As the cruise season begins heating up in our part of the world, I will be stepping away from the hype to focus on something a lot less relaxing but almost as exciting: a new baby. Before maternity leave starts, I wanted to pop into the blog to say farewell - and to wish everyone safe and wonderful cruising over the next few months! If you are heading out on the soon-to-arrive Ovation of the Seas, I am especially envious!
A look back at 2016
This past year has been a good one for the cruise scene, and while there is still plenty of fun to come, I had a quick look back at some of the highlights so far.
- January kicked off with the announcement that P&O Australia have plans in the pipeline for a brand new ship to be built, the first new build destined for the Australian market right from the get-go. It is scheduled for 2019.
- We also heard in February about the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston to the beautiful islands of Fiji. The spirit shown in rebuilding and moving on from the cyclone this year has been remarkable and inspiring.
- March was a big month for cruise news - the Ovation of the Seas made her first foray onto the seas for which she was named, and P&O gave forewarning of the Pacific Pearl's departure from the fleet to make room for bigger and better things, a bittersweet moment for P&O passengers.
- We took a look at influential women in cruising for a great article about the high-flying ladies who help make our holidays happen, be they captains or CEOs.
- Towel Friends made their first appearance on the blog, and many a terrycloth creature has been featured on the Cruise Sale Finder Facebook page since!
- April brought an interview popular with all Carnival cruisers: we spoke with Dessi, beloved Maitre' D who has charmed many a passenger on the Carnival Spirit with her friendly and welcoming nature.
- In May, CLIA Australasia released their stats for the Australian cruise industry in 2015, and they showed big growth, and the country boasting the number one market penetration - above even the USA. More than one million passengers departed on ocean cruises in 2015, an impressive figure!
- In June, we heard from a VERY experienced cruiser: Rob Mitchell, cruising novelist, spoke to us in three installments about his experiences, tips and a semi-retirement spent largely at sea on various Princess cruises.
- In July, we announced a lucky winner in our #BestCruiseView competition, and shared not only that stunning photo but a few more which caught our eye.
- Over the course of the year, we heard from some intrepid adventurers who reported back on various cruises. There was Alex on the Queen Mary 2, Ryan on Fathom's Adonia, Meghan and Sarah on the Ovation of the Seas and Anita and Mark on the Pacific Pearl from Singapore.
- Most recently, I enjoyed getting onboard the Emerald Princess in Auckland to review the SHARE specialty restaurant by celebrity chef Curtis Stone. A delicious experience!
What's ahead: cruising with kids?
Holidays with little ones have been a hot topic on the blog in recent years - from which family-friendly cruise line to choose, to how to pack for a cruise with kids. It's great to be in the know about how compatible cruising and children can be, as I'm hoping there will be some fantastic family holidays in the future!
There will also be plenty more options when it comes to cruising in Australia and New Zealand in 2017 and 2018, that much is obvious. From new vessels in the P&O fleet to more cruise lines stationing their ships Down Under, it's an exciting time, and I look forward to diving back into it sometime next year. Until then, happy cruising - it has been a pleasure writing for the Cruise Sale Finder community of voyagers!