A subjective list of awards for cruise experiences

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Seven Seas Explorer

here’s no shortage of travel industry awards and accolades. 

Today I’ll offer some cruise-only nods — a mini Academy Awards lineup, if you will —  based on my seven years of cruising for Travel Weekly. Unlike the Oscars, in which categories of longstanding tradition are properly judged, my award categories and winners are completely subjective and based mostly on one moment on one ship, rather than a studious fleetwide evaluation over time.

Plus, mine aren’t broadcast on national television. And there’s no statuette. But they’re fun. See what you think, and offer your own winners in the comment section below.

So, with no further ado:

Best naming ceremony: Princess Cruises. Skies were grey in Southampton, England, on that June day in 2013, but who can beat royal princess Kate Middleton christening the Royal Princess? The British pomp and pageantry and the ladies in their gowns and fascinators made it unforgettable. Runner up: More royals, plus opera great Andrea Bocelli singing “Nessun Dorma” for the Seven Seas Explorer in Monaco.

Meal: Celebrity Cruises. I think it was on the Celebrity Reflection with former Celebrity public relations spokeswoman Liz Jakeway that I had a nearly flawless Italian dinner at the Tuscan Grille. Runner up: Guy Fieri’s burgers on Carnival Cruise Line.

Suite:  Viking Ocean Cruises. The Owner’s Suite on the Viking Star duplicates owner Tor Hagen’s book collection and comes with a (faux) fireplace and a sauna with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall for ocean viewing. Runner up: the duplex suites on Royal Caribbean.

Service: Azamara. I know, not what you’re expecting, but I say: try it. The relaxed style really made me feel at home on a 2016 Central America and Mexico cruise on the Azamara Journey. When my time was up, I didn’t want to leave. Runner up: Seabourn.

Entertainment: Norwegian Cruise Line. “After Midnight” and “Million Dollar Quartet” on the Norwegian Escape in 2016 was a knockout one-two punch, and Norwegian has kept up the pace with each new ship: “Jersey Boys,” “Kinky Boots.” Great value for guests. Runner up: Royal Caribbean, where too much is never enough.

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Pool: Seabourn. The cosy aft pool on Seabourn’s 450-passenger ships puts sunbathers close to the water in stylish luxury. Runner up: the Solarium Pool on Celebrity, with its dancing waters fountain.

Cruise Director: Star Clippers. The line’s longest-serving cruise director, Peter Kissner, hails from Bavaria and is the most personable, knowledgeable, interesting person I’ve yet encountered in the job.  Runner up: Azamara cruise director Eric de Gray does it all.

Internet: Royal Caribbean gets the nod for its Voom, which not only is fast and simple but was first to market. What a difference in seven years. Runner up: MedallionNet on Princess Cruises is also fast and simple (but was not first).

Children’s character: Disney Cruise Line for Cinderella. As played by one of Disney’s cast members, the Cinderella I saw could have stepped out of the 1950 animated feature film. The children were enchanted. Runner Up:  Ellie, the towel elephant that prowls the post-turn-down cabins on Carnival ships.

Deck BBQ: Windstar Cruises. A twilight summer deck party anchored off the coast of Portofino. Trust me, it doesn’t get any better than that. Runner up: Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line honoured

Norwegian Cruise Line honoured once again as “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards

Norwegian Cruise Line honoured once again as “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards
Norwegian Escape

Norwegian is named “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the fourth consecutive year and recognized for “World’s Leading Cruise Line Website”

Wiesbaden, December 14, 2015 –Norwegian Cruise Line has once again been named the “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards, marking the fourth consecutive year that the company has been honoured with this accolade. In addition, Norwegian won the award for the “World’s Leading Cruise Line Website.”

The awards were presented to Norwegian Cruise Line at the 22st annual World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala, held on December 12, 2015 in El Jadida, Morocco. The annual awards are voted on by thousands of travel and tourism professionals from across the globe and honour travel companies that provide outstanding products and customer service.

In addition to the award for top large ship cruise line worldwide, earlier this year Norwegian Cruise Line was also recognized by the World Travel Awards as “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the eighth consecutive year as well as the “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the third consecutive year.

“We are overjoyed to once again be honoured as a worldwide leader in the travel industry, and we thank all of the many travel partners, industry professionals and guests who voted for us,” said Andy Stuart, President and Chief Operating Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are very proud of this incredible achievement, which is a testament to our commitment to excellence across our fleet and our hard-working crew’s dedication to providing our guests with an outstanding holiday experience.”

Norwegian’s fourteen Freestyle Cruising vessels sail a variety of exciting itineraries, from the Caribbean to Panama Canal, South America and Mexican Riviera. The line’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway, cruise the Caribbean year-round from Miami. In addition, Norwegian has six vessels sailing the Caribbean and the Bahamas from convenient locations including New York, Tampa, Port Canaveral (Orlando), New Orleans and Houston. Norwegian Sun is currently sailing alternating 14-night itineraries in South America, while Norwegian Jewel is sailing 7-night itineraries to the Mexican Riviera, Norwegian Epic is sailing the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands from Barcelona this winter, and Pride of America sails weekly inter-island Hawai’i cruises that offer 100 hours of port time.

The World Travel Awards has been recognizing and acknowledging excellence amongst companies involved in the global travel and tourism industries since 1993, and has set high standards for all of their participants.

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is an internationally operating cruise line headquartered in Miami, Florida with three offices in Wiesbaden, Malta and Southampton overseeing operations in Europe.

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 49-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which revolutionized the industry by giving guests more freedom and flexibility. Today, Norwegian invites guests to explore the world on one of 14 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, resort style cruise holiday on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea. In September 2015, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the eighth consecutive year, as well as in October 2015, for the third consecutive year, “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards. In addition the company has received the World Travel Award as “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” from 2012 to 2015.

The Company recently took delivery of its most innovative ship to date, the 4.200-passenger Norwegian Escape in October 2015 and has three further 4.200-passenger vessels on order at Meyer Werft with delivery in the spring of 2017, 2018 and autumn of 2019.