, from tasting delicious food to taking exciting excursions, with plenty of pampering in between.

If you’re ready to cruise to your dream destination, we’d love to make your voyage extraordinary. Search our cruises today, and find your next adventure

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