Cruises

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)

regent-seven-seas-featured

Sail the Mediterranean in Style

Explore the Mediterranean on board luxurious, all-inclusive ocean cruise ships with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Famous for its incredible all-inclusive voyages to the world’s best destinations, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® offers fantastic experiences at excellent value. And arriving this summer, the cruise line’s Seven Seas Explorer is set to be the most luxurious ship ever built.

With spacious interiors and magnificent design, the 750-guest ship will also feature a new culinary kitchen experience and fabulous spa. Seven Seas Explorer’s three distinct specialty restaurants will include new gourmet French Restaurant Chartreuse, serving classic French dishes, and Asian-fusion restaurant Pacific Rim, featuring a diverse array of delicious pan-Asian culinary creations.

For relaxation, the lavishly appointed Canyon Ranch SpaClub® offers unparalleled luxurious facilities. Out on the spa’s private deck, a beautiful infinity-edged plunge pool contouring the stern of the ship will offer outstanding views across the horizon.

Seven Seas Navigator

Seven Seas Navigator-cruise-ship

Seven Seas Navigator Cruise Ship

As well as launching the brand new Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® has begun a two-year $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program. The overhaul will enable guests to experience the same level of comfort and excellence planned for Seven Seas Explorer to feature across its fleet – no matter which ship you choose to sail on.

Updates start this spring with one of Regent Seven Seas Cruises® most loved ships: Seven Seas Navigator will essentially emerge as a brand new ship with all suite categories, lounges, the library, casino, boutiques, reception area and specialty restaurants having been completely remodeled.

Mediterranean Itineraries

seven-seas-explorer

Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Ship

This summer sees Seven Seas Explorer’s inaugural season in the Mediterranean packed full of highlights and guests can choose from a selection of fantastic sailings.

An eight-night Monte Carlo to Athens fly-cruise on 4 October calls at La Spezia, Livorno for Florence and Pisa, Rome, Sorrento and Capri in Italy, continuing with visits to Nafplio and Mykonos in Greece before ending in its capital. Fully refurbished, Seven Seas Navigator will embark on a 10-night voyage from Barcelona to Rome on 13 April.

Celebrate With Regent

25-years-seven-seas-regent

In 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® will celebrate its 25th anniversary. To launch the beginning of a yearlong celebration, guests can save up to 25 per cent across a fantastic collection of 25 sailings. Plus, book a Penthouse Suite or higher and guests will benefit from business class flights on all Mediterranean sailings.

The Inside Passage and Glacier Bay – Alaska, U.S.A.

Power and Beauty Beyond, Breathtaking

Southeastern Alaska is a kingdom of water and ice, a natural masterpiece in progress, “a solitude of ice and snow and newborn rocks, dim, dreary, mysterious,” as naturalist John Muir wrote during his visit in 1879. Just 100 years before, the area was completely choked with ice, and now the massive glaciers continue to advance and recede at their leisure, and boats are still the main way of getting around. In this sea wilderness, the whale is king.

Schools of orcas and humpbacks feed here and mate before swimming thousands of miles to winter in the warm waters of Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Seal pups frolic on passing iceberg bits and bears roam the shoreline and streams, hunting for salmon. One third of visitors to Alaska come for the cruise on the 1,000-mile Inside Passage, a route through the narrow strip of mainland and islands that make up Alaska’s panhandle. Almost twenty cruise lines sail these waters each summer, operating ships that range from small expedition vessels to floating cities that carry 2,000-plus passengers.

Departing generally from Vancouver, British Columbia, at the route’s southern end, Alaska’s easygoing capital city of Juneau at its northern end, or Seward on the GuIf of Alaska, they cruise the panhandle’s calm crystal waters and dramatic fjords, visiting touristy ports such as Ketchikan or (if you’re lucky enough to be on one of the small ships) untouristy ones such as Haines and Petersburg. Sitka, known as the “Paris of the Pacific” during the 19th century, is still redolent of its days as trading outpost of the Russian empire.

The far-northern end of the lnside Passage is capped off by the beautiful Glacier Bay National Park, a branching 65-mile fiord that’s home to a dozen glaciers and abundant wildlife. It’s accessible by boat from the mainland town of Gustavus, which stands right at the head of the bay, where it meets lcy Strait.

ln such raw country the genteel and welcoming Gustavus Inn seems wonderfully incongruous and makes a great base from which to experience the Glacier Bay area, if you’re not the cruising type.

What: site, experience, hotel.
Cruises: small-ship lines (with vessels that carry 40-140 passengers) are the way to go in Alaska if you want to really experience the wilderness. Among them, the better operators are Lindblad Expeditions (tel 8OO-EXPEDITION or 212-765-7740; www.expeditions.com), Glacier Bay Tours and Cruises (tel 800-451-5952; www.glacierbay/cruiseline.com), and Cruise West (tel 800-580-0072; www.cruisewest.com). Radisson Seven Seas Cruises offers a much more luxurious experience on a midsize, 700-passenger vessel (tel 877-505-5370; www.rssc.com).
When: cruise season runs May-Sept. Cruise lengths are generally 7 nights.
Gustavus Inn: at the mouth of Glacier Bay. Tel 800649-5220 or 907-697-2254, fax 907-6972255; www.gustavusinn.com. Cost: $150 per person per night, double occupancy, includes all meals, airport transfers, afternoon nature walks, use of bikes and fishing poles.
When: open mid-May-mid-Sept.
Best Times: May and Jun get the least rain; Jul and Aug are warmest; Jun-Aug is whale mating season; snow in Sept is not uncommon.