Who says Thanksgiving dinner needs to happen at someone's house? Or even in a house at all? If you and your family are still on the fence about which of your distant relatives to visit, mention the possibility that Thanksgiving festivities need not take place on terra firma. An offbeat and totally worth it way to celebrate a holiday about family, friends, and food is on a boat — a really, really big boat. Next month, American Cruise Line is hosting a special Thanksgiving Cruise.
The cruise, which leaves on Nov. 17 and returns on Nov. 24, welcomes guests to, "Enjoy festive decorations aboard the ship and a holiday-inspired cocktail reception, as you revel in the holiday spirit of each community we visit along the way. Our culinary team has prepared a traditional Thanksgiving feast with roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Every detail will be handled precisely for you, making for a relaxed and memorable holiday." As you are aboard can expect everything you would for a typical Thanksgiving (turkey dinner and all) plus the experience of a lifetime, seeing parts of the United States you probably haven't visited before.
Further, you can feel good about your excursion out of town for he holiday; American Cruise Lines is planning to continue its annual "Give-Back" program this holiday season. For each ticket sold for the Thanksgiving cruises, American Cruise Lines makes a donation to a food bank. Last year they raised over $13,000!
The Thanksgiving Cruise is part of American Cruise Line's Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise program. The week-long domestic expedition departs from Jacksonville, Florida, and has ports of call all up and down the southeast coast. You may think you have seen all Florida has to offer (looking at you, Disneyheads), but let me tell you from experience, Amelia Island and Jekyll Island may just be two of the most beautiful beach towns in the whole country, and you'll get an up close view of them and plenty of other areas during your trip. .
Since Thanksgiving is only one of the days you'll be spending on the ship, there are plenty of other turkey-free activities on your itinerary. In Beaufort, you can take a guided horse-drawn carriage ride through the city once heralded as the “Newport of the South." In Amelia island, you can bask in the glory of Florida's third-oldest city; take a river boat tour on Fernandina Beach; enjoy the unique marine life that inhabits the waters; visit Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse. In Jekyll Island, you can visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and learn about the conservation and rehabilitation efforts being made to keep sea turtles thriving. Finally, hop aboard a Dolphin Discovery Cruise to see dolphins riding alongside the boat, or surfing in the wake behind.
For a lot of folks, the most exciting aspect of Thanksgiving (minus, you know, pumpkin pie) is that it marks the official start to the holiday season. But, if you're looking to take your holiday vacation a tad early, consider a Thanksgiving vacation. Or, you know, you could also go on a Christmas or New Year's Cruise, too.