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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


2013 - The Most Exciting Year For Cruise?

13th December 2013

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


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