As another year of cruising comes to an end, we thought we'd take a look back at 2009 and the most popular cruises and destinations. Unsurprisingly, our number one cruise destination is the Mediterranean - with a huge range of cruise lines and itineraries featured in this diverse and fascinating region. With many Med cruises departing from UK ports, there's often no need to fly and this certainly keeps the cost down. Royal Caribbean's, Independence of the Seas sailings from Southampton reflected this trend, and made her our most popular ship of 2009. Packed with stunning leisure and entertainment options, the Independence delighted cruisers on voyages to the Med and the 5th most popular destination, the Canary Islands.
Our 2nd most popular destination is the Baltic, Fjords and Scandinavia. A growing market, the stunning sights and history of the Northern Europe are proving a favourite with cruisers. Almost all cruise lines offer itineraries in this region now, with Fred. Olsen and Cruise and Maritime Voyages offering superb traditional voyages on more intimate sized ships, for an absorbing experience.
The Caribbean is our third most popular destination and there's nothing better than a spot of island hopping under sun-kissed skies. Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, premium quality sailings in have proved extremely popular in this region, as have P&O Cruises British style cruises and Royal Caribbean's action packed adventures. In fourth place we find European short break cruises. These cruises offer a great taster of what a cruise line has to offer, with Ireland, Bruges & Amsterdam amongst the most popular ports of call.
Outside the top 5 we find more specialised cruises like the transatlantic crossing and world cruises. Cunard Line are undoubtedly the leaders in the transatlantic voyage with their decadent Southampton to New York sailings. The world cruise sector offers chance to be a part of an epic journey, to discover Australasia, the Far East or closer to home. 'Once in a lifetime' destinations like the Panama Canal, South America and Alaska also make our top 10 destinations with Dubai - a relatively new and fast growing destination for cruise holidays.