Happy New Year to you all. I hope your festive period was full of happiness, love and lots of calorific food!

As we scrape the last of the cold turkey sandwiches, take the Christmas tree down and make our New Year’s resolutions (that we probably will not keep!) I am back in cruise mode and ready for the exciting year ahead.

My last blog proved that 2013 was an incredible year for cruise, but can 2014 top it?

More people trying out their sea legs…

Already predicted to be another booming year for cruise, it is expected that an increasing number of people are set to take their first cruise this year.

It's estimated that almost 65,000 people in Europe will take their first cruise in 2014 and 21,622,600 people worldwide will take a cruise this year.

Experienced cruisers are estimated to take at least four different cruises this year.

Where will people want to go…

The Caribbean and Med will remain the dominant cruise destinations this year. The Caribbean is always a strong favourite due to the year round warm climate and ability to visit multiple islands on one sailing.

With more ships departing from the UK during the summer months UK residents can enjoy a wider array of destinations without having to fly.

Cruise lines are constantly ensuring they have new destinations to offer so 2014 will see people cruising all over the world to even more exotic and unique locations, especially the experienced cruisers that thrive on experiencing new places. Ports that will gain more visitors this year include Durban in South Africa and Fremantle in Australia.

Asia and Australia have become increasing popular within the cruise industry and 2014 will see more cruise lines venturing here.

This year is the 100 year anniversary of the Panama Canal so it is a great time to take a cruise here.  With less than 200 days left until the opening of a bigger and better canal, Panama are going to celebrate this milestone by hosting exciting events throughout this period.  Almost all cruise lines visit this iconic part of the world but 2014 will see cruise lines taking special Panama Canal Cruises to join in the celebrations.

I predict South America will be a favourite this year as they host the 2014 Football World Cup. The anticipation for this event is building up and globe-trotters are already visiting Brazil, Peru and Chile for a taste of things to come.

MSC Cruises are sending MSC Divina on two Grand Voyage cruises to and from the World Cup. I have a feeling other cruise lines will see the potential in offering this too.

Cruise news set to boom…

More industry announcements, upgrades and news will keep us on our toes this year.

Oceania Cruises will complete their $50 million fleet upgrade and Regatta, Insignia and Nautica will showcase their upgrades during May and June.

The largest ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas will come to the UK for the first time and embark on a one-off transatlantic cruise from Southampton in November.  Selling out in record time it is set to be a once in a lifetime cruise. 

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas will debut the first virtual balconies in November. Select rooms will have a virtual 80 inch floor-to-ceiling HD screen and project real time exterior views .

Regent Seven Seas will upgrade Seven Seas Mariner as part of their extensive revitalisation programme to ensure their fleet boasts the highest modern standards.

Along with other cruise fanatics, I am most excited about the new ships arriving this year.

To kick start the year, the first to arrive will be Norwegian Getaway. The new 4,028 passenger ship from Norwegian Cruise Line is set to arrive into Southampton in January before heading to her home port of Miami.

Princess Cruises will showcase their latest master piece, Regal Princess. Set to arrive in Spring she will be the sister of Royal Princess, I wonder if she will have such an iconic Godmother as her sister though?

Costa Cruises will launch their new 3,700 passenger Mediterranean inspired ship. Named Costa Diadema she will be the fleet’s new flagship and feature exclusive innovations new to the brand.

Saving the best to last (in some eyes anyway!) Royal Caribbean will launch their new mega ship. Scheduled to debut in November, Quantum of the Seas has stirred up a storm already. The build-up for this ship has been intense and according to industry experts it is the most highly anticipated ship of 2014.

Will this be the most exciting year?

Every year is exciting for cruise in my eyes and I love to see how each month cruise lines exclusively reveal unpredictable news that gets everyone buzzing.

Will 2014 top 2013? I can’t tell at this point but I am sure the cruise lines have plenty up their sleeves to make 2014 just as gripping as last year.


By Sally Grimes