Princess Cruises swept the board with five awards including Best Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean made headlines winning Best Cruise Line for Activities and Families at the inaugural Reader’s Choice Awards event in Sydney.
It was a glittering night, with around 70 of the biggest names in the sector donning their best frocks and suits for the inaugural awards, one of the biggest in the region with over 11,400 passengers casting 286,000 votes.
Oceania – tagline: Best Cuisine at Sea – took out Best Food, and local favourite P&O Cruises took home Best Contemporary Cruise Line as well as Best Theme Operator. Known for their fantastic lineup of comedy, Melbourne Cup and State of Origin Cruises, they also offer specialty cruises to the Tasmanian winter festival, Dark Mofo and to the Australian Open.
Viking Ocean, at just four years old, demonstrated its marketing and word-of-mouth appeal by taking out Best Cabin Design and being highly commended in Wellness and Spa.
The environment has been an important topic amongst the readers – 60 per cent said a line’s stance on sustainability would affect bookings – and a new Cruise Passenger Award introduced in 2019 is the Best Cruise Line for Sustainability. Hurtigruten, who won this inaugural award, has a new ship, the Roald Amundsen. It is the only ship in the world that is partially battery operated.
Silversea won this year’s award for Best Luxury Cruise Line for its outstanding amenities, white gloved butlers and attention to detail. Taking guests to remote and wild destinations with naturalists and scientists, Ponant won the award for Best Expedition Cruise Line.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages is well known among European cruisers, but has started to increase its presence in Australia. The line won the Judge’s Award for Best Emerging Cruise Line. They are making journeys up and down the west coast of Australia with new ships like Vasco da Gama and will host special gin themed cruises with special blends from local company Adelaide Gin.