(5:30 a.m. EST) -- Cunard and Royal Caribbean walked away with top gongs last night at the glittering awards ceremony for the annual British Travel Awards.
Dressed in posh frocks, black ties and even a few kilts, almost 1,000 people packed into London's Battersea Evolution for a night of sipping on Champagne and celebrating. Comedian Jason Manford was on hand to present the show (and provide the laughs!) and urban dance group Streetforce showed off some impressive moves as the after-dinner entertainment.
The British Travel Awards are important to travel companies as they are voted for by both travel professionals and the people that take the holidays -- the public.
Cunard won the big cruise award of the night -- being named as the "Cruise Line of the Year."
Accepting the award, Cunard's president and managing director Peter Shanks (pictured, left) told Cruise Critic he was honoured to have won.
"It's the big one! The best thing is that I can go and tell all my staff on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria the news that they have been recognised by guests as the best cruise line. It's a great achievement!"
Cunard beat off Carnival, Holland America, P&O Cruises, Princess, Thomson and Royal Caribbean, to win the coveted award.
Ex-Southampton rival Royal Caribbean didn't walk away empty-handed though, picking up "Best Mainstream Cruise Line". The line, which is currently gearing up for the launch of Oasis of the Seas at the end of the month, was up against Carnival, Celebrity,Costa, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, NCL, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and Thomson.
In the other cruise categories, Princess rather proudly beat off the upscale brands to win "Best Luxury Cruise Line", Disney Cruise Line took home "Best Niche Line" and Viking picked up the award for "Best River Cruise Line."
Princess' head of brand marketing Pieter van der Schee, said he was "delighted" with the win.
Here at CruiseCritic.co.uk we were honoured to be a finalist in the "Travel Information Website" award. Alas, we didn't win (shame, we had the acceptance speech at the ready!), but it wasn't a total loss -- our parent company, TripAdvisor, walked away with the award.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Cunard & Royal Caribbean Win Top Gongs at British Travel Awards
November 6, 2009