Taking a look at 2010 it looks like we are in a pretty big year. We have had the Winter Olympics, an new government (of sorts) and there is also the 2010 FIFA World Cup to look forward too.

The world of cruises though is doing its best to keep as much of the limelight as possible. With most of the major cruise lines launching new ships, new innovations and new itineraries, 2010 is shaping up as the year of the cruise ship. With eight new ships being launched throughout the year the world of cruising is becoming ever more popular.

This year there is a real mix of new ships being launched. There is surely something out there for everyone these days. The world's largest ship the Oasis of the Seas was launched last year with her sister ship due to enter service in December, the luxury cruise lines Cunard, Holland America and Celebrity have got involved and the affordable Thomson Cruises have added to their fleet. I have compiled a brief list of what's new and what's to come this year.

P&O Azura: April saw the launch of P&O Cruises, latest ship the Azura. The new 3,100 passenger ship is home to Olly Smith's Glass House Wine Bar and Sindhu, where the Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar has created an Indian menu with a modern twist. The Azura is a great ship that combines the traditional elegance of P&O with modern style and amenities.

Thomson Dream: Thomson's latest ship the Thomson Dream is the largest in their modest and affordable fleet.

Celebrity Eclipse: The latest incarnation from Celebrity Cruises solstice class is the Celebrity Eclipse. Launched at the end of April the ship had to miss the pre-naming party in Southampton as she was in Bilbao rescuing 2,000 Brits stranded on mainland Europe by the ash cloud. The ship offers real American- style luxury and the Murano Restaurant is hoping to be awarded a Michelin Star.

Norwegian Epic: The next ship to hit our shores this summer is NCL's super-liner the Norwegian Epic. This ship has been dubbed the ultimate in 'freestyle cruising' and if it lives up to this, it promises to be a real corker. The ship has been designed with the widest audience in mind, there are more restaurants than you need, chilled-out venues and formal evenings. If there was ever a place where fans on Thomson Cruises and Ocean Village could travel with friends used to Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, this is it. There is even the largest waterpark at sea on board. this ship is Epic in name and Epic by nature.

Nieuw Amsterdam: For the fans of elegant, luxurious American style cruises July brings us Holland America's latest beauty the nieuw Amsterdam. You can enjoy the finest wines, most stunning artwork and fine-tune your cooking in the Culinary Arts Centre.

Queen Elizabeth: This October Cunard will launch the Queen Elizabeth. If glamorous, sophisticated cruising is your idea of heaven this is the perfect ship.

Allure of the Seas: If decadence ever had a place in cruising then Royal Caribbean's new uber-liner the Allure of the Seas is surely home to it. With 5,200 passengers, the widest selection of restaurants, bars, lounges, shops, cabin types and entertainment ever seen at sea. The cruise line have announced Chicago: The Musical as the ships main show, there is a huge amphitheater at the back of the ship and the wonderful Caribbean weather to look forward too. With 7 day itineraries it could take you the whole week to see the whole ship.

The year of the cruise ship is a great time to try something different. Whether a first time cruiser or looking for 5* luxury there has never been a better time to jump on board. With ships the size of villages, huge water parks, authentic Broadway shows and spectacular Spas on offer you need never take another holiday again. My experience on the Azura has left me wanting more and I'm sure there are plenty more people who will feel the same by the end of the year.

Written by Stephen Adam