Oh, There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

17 December 2008 By Janine Ketterer

But what happens when you’re stuck on the boat? The holidays can be one of the busiest times of the year for charters and owner family trips. Although spending them with your own family can be boring or patience-trying, being on your own can be very lonely, especially when you’re missing out on your grandmother’s homemade treats. has composed its top five ways of making it through the holidays on board.

5. Pour yourself into your work. Although you miss your family, when you’re busy, it’s easy to keep your mind off the fact that you’re not home. Stew Laina is new to the industry and will be spending her first Christmas away from home this year. “I’m going to stay as busy as possible. If I have any down time, I'll think about what I’m missing out on back home and that’s the last thing I want to do. Of course, staying busy shouldn't be too hard since the boss is coming down the next day, so there will be tons of preparations.”

4. Think of all the “cha-ching.” Heather Adams, placement coordinator with Crew Unlimited, points out that crew are working over the holidays while most people are out spending their hard-earned cash. Perhaps with the money you pocket, you can plan a trip home after New Year's.

3. Ambiance is key. Chef/blogger Rubi McGrory says that the lights and trimmings are all you need to get the warm fuzzies. “Last Christmas our boss was the typical Dickensonian Scrooge. He wouldn't allow Christmas music, made the stewardess take down the decorations and after delivering the boat 1,200 miles into the weather in four months, our Christmas bonuses were re-gifted, packaged cookies. To keep our Christmas spirit, we decorated the crew mess like a great party. Sparkly ornaments hung from the ceiling and the soft glow of holiday lights lit up the room. It felt so happy in there, we kept the decorations up for a long time.”

2. Keep in touch. Care packages and cards are a special way to keep in contact during the holidays. Ask your family to send you cards and photos and put them up in your cabin or wherever you have a bit of space. Also, rely on technology. If you have a few moments Christmas morning, ask your parents to hop on Skype or have your siblings share a video of your family lighting the menorah during Hanukkah. If you know when you have some time off, plan a trip home and ask your family to plan a holiday celebration then, Christmas in July anyone?

1. You always have your crew family. Living in tight quarters can spawn some pretty ugly arguments, but when you think about it, your fellow crewmembers are the closest thing you’ve got to family on the high seas. Although you might not get along with the chef, you still care about him or her. Organize a secret Santa with the crew. If you have a night off, plan a big crew holiday celebration. Entertain your guests on board with holiday cheer, sing carols and bake cookies with the children. The night your charter ends, hold your own New Year's Eve celebration; this way, you’re not missing out on anything and, in fact, are starting new traditions and wonderful memories you will always carry with you.

Happy Holidays from the Dockwalk family to you and yours.