© David Martinez 2007 355 Bryant St. #404 San Francisco, CA 94107 USA +1.415.543.7008

2017 Reader’s Choice Awards – results announced

More votes than ever

It’s been a bumper year for Cruise Passenger’s much anticipated People’s Choice awards, with an amazing voter turnout of almost 10,000.

The results show Australia’s continuing loyalty to Premium cruise lines, and those which ensure there is an Aussie element to their ships.

The big winner is Princess Cruises – taking out four medallions.  Indeed, the Carnival fleet did well – the results of some major work on their fleets and service offerings.

P&O’s win as best Contemporary Cruise Line is richly deserved after a huge refurbishment of its ships, food and entertainment.

APT, an Aussie favourite, also won favour in river cruising and in the burgeoning adventure sector.

Oceania’s win for best food is another demonstration of the importance cruise lines place in their area. Oceania’s food program and teaching kitchens have been very popular.

Royal Caribbean also did well, winning for activities and taking our three highly commended slots.

The numbers should make our winners especially proud of their achievements. There is now no bigger nor more important group of judges than you, our loyal readers. 

These Reader’s Choice Awards recognise the cruise lines that YOU have told us should be awarded for their excellence. Covering categories including food, spa, premium, adventure, luxury river and more, they celebrate the best of the best.

We know the cruise lines find these verdicts more important than any other – because they come from you, their passengers.

So thank you for taking part in such enormous numbers. It’s our 21st year of publishing, so we are also proud of these results.

We think you have chosen wisely.  We know, by sharing your views, you help the whole industry improve. So keep your comments and reviews coming.

Peter Lynch – Publisher


Best Cruise Line Overall

Princess Cruises

What we say: Princess Cruises is the quintessential Austalian cruise line – premium, great value and terrific service.  Princess was among the first to realise that Australians would love cruise, if cruise loved Australia. The line offered great ships, Broadway entertainment, delicious food and beautiful spa facilities – all in a uniquely Australian way. The line will be sending Majestic Princess, the fleet’s newest ship, to Australia next year. Stand by for a whole new Princess experience.

What they say: “We’re thrilled to be recognised by Cruise Passenger readers as the best ocean cruise line for the third year in a row. We’re delighted to know so many Cruise Passenger readers enjoy our cruises and are coming back rich with new memories.” Stuart Allison, Vice President, Australia & New Zealand, Princess Cruises

Highly commended

Royal Caribbean

Best Luxury Cruise Line


What we say: It’s the third year in a row that Silversea has taken out the award for your favourite luxury cruise line. The fleet is expanding with a new Silversea ship, Silver Moon, on the way. This year saw the launch of the luxurious Silver Muse which visits Sydney during the Aussie wave season. Silversea, known for its food offerings, luxurious all balcony suites as well as fabulous shore excursions.

What they say: “Silversea is honoured to be voted the ‘Best Luxury Cruise Line’ by Cruise Passenger’s readers. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of luxury by offering the highest levels of service on board, pioneering innovation throughout our fleet and exploring more destinations than ever.” Amber Wilson, Managin Director Asia Pacific, Silversea Cruises

Highly Commended


Best Premium Cruise Line

Princess Cruises

What we say: This is going to be the most contested category of the next decade.  Princess has held it for years – now newcomers Norwegian, old stagers Celebrity and up-and-comers like Royal Caribbean are challenging the category. But Princess is moving too – new ship Majestic Princess, celebrity chef Curtis Stone, new comfortable beds created by the sleep doctor, Dr Michael Breus, new spa facilities and the legendary Princess staff service auger well for the line to hold its position.

What they say: “Five years of winning Best Premium Cruise Line is wonderful news! We’re honoured by the continued recognition of Cruise Passenger readers. The past 12 months have been huge for us – we’ve launched our new Royal Class Ship, Majestic Princess which we’re excited to bring to Australia in September next year.” Stuart Allison, Vice President, Australia & New Zealand, Princess Cruises

Highly commended

Celebrity Cruises

Best Family Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line

What we say: It’s the all-family fun cruise line – considering its presence, it’s hard to believe it only has two ships. Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend have not only great facilities and programs for the kids, but plenty to keep the adults entertained. Carnival’s partnership with Dr Seuss means the entire family can have breakfast with Cat in the Hat as well as Thing 1 and Thing 2 and feast on green eggs and ham.

What they say: “We are honoured to be recognised as the best cruise line for families by the readers of Cruise Passenger magazine. From sliding down Green Thunder to digging into a plate of greens eggs and ham, we are all about free-spirited, family friendly fun and this award is a testament to that commitment.” Jennifer Vandekreeke, Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia.

Highly commended

Royal Caribbean

Best Contemporary Cruise Line

P&O Cruises Australia

What we say: This perennial Aussie favourite has taken out this year’s Best Mid-Range Cruise Line award. And deservedly so. P&O has made perhaps the biggest changes of any cruise line, with enormous investment in its ships and destinations. This year, the line launched Pacific Explorer, which has already been a great hit. There is a new dining options from Luke Mangan, who has created a new burger bar and with a new entertainment lineup and cool activities, this is a completely new P&O.

What they say: “I am honoured P&O Cruises has been awarded the title of Best Contemporary Cruise Brand in this year’s Cruise Passenger Awards. The accolade reflects the fantastic contribution our crew makes each and every day to ensure our passengers cruise holidays are a memorable success.” Sture Myrmell, President P&O Cruises.

Highly commended

Royal Caribbean

Best Adventure Cruise Line


What we say: APT has stunning itineraries around the world that take you off the beaten track. And all of those amazing destinations are delivered impeccably. APT can take you anywhere, from the ice to the remote parts of Australia. Travelling with APT, you don’t have to compromise style and comfort. One of Australia’s oldest touring companies has a fleet of beautiful small ships. With just 100 or so passengers, you don’t have to experience destinations with hordes of other tourists.

What they say: “To win the Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Adventure Cruise three years in a row confirms APT’s position as the leaders in expedition cruising. With APT, an adventure to the remotest, most enticing locations imaginable need not compromise on luxury or comfort. We are proud to offer such a unique product and are humbled to be voted by the readers, as the leaders in Adventure Cruising, again in 2017.” Steve Reynolds, APT Chief Executive Officer

Highly commended

Captain Cook Cruises

Best River Cruise Line Overall


What we say: APT has won this year’s Best River Cruise Line Overall for the wide array of itineraries around the world, produced in perfect harmony with its promise – “It’s got to be perfect”. APT not only explores the rivers of Europe as well as in Asia and Africa, the company line offers unique experiences around the estuaries of the world with some of the best shore excursions. You’ll be sailing in the lap of luxury down the Chobe River on the stunning Zambezi Queen or down the Yangtze river in China.

What they say: “APT are honoured to win the award for the Best River Cruise in the Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards. From humble beginnings in Europe, the program has grown from strength to strength, year on year and we now offer river cruising around the world. Thank you to the readers for their vote.” Steve Reynolds, APT Chief Executive Officer

Best Luxury River Cruise Line


What we say: It’s the third year in a row that Scenic has won the award. The line is launching sleek and sophisticated vessels and are a favourite with the Australian crowd. Since its rebranding in 2015, it has been consistently known for its lovely local food and contemporary Australian experience. Scenic’s intimate river cruising experience means boutique shore excursions as well as cool new activities like electric biking. The line’s bespoke experience also ensures that you are treated like a king or a queen.

What they say: “We are delighted to be acknowledged as the ‘Best Luxury River Cruise Line’ for the third year in a row. Our guests are at the forefront of all we do, which makes this win particularly special, as it was voted for by past and potential Scenic cruisers.” Aleisha Fittler, Scenic Group Executive General Manager.

Best for food

Oceania Cruises

What we say: This is the second year in a row Oceania Cruises has taken out the award for Best Food. With famous chef French Jacques Pepin the Executive Culinary Director, guests have said they adore the food offerings from Oceania and the line also won over the judges’ hearts (and stomachs) for Cruise Passenger’s 21st birthday awards. The line has lovely specialty restaurants on its ships offering Italian, pan Asian as well as French cuisine.

What they say: “Oceania Cruises is thrilled to be recognised by Cruise Passenger for our exceptional onboard dining experience, known to rival even the finest onshore restaurants. The six mid-sized ships in our fleet showcase up to twelve gourmet dining options, all of which feature open-seating dining, giving our guests the flexibility to dine wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose.” Steve Odell, Senior Vice President & Managing Director for Oceania Cruises.

Highly commended

Princess Cruises

Best for Entertainment

Princess Cruises

What we say: Australia’s favourite cruise line has won the award for Best for Entertainment for the second year in a row. Princess last year partnered with Broadway producer and director Stephen Schwartz. The Tony and Academy-award winning songster created Magic To Do, a collaboration of songs from his hit shows including Godspell, Pipin and Wicked. The show premiered on Emerald Princess when it arrived in Australia last year. Princess also has the hit show The Voice of the Ocean, which is a spin on the TV show.

What they say: “We’ve introduced some fabulous entertainment offerings over the past 12 months, with the launch of second show Born to Dance by award-winning Broadway producer Stephen Schwartz as well as the incredibly popular Voice of Ocean competition.” Stuart Allison, vice president, Australia & New Zealand, Princess Cruises

Highly commended

P&O Cruises Australia

Best for Activities

Royal Caribbean

What we say: Royal Caribbean has won this coveted award for the second time in a row which means they’ve got you hooked! Royal Caribbean’s technologically advanced ships have a myriad of activities, including some of the fastest slides at sea, sky diving simulators, bumper cars and roller rinks. These ships have so many activities for the entire family.

What they say: What they say: “Royal Caribbean’s ships are feature packed with fun for all the family, and we’re ecstatic Cruise Passenger’s knowledgeable readers have recognised unique features such as our iFly skydiving simulator, FlowRider surf simulator, ice-skating rink and Seaplex indoor play space as the very best at sea – and all included in your cruise fare. We can’t wait for our guests to experience even more thrills in 2018.” Adam Armstrong, Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International Australia and NZ

Highly commended

Carnival Cruises Australia

Best for spa/wellness

Princess Cruises

What we say: If you want to come back new, Princess Cruises’ spa offers its guests a range of services. Which is why the cruise line has once again picked up the award for Best for Spa/Wellness. Diamond Princess has the largest Japanese spa at sea and onboard the new Majestic Princess, the new Lotus Spa offers facials, aroma stone therapy massages, ocean wraps as well as an aromatherapy thermal suite. The salon also does women’s styling colour, men’s haircuts and shaves as well as manicure, pedicures and teeth whitening.

What they say: “At Princess our focus is very much on helping our guests come back new and our wonderful Lotus Spa and Sanctuary retreats play a big role. Our spas are designed to be a rejuvenating and inviting escape from the outside world, so we’re very pleased that Cruise Passenger readers agree and have voted our spas as the best at sea.” Stuart Allison, vice president, Australia & New Zealand, Princess Cruises

Highly commended


Best Individual Agent

Bicton Travel, WA

“For the fifth year running Bicton Travel has been recognised by the readers of Cruise Passenger magazine as the Best Individual Cruise Agency in Australia. The fact that our agency is recognised by avid cruise travellers and readers of the magazine makes the award a real honour that we really appreciate and it is high testament to the hard working staff of Bicton Travel. In 2018 Bicton Travel will be celebrating 20 years at the forefront of cruise travel in Australia having also won the CLIA Cruise Agency of the Year six times and the AFTA Travel Agency of the Year three times and with more and more ships calling Australia home it is an exciting time for the cruise passengers. We are so glad to be part of a thriving cruise industry and absolutely thrilled to be recognised by your readers for a fifth consecutive year. A big thank you to all your readers who voted for us and to Cruise Passenger magazine for being such a stalwart of the cruise industry.” Carole Smethurst, Founder and Director, Bicton Travel