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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


Regal Princess Naming Ceremony

5th November 2014

Updated May 2019

 

Back in November 2014 some of our Iglu Team were fortunate enough to be invited to Florida by Princess Cruises, for the highly-anticipated naming ceremony of Regal Princess. Read on to find out more about these elaborate events, and just what our guys thought of the ship.

 

 

Regal Princess' naming ceremony came just as Princess Cruises were celebrating their 50th birthday, so the event was sure to be one of the most glamorous of its kind yet.

 

Life Onboard Regal Princess

 

Upon arrival to the port, members of the cruise industry from all over were invited onboard the ship, only to be met by excited check in staff, and one of the most spectacular atriums. Here, coffee was served and the ship's crew were bustling about preparing for the main event, the naming ceremony. Neutral decor and gold trimmings set the scene of a luxury liner that cruising dreams are made of. With an atrium 60% bigger than any other Princess ship, it is the heart of the ship that captivates you from the first moment. She is grand and luxurious, yet elegant and welcoming.

 

 

After exploring the entirety of the ship, it's fair to say that Regal Princess has something for everyone onboard. From the opportunity to be a child again in the kids club, to enjoying relaxing me-time in the adults-only Sanctuary area, all kinds of cruisers will feel right at home.

Cuisine onboard went above expectations and the service exceptional. We were treated to the tender flavour of perfectly cooked roast pork in the evening, before being spoiled for choice at breakfast with an array of hot foods, flakey pastries, fruit, and freshly baked muffins.

 

The Naming Ceremony

 

With all onboard preparing for the naming ceremony, it certainly looked like it was going to be a spectacular affair. The guys from The Love Boat rehearsed their naming speech, as Princess Cruises breaks the mould again by awarding the prestigious 'Godmother' title to all of the cast! With fireworks at the ready and Champagne glasses stacked, every single person onboard from crew to guests were beaming with excitement.

As the sun set behind Regal Princess, the view of the Miami skyline made impressive shadows on the surrounding water. With warm temperatures and striking skies, it was the perfect evening for such an iconic celebration. All onboard embraced the occasion and made a special effort to dress in nautical coloured clothes. With only travel trade, VIP's and special guests onboard it was clear to see everyone had a strong passion for cruising, and especially for Princess Cruises. After a glass of champagne it was time to head to the top deck for the naming ceremony.

 

 

 

As everyone gathered around the outer decks in their blue and white attire, there was an apparent 'love for the sea' in the air. The evening kicked off with the introduction of Regal Princess' Godparents, then, after performances from the singers and dancers, a clip of T'he Love Boat' was shown on the gigantic screen that stands as the centre attraction on the upper deck. 

Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises and Arnold Donald, Director of Carnival Corporation then spoke about their brand and what Regal Princess will bring to the company. They were both inspirational characters who are very passionate about their cruise line.

 

 

As Princess Cruises were celebrating their 50th anniversary, they did not smash one Champagne bottle as the tradition goes, instead they lined 50 bottles up along the side of the ship and smashed them all before the main large bottle was shattered over the pool deck. The naming of a ship is such an iconic moment and an experience that remains in the memory of everyone who attends. This celebration appeared to expose an infectious amount of passion.

After all the excitement we were treated to a six-course gala dinner, a toast with the ship’s crew, and a chance to meet other agents before we gathered on the top deck to see the fireworks. Every time the sky illuminated with the intense colours of the fireworks, it lit up the whole ship reminding everyone just how lucky we were to be a part of this memorable moment. The rest of the evening was filled with more merriment, with plenty of dancing, socialising and celebrating onboard this stunning new ship.

If you would like to see this majestic ship for yourself, browse through our range of Regal Princess cruises and start planning your next cruise adventure.


What's In Store For 2014?

6th January 2014

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


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