Los Angeles may have The Oscars, but only Sydney has The CLIA’s. The who’s who of cruise gathered at The Star Event Centre for the industry’s night of nights on Saturday.

The 17th Annual Cruise Industry Awards or, as they’re affectionately known, “The CLIA’s”, saw nineteen awards presented across nine different categories catering to both Australia and New Zealand.

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With new-to-the-market Norwegian Cruise Line enlisted as the Entertainment Sponsor, guests were privy to an exclusive performance by the cast of Burn The Floor, who were flown in especially from the Norwegian Jewel where they are currently performing aboard her repositioning cruise to Singapore.

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Weaving through the audience before breaking into a medley of toe-tapping hits to open the gala event, the cast returned as the feature entertainment later in the evening to wow guests with breathtaking choreography and glorious harmonies.

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MC for The CLIAs, Channel 7’s Natalie Barr, even tried a couple of shuffle hop steps in her intro for good measure, before leading the proceedings that highlighted the continual growth and innovation of the industry.

In a first for The CLIAs, New Zealand proved their might with nearly half of the submissions for those award categories open to nomination, coming from agents and agencies across the ditch.

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All remaining categories were voted for by CLIA cruise lines each of whom carried the same voting weight to ensure fairness across the board.

Guests were invited to get creative on Instagram, with headline sponsors Emirates and Dubai giving away a phenomenally luxe trip to Dubai worth $30,000. Guests also dug deep to support CLIA Charity Partner Mercy Ships’ work around the globe bringing free, world-class health care services to more than 70 countries.

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Among the honourees at the awards was a true pioneer of cruising who was inducted into the CLIA Australasia Hall of Fame.

Ted Blamey, a Harvard alumn, has been in the industry for over 30 years with roles including Global President and CEO of Sitmar Cruises, CEO of Ansett Retail/Traveland and Chairman of the Sydney Ports Authority among many others. He was also instrumental in founding luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises.

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In addition to recognising his fellow Australian cruise industry pioneers, many of whom were in attendance, he shared some sage advice.

“Surround yourself with good people”.

Ted Blamey

The official proceedings were followed by an after party that saw guests party into the wee hours with a dessert buffet, more beverages and tunes courtesy of Traveltek.

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The list of winners for The CLIAs 2018 were:

Network Promotion of the Year, Australasia

Phil Hoffman Travel – “Mega Cruise Sales Day”

Outstanding Plan A Cruise Month Promotion

MTA – Mobile Travel Agents – “Plan A Cruise Month” 

Agency Promotion of the Year, Australia

Clean Cruising – “Princess Cruises 2019 World Cruise”

Rising Star New Zealand

Simon Matthews, Cruiseabout New Plymouth

Rising Star Australia

Kye Duffy, Our Vacation Centre

Broker of the Year, New Zealand

Denise Fowler, The Travel Brokers

Home Based/Mobile Agent of the Year, Australia

Sarah Fenton, MTA – Mobile Travel Agents

Online Agency of the Year, New Zealand

Cruise Sale Finder New Zealand

Online Agency of the Year, Australia

Clean Cruising

Cruise Consultant of the Year, New Zealand

Mark Smith, Let’s Cruise

Cruise Consultant of the Year, Australia

Kathy Pavlidis, Cruiseabout Kew

Cruise Agency of the Year, New Zealand

Gold Winner – Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel

Silver Winner – House of Travel Orewa

Bronze Winner – Pukekohe Travel

Cruise Agency of the Year, Australia

Gold Winner – Bicton Travel

Silver Winner – Cruiseabout Kew

Bronze Winner – Phil Hoffman Travel

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Did you make the CLIAs on Saturday night? How did you find the event?