The 8 Top Cruises for New Year’s Eve

By Amber Nolan

New Year’s Eve takes on an exciting new element when celebrated away from home, and a number of cruise ships are sailing to exotic locales for a different start to the New Year. These eight cruises are embarking over the holiday to tropical destinations in the Caribbean and party cities in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Bahamas with Royal Caribbean
Let’s face it: Royal Caribbean knows how to show passengers a good time, and any of their Caribbean cruises over the holiday will be jam-packed with fun. The four-night sailing aboard Majesty of the Seas is a quick getaway that lets passengers ring in the New Year in the waters of the Bahamas, and on New Year’s Day the party continues in Key West. Royal Caribbean will serve holiday-inspired menus and passengers can join the New Year's celebration with champagne and party favors.

Hong Kong on Azamara Club Cruises
The Azamara Quest embarks from Singapore on a two-week journey that includes Christmas in Borneo and New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong. The city hosts the magical “Symphony of Lights “ laser show as well as a fireworks display over the Victoria Harbor – which passengers can watch from onboard the ship as it sets sail towards Xiamen, China. Onboard festivities include a barbecue lunch with the ship’s officers, followed by a dessert buffet and a white party out on the deck.

The Grenadines with Star Clippers
For a relaxing way to start the New Year, Star Clippers’ passengers receive a complimentary bottle of champagne and a one-hour massage during a leisurely Caribbean sail on a luxurious ship. The Royal Clipper carries just 227 passengers for an entirely different style of cruising and a low-key start to 2015. The seven-night, New Year’s itinerary explores the Grenadines with New Year’s Eve fireworks in Bequia, the second largest island in chain, and New Year’s Day in Martinique.

Amsterdam with P&O Cruises
Spend New Year’s Eve partying in Amsterdam, a city notorious for its nightlife scene and relax the following morning on the way back to Southampton. P&O Cruises is offering a four-night voyage departing Dec. 30 that also stops in Bruges, Belgium before reaching Amsterdam. Onboard the Oceana, guests can enjoy a black tie gala dinner and dancing before the city’s celebrations get underway.

Abu Dhabi on Costa Cruises
The Italian-based, Costa neoRiviera sets sail from Dubai for a seven-night, round-trip voyage that spends New Year’s overnight in Abu Dhabi for a dazzling fireworks show and celebrations throughout the city. A number of hotels – like Emirates Palace – throw show-stopping parties with big-name musical performers. Onboard the ship, the New Year’s dinner menu will showcase Italian dishes such as risotto and stuffed tortelloni as well as the midnight "zampone" with lentils – an Italian tradition that is said to bring luck for the New Year.

Vienna on Avalon Waterways
The entire city of Vienna embraces New Year’s as its old city center transforms into a giant party zone with a “New Year’s Trail” full of entertainment. The Avalon Vista spends New Year’s Eve docked on the Danube River during the two-week “Magnificent Europe” cruise from Amsterdam.

Brazil on MSC Cruises
The MSC Lirica embarks from Rio de Janeiro on Dec. 27 on a seven-night voyage that has a special tender scheduled for the New Year’s Eve festivities in Copacabana. Onboard, a five-course dinner is served plus champagne countdowns, dancing, a midnight buffet, and New Year's Day lunch.

Brazil on Crystal Cruises (2015)
If you’ve already made party arrangements for this year, it’s not too soon to start planning for next year (and get a cheaper rate to boot). Crystal Cruises has an outstanding holiday itinerary for 2015 that meanders along the coast of South America for Christmas and New Years. The Crystal Symphony departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and calls on French Guiana and Trinidad and Tobago before spending 11 nights exploring Brazil. New Year’s is spent docked in Rio de Janeiro for fireworks and champagne.

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