Celebrate Easter or Passover on a cruise

Celebrate Easter or Passover on a cruise

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Royal Caribbean: On Royal Caribbean ships a rabbi is onboard for Passover and passengers can attend a group Seder on the first night of the holiday — featuring Kosher-style food. Holiday services are available on Easter, along with a special Easter Sunday meal, egg hunt and special arts and crafts activities.

Holland America Line: Most HAL ships have a rabbi or cantor onboard leading Passover services. Passengers can RSVP to attend a Seder. The Easter Bunny passes out chocolates and poses for photos on Easter Sunday. There is also an Easter egg hunt for kids and an Easter bonnet competition. Egg decorating and jellybean counting are among other activities. A priest conducts Easter mass and a minister conducts interdenominational services.

Carnival Cruise Lines: Traditional foods are offered during the eight-day Passover period with special menus available upon request. If guests wish to conduct a Seder, Carnival will provide the facility and traditional foods. The Easter bunny makes an appearance on Easter Sunday and poses for photos with guests. There is an egg hunt that takes place for kids and the ships are decorated with Easter decorations and ornaments.

Cunard: Easter activities include egg/candy hunts and other activities for younger guests, plus a variety of holiday decorations in public areas. Clergy are onboard to conduct Easter services. On Passover, there is a service and traditional Seder dinner is available.

Disney Cruise Line: Easter events Disney-style include a special character meet and greet. Children have the opportunity to participate in themed arts and crafts, face painting and Easter egg hunts. A Catholic Mass and separate interdenominational service take place on Easter morning. Special holiday flower arrangements are also available for purchase.

MSC Cruises: On the MSC Divina, sailing from Miami, activities include a kids’ “Easter hunt,” costume parades, Easter chef classes, chocolate Easter eggs, special line dancing and arts and crafts and a number of other Easter-themed activities on the ship’s April 19 sailing. At an Easter Gala dinner on April 20, features such dishes as thyme-crusted lamb chops.

Crystal: A Passover dinner takes place in Prego on both Crystal ships, with crew, officers and entertainers participating. A rabbi conducts the Seder. The Crystal Symphony will be in Shanghai, where an optional excursion explores Shanghai’s Jewish heritage. On Easter, guests can attend a sunrise service with onboard clergy and an egg hunt and will find chocolate bunnies and other treats decorating tables in the dining room and at the Lido buffet. Guests in Penthouse suites receive a special platter of Easter treats.

Silversea: On Passover, a rabbi is onboard and conducts religious services and also hosts a table at dinner for any passengers who wish to join him. For Easter, depending on the vessel and the day (whether a port day or sea day), Silversea features a special holiday luncheon or a Gala Dinner on board. The line also offers Easter eggs as a turndown gift in every suite. Clergy conduct religious services.

Costa Cruises: Italian line Costa goes all out for Easter (one all ships except those in Asia) with themed decorations including bunnies, eggs and chicks in public areas, including bars. There is a Holy Mass conducted by a priest on Easter.

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Nine things you can learn on a cruise ship

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You go on a cruise vacation so you can relax, enjoy the sea and nightlife, and visit new places; but you can actually pick up new skills as well. Many ships offer cooking demos, mixology sessions, dance classes and bridge lessons, and there are educational offerings that go way beyond the norm.

Check out these shipboard classes:

Computer skills

On Holland America Line ships, classes are led by a Microsoft-trained “techspert” and include digital cameras, cloud storage and Windows 8. Crystal Cruises’ Computer University@Sea has guests working on Macs, with instruction on topics ranging from email to advanced photo finishing and website design (smartphone instruction too). Celebrity ships have certified staff offering instruction from beginner to advanced on Apple products (most of the ships are also Authorized Apple Resellers).

Comedy

On the Norwegian Epic, Pearl, Gem, Star, Dawn and Breakaway, a resident troupe from The Second City not only performs improvisational comedy but also hosts workshops where you can learn some comedy techniques.

Language classes

Crystal Cruises serves up Berlitz language classes in Spanish and other languages, depending on the sailing region; Celebrity Cruises has a similar partnership providing guests access to lessons via Rosetta Stone.

Painting/Art

Oceania Cruises’ Artist Loft, on the Marina and Riviera, is the venue for artists-in-residence, conducting classes in everything from needlepoint to watercolor painting. On the latest Celebrity Solstice-class ships, The Art Studio hosts Master artists from ArtCenter South Florida, with classes including jewelry making, sketching, and painting. Crystal Cruises hosts Odyssey Art at Sea, combining art history with art making.

Navigation

Princess Cruises’ Navigation@Sea is for the shippy ship crowd that wants to know the history of navigation from ancient mariners to modern vessels, in a session conducted by a ship officer.

Acting

On transatlantic sailings on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, passengers can attend acting workshops with a troupe of recent graduates from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The actors share their training in RADA Acting Workshops, and passengers have the opportunity to perform a Shakespeare monologue or poem.

Magic

Master magicians come onboard Crystal ships as part of the line’s partnership with the Magic Castle, Hollywood’s renowned private magicians’ club. In addition to performing, they conduct how’d-they-do-it workshops.

Ceramics

Through its Scholarship@Sea program, Princess Cruises uniquely serves up Ceramics@Sea – using special seagoing kilns. You paint your own design on pre-made pieces.

Photography

While several lines offer photography classes, none has bigger creds than Lindblad Expeditions, where a National Geographic photographer or an instructor trained by Nat Geo (depending on the sailing) give photo lessons. The pros even stand by your side advising, on deck and on shore, and offer one-on-one critiques.