Boats

Luxury Cruise Awards 2017

luxury-cruise-awards-1The cruise industry is growing at an unprecedented rate in Australia (21 per cent in the past year alone), as travellers of an ever-widening age range explore the incredible itineraries – and ships – on offer across the globe. Last year, one in 19 Australians (1.28 million of us) went on a cruise, the highest per-capita rate in the world. The panel of 10 top cruise specialists and travel advisors have nominated the most impressive luxury cruise lines, big, small, yachting and expedition. The judges ranked their selections for each sub-category, which we then converted to points to determine the overall winners.

JUDGES


 

ALISON DI PAOLO
Claremont Cruise & Travel Centre

This year is Alison’s 41st year in our exciting industry, and she has been with Claremont Cruise & Travel for 11 years. Her specialty is luxury travel and cruising.

JUSTINE SEALEY
Ramsgate Travel Service

Justine has been with Ramsgate Travel Service for the past 24 years, and has an in-depth knowledge of the cruise industry. Riverboats are her specialty.

ANTHONY GOLDMAN
Goldman Travel Group

As a third-generation travel professional, travel has always been in Anthony’s blood. The Goldmans are at the forefront of travel advisory in Australia.

MELINDA GREGOR
Gregor & Lewis

Melinda has been in the travel Industry for over 30 years. Gregor & Lewis is an award-winning luxury boutique travel agency specialising in luxury cruising, www. greg or lewis .com.au

CLAUDIA ROSSI HUDSON
Mary Rossi Travel

Claudia has loved cruising since the ‘60s. After 40-pi us years in the family travel business, she has introduced cruising to thousands of delighted passengers.

PENNY SPENCER
Spencer Group of Companies

Named in SmartCompany’s 2017 list of Australia’s Top 30 female entrepreneurs, Penny leads a portfolio of companies specialising in corporate and leisure travel.

JASON KROUPA
House of Travel

While Jason’s team is based in the small New Zealand town of Motueka, their specialist knowledge of luxury cruising makes them leaders in their field.

PHILIP HOFFMANN
Phil Hoffmann Travel

Philip was awarded an Order of Australia in 2012 for his contribution to the travel and tourism industries. He employs 220 South Australians in 10 branches.

JO GOSTIN
FBI Travel

Jo owned and operated her own agency until 2001 when she merged with FBI Travel. Her extensive expertise as a travel advisor lies in the cruising market.

PHILIP SMETHURST
Bicton Travel Premium

Philip creates bespoke travel experiences for luxury travellers. Bicton Travel has been named Australia’s leading Cruise Travel Agency six times in the CLIA Awards.

LARGE SHIPS CATEGORY
(351-2500+ passengers)


BEST CABINS

Crystal Cruises
Oceania Cruises (Marina, Riviera)
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC (Yacht Ciub)

BEST SERVICE

Crystal Cruises
Oceania Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST CUISINE/DINING EXPERIENCE

Oceania Cruises
Crystal Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST SHORE EXCURSIONS

Oceania Cruises
Crystal Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST DECOR/AMBIENCE

Crystal Cruises
Oceania Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST ENTERTAINMENT

Oceania Cruises
Crystal Cruises
Cunard
Viking Ocean Cruises
MSC

BEST WELLNESS PROGRAMMES

Crystal Cruises
Oceania Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST EMBARKATION PROCESS

Crystal Cruises
Oceania Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Cunard
MSC

BEST VALUE

Oceania Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
MSC
Crystal Cruises
Cunard

BEST ITINERARIES

Viking Ocean Cruises
Oceania Cruises
Crystal Cruises
Cunard
MSC

WINNERS


 

#1 Oceania Cruises (Marina, Riviera)

oceania-marina

Oceania Marina Cruise

Our judges loved the emphasis Oceania places on cuisine, particularly aboard the 1250-passenger Marina and Riviera. Its tagline ‘Finest Cuisine at Sea’ is well deserved. Elegance without pretence is this cruise line’s manifesto.

#2 Crystal Cruises

The luxurious Crystal fleet is known for its impeccable service, world-class dining and entertainment, and an engaging enrichment programme. The ships have the highest per-guest space ratios of any ships in their class.

#3 Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking ships transport up to 930 passengers to ports around the world. Staterooms are spacious and well-appointed, and all have a verandah. The Swiss-trained crew members offer personal and genuinely friendly service.

#4 Cunard

#5 MSC (Yacht Club)

darwing-beer-can-festival

Beer Can Regatta in Darwin

Trust the Australians to make the best out of a potential environmental problem into a kickass festival to be enjoyed by the masses. The Darwin Beer Can Regatta was born out of an attempt to clean up litter in and around Darwin, when co-founders of the festival, Lutz Frankenfeld and Paul Rice-Chapman had the idea of using discarded beer cans to build a working, motorised boat.

a-competition-boat

A competition boat made of beer cans

Since 1974, the Darwin Beer Can Regatta has been a local and international favourite with festival goers for the spectacle of beer can boats floating in Port Darwin at Mindil Beach. The competition has seen some remarkable can-struction of boats that range from one to 12 metres in length. Races last through the morning and even see children taking part with soft drink can boats. On the beach, join in drier fun with sandcastle building, tug-of-wars, iron person competitions, novelty hat contests and thong (flip flops) throwing competitions.

the-mindil-beach-is-full-of-spectators-watching-the-boats-race

The Mindil Beach is full of spectators watching the boats race

Adding to the festival atmosphere is the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Food is the main attraction here and hail from far-flung corners of the world. Find quality Asian cuisine, as well as South American and European fare. Apart from food, the market also has a number of stalls dedicated to local handmade goods, ranging from jewellery, clothes, and even Aboriginal artefacts.

a-stand-at-the- mindil-beach-sunset-market

A stand at The Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Make sure to make your way to Darwin’s national parks too. Litchfield National Park and Kakadu National Park require a drive out but the wildlife and splendid scenes of nature are unparalleled to anything else in the Top End.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • This year’s Darwin Beer Can Regatta will be held on 17 July from 10am to 5pm at Mindil Beach. Participating as a spectator is free.

  • Qantas (qantas.com) flies direct from Singapore to Darwin International Airport daily. Malaysia Airlines only flies direct from Kuala Lumpur thrice weekly. To get to Mindil Beach, rent a car from the airport to make the hour-long drive. There are various international car rental chains available, including Avis (from US$62 per day) and Hertz (from US$101 per day).

  • For immediate access to Mindil Beach, stay at SKYCITY Darwin. The beachfront hotel and resort is just a short walk from Mindil Beach Sunset Market and near the city centre. Onsite facilities also include spectacular pools, fine dining restaurants and a casino (from US$153 per night for Deluxe Room).