Christmas cruises are traditionally the worst cruises of the year for those of us who work on ships.
1. It seems that the idea of being away from friends and family at Christmas sounded pretty good when you booked your cruise back in August. When you arrive at the ship in late December, you start wondering what you were thinking.Everyone is a stranger; the smells and view are not like good old Christmas back home.
2. Airlines and Cruise Lines take advantage of the family holidays by charging extra for passage. Its the same trip, but costs more.
3. Airlines and Cruise Lines get greedy and overbook at Christmas. This results in long lines for everyone, stressed out employees, and lots of screaming and complaints.
4. If you have any problems with air passage or cabin assignments (and you probably will) all the offices are closed for the holidays, so there is little chance of assistance or resolution until you get home.
5. Every child in America goes on holiday with his family for Christmas. If you love being over-run with unruly children, take a Christmas Cruise.
6. Some Jewish people who take Christmas cruises are not so happy about all the hoopla and decorations. We warn all staff not to say "Merry Christmas" to anyone for fear of offending them. But some staff always slip up, say the forbidden words to a non-christian, and we have a big drama on the ship - with loud complaining.
7. Many ships are overbooked at Christmas. The ships have the necessary beds, but their licenses limit the TOTAL number of bodies aboard when they sail. The cruise lines solve the problem by putting some service crew in hotels for the week to allow more passengers to sail. This results in too many passengers aboard an understaffed ship. There is no physical danger in this, but it is a recipe for disaster in the services departments.
8. Finally, the crew is not especially happy to be away from family at this time of year. Add them to several hundred (or thousand) passengers who have just reached the same conclusion. You have the makings of a real mess.
The following week (New Years Cruise) is usually one of the best of the year. All of the problems listed above seem to disappear - and the fares are lower.