Maybe it's the British weather, or perhaps we're all sick of gloomy recession chatter, but cruising is on the up. New figures suggest more of us than ever want to sail off into the sunset... well, for a while, at least. The British cruise passenger volume is forecast to rise to 1.75 million in 2011, that's up from 1.53 million in 2009 and a predicted 1.65 million in 2010.
So, we've come up with three top cruise holidays to tempt your sea legs. If you are new to cruising, see Essential Travel's top tips on How To Cruise.
Stop off in Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Livorno, Genoa and Toulon as you cruise through the Med on Virgin's Norwegian Jade Mediterranean Cruise . The deal includes flights out to Palma where you depart, full board accommodation on board, entertainment and activities. Prices start at £549 for 7 nights.
If you'd rather depart from the UK and head to Northern Europe on a tour of the beautiful Scandinavian coastline, see Fred Olsen's Baltic Cruise package. Stopping off in Copenhagen in Denmark, Sweden, twice in Finland, St Petersburg in Russia, Poland and Germany the 13 day cruise offers a comprehensive tour. Prices come in at around £1,189 if you book for May, though booking ahead will ensure cheaper deals.
Sun yourself on board a cruise around the Caribbean. One of the best deals we found online was through Thomas Cook, but you'd have to be prepared to travel last minute as the Royal Caribbean International sets sail on April 25 from Florida. It then calls at Caribbean ports including Cococay, Bahamas as well as St Maarten and St Thomas islands. Price from £979 per person.