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What happened to the cruise industry in 2014?

16th December 2014

As the end of 2014 approaches and we frantically panic prepare for next week, let's take a moment to reminisce on all of the things that made this year one of the most memorable for cruise.

With the cruise industry rapidly growing, it is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry. 21.3 million people cruised in 2013 and this number is expected to significantly increase for the end of 2014.

It wasn’t only the growth that made this year so phenomenal, 2014 saw us enjoy new ships, new destinations, incredible refurbishments and a host of breaking cruise news.

So, was 2014 the year for cruise? Let’s take a look…

January

'Kicking off the year in style'

As everyone packed away their decorations and set their New Year’s resolutions, the cruise industry wasted no time in starting the new year.

In time for the New Year festivities, P&O’s Arcadia revealed her multi-million pound refurbishment. Showcasing a host of new amenities, newly designed staterooms and the addition of a new 'East' restaurant, the adult-only ship was ready to excite guests once again.

In other news MSC Cruises announced they will sail to Asia and Australia for the first time in 2015, P&O Cruises revealed they will be adding a large union jack to the hull of all their ships and Carnival Cruise Lines released details on their new 'Concerts At Sea' programme.

My January highlight: Oceania’s first world cruise sold out in eight hours.

February

'Britannia starts to unveil'

The resolutions were already broken and everyone started to think about their 2014 summer holiday. As cruises were booking out fast and it was looking to be another busy year for the industry, the cruise lines kept whetting our appetites with more news.

It was announced the world’s largest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas will be coming to Europe in 2015, P&O Cruises opened their upcoming Strictly Come Dancing cruises and Fred Olsen released details that Julian Lloyd Webber will perform onboard Braemar.

The most exciting announcements were those made by P&O Cruises as they finally revealed details about new ship, Britannia. Unveiling the 'Food Heroes' concept and the five celebrity chefs would be working together onboard.

My February highlight: The first plate of steel was cut for Carnival Vista.

March

'A race to be the best'

As temperatures started to rise and Spring was in sight, it appeared the cruise lines wanted to heat things up early and a host of cruise news came flooding in.

Although we were still in the first quarter of 2014, many of the lines started to release their big plans for 2015. It was announced 2015 will see Norwegian Cruise Lines largest ship, Norwegian Epic based year-round in Europe, Cunard will celebrate their 175th anniversary with their entire fleet docking in Liverpool together, Fred Olsen will explore the Arctic and Disney Cruise Line will sail from the UK.

It was also the month for Royal Caribbean to start revealing plans about their new Quantum-class ships, announcing they will have no main dining room and Jamie Oliver will have his first restaurant at sea.

An exciting milestone for Norwegian Cruise Line was met as the first piece of steel for Norwegian Escape was cut.

My March highlight: Sir Richard Branson confirmed he will enter the cruise industry with the launch of 'Virgin Cruises'.

April

'Five years since Oasis'

Spring arrived and it was the busiest month for booking as families, couples and singles put their deposits down on their yearly cruise. The Mediterranean was again a popular choice for families, however Asia and Australia bookings were also proving more popular.

Royal Caribbean announced new ship Quantum of the Seas will be based in China, as well as the news CATS will replace Hairspray on Oasis of the Seas.

My April highlight: Carnival Cruise Lines launched their new children’s programme.

May

'Confirmed rumours of new ships'

As the flowers were starting to bloom and we were in touching distance of summer, the cruise lines made some announcements to remind us once again why this industry is a constant excitement.

Royal Caribbean announced they will build a fourth Oasis-Class ship and MSC Cruises confirmed plans to build two revolutionary new ships.

After celebrating the Royal Rendezvous, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth began her multi-million pound refit. After her 16 day refurbishment in Hamburg, she returned with new single cabins, new restaurants, a newly designed casino and new sun awnings on the top deck.

My May highlight: Princess Cruises announced they will feature in a new documentary on ITV called 'The Cruise Ship' portraying what life is like onboard.

June

'Quantum details revealed'

Summer was in full swing and as thousands of us departed on our summer cruises, Royal Caribbean ensured the only think we were talking about was Quantum of the Seas. Throughout the month they released details of what can be expected onboard.

It was announced that there would be a revolutionary new entertainment venue called 'Two70' that will feature floor to ceiling windows that change from day to night. The Broadway show will be Mama Mia and a twenties Gatsby’s themed venue will also feature.

My June highlight: P&O Cruises revealed more about the dining features onboard Britannia, including cheese expert Charlie Turnball will join the five other celebrity chefs onboard.

July

'..and more new ships'

Soaring temperatures hit England, however this did not stop people setting sail for their ultimate summer getaway. Southampton saw thousands of cruisers boarding their ships for Mediterranean adventures and airports were busy with people flying to the likes of Florida and New York to join their ship.

Royal Caribbean continued to create intrigue around Quantum and Anthem of the Seas as they revealed more news about phenomenal technology onboard. Releasing videos about the new WOWbands, interactive screens and virtual balconies, they branded everything "this changes everything".

Cruise & Maritime announced they will introduce new ship Azores to the fleet in 2015. Norwegian Cruise Lines also revealed plans for two new ships and Princess Cruises revealed their plans for a third Royal-class ship.

My July highlight: Fred Olsen launched a Poison, Murder & Mystery cruise where guests can fully immerse themselves in a murder mystery at sea.

August

'The return of The Love Boat'

The month that sees the most sunlight, August had everyone is good spirits. While thousands of us were sipping cocktails on the pooldeck, the rest of us were enjoying days in beer gardens and family BBQ’s.

Princess Cruises revealed new ship Regal Princess will be named by the original cast of hit US television show, The Love Boat. After completing her summer season in the Mediterranean she will return to Fort Lauderdale for her naming celebrations.

P&O Cruises and Cunard launched world cruises. For the first time three Cunard ships and three P&O ships will set off on world voyages in 2016.

My August highlight: P&O Cruises announced Aurora will undergo a £26 million refit.

September

'Hello to the Northern Lights promise'

As we slowly started to wave goodbye to summer, we were not the only ones with chilly temperatures on our minds. Hurtigruten announced their 'Northern Lights Promise'. Never before offered, they launched a promise no other tour operator has ever offered. If guests do not see the Northern Lights, they will be given a free cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line agreed a multi-million deal to acquire Prestige Cruises, parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

My September highlight: Cunard revealed their latest line-up of guest speakers to include Ann Widdecombe and Michael Howard.

October

'LEGO, Hollywood Rocks and Elvis'

The heating was on and summer appeared a distant memory, luckily the cruise lines had a whole host of announcements to stop us feeling anxious about the winter.

Fred Olsen launched an Elvis Presley 80th birthday cruise, MSC Cruises partnered with LEGO and Cunard were commended for their incredible feedback on Queen Victoria’s performance of Hollywood Rocks.

Princess Cruises launched their new honeymoon registry system as well as announcing details for their 50th anniversary celebrations in November.

My October highlight: Princess revealed plans to bring their 50th anniversary celebrations to the whole fleet and will host celebratory parties on all ships.

November

'This changes everything'

As the mild winter continued and everywhere started to set up for Christmas, the cruise industry prepared for one of the most memorable moments of the year – the arrival of Quantum of the Seas.

After months of speculation and anticipation she arrived into Southampton ready for us to finally put pictures to life. She did not disappoint and living up up to her motto "this changes everything". With robotic bartenders, an indoor skydive, bumper cars and revolutionary dining – she received a thumbs up from all.

Shortly after Regal Princess was named in Miami following her successful season in Europe, Cruise and Maritime announced the addition of new ship Magellan and Fred Olsen revealed plans to refurbish three of their ships.

My November highlight: Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Norwegian Epic will debut new entertainment aimed at the European market as well as a Beatles Cavern Club.

December

'It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas'

As we put up the tree, search for gifts and indulge on the first mince pie, at the blink of an eye Christmas has arrived once again.

The month started with more new ship announcements. Luxury line Seabourn confirmed the order of another new ship set for delivery in 2018 and Celebrity Cruises revealed plans to build two new ships under the project name 'Edge' set to debut in 2018 and 2020.

Sir Richard Branson launched 'Virgin Cruises' and said he will "shake up the cruise industry" with two new purpose built ships.

My December highlight: P&O Cruises released 'The Great British Beer & Ale Menu' to feature on Britannia. It will be the largest selection of British beers at sea.


By Sally Grimes


What Can I Celebrate On A Cruise?

2nd July 2014

Updated February 2017

 

We all have special occasions to celebrate and every year we worry about the organisation of these events. Whether it’s the dreaded family reunion, the wedding of your dreams or your mums 60th birthday, it needs to be perfect. Will everyone be available that date? Will she like that? Will I have time to organise everything? These are just some of the questions I guarantee you will ask yourself when planning the ultimate celebration.

Gone are the days of sitting round eating jelly for a birthday, hiring a marquee in the garden for a wedding and booking a restaurant for the family reunion. Celebrations are far more extravagant now and every year we try to think of the newest and best idea to outdo last year’s turnout.

Going on a cruise is a celebration in itself, but they are now the perfect place to hold any occasion, from birthdays to weddings and from honeymoons to New Year parties. Taking the organisational stress away, the cruise lines have specialised teams to organise everything you need for your special time. Offering special packages, they are incredible value for money and ensure you have a celebration that will never be forgotten.

 

Birthday


Some of us look forward to our special day all year, whereas others would rather forget turning a year older, regardless, a birthday is a very special time. Whether you like to celebrate with your loved one or the whole family, a cruise is the perfect place to hold your celebrations.

Sure to be a birthday to remember, you will be able to celebrate in unbelievable style, whether that be simply relaxing or venturing new explorations. You can choose to book your yearly cruise over your birthday or book a short one especially for your day. Many cruise lines offer two or three night mini cruises that are great for special celebrations.

Before you sail you need to inform the cruise line or your travel partner of the birthday so they can prepare the onboard crew. For no extra charge the wait staff will bring out a slice of cake or special dessert with candles and a fun rendition of 'Happy Birthday' during dinner of your chosen evening.

For an extra charge you can order a cake before you sail (some cruise lines will allow you to do this onboard). With the option to have it delivered to your cabin, dining table or venue of choice, it is the perfect treat to share with your guests.

Many of the lines offer the hire of conference rooms so you could have a private party or celebration if you wish. Another option would be to hire a venue or reserve a table in one of the bars.

Other special birthday treats you can book include decorations for your room or cabin door, chocolate covered strawberries delivery, an onboard credit gift card or a special bottle of champagne delivery.

Many cruise lines also have kids birthday packages available that include gifts, drinks packages and a party in the onboard kids club.

 

 

Wedding


The most important day of your life – the statement that automatically brings daunting thoughts and planning fears. However, a wedding should be the happiest day of your life and nothing short of perfect from the moment you start planning.

Whether you dream of floating through sand on a paradise island in your dress or imagine a more traditional ceremony, a cruise can give you the most incredible wedding. From the planning of flowers, hair, make up and venue, the cruise line wedding team have impeccable planning skills to ensure your day is no short of breathtaking. Royal Caribbean even have permission to marry couples on their private island, CocoCay.

A wedding onboard will be held in the onboard chapel and blessed by the Captain himself. All cruise line chapels vary in size and design but all offer a beautiful setting in a tranquil venue that will be complete with decorations of your choice. From the flowers, ribbons and isle, it can be decorated exactly how you want it. After the service, you can hire our one of the onboard venues to have the afterparty or a section of the dining room for an exclusive meal. Live music or a DJ can also be provided.

It is not only an onboard wedding that a cruise offers, they can also arrange weddings on shore. From an enchanted beach wedding to a cosmopolitan city wedding, your every wish can be granted. The wedding planners will ensure you have everything on shore that you need, from the flowers, transport and food.

 

 

Family Reunion


A family reunion is probably one of the hardest celebrations to organise. Not everyone likes the venue, the date is non-agreeable and nowhere has something for the whole family to enjoy. Rest assured, a cruise will take any stress away and ensure everyone has fun.

With something for everyone, a cruise is the best venue for the children, parents and grandparents. Allowing you to enjoy activities together as well as on your own, there is nowhere else in the world that could offer the range of facilities together in one place. The children can enjoy the kids club, mum and dad can relax by the pool and gran and granddad can join in the trivia before all meeting to dine together.

As with any celebration, you can hire a room or venue onboard on a chosen night of your reunion cruise to have a special get together. Other ideas that make a cruise the ultimate solution to your family reunion are convenient family cabins, organised group photos and a convenient place for everyone to fly to, not to mention the opportunity to travel together that will create life-changing memories.

 

 

Honeymoon


A honeymoon is supposed to be one of the most remarkable holidays of your life. Creating memories that no-one can match, a cruise will take you to an array of fascinating destinations onboard luxurious and innovative ships.

As if this experience isn’t enough, most lines offer a honeymoon package that will create a whirl wind of romantic extras. From rose petals on your bed, a couple’s massage, breakfast in bed and chocolate strawberries with champagne delivered to your room, every moment of your honeymoon will make you fall in love all over again.

 

 

Vow Renewal


A cruise showcases the perfect setting for a vow renewal and lets you relive that special moment. Conducted by the Captain, you will gather in the ship’s chapel that will be decorated in a enchanted fashion.

Whether you want a big celebration or an intimate affair, there will be an onboard team to ensure your ceremony and celebrations are above and beyond your dreams.

 

 

Proposal


Choosing that special place to propose to your loved one is said to be one of the most stressful decisions in a relationship. It needs to be somewhere thoughtful, special and unforgettable - a cruise is definitely all of those.

With a range of locations, you may want to propose in the intimate setting of a private part of a restaurant, the excitement of the bow of the ship or even on shore in an unforgettable location like an exotic beach in the Caribbean, the top of the Eiffel Tower or on a cable car ride over Rio De Janeiro.

 

 

Christmas


Although Christmas is the most exciting time of the year, it can be stressful to organise everyone together and satisfy all. Many of us think about going away for Christmas to take the stress away but then worry about the cost and the tradition of having the Christmas dinner at home.

Cruise ships turn into an enchanted winter wonderland over the Christmas period and thoroughly think about every aspect of the festive celebrations. Decked out with large Christmas trees and beautiful decorations throughout, the ships truly turn into a magical wonderland.

A schedule of special activities will be put on for the whole family and even Santa Claus himself will find you. Festive adventures are on hand for the whole family to enjoy and have an unforgettable Christmas.

Christmas dinner will never be the same after the feast you experience onboard. With the large culinary crew working around the clock to ensure you have all of your festive favourites as well as some new treats with no clearing away to do after, the food is just another reason you will never want to spend Christmas at home again.

Find out more about cruising at Christmas.

 

 

 

Let our cruise experts help you find the perfect cruise for your special occasion. 


Cruise Lines Prepare To Remember D-Day on 70th Anniversary

13th May 2014

Although cruising has become my passion, during my time at school it was history lessons that stimulated my mind with intense interest. 

I can remember spending hours studying World War II and being particulary intrigued by D-Day and the iconic importance it plays in the world today. It never crossed my mind that you would be able to combine a cruise with a significant part of history so when I found out you could take a cruise to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day I wanted to find out more…

What Is D-Day?

D-Day represents the day that saw the largest invasion in history and marks a key date in the story of the Second World War.

The Battle of Normandy saw the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control and on June 6th 1944 the battle began with British, American and Canadian forces landing on the coast of France’s Normandy beaches.

These Normandy landings are known as the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.

Today these beaches are an iconic place for people to stroll, relax or enjoy a family picnic. Lined with museums and memorials it is a place to remember those who fought and died for the freedom we now enjoy.

Re-living history…cruise style

2014 sees the 70th anniversary of this life-changing event that forever stays in the hearts of the world.

With such a significant event to remember and thousands of people wanting to take part in these celebrations, cruise lines have decided to take guests on a trip of a lifetime to pay their respects during this momentous time.

Cruise & Maritime

Cruise & Maritime will set sail for two special D-Day sailings in June and plan to be an important part of the celebrations. A moving ceremony of remembrance will be held onboard whilst cruising past the coast of Normandy before arriving in Honfleur where you can visit the original Pegasus Bridge. The opportunity to cross the Caen Canal is an experience in itself and guests on Discovery and Marco Polo will have the opportunity to do this before visiting Cherboug where they can visit Allied landing areas and the D-Day Museum.

Marco Polo will depart 2nd June from Tilbury and Discovery will leave 1st June from Bristol.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line

Fred. Olsen have prepared a cruise on Braemar to truly treasure this special time. From an overnight in Le Harve, a private tour of the landing beaches and an exclusive Help For Heroes speaker onboard, this cruise will take guests on a real-life history lesson.

The overnight in Le Havre gives guests the opportunity to tour the iconic landing beaches, before sailing to Dunkirk to visit the War Museum. This museum commemorates the history behind the 1940 evacuation. Guests will also have the opportunity to see the Town Cemetery where the graves of Commonwealth soldiers died in both World Wars lie.

The New Squadrobaires Orchestra will be onboard to perform 1940s swing music as well as other commemorative events.

Braemar will depart from Harwich on June 1st.

Swan Hellenic

Smaller ship, Minerva from Swan Hellenic is set to take a cruise from the popular British port of Portsmouth to visit the Normandy Beaches. A special ceremony will be held onboard whilst cruising past the coastline.

Calling at Dunkirk, guests can visit the place where thousands of stranded British and French troops were rescued by Royal Navy ships. Upon leaving the coasts of Normandy she will sail up the canal into Caen where guests can take a tour of Gold and Sword beaches.

Minerva will depart for her 70th Anniversary cruise on June 4th from Portsmouth.

Holland America

Although not advertised as a special D-Day cruise, ms Eurodam recently called at Cherbourg offering two excursions to give guests a glimpse of the D-Day history. The first to Sainte-Mere-I’Eglise where a life-size mannequin hangs from the church spire to represent where a US para-troop misjudged D-Day landing. The other excursion to Bayeux, gave guests the opportunity to see a strip of embroidered linen that illustrates the invasion from Normandy to England.

Ms Eurodam departed Civitavecchia on April 29th.


By Sally Grimes


How to save over £1500 on the Monaco Grand Prix

8th April 2014

The Monaco Grand Prix - one of the most anticipated races of the F1 calendar, it represents the pinnacle of motor car racing at one of the most lavish addresses in the world.

Monte Carlo is a city that defines luxury with its water-front mansions, fancy boutiques and prime restaurants that line its iconic yacht harbors. Home to millionaires and A-list celebrities, it showcases the most glamorous lifestyles. Behind its flashy appearance lies fresh pastry shops, sun-drenched beaches and fascinating architecture, making it a must-see destination with lots to explore.

Most people, including myself, succumb to the fact we will only experience the Monaco Grand Prix on the TV or by winning the lottery, so I wanted to find out exactly how much it would cost in comparison to Azamara's Grand Prix cruise. Following on from my previous blog where I found out how great it was to combine a cruise with major sporting events, I wanted to delve into this further and find out if it is really is as good value for money as advertised...

 

  Independent Package Holiday Azamara Quest Cruise
Flights British Airways
Outbound 22/05/14
Economy: £164
Return 27/05/14
Economy: £436
Flights total for 2 people: £1200
Included
Return flights and all transfers
Hotel Columbus Monte Carlo 3*
Standard room: £198.59 per night
Hotel total for 2 people, 5 nights: £992.95
Included
5* Luxury stateroom accommodation
Grand Prix Tickets Sunday main race: £422.92 per person
Total for 2 people: £845.84
Sunday main race: £422.92 per person
Total for 2 people: £845.84
Food Average meal: £30 per person
Total for 2 people, 5 nights: £600
Included
All meals, snacks, bottled water,teas, coffees & spirits
Transport Aiport to hotel: £74.00
Average other taxi rides: £50
Total: £198
Included
Complimentary shuttle bus in Port
Total Price £3836.79 £2009.92

 

In addition to the above a cruise onboard Azamara Quest will include complimentary entertainment, fitness centre, enriching lectures, laundry service and gratuities.

With a saving of over £1500, even I was shocked by the phenomenal value for money you get from cruising to the Grand Prix...I am not relying on that lottery win anymore!

See our Grand Prix Cruise Deals 


By Sally Grimes


Happy Anniversary Queen Elizabeth

12th October 2011

Today, celebrations ring out across the cruise industry as we celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth.

Having carried no fewer than 52,600 guests in this first year, Queen Liz has proved to be a real hit with both the Cunard faithful and many who have never before sampled the charms of one of UK cruisings most iconic cruise lines.

To make this celebration even more special, in partnership with Cunard, we've piled on huge amounts of Free Onboard Spending Money - up to $2340 per stateroom - for bookings made by 31st October.

Iglucruise sends it's cordial congratulations, ma'am!


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