Provo Christmas Cruise begins 26th season

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It might seem like the wrong time of year — and wrong part of the world — but that is not stopping the Christmas Cruise from sailing down the lower Provo River this December. 

“We have thousands of lights reflecting off of the river. And it’s just magical. You’re gliding across the river, there’s Christmas music playing,” Jennifer King, manager of the Christmas Cruise, said.

The CLAS Ropes Course Christmas Cruise hit the open water this year on Dec. 1 and will run every evening, except Sundays, through December 23. It includes a ride of 20-25 minutes on a pontoon boat that seats up to 40 people. The boat affords guests a beautiful view of the thousands of Christmas lights and cut-outs that decorate the shore.

“I’ve never seen Christmas lights while on the water so I’m sure there will be a nice reflection, and being cold, but being together, and huddling, and having fun,” event participant Kelly Stanley said.

The owners of CLAS Ropes Course started the Christmas Cruise 26 years ago, in 1996, to help earn money during the winter months. Now, decades later, King says the cruise has brought the Christmas spirit to multiple generations.

“We have parents bringing their kids that remember doing this when they were young kids with their parents coming out. So, it’s become a holiday favorite tradition for a lot of Utah families,” King said.

And the cruise hopes to keep impacting generations to come.

“There were tons of Christmas lights. We had a sweet surprise from a special someone who I’m not going to reveal but it was awesome. Our kids, they loved it, they had a magical experience,” Shawn Plyler said after completing the cruise. “I think that was pretty much the whole experience, if I could describe it in one word, was just ‘magical.'”

Though a visit from Santa is sure to delight the children on board, there is another Christmas scene that stands out to riders. 

“It causes a lot of our guests to have an emotional reaction,” King said of the brightly lit Christus and Nativity cutouts that serve as a finale for the cruise. King explained that this “helps them remember what the true meaning of Christmas is all about, who we celebrate for Christmas, and it’s not Santa Claus.”

If you want to make the cruise a part of your Christmas tradition this year, you can visit the CLAS Ropes Course website to find more information and buy your tickets.

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