At a ceremony in London attended by 100 cruise line executives and hosted by Nick Hewer, right-hand man of Lord Sugar on the massive TV hit, The Apprentice, 20 awards were handed out for categories including ‘Best River Cruise Line' (won by Viking River Cruises), ‘Best Luxury Line' (won by Seabourn) and ‘Best Entertainment' (scooped by Royal Caribbean).
Some 14,500 members of the public voted for the awards on Cruise International's website, spurred on by energetic social media campaigns by the cruise lines.
Fred. Olsen also walked away with the trophies for ‘Best Educational Programme', for its Vistas series of lectures, workshops and excursions, and ‘Best Live Performance', for its staging onboard of the glamorous singing duo, The Operababes, whose album has topped the classical charts.
Some of the prizes were more light-hearted; NCL's Havard Ramsoy, the fleet's youngest captain at 38, won ‘Coolest Captain'. Her Majesty the Queen was voted ‘Cruise Celebrity of the Year' for her naming of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth but did not attend to collect her plaque; a Cunard executive picked it up on her behalf. ‘Cruise Photo of the Year' was a flaming sunset shot from an MSC ship but with a shot of an unusual stunt in high winds coming a close second.
Several cruise lines walked away empty-handed, among them Celebrity Cruises, Thomson Cruises and Holland America Line.
As for us… Cruise Critic's U.K. blog was shortlisted for the ‘Best Blogger' category and although this was won by Carnival's famous blogging cruise director, John Heald, we're delighted to have received a ‘Highly Commended' mention.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor