Christmas is a time of cheer, a time for celebrating and a time for giving. But all too often the stresses of planning the picture perfect celebration can become a little overwhelming. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Christmas holidays, but we think they should be just that – a holiday!

Cue Christmas cruises, the tip-top cure for the festive blues. It’s all the festivities without the hassle. You’ll get the full Christmas meal and festive atmosphere, sprinkled in with a warm destination or some of the world’s most glittering Christmas Markets.

So go on then, gift yourself this Christmas. Here are our top six reasons why you should bin the Christmas shopping list and start packing your bags.

Christmas dinner is done and dusted

More often than not, one of the biggest stresses during this time of year is the meal preparation. Especially when Uncle Jack doesn’t like roast potatoes and Gran will only eat dark meat, and don’t even get us started on seating arrangements. Chris will not, under any circumstances, sit next to Cousin Michael.

But on a Christmas cruise, the entire meal is taken care of, everything down from picking out carrots, fighting over the best turkey at the grocery store and the washing up. There’s no stress about serving the meal on time or worry about overcooking the green beans. For once, it’s you that’s treated to a piping hot traditional Christmas meal with all the trimmings. All you have to do is show up.

Get in the spirit without lifting a finger

When it’s Christmas onboard a cruise ship, you know it. The halls are decked with boughs of holly and Christmas trees dominate lavish foyers. The fleet from P&O Cruises sparkle with tinsel while onboard cinemas and in-cabin TVs blast your favourite Christmas films. They even feature visits from Father Christmas himself. It’s next to impossible not to get into the festive spirit, and it won’t be you that has to get out the ladder come New Year’s Day to get the twinkle lights down from the roof.

Avoid the in-laws

Okay, we mean this one mostly in jest, but we have to admit, the sentiment is ground at least a little in truth. On a Christmas cruise you won’t, for once, have to worry about family politics, about impressing your in-laws with award-winning gravy or not bringing up that certain incident at Easter. You know the one we’re talking about.

Instead, you can send all of the family presents via First Class Mail and consider your Christmas sorted. You can feast in your ship’s main dining room amid new friends or head to the buffet and nosh in peace. After all, the whole point of a festive cruise is that you get to celebrate your way.

See some of the world’s best Christmas markets all in one go

There’s nothing quite like a Christmas Market to get you in the festive spirit. The bright lights, the smell of sweet treats and the sound of carols lingering in the air. The UK is home to a fantastic array of Christmas Markets, but fan out to the rest of Europe and that’s where the real magic begins.

There are a number of cruise lines whose routes are specifically mapped out to take you to some of the world’s best Christmas Markets in one foul swoop. Fred. Olsen, for instance, feature cruises that make pit stops at Irish Christmas Markets, in Germany and Denmark. Beginning this year, Fred. Olsen will now offer a special cruise that circles the UK and stops for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations not far from your doorstep.

Skip the cold

The festive season is supposed to keep us warm with good tidings and cheer, but sometimes when the frost settles in and the temperature slips into the negatives, no amount of mulled wine can do the trick. Another perk of Christmas cruises is that many will take you away from the cold and down to luxuriously warm destinations, allowing you to forget winter altogether.

MSC Cruises go everywhere from the Cuba to the Mediterranean at this time of year, while Celebrity Cruises will whisk you away to exotic locales like the Galapagos Islands and South America. Instead of shovelling snow, you’ll be lounging on the beach for Christmas. And trust us – there’s nothing quite like wearing a swimsuit during the festive season.

Experience the festive season in different cultures

Christmas may mean colourfully-lit trees and mince pies to us, but to other countries and cultures, it involves any number of traditions us Brits have never even heard of. And with Christmas cruises, you’ll get a taste of the festive season as the rest of the world celebrates. From the nativity scenes in Italy to the present-filled shoes in Spain and a buche de Noel in Vietnam, you never know what traditions you might bring home with you.

Hear the bells ringing already? Check out our top deals on Christmas cruises for this festive season.

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