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All aboard! The ultimate wrap (and lowdown) on the Australasian Cruise Industry Awards 

Those involved in cruising are no strangers to big spectacles. So after a three-year absence, it was no surprise then that the return of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Cruise Industry Awards was exactly that. 

Those involved in cruising are no strangers to big spectacles. So after a three-year absence, it was no surprise then that the return of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Cruise Industry Awards was exactly that. 

Back for its 20th edition, the awards dinner and gala took place, appropriately, at the Big Top at Sydney’s Luna Park on Saturday night.

And what a show it was, with (performing arts academy) Brent Street singers, dancers and acrobats, live music, a 360 photo/video booth and other activations keeping the nearly 500 travel advisors and cruise industry guests entertained throughout the night.

Then there was the little matter of the awards themselves, which recognised nearly 20 travel agencies and individuals for their contribution to the cruise industry over the past 12 months (and more). 

Brent Street performers
Brent Street performers
Dancers

With Visit Qatar as headline sponsor, CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the awards came on the back of “a strong summer revival for cruising in Australia” and also New Zealand.

“Travel agents across our region have shown incredible determination over recent years, and these awards help celebrate their resilience and their passion for cruising as we sail into a new era,” he remarked. 

“As cruising builds on its global renaissance, these awards pay thanks to the Australasian travel trade for its part in our success.” 

Cruising’s comeback

Addressing those in attendance, Katz said that since the cruise ban was lifted nearly one year ago, “we have welcomed around 40 different CLIA cruise line ships to Australian waters in an incredible show of confidence in our region – and we’re on track to grow further as we prepare to welcome even more ships with a bumper winter season and summer season ahead”. 

“Tonight is our chance to put a spotlight on the shining stars of the local cruise industry as we announce the winners of the 2022 Cruise Awards, the 20th year that we’ve held these awards, but it’s also an opportunity for us to unite and reflect on how responsive, responsible and resilient our industry is,” he added. 

CLIA Awards
The CLIAs!
CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz
CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz

“We’ve all heard incredible stories and been amazed by the examples of strength and spirit in our cruise community: people helping each other, people supporting loved ones and strangers alike during difficult times. 

“The past year has been an incredibly busy time for cruising, and the levels of engagement and creativity and resilience we’ve seen amongst our travel agent members is fantastic.” 

Katz said CLIA received more than 600 submissions for these awards “making this year one of the most highly contested CLIA awards ever held”. 

“But regardless of who wins, you are all winners. So congratulations to every single one of you in the room tonight,” he stated.

Hall of Famer

Probably the biggest ovation of the night came for retiring cruise industry legend Steve Odell, whom CLIA Australasia inducted into its Hall of Fame.

“He [Steve] has always championed the industry, and from the very start of his career has been highly respected by his peers, both in cruise and in the travel agent community,” said CLIA Australasia Chairman and Vice President and Managing Director of NCL APAC, Ben Angell, who awarded Odell with the prize. 

Odell held various senior leadership roles in Australia and the UK with NCL Holdings and also Silversea Cruises, departing the industry as regional head of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.

Ben Angell (left) with new CLIA Australasia Hall of Fame inductee Steve Odell
Ben Angell (left) with new CLIA Australasia Hall of Fame inductee Steve Odell
Australian 'Cruise Champion' Robyn Sinfield (Home Travel Company)
Australian ‘Cruise Champion’ Robyn Sinfield (Home Travel Company)

Winners aren’t the only grinners

While competition in cruising is fierce, the mateships that bond the industry together are stronger, as evidenced by the support each winner received on the night. 

But officially, there can only be one winner (or two in one case). And here they are …

  • Cruise Agency of the Year (Small) – AU – Bicton Travel
  • Cruise Agency of the Year (Small) – NZ– YOU Travel Bethlehem
  • Large Cruise Agency of the Year – AUSTRALASIA  – Ignite Travel Group
  • Online Agency of the Year – AUSTRALASIA – Clean Cruising
  • Cruise Consultant of the Year – AU – Sheron Konig, Travel Associates Rockhampton
  • Cruise Consultant of the Year – NZ – Janine Mallon, Zest4Travel
  • Mobile/Home-Based Agent of the Year – AU – Megan Catterall, itravel
  • Broker of the Year – NZ – Sharon O’Brien, Live Breathe Travel
  • Rising Star of the Year – AU – Clarees Purkiss, Cruise Travel Centre Green Hills
  • Rising Star of the Year – NZ  – Marise Barrett, Helloworld Strandon
  • Agency Cruise Promotion of the Year – AU – My Cruises
  • Cruise Month Promotion of the Year – AUSTRALASIA – Hunter Travel Group/MTA – Mobile Travel Agents (tied)
  • Network Cruise Promotion of the Year – AUSTRALASIA – House of Travel, New Zealand
  • Agency Cruise Promotion of the Year – NZ – Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel
  • Cruise Champion – AU – Robyn Sinfield, Home Travel Company
  • Cruise Line Champion – AUSTRALASIA – Shaun Kavanagh, Princess Cruises
  • CLIA Hall of Fame – Steve Odell

Karryon congratulations all of the winners and also nominees for their tireless contribution to the cruise industry. 

Last week, CLIA’s newest online course, Cruise Dynamics 2023, became available for agent members.

For more information on CLIA Australasia, click here.