Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sun December 13 2015

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  • Amber Nolan | December 13, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    7 Ways to Celebrate the New Year at Sea

    7 Ways to Celebrate the New Year at Sea

    Photo via Twitter/RoyalCaribbean

    Ringing in the New Year on a cruise vacation will set the tone for a relaxed 2016. Midnight countdowns and New Year’s Eve parties can be found on almost every cruise line, but each celebrate the holiday a little differently. The end of the year is an extremely popular time to set sail, so tickets are selling quickly. Here are seven fun cruises on which to splash from December 31 to January 1.

    Norwegian Cruise Line

    Spend New Year’s Eve aboard the stylish, new Norwegian Escape embarking from Miami on December 26. While sailing to Nassau, Tortola and St. Thomas on a seven-night cruise, guests can catch an 80s themed show at the Supper Club, kick back at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, or sample craft beer at the District.

    For the holiday, the culinary team is serving tiramisu, chocolate and pecan tarts and other special desserts at the buffet. Passengers are given noisemakers to join the captain’s countdown from the bridge, and on New Year’s Day, the onboard culinary wizards shine again with a special holiday village display.

    Royal Caribbean

    To celebrate 2016, Royal Caribbean features a countdown, champagne toast and special dinner in the dining room. Independence of the Seas leaves Fort Lauderdale December 28 for a five-night voyage to Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth — Jamaica’s newest cruise port.

    Holland America Line

    On Holland, there is a balloon drop and countdown party, a New Year’s Eve gala, special themed menu, and live feeds of the football games and Times Square. For a beach getaway from the West Coast, the MS Veendam departs San Diego December 27 on a seven-night cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

    American Cruise Lines

    The small ship specialist American Cruise Lines is plying the Mississippi River for New Year’s. The American Eagle will depart Vicksburg, Mississippi one minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve, and a gala with champagne toasts and appetizers will be held. The seven-night cruise embarks from New Orleans following a pre-cruise celebration at Antoines French Creole restaurant. A similar voyage is also offered in December 2016, however, it is on a different ship.

    Celebrity Cruises

    During New Year’s Eve, Celebrity is featuring pop up performances, bands and DJs with parties in numerous venues, a countdown, balloon drop and a poolside celebration. The Celebrity Constellation embarks Ft. Lauderdale New Year’s Eve and heads to Key West (on New Year’s Day) and Nassau. While many cruises over the holiday see significantly higher fares, this is one voyage that is still very reasonably priced.

    Disney Cruise Line

    Onboard Disney ships, there will be complimentary noisemakers and hats for the New Year’s Eve deck party, a special dinner, meet-and-greets with Disney characters and age-appropriate parties for teens and tweens. The Disney Dream embarks from Port Canaveral New Year’s Eve and sails to Nassau and Castaway Cay for fun in the sun. If a cruise this year isn’t in the cards, a similar voyage on the same ship is available December 30, 2016 for those who like to plan ahead.

    Carnival Cruise Line

    True to form, Carnival’s “fun ships” will be ordering around 30,000 bottles of champagne for a huge New Year’s Eve party at sea with noisemakers and a midnight balloon drop. The Carnival Inspiration embarks Los Angeles December 28 for a short, four-night getaway to the island of Santa Catalina, California, and Ensenada, Mexico. The ship spends New Year’s Eve at sea and returns to Los Angeles January 1. Cabins are quickly selling out on this voyage (but other cruises are available). 


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Amber Nolan Captain’s Blog: Cruise Tips and Advice

Amber Nolan Amber Nolan loves to be on the water, and although she enjoys the fun and excitement of larger cruise ships, she prefers setting sail on smaller vessels to unique destinations. Originally from western New York, this restless traveler has a knack for finding creative ways to travel and befriending interesting characters along the way. On her most recent adventure, she hitchhiked on private aircraft across the United States. She previously served as the cruise editor at Sherman’s Travel but her work can also be found on and USA Today Travel. She current resides in South Florida.
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