As we start to bake the Christmas cake, wrap the presents and leave 2013 behind us, I look back at what an intense year it has been for the cruise industry.

From new ships, upgrades, new itineraries, exciting announcements and celebrities onboard, it has certainly been a phenomenal year.

Join me in reminiscing over the most exciting cruise events of 2013...

January

2013 kicked off with a set of announcements that stirred our excitement and anticipation for the forthcoming year.

News: Royal Caribbean revealed Independence of the Seas will undergo a $7 million upgrade and boast some of the venues and features from the Oasis class ships.

My January highlight: The anticipation for Royal Princess was well under way and Princess Cruises announced two new exciting preview cruises to take place in June.

Cruise destination of the month: The Caribbean

February

As we were all trying to keep ourselves wrapped up from the big freeze, cruise lines reminded us that Spring was just around the corner.

News: Celebrity Cruises updated their alcohol policy to change the minimum drinking age onboard to reflect local laws and Seabourn sold three ships to Windstar cruises

My February highlight: Disney Cruise Line announced they would be returning to the Med in 2014.

Cruise destination of the month: Canary Islands

March

The cold weather continued to keep us wrapped up and dreaming of hotter climates and summer cruises.

News: March kicked off with Princess Cruises launching their 2014 European programme. Announcing it will feature 94 cruises on 49 itineraries to 120 different destinations.

Itineraries were all the talk in March, P&O Cruises revealed their 2014/2015 European and Caribbean sailings and Cunard Cruise Line announced their Transatlantic and European itineraries.

My March highlight: The big news of this month came when Royal Caribbean announced Oasis of the Seas will come to Southampton and sail from Barcelona before taking a transatlantic sailing back to Florida in 2014. This news kicked up a storm and the transatlantic sailings sold out in record time.

Cruise destination of the month: Western Med

April

With Spring finally approaching, the ships started to arrive in Europe for the summer and glaciers were sparkling in Alaska.

News: April saw a huge announcement that excited the world; Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton would be the Godmother of Royal Princess, the new ship to debut from Princess Cruises.

My April highlight: Royal Caribbean unveiled details of their new ship, Quantam of the Seas. In true Royal Caribbean style they announced it would be "the best cruise experience in the world". Set to have an indoor skydive, bumper cars and an elevating pod...the countdown started for her debut in 2014.

Cruise destination of the month: Galapagos Islands

May

As we were reaching the half way mark of 2013, the fun had only just started in the world of cruise.

News: With the weather taking a dramatic change and the colours of Spring starting to beam into our lives, the news that Disney Cruise Line were to sprinkle their magic on their oldest ship came as a delight. Scheduled to go in for a major upgrade in September 2013, details of the Disney Magic revitalisation were very exciting.

Broadway’s Legally Blonde was announced to debut on Norwegian Getaway and Viking River Cruises revealed they plan to build cruise liners.

A great month for Royal Caribbean as they announced Quantum of the Seas will debut from Southampton and the confirmation of a third Quantum class ship to come in 2016.

My May highlight: Ventura showed off her multi-million pound renovation.

Cruise destination of the month: British Isles

June

Children were breaking up for the holidays and cruisers were getting ready for their annual summer getaway.

News: One of the largest events of the year took place in June, the arrival of Royal Princess. After a spectacular ceremony including performances from pipers of the Irish Guards and Natasha Bedingfield, Her Royal Highness officially named her. Read about our experience of the Royal Princess debut here.

My June highlight: Crystal Cruises announced they will transform Crystal Serenity with a $17 million makeover later in the year.

Cruise destination of the month: Norwegian Fjords

July

As families were jetting off on their Med cruises or taking advantage of the British sunshine, cruise ships all around the world were full of happy passengers enjoying their summer getaway.

News: Norwegian Cruise Line ordered a second Breakaway Plus ship to be delivered in Spring 2017 and Regent Seven Seas placed an order for a new $300 million ship.

My July highlight: Carnival Cruises unveiled specifics of their new ship ‘Carnival Vista’. Set to launch in 2016, details of the new fun ship revealed new restaurants, venues and many of the Fun Ship 2.0 additions.

Cruise destination of the month: Mediterranean

August

News: As British temperatures were soaring and many of us were returning from our summer holiday, the journey was beginning for Quantum of the Seas. She received her first block as a keel was lowered into the shipyard in Germany.

Carnival Cruise Line revealed philanthropist Lin Arson will serve as Godmother to Carnival Sunshine.

My August highlight: Celebrity Cruises excited us all with a brand new cocktail menu.

Cruise destination of the month: Alaska

September

September saw Britain indulge in a late summer with scorching temperatures and long days full of sunshine. The Med and Alaska season drew to an end and some of us started to jet off to the Caribbean for the first spell of winter sun.

News: During National Cruise Week, P&O Cruises announced Britannia as the name for their new ship set to debut in Spring 2015. This iconic name already has a history within P&O as two ships have previously had this title.

My September highlight: Royal Caribbean announced Navigator of the Seas will be the first ship to debut virtual balconies.

Cruise destination of the month: Greek Isles

October

The chill came creeping back and we started to prepare for the winter season.

News: Seabourn confirmed the order of a new ship to arrive in 2016. This news came soon after they announced they will be selling two of their current ships.

My October highlight: Miami Dolphin cheerleaders were announced as Godmothers of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ new ship, Norwegian Getaway that will arrive early 2014. Fitting in with the Miami theme, it is set to be a replica of the cosmopolitan city on water.

Cruise destination of the month: Asia

November

With the festive period approaching us quicker each year, November already saw people starting to decorate their houses and prepare for festive getaways.

News: P&O Cruises and Cunard Cruise Line announced they are moving away from their Vantage and Getaway fares and introducing two new price programmes in order to allow more flexible booking conditions.

MSC Cruises revealed plans to upgrade their Lirica class ships as part of a plan to attract more of the UK market.

November was an intense month for Royal Caribbean, first came the emotional ceremony for the keel laying of Anthem of the Seas and then during a special ceremony held in London they revealed she will sail from Southampton.

My November highlight: Following the devastation of the Typhoon Haiyan, cruise lines stepped up to help the country that has a close connection with them. All onboard Philippine crew were offered assistance in contacting home and many cruise line sent aid to the worst affected areas.

Cruise destination of the month: Hawaii

December

As this busy year draws to a close, cruise lines start to wrap up their successful year and keep us all on guard for the exciting things to come in 2014...watch this space!


By Sally Grimes