Never cruised before? Or, thinking of trying a different ship? Cruise lines step up their game in the new year, tempting us with new vessels and satisfaction guarantees.
Traditional cruise line Fred. Olsen (0845 287 1990; fredolsencruises.com) has brought out a new brochure labelled "All-Inclusive Holidays". The plan, by leaving out the C-word, is to capture unsuspecting members of the yet-to-cruise market. It lays the bait of an "Enjoyment Promise" for new customers: if you book a cruise of seven or more nights by 28 February and decide once you've set sail that you want to jump ship, you can do just that. Fred. Olsen will refund your cruise fare and fly you home. A 10-night cruise of the Canary Islands and Portugal, sailing from Tenerife to Harwich aboard Braemar costs from £790pp including flights from Gatwick or Manchester on 3 May.
Meanwhile, in April, P&O Cruises (0843 374 0111; pocruises.co.uk) starts fly-cruise packages straight to the sun aboard family-focused ship Ventura. With only a week away, and no long days at sea, there's no time for your teenagers to get bored. A seven-night cruise of Italy and Croatia, departing on 2 April, starts at £829 per adult and £497 per child, including return flights from Gatwick, Birmingham or Manchester.
Carnival Cruises (0843 374 2272; carnival.co.uk) is setting its sights on families by getting characters from the Dr Seuss books on board, starting this February with Carnival Splendor sailing, round-trip, from New York to the Bahamas.
Four brand new super-sized ships will launch this year. Norwegian Getaway for 4,000 passengers, to be based in Florida, will have the Broadway show Legally Blonde playing in the theatre (0845 201 8900; www.getaway.ncl.co.uk).
Regal Princess (0843 374 4444; princess.com), for 3,600 passengers, will be sailing in the Mediterranean from May to October then in the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale next winter.
Later this year, the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas (0844 493 4005; royalcaribbean.co.uk) starts cruising to the Caribbean from Port Liberty in New Jersey from November.
And in October, Costa Cruises (020 3564 5219; costacruises.co.uk) launches a new flagship to replace the ill-fated Costa Concordia, the even-larger, 3,700-passenger Costa Diadema, sailing from Barcelona, Rome and Savona in winter 2014/15.
In April, Silversea (0844 251 0837; silversea.com) launches its eighth luxury ship, the revamped Silver Discoverer, taking 120 passengers on adventures in Australasia, South-east Asia and across the Pacific.
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