Christmas in July: Make Your Festive Vacation Plans Now

It’s not quite the same as Christmas in July, but you can give yourself the gift of peace of mind by booking your festive season travel now. If you have a specific resort or destination in mind, you might be surprised to find how tight space is already for the period around Christmas and New Year’s. You can’t exactly go on vacation and leave a couple of your kids behind because you couldn’t get another room. So do yourself a favor and start planning as soon as possible.

People who stayed at resorts over the festive season last winter got first dibs on booking that space for the upcoming season. Perhaps they had such a good time, they invited more of their family members to join them this year and have already had their rooms secured for months. If the winters are cold in your neck of the woods, you can rest assured that your neighbors will be flocking in droves to sunny resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

If your crew still can’t get its act together for a few months, your travel advisor will be up to date on which resorts have last-minute space. But don’t leave things up to chance! You’ll be much happier and less stressed if you take the initiative now. If you’re waiting until the weather turns, you could find yourself left out in the cold.

If you’re out of luck on land or prefer hitting the high seas, a cruise could be your answer. Again, though, you need to act quickly, especially if you’re bringing the whole family and need multiple cabins. Virtuoso-preferred partners offer some great itineraries to celebrate in style.

If all else fails, think outside the box. There’s a whole other hemisphere where it’s warm when we’re cold. South America, Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, they all have nice weather as one year turns into the next.

It’s not especially warm in Europe’s heartland, though the jet stream does keep things milder than many parts of the U.S., but a river cruise can let you catch the end of the beautiful Christmas markets along the Rhine and Danube. If you haven’t seen a European Christmas market before, they are a sight to behold. Plus, there’s plenty of mulled wine to help you keep warm, there are great Christmas dinners served on the river and you can ring in the new year a few hours ahead of your friends.

No matter what you end up picking, don’t wait until it’s too late and you no longer have your choice of options. There will be plenty of scrambling trying to track down those last-minute gifts. Getting started with your holiday travel plans now could end up as the best gift you and family receive.

Wave Season and what it means for you

By now you’ve probably noticed that it’s cold outside. And now that the holidays are over, all this winter weather has long since lost its charm. Either you need to get away to somewhere warm immediately, or you’re already looking forward to spring break or summer vacation. Fortunately, cruise lines are eager to get you on board and offer some amazing specials during “wave season,” the first quarter of the year. Whether you prefer river cruising, small ocean ships or larger ocean liners with tons of onboard activities, book in time and there are great savings to be had. Then you can close your eyes and dream of warm sand and blue skies as you trudge through the snow.

Rivers

With AmaWaterways, book by March 31 and receive an additional $100 per person savings on select cruises that are already marked down anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per person. Book select airfare-included European sailings with Avalon Waterways by Feb. 20 and save up to $3,000 per couple. Reserve a Crystal cruise (river or ocean) by March 31 and you’ll have your choice of $400 per person off cruise fare, $500 per person air credit or $600 per person to spend onboard. For river itineraries with Tauck, pay deposit by Feb. 28 on a departure between March 1 and Aug. 31 to take advantage of $890 per person economy class airfare, $1,490 per person in premium economy or $3,490 per person in business class. The offer also applies to all European land tours and Treasures of the British-Irish Isles and St. Petersburg and the Baltic Sea ocean cruises. Uniworld is offering up to 30 percent on select 2018 sailings, and up to 20 percent off several of its U by Uniworld cruises aimed at 21-45-year-olds for bookings made by the end of March. Viking has two-for-one pricing with air included on select Waterways of the Tsars and Grand European Tour departures this year and next if you book by Jan. 31.

Small ships

Azamara Club Cruises is reducing cruise fare by 50 percent for the second passenger in a cabin on certain sailings for Club Oceanview or higher categories if reserved by Feb. 28. Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Hurtigruten is offering savings of up to $1,250 per person for bookings made by Feb. 28 (March 31 for select Norway sailings). Cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage on Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner and you could get a three-category upgrade if you reserve by March 1. Seabourn’s Alaska incentive will double your shipboard credit to $600 per suite on some Virtuoso Voyages booked by March 13. Deposit by March 15 with Silversea and get up to $1,000 per suite onboard credit plus an upgrade on select sailings all over the world. Save $450 per couple on select seven-night or $600 per couple for 14-night Alaska journeys with UnCruise Adventures reserving by Feb. 28 and receive $100 shipboard credit as well. With Zegrahm Expeditions, new guests booking by Jan. 31 will save 5 percent and past guests will save 10 percent on select 2019 departures with supplemental solo traveler fees waived.

Large ships

Book an ocean view or higher stateroom with Celebrity by Feb. 28 and have your choice of a drink package, wireless internet, prepaid gratuities or $150 onboard credit for the first two guests and 50 percent reduced cruise for the third and fourth passengers in a cabin. Receive up to $500 per cabin to spend onboard and 10 percent on shore excursions when booking a verandah or higher with Holland America on select Land + Sea Journeys by Feb. 28 (shore excursions must be booked by March 15). Plus, suites also receive prepaid gratuities. Princess’ anniversary sale runs through Feb. 14, and in that time you can take advantage of up to $600 per cabin credit and free specialty dining, with deposits as low as $100 per person. Royal Caribbean is offering savings of up to 30 percent and $100 per person credit with opportunities for upgrades and prepaid gratuities through Jan. 31. Past guests of Cunard can reduce their deposits by 50 percent, while all guests can enjoy upgrades, complimentary gratuities and free drinks (in Grill Suites) when booking by Feb. 28.

To maximize your savings and benefits, contact Stefany, Co-Founder/Dream Travel Designer of DMC Travel Tailor at (917) 653-9346 or email her at info@dmctraveltailor.com.