The Caribbean is a popular winter cruise destination. (Photo: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images )
A December cruise is an ideal way to spend the holidays with your family or friends. Cruise ships are fully decorated with lights, and holiday-themed music fills the air. Many cruise lines offer special holiday rates for the month of December. The best cruises travel to a variety of warm-weather destinations, including the Caribbean, Mexico, the Mediterranean, South America and Hawaii, according to Cruise Reviews Online.
The best December cruises to South America sail via Celebrity Cruises (celebritycruises.com) and Royal Caribbean International (royalcaribbean.com). Passengers travel aboard the "Celebrity Infinity" on the 15-night Canal and South America cruise or the 15-night Valparaiso-Buenos Aires cruise. These two low-fare cruises visit ports in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Royal Caribbean offers a six- and seven-night Christmas cruise aboard the "Vision of the Seas." Each of these cruises stops in Brazilian port cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Cabo Frio and Sao Paulo.
Several cruise lines offer exceptional offers for December cruises to the Caribbean. Princess Cruises (princess.com) has a seven-night Christmas sailing aboard the "Grand Princess" that visits Aruba, Princess Cays and Curacao. Carnival Cruise Line (carnival.com) features six- and seven-day Caribbean cruises aboard the "Valor" and "Liberty." Each of these cruises sails through Christmas Eve and visits the ports of Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize City and Montego Bay. Holland America (hollandamerica.com) offers a seven-day cruise from Tampa aboard the "MS Ryndam." This itinerary travels to Mexico, Belize and Honduras. The "Disney Magic" (disneycruise.disney.go.com) offers two holiday cruises from Port Canaveral, lasting six-to-seven nights. Ports of call include Key West, Cozumel, Castaway Cay and Georgetown.
Crystal Cruises (crystalcruises.com) and Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.com) offer December cruises to Hawaii. Passengers sail aboard the "Crystal Symphony" for 14 days. This cruise itinerary is at sea for Christmas and visits the islands of Maui, Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai, plus has a final port stop in Ensenada, Mexico. Norwegian Cruise Line's "Pride of America" offers a seven-day, round-trip Hawaii cruise that spends two days on each of the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.
Carnival Cruise Line offers eight December cruise itineraries to Mexico aboard the "Spirit, " "Splendor" and "Inspiration" ships. Cruises depart from Los Angeles and range from two-to-nine nights, sailing to Baja, Mexico, and the Mexican Riviera. Ports of call include Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and La Paz.
December cruises to the Bahamas sail aboard Royal Caribbean's "Enchantment of the Seas" and Carnival Cruise Line's "Fascination" and "Pride" ships. Carnival's departure ports include Port Canaveral and Jacksonville, Florida, while Royal Caribbean's Bahamas cruise departs from Baltimore. Carnival's cruises last three, five and seven days and arrive back to the port of departure for Christmas Day. Ports of call include Key West, Nassau and Freeport. Royal Caribbean's seven-night holiday cruise sails on Christmas Eve and visits the ports of Port Canaveral, Coco Cay and Nassau.
As of December 2012, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering two Mediterranean cruises aboard the "Norwegian Jade." Cruise itineraries include the 10-day eastern Mediterranean or the 11-day combination tour of the Holy Land and the Mediterranean. Each cruise departs from Rome and travels to countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Israel and Cyprus.