THIS year is shaping up to be a big one for cruise holidays, with the largest passenger ship in the world, Icon Of The Seas, launching in just a few weeks.
And with sea voyages, there’s something for everyone, year-round. Sophie Swietochowski rounds up the best cruises so you can sail through the seasons . . .
FEBRUARY: If your calendar is looking pretty free next month and you’re wanting to fill it with some winter sunshine, look no further than this 15-night Eastern Caribbean voyage.
P&O Cruises’ Britannia is ideal for soaking up the rays during the days spent at sea.
It’s home to the deepest swimming pool in the cruise line’s fleet, as well as comfy cabanas next to the poolside bar.
The 15-night cruise is from £1,862pp, including flights from London airports or Birmingham on February 24.
NOVEMBER: Keen for a bargain break toward the end of the year?
Celestyal Cruises has slashed the cost of its Iconic Aegean voyage, meaning you’ll now pay less than half the original cost. Yes, really.
For £309pp for four nights (instead of £850pp) you’ll sail from the paradise Greek island of Mykonos to Turkish beach resort Kusadasi, before returning to Greece to tick off Patmos, Rhodes and the ever-popular Santorini.
Better still, you will sail on the new Celestyal Discovery, which debuts this spring and features seven bars, four restaurants and a luxury spa-and-wellness centre.
The four-night Iconic Aegean cruise departs on November 4 and the price includes a £65pp discount for a pre-booked excursion.
See celestyal.com or call 0808 189 3197.
APRIL: Tui’s Red Sea & Sights cruise is geared up for those seeking adventure.
Departing from Muscat in Oman, you will call at Aqaba in Jordan and, while, in the country, explore the archaeological wonder of Petra before sailing through the Suez Canal and on to Larnaca in Cyprus, Alanya in Turkey and Limassol in Cyprus.
Days three to seven are spent at sea, so there will be plenty of time to soak up all the fun on board the Marella Discovery 2, which has its own pub as well as an excellent surf and turf steakhouse.
The 13-night cruise is from £1,160pp, including flights from Birmingham on April 18.
For more, see iglucruise.com.
MAY: Not a fan of flying? As the weather starts to get warmer, no-fly cruises around Europe are a perfect way to spend a week or two.
A 14-night voyage on Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess will give you plenty of time to dive into the ship’s speciality dining options including seafood joint The Catch, which has a raw-fish bar.
See cruise.co.uk or call 0870 990 8824.
JUNE: Imagine travelling from one sun-drenched Croatian island to another, jumping off craggy rocks into a clear ocean and gorging on sizzling fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant.
You can do just that on this Unforgettable Croatia cruise and no ship is better suited to an island-hopping adventure than the teeny, 165ft MS Adris.
It has just 19 spacious cabins, a splash pool on deck and an elegant dining area which serves daily breakfasts and lunches.
The ship departs from Dubrovnik and calls at Slano, Mljet, Korcula, Vis, Hvar, Bol and Split.
The seven-night itinerary is from £1,585pp, including flights from the UK on June 1, private transfers, daily buffet breakfast, three-course lunch, guided city tours and wifi.
See unforgettablecroatia.co.uk or call 0208 004 2345.
AUGUST: Tequila and tacos are only a small part of what makes tropical Mexico so magnifico.
The brilliant white-sand beaches sheltered by tall rocks and next to busy cities packed with lively bars make tourists fall in love with the country — and you’ll see the best of it during a Royal Caribbean cruise on board Navigator of the Seas.
The seven-night Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan voyage is from £595pp, departing from Los Angeles and calling at Cabo San Lucas, Mazat- lan and Puerto Vallarta before then returning to LA. Flights cost extra.
SEPTEMBER: If you’ve never seen Norway’s breathtaking fjords, then cruising is one of the best ways to take them in.
On Ambassador ship Ambience you’ll pull back the curtains each morning to be greeted by picture-perfect views.
As you sail from London Tilbury in Essex, to Norway, you can check out the ship’s impressive multi-tiered Palladium, which hosts regular shows, as well as laid-back restaurant Borough Market.
The seven-night Autumn Fjordland cruise costs from £789pp, departing Tilbury on September 26 and calling at Bergen, Flam, Eidfjord and Stavanger.
For more, see ambassadorcruiseline.com.
OCTOBER: The weather still hits the low 20s in Spain and Portugal around October, making the Atlantic Coast and Iberia cruise on Cunard’s new ship Queen Anne perfect for those wanting to give autumn the best of send-offs.
The ship has room for 2,996 guests and is kitted out with a grand lobby, luxury spa and elegant restaurants to host the cruise line’s signature afternoon tea.
The seven-night voyage is from £589pp, departing from Southampton on October 27 with calls at Vigo in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal and Gijon in Spain.
For more, see cunard.com or call 0344 338 8641.