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thanksgiving at sea with Carnival - Pecan Pie

Have you ever considered escaping the kitchen chaos on Thanksgiving? If so, envision relishing a delightful Thanksgiving meal, watching football games, and enjoying your preferred drink, all while sailing the vast oceans. Sounds tempting, doesn't it? Let's discuss why trading your usual turkey day for a cruise vacation might be your year's top choice. You'll discover it's a sensory banquet and a relief for your sanity!

What To Expect During Thanksgiving At Sea

Spending Thanksgiving at sea presents an exciting alternative to the usual holiday routine. As a travel advisor, I love to help our clients understand new and exciting ways to celebrate aspects of their lives that are important to them.

So, let's start by creating an image ... replacing your common turkey day activities with dynamic holiday events on the vast ocean. Cruise ship amenities go the extra mile during Thanksgiving, converting the ship into a holiday spectacle.

Entertainment onboard is boosted, offering live shows, music, and games for family members of all ages. There's no cars or traffic, no cooking, heck if you need your clothes washed because you spilled ... there's even on-board laundry service to help!

Be ready for a range of unique cruise events, designed just for Thanksgiving. Whether it's turkey carving contests or Thanksgiving-themed trivia, the amusement is endless at sea.

The ship will be adorned in Thanksgiving-themed decorations, enhancing the holiday ambiance. You'll encounter everything from pumpkins and cornucopias to elaborate turkey displays. Even the cabins will often receive a festive touch of some sort from your attendant, ensuring the holiday spirit is never far away.

The crowning glory of course is Thanksgiving dinner. Cruise ship amenities promise a grand spread that could challenge any home-cooked meal. So, think about spending your forthcoming Thanksgiving at sea. It's a memory you'll cherish.

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Dinner - Speciality Dining, Casual, Buffet, Main Dining Room Or Just Eat All Day!

The abundance of dining choices on a Thanksgiving cruise can easily spoil you with multiple options, be it specialty dining, casual meals, buffet spreads, or indulging in the main dining or even just relaxing on your bed all day with room service!

Each ship, and indeed every cruise line is going to offer a different "taste" of the holiday but even European cruise lines like MSC Cruises do an excellent job embracing this American holiday of excessive consumption. Honestly though, as someone who's done Thanksgiving at Sea on multiple cruise lines ... Carnival does it best and that goes especially true for families.

Not only does Carnival offer a huge variety of complimentary dining options throughout the ship but they are also very good at doing special menus and working with guests who have unique requirements. In fact, this year for the first time they will be offering a special menu with all-plant-based protein for those who prefer a vegan lifestyle.

vegan thanksgiving carnival

The popularity of sailing during the holiday season means more than 110,000 Thanksgiving meals will be served and enjoyed aboard Carnival ships this year, inclusive of all guests and team members. Carnival chefs are gearing up to serve the following across the cruise line’s U.S. fleet:

Carnival Thanksgiving by the Numbers

  • Turkey: 48,000 pounds
  • Turkey Gravy: 600+ gallons
  • Turkey Stuffing: 6,600+ pounds
  • Cranberry Sauce: 2,200+ pounds
  • Pumpkin Pie: 20,900+ portions
  • Pecan Pie: 24,800+ portions

Every ship is mindful of different dietary preferences and food allergies, ensuring a safe and enjoyable dining experience for everyone. With the cuisine variety, you can enjoy traditional Thanksgiving dishes or try out international flavors.

The challenge is do you hit the buffet and go back for multiple rounds of turkey, stuffing, pie, and other treats? Or do you book a speciality restaurant like the steak house where they will have an extra fancy Holiday Meal extravaganza? Or Do you hit the main dining room and celebrate the holiday with your new best friends - your waiters who have been creating smiles on your face all week long?

I won't lie ... I usually do a combo of those and when sailing Carnival sometimes even sneak some turkey and cranberries out of the buffet to put on my Guy's Burger - YUM!

Don't Forget About Other Thanksgiving Traditions Like Watching Football Games and Drinking Beer With Your Buddies

While indulging in the assorted meal options on your voyage, remember to uphold other beloved Thanksgiving traditions such as viewing football matches and enjoying a chilled beer with your pals. The cruise ship amenities are arranged to keep you amused, including onboard bars and large televisions broadcasting the best of Thanksgiving football. Your entertainment scope isn't limited to watching sports, as you can also make wagers on your preferred teams through BetMGM (on Carnival) which adds an extra dose of exhilaration to your holiday celebrations.

The provided onboard entertainment is top-tier, ensuring none of your Thanksgiving activities are missed. Secure a spot at the sports bar, request a round of beers, and support your team with your friends as if you were back home. The excitement of the game, the companionship of your friends and fellow travelers contribute to an atmosphere that's hard to surpass.

While enjoying your cruise, you can effortlessly keep up your Thanksgiving traditions. Relish the football, the beers, the bets, and the company of your pals, all within the opulence of a cruise. This win-win situation makes sailing for Thanksgiving an obvious choice.

Let's Talk About Cost 

The final consideration that stops most people from doing a thanksgiving at sea is the cost of the trip. Ironically though, few families factor in the price to bundle everyone up and fly to Grandma's house in the same way. Travel during the holidays is more expensive, there's no getting around that factor. However, cruises continue to be among the least expensive vacation options and provide an incredible amount of value.

For instance - comparing just the cruise fare and not travel costs - you can do mom, dad, and two kids on a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas in a balcony cabin for under $2,000 (plus taxes, fees, gratuities) or a Family Harbor Interior on Carnival Mardi Gras for a 7-day Caribbean adventure for $3,200 for all four of you (again - plus taxes, fees, gratuities).

Just Thanksgiving dinner alone can set you back $50-$100 per person at a restaurant, and when you start factoring in other value like kids programs so mom and dad can enjoy time together, the cost of daily meals (easily $40 pp pd on land), that number comes out to more than $1,000 for a week on vacation!

Thanksgiving Cruises Can Be Pricier Than Other Times But It's Worth It!

One of the biggest challenges that our clients face isn't how to afford the expense but understanding the full value that a cruise vacation offers. Afterall, this isn't some 2-3 day escape to an Orlando theme park or a road trip through the mountains looking at trees and wildlife. A cruise is for the most part, an all-inclusive experience and that mean delivering a sense of complete relaxation that everything has been taken care of ... and for those that book with a travel advisor, that when things come up ... that there's someone you can call to get immediate help.

So, Why not change the usual Thanksgiving routine? Picture yourself savoring a lavish meal without the burden of cooking or cleaning, all while watching the football game with a chilled beer, as you sail the open waters. It's an alternate, laid-back way to commemorate the holiday, allowing you to truly appreciate life's blessings - like restful holidays. Sounds perfect, right? Don't hold back, reserve your Thanksgiving cruise today.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.