Whether you need some advice on planning your first (or fiftieth!) cruise or just fancy climbing a rock wall, then this show is not to be missed. You'll get to meet us there, too! Here's what you can expect:
Better location. The show will take place on Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28, at London's Olympia -- a great improvement over last year's venue, ExCeL, which was a nightmare for many to get to due to transport problems. Most of the major cruise lines -- and many smaller, more adventure-oriented companies -- will be on hand to answer questions and provide brochures and other info. Check out the full list here.
More interactive activities. Following feedback from last year's show, there will be a large element of interactive fun to this year's event, with cruise lines showing off some of the amenities onboard. Royal Caribbean will have a rock-climbing wall at its booth; MSC Cruises will have its own spa and relax treatment centre; and Fred. Olsen will have its own golfing green to practice your swing.
New ship focus. Interested in the latest and greatest? This year there is a "New Ships Theatre" where industry executives will discuss their shiny new vessels. There are 13 scheduled talks on new ships. Highlights: Cruise line execs will offer talks on Royal Caribbean's largest ships afloat, Oasis of the Seas and under-construction sister ship Allure of the Seas; Silversea Cruises' newest luxury ship, Silver Spirit; and Cunard's upcoming liner, Queen Elizabeth.
Great guest speakers. There will be show talks with a number of cruise industry experts including Cruise Critic's very own editor in chief, Carolyn Spencer Brown. Spencer Brown will be joined in the "Sky Travel Cruise Theatre," sponsored by the travel site of the same name, by other cruise writers including Steve Read, Sky Travel's cruise correspondent, and Jane Archer, who writes for the Telegraph.
Carnival's colourful cruise director and infamous blogger, John Heald, will also be on hand to chat and share his unique take on the industry. And, in the "Specialist Cruise Theatre," you can learn about small-ship cruising to the Galapagos (with Noble Caledonia) or, courtesy of Berlitz guide author, Douglas Ward, slow-paced river cruises.
And, of course, us! Cruise Critic U.K. will once again have a stand at the event, and we're taking it to new heights. Be sure to stop by and say hello -- you may even win a prize!
The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Cruise Critic has teamed up with the Cruise Show organisers to offer readers discounted tickets. Prices are normally £6 in advance, and £10 on the door. Cruise Critic readers can purchase tickets for £4 per person (valid on either Saturday or Sunday).
You can order online at cruisingshow.co.uk or call 0871 230 7158. Be sure to quote Cruise Critic for this special price.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor