By Nahrain John @karryontravel13 Feb 2017If there’s a question on how to boost your cruise sales in the neighborhood, who you gonna call? These Travel Agents! Last month we found out who were among the best cruise sellers in Australia and New Zealand, and now we know who really are the best of the best aka winners at this year’s Cruise Industry Awards. Held in Sydney over the weekend, some 500 industry members pushed past the 40-degree heat and slipped into cocktail dresses and suits for the annual CLIA dinner. Attendees enjoyed some Whitney Houston (well, covers of Houston’s Bodyguard classics), caught up with old friends and congratulated 19 winners across nine categories. Among them was Bicton Travel’s Carole Smethurst, who not only won the Gold Agency of the Year Award for the sixth time, but was also inducted into the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Hall of Fame. Smethurst emotionally thanked everyone who voted from the industry, which acknowledged her efforts and achievements across the sector. “Thank you to everyone who’s voted for Bicton Travel to be Cruise Agent of the Year over all these years and thank you from the bottom of my heart for this award.” Carole Smethurst, Bicton Travel It was a big night from Cruise Holidays in Queensland’s Helen McMullen who was named Cruise Consultant of the Year in Australia, while TravelManagers’ Derek Harwood was named home-based/mobile Agent of the year in Australia. CLIA Australasia Chairman Steve Odell also presented a special posthumous award to the late James Patrick from Wiltrans International for his Contribution to the Australasian Cruise Industry. The award was accepted by James’ wife, Wiltrans Managing Director Diane Patrick. Mr Odell said the 2016 awards night was a fitting celebration following a massive year for the industry in both Australia and New Zealand. “The Cruise Industry Awards bring together the industry’s brightest stars from across Australia and New Zealand in a fantastic celebration that recognises their outstanding achievements.” Steve Odell, CLIA Australasia Check out the full list of winners below: Cruise Agency of the Year, Australia – GOLD: Bicton Travel, Perth WA SILVER: Phil Hoffmann Travel, Glenelg SA BRONZE: Cruiseabout, Kew VIC Online Agency of the Year, Australia – Ozcruising Home Based/Mobile Agent of the Year, Australia – Derek Harwood, TravelManagers Cruise Consultant of the Year, Australia – Helen McMullen, Cruise Holidays QLD Rising Star Award, Australia – Hayley Osbourne, Cruise Republic VIC Agency Promotion of the Year, Australasia – Meridian Travel & The Cruise Gallery VIC, ‘Rockin’ the Mekong with Elvis’ Plan a Cruise Month Agency Promotion Award, Australasia – Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel, New Zealand Hall of Fame – Carole Smethurst, Bicton Travel Cruise Agency of the Year, New Zealand – GOLD: Pukekohe Travel SILVER: House of Travel Orewa BRONZE: Cruiseabout Parnell Online Agency of the Year, New Zealand – Cruise Republic Rising Star Award, New Zealand – Melanie Morrison, HOOT Cruises r Network Promotion of the Year, Australasia – Phil Hoffmann Travel (Australia) ‘River Cruise Launch Events with APT’ Contribution to the Cruise Industry (Posthumous Award) – James Patrick, Wiltrans International Media Award – Brian Johnston, “Sail of the Centuries” (The Age/SMH Traveller, Fairfax) Broker of the Year, New Zealand – Debbie Bradford, NZ Travel Brokers Cruise Consultant of the Year, New Zealand – Gail Littin, Pukekohe Travel Join us in congratulating this year’s winners. Other stories you may like Flight Centre employees, are transfers to Paris in your future? ‘Cruising is for old people’, but actually 1 in 19 Aussies do it Could this really have been the best Travel Agent famil ever?