Hallmark Fans Up in Arms Over Christmas Cruise TV Series: ‘Very Disappointed’

Hallmark Channel cruise

Heavy/Getty/Hallmark Hallmark Channel's Christmas cruises set sail in November 2024

As Hallmark Media expands its programming by adding multiple new series to its lineup, from Sarah Drew’s “Mistletoe Murders” to a reality show titled “Celebrations with Lacey Chabert,” one just-announced show has received significant pushback from irked fans.

On May 30, 2024, Hallmark revealed plans to film a docuseries that follows multiple Hallmark “super fans” on one of its first-ever Christmas cruises, scheduled to set sail for the Bahamas in November 2024, per Variety.

The first of two Hallmark holiday-themed cruises was announced in July 2023, promising appearances by unnamed network stars and many holiday-themed activities. The cruise sold out within hours so, in response to the wild demand, Hallmark and Sixthman, its trip-planning partner, announced a second cruise, which also sold out quickly.

With a working title of “Hallmark Christmas Cruise,” the just-announced docuseries, according to a press release, will be filmed on the second cruise, scheduled to sail from November 17 – 21. That has some fans up in arms on social media, from those who feel crushed they didn’t get a reservation on either boat to others who are booked on the first cruise and think it’s “unfair” that the show will only be filmed on the second cruise.

Tensions Have Boiled Over in Facebook Group Dedicated to Hallmark’s Christmas Cruises

In its release about the docuseries, Hallmark said that a film crew from its production partner, Big Fish Entertainment, will join guests on the second trip, “capturing the magic of the cruise through the eyes of the most passionate fans as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime,” and added that the show will “highlight heartwarming moments with cruisers planning special milestone celebrations onboard.”

Big Fish, which has produced hit shows like HGTV’s “Ugliest House in America,” is currently accepting casting applications from already-booked guests who are interested in being featured as one of the super fans, especially if they’re on board celebrating a special occasion or milestone.

When Hallmark Channel announced the upcoming docuseries on social media, it was met with mixed reactions. Many fans were delighted they’ll get to see what happens on one of the cruises.

“The next best thing to actually going on the cruise,” one wrote on Facebook. “I’ll watch!”

But many others were irritated for a wide variety of reasons, including someone on Instagram who wrote, “you totally screwed those of us that worked our butts off to get on Sail 1. This should be an opportunity for BOTH sails. Kinda not cool.”

Another person asked, “Why did you guys wait till now to tell people the second cruise will have a camera crew? What if some people don’t want to be on camera ?”

“Very disappointed that those of us who were in top of the game to get on the first cruise won’t get to be a part of this,” someone else wrote on Facebook. “1st cruise should get the extra fun and perks.”

Meanwhile, tensions have boiled over in a private “Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise” Facebook group with over 8,300 members. It was originally set up in July 2023 as a forum for those trying to nab a reservation on one of the ships and to connect with fellow Hallmarkies who are excited about the cruises.

In the days since Hallmark’s docuseries was announced, there’s been lots of drama brewing among members there. Some fans who feel like they jumped through hoops to get on the first cruise now say they feel slighted and concerned that the second cruise will have the “best” actors on board because it’s being filmed.

Adding to the drama, others in the group who are still on a waiting list, hoping some guests might drop their reservations, are clapping back at those issuing complaints. For instance, one said those who already have reservations on the first boat but are upset about the lack of filming are “acting like spoiled children!”

One fan, wowed by all the tension, tweeted, “Drama in the Hallmark Cruise FB group. The comments are amazing. I will never take a cruise, but I will also never leave that group, lol”

Rep Says Talent Rosters for Hallmark Cruises Will Be Released in July

Representatives from Sixthman, which runs many entertainment-themed cruises, have tried to comfort upset guests in the Facebook group, assuring those booked on the first cruise that their experience won’t be any less magical or meaningful than the second.

Addressing fans in the Facebook group who are worried about the celebrity roster will be less dazzling on the first cruise, a Sixthman rep insisted that both trips will feature appearances from “top” talent, which will be announced in July.

Heavy has also confirmed with a trusted source who asked for anonymity that some fan-favorites are working out their schedules in hopes of attending both cruises.

Which stars qualify as “top” talent, however, is somewhat subjective. When longtime Hallmark talent Ryan Paevey, who has not yet appeared in a movie for the network in 2024, tweeted on May 15 that he is not part of either cruise, some of his diehard fans said they’re no longer interested in sailing.

One wrote, “if @RyanPaevey isn’t going to be included in the Hallmark Christmas Cruise, I’ll cancel my reservation” while another tweeted, “Well now I’m glad I changed my mind about the cruise.. won’t be sailing with Hallmark”

Hallmark has not disclosed when or where the unscripted series will air.