(6 p.m. EST) -- What did you love reading on Cruise Critic in 2009? Did you avidly follow each reveal about a groundbreaking amenity on a new cruise ship, or did your morbid curiosity lead you to stories about Norovirus and H1N1 outbreaks? If 2009 is already a distant blur for you, let us remind you! Digging into our stories from last year, we have found the top-read articles by U.K. readers.
Our editors' favourite stories included the launch of the largest ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas; the first brand-new luxury ship in more than half a decade, Seabourn Odyssey; and a just-announced change in branding and direction for what's now Azamara Club Cruises. But, it turns out that our readers have different ideas about what news stories really caught their attention in the past year.
So, as the New Year begins, we look back one more time to give you the top 10 cruise news stories of 2009:
New Kids on the Block -- Still Popular After All These Years: Rather surprisingly, the top spot goes to American band New Kids on the Block, which announced in August that it would hold a second concert cruise on Carnival Imagination in 2010 -- after a sold-out first cruise in 2009. Who knew so many Brits are still avid fans of this late-80's boy band? So many people wanted tickets to the 2010 sailing that the booking servers crashed. Now that's a successful theme cruise!
Old Favourite Joins New U.K. Line: A new British cruise line, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, announced it was taking to the seas in 2010 -- on the much-loved Marco Polo cruise ship. With all of this year's hype about the biggest and newest mega-ships, the new U.K. line is bucking the trend by opting for classic cruise style.
Oasis Mania!: Oasis of the Seas was such a big news story in 2010 that news items about Royal Caribbean's new-build appeared five times in our top-10 list. In 2009 alone, we wrote 45 stories just on Oasis of the Seas. The highlights of these pieces have a permanent home here. You can still find out all there is to know about the ship's innovative neighborhoods concept, see photos of cabins (including loft suites and Boardwalk-facing balconies) and watch videos taken during a preview cruise.
Swine Flu, the Villain of 2009: Step aside, Norovirus. H1N1 has claimed the title of 2009 Cruises' Worst Enemy. Even when no one was sick onboard, the swine flu sent Mexico-bound ships back north to cruise the Pacific Coast and convinced passengers to cut short or even cancel their cruises. When cases of swine flu were discovered, the cruise lines had to find ways of dealing with them quickly -- or risk being barred from port. The coverage inspired this stay-healthy guide.
Misbehaving at Sea: Do you remember last New Year when a group onboard P&O's Ventura allegedly put a damper on holiday cheer as they fought over deck chairs and spewed foul language? Yup, that was also the unfortunate cruise when three out of 10 ports of call were cancelled, due to bad weather. Read what Cruise Critic members had to say about that memorable sailing.
A Magical Rescue: A person goes overboard on Carnival's Carnival Sensation, Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder comes to the rescue of the passenger, the whole thing is chronicled live on Twitter --and the dramatic events made up our tenth top story of the year. Luckily, this overboard story has a happy ending.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor