York Mumbler Leanne and her family climbed aboard with City Cruises to experience their Christmas Santa Cruise. Find out what they thought in this review.
It was our first trip to see Santa as a family of five (6yr, 3yr & 5 month old). We were all VERY excited and our expectations were well and truly exceeded.
We arrived 15 minutes early as advised at the boatyard. It’s had a festive makeover and is the perfect escape from any winter weather. There’s plenty of space in the secure “reindeer pen” to leave buggy’s and some photo opportunities in Santa’s sleigh.
The time soon came to board. We were welcomed onto the boat by Mary Christmas and shown to a table. The Christmas tunes were playing!! There was plenty of space for all our belongings (all that baggage you need when you have a trip out with the family!) and it was warm and cosy on the boat so we didn’t need our coats on anymore. The children cracked straight on with all the activities set out for them on the table, colouring, designing and more. We received our refreshments. Included in the tickets is a glass of wine or tea/coffee for the adults, along with a mince or apple pie. The children had a juice drink and a Christmas biscuit. The kids ate their biscuits along with my mince pie, i clearly wasn’t quick enough!
I won’t ruin the magic and surprise of the day but there’s lots of special little ways the Christmas magic is brought to life and lots of opportunity to see surprise and excitement on the little ones faces. Actually, forget that, the adults were just as excited!! It was really lovely!
Santa handed out carefully selected gifts to the children. Your child’s age and sex is asked for when booking and great care had clearly been taken in choosing the gifts. All aboard were really pleased with what they had received and my girls got straight on with the crafty gifts they had been given.
“How did Santa know i would love this?!”
What made this experience so special for us, and what really sets it apart from others is what happened next. Santa sat in his Christmassy corner and all aboard were invited to interact with him (or not) as they wished at their pace, in their time, in their way. This took all the pressure off. No long queue to meet him, no upset and tantrums when you reach the front with children unwilling to pose for a photo! (we’ve all been there right?!). My girls were keen to show Santa the colouring in they had done and thanked him for their gift. I returned later with my little boy on his own when he was happy to get a Santa photo, an option i wouldn’t have had if it was the traditional setup. Santa soon had him smiling. Santa was FANTASTIC. My inquisitive 6 year old had various questions which were responded to superbly by a warm and friendly Santa. She later said
“Aren’t we lucky the REAL Santa came today, not just someone who’s dressed up”.
I felt relaxed and at ease the entire time. Something if i’m honest, i rarely feel when out of the house with 3 children! The environment was perfect for a toddler (even my disaster prone runaway). The space was safe and contained. There was room for her to potter about and soak up the atmosphere, but i could see her at all times. It was absolutely ideal. There’s a toilet to use aboard also, always handy!
The hour flew by, full of Christmas activities and interaction with the great staff aboard. My girls both had their face painted (impressive results even with a fidgety one!) all included in your ticket. Again, there’s no pressure to do this, some did, some didn’t and some had their hand painted instead.
Sailing down the Ouse
The boat didn’t sail today due to the high river levels. Honestly, it didn’t take anything away from our experience. We were enjoying everything so much and had the lovely river views. We did receive a voucher to use at another time (of our choosing) to enjoy a city cruises boat ride, so that’s to look forward to!
Is this the right Santa experience for you?
Well we will be returning! If you are looking for a Christmas experience, not just 3 minutes with Santa then this is definitely worth considering. If you would like a more relaxed and calm experience, this is the one to go to. If your child isn’t keen on long queues (who is?!), then this is right up your street and if you want the option to interact with Santa as much (or a little) as your child desires, then again this is what you are looking for.
We all left feeling suitably festive after a truly successful trip aboard!
Thank you City Cruises!
City Cruises Santa Experience – Useful links & information:
Regular sailings go from 24th November to 23rd December, 2019. Find out more HERE. Book tickets HERE.
Ticket prices: Adult (16+) prices from £13 Child (1+) prices from £16 Infant under 1 prices from £0
***Special promotion code – BE QUICK**** For the Santa Experiences on Saturday 30th November & Sunday 1st December, use the code “YORKSANTA20” and receive a 20% discount on all tickets. Tickets can be booked up to 24 hours before.
Disclaimer: We were kindly invited along by City Cruises to review the Santa experience today, however we would never be dishonest in our review, not even for Santa!!!! He totally pulled it out of the bag and we had the best time!!!