With our fantastic achievement of the ‘Best Large Cruise Retailer’ 2013 at the British Travel Awards we thought it would be a great idea to share with our customers the other big winners on the night. The awards ceremony was held at the Battersea Evolution in London and we were over the moon to receive the award and once again would like to take the time to thank everyone for their votes and stress once more what a pleasure it has been over the last twelve months to provide the best service possible for our clients.
The highly coveted British Travel Awards holds the title for being the largest consumer voted programme within the UK and pays homage to the strongest industry performers over the year. More votes than ever before were received this year for a wide range of cruise categories. Here’s a few of the main highlights from the evening:
Best Itineraries – P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises took this award as they visit 182 destinations around the world including their phenomenal World Cruise itineraries. The cruise line provide opportunities for guests to see some of the globes finest destinations including the Mediterranean, North America, Australasia, Africa, the Canary Islands, the Far East and much more. Following a great choice of sailings in 2013, P&O Cruises took this award. World Cruise itineraries certainly played a huge role in this success and it’s no surprise considering the stunning range of cruises available for guests to enjoy.
Click here to see some of the exciting destinations available in 2014!
Best Value For Money – Fred Olsen
Fred Olsen was delighted to receive this award. The cruise line is renowned for competitive pricing along with extremely good value provided for single passengers and some impressively priced fares. Fred Olsen has also been making waves (excuse the pun) with their very popular drinks packages providing an all-inclusive option for passengers. The all-inclusive touch is just an option and passengers do not have to book on this basis but it is certainly appealing. Guests that do not book on this basis will still enjoy drink prices equivalent to that of walking into an average UK pub.
For more Fred Olsen information click here.
Best Dining – Oceania Cruises
As we showed in the first edition of our quarterly magazine ‘Into The Blue’, Oceania’s dining options really are second to none. Despite not classing themselves as a luxury cruise line, Oceania still manage to achieve ratings as high as the ultra-luxury operators for dining, often even higher. We see this achievement as being based on two factors, firstly the choice of dining venues available for passengers, especially on board the latest additions to the fleet, Marina and Riviera. The choice is amazing and the fact that all speciality venues are included in the overall cost of the cruise with no extras on top makes it exceptionally good value for money. The second factor we believe to be the significant influence of the executive chef for Oceania, Jacques Pepin. This is a master chef in the truest sense. His unique hands on approach to the innovation, creation and presentation of the cuisine on board has led to rave reviews and it’s certainly not hard to see why.
Read more about the dining venues on board in the ‘Into The Blue’ magazine or by clicking here.
Best Entertainment – Norwegian Cruise Line
Like all categories in this year’s British Travel Awards, the battle for Best Entertainment proved to be extremely close. The winning cruise line was NCL who continue to set a high standard in the industry for magnificent entertainment in terms of both spectacles and variety. The Blue Man Group have been regular performers for the cruise line and have definitely played a role in the achievement of this award along with other extravagant on board features such as the Spiegel Tent on Norwegian Epic.
This year saw the arrival of the incredibly stunning Norwegian Breakaway, a ship that the cruise line pulled out all the stops for, ensuring she arrived on the scene in style. Breakaway announced her arrival by introducing the debut of both Broadway and West End production shows. The productions on offer include Rock of Ages, a fabulous show that has also made its way to the big screen along with Burn the Floor. Other attractions the cruise line have put together include highly impressive waterparks on board, ice bars, along with a brilliant choice of music venues to enjoy. They have also earned regular praise for their ever popular partnership with Nickelodeon, something the children on board always enjoy. NCL make sure that as well as catering for the adults, younger passengers are also more than taken care of.
With fierce competition from cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean unveiling plans for the first sky diving simulator at sea, NCL have achieved an impressive feat winning this award.
Read more about Norwegian Cruise Line here.
Best Cabins – Holland America
Holland America have made some significant strides in accommodation that has certainly contributed to their winning of this award. One of the main points of distinction for the cruise line is that their cabins are larger than most, something that applies to all grades of accommodation, making them highly appealing and also very good value for money. Holland America promote their “Signature of Excellence” concept regularly and this is no more evident than in the effort and attention to detail that goes into creating comfortably accommodation for their passengers. The “Signature of Excellence” upgrades are implementing a wide range of exciting features on board.
All staterooms on Holland America now are equipped with brand new luxury bedding, flat-screen televisions along with accompanying DVD players and the bathrooms feature more than comfortable bath-tubs and special touches in the form of Elemis amenities, all as standard.
For exceptional accommodation at sea, check out the Holland America fleet here.
Best Suites – Celebrity Cruises
Holland America may have taken the award for overall accommodation but Celebrity Cruises were crowned the winners for the Best Suites category. The Celebrity Solstice Class took the award. The first in the class, Celebrity Solstice, took the cruising world by storm when she arrived on the scene and such was her level of success, the cruise line have gone on to create a whole class of these stunning vessels. The most recent, Celebrity Reflection, once again shone with exemplary style and glamour with many keen cruisers regarding these superb ships as the most elegant ships around at present in the large ship bracket.
The Suites throughout the entire Solstice Class fleet provide passengers with complimentary butler service along with a string of excellent VIP treatments. Guests looking to go even higher up the accommodation range an opt for categories such as the Penthouse Suites will enjoy up to 1,291 square feet of space and that’s before you’ve even stepped out onto your balcony, which provides a further 389 square feet to roam around. These suites are truly beautiful, boasting floor to ceiling windows for amazing views out to sea as well as indoor and outdoor whirlpool tubs and even a grand piano just in case you feel like entertaining.
Best New Ship – Norwegian Breakaway
Another award on the night for Norwegian Cruise Line was for the Best New Ship. The aforementioned Norwegian Breakaway took the title as it continued to push boundaries and bring the unique NCL innovation to the seas. The cruise line could never be accused of shying away from innovation or being afraid to make an entrance. Norwegian Breakaway’s hull was designed by the popular artist Peter Max and she can now be identified from a great distance thanks to this tremendous design that pays tribute to the city of New York, her designated home port.
The Norwegian Epic certainly caused a stir when she was unveiled and the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway saw NCL take Epic’s finest features of dining and entertainment and refine them into even greater facilities on board Breakaway. The ship also introduced a wonderful Haven complex, a remarkably beautiful design for ultimate relaxation on board. The ship also pioneered a concept to make the most of the promenade deck areas. Many ships before have used gone down the traditional approach of making this area a place where passengers can stroll around the ship, enjoy sitting down and taking in the views and even take part in classic deck games such as shuffleboard. Norwegian Breakaway however, typical of NCL, decided against this and went for a new approach. This approach is known as the Boardwalk and provides a range of outdoor venues surrounding the ship with outdoor seating, bars and dining venues for guests to enjoy.
Best Shore Excursions – Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises winning this award was no fluke. The cruise line has more than impressed in recent times with their introduction of their ‘AzAmazing Evenings’. We took a closer look at this fabulous concept not too long ago and it is no surprise they have taken this award. These exclusive events are included in the cost of the overall cruise meaning no extra charges to worry about. The ‘AzAmazing Evenings’ are private tours, exclusive to Azamara and provide passengers with a truly unique in-port experience, currently unrivalled by other cruise operators. Azamara are renowned for their amount of overnight port calls throughout each calendar year and focus extremely well on destination immersion for their guests. Their aim is to provide passengers with more time and experience options in port than anyone else and they do this very well.
The cruise line has won this award not only for their outstanding attention to detail in-port but also for their magnificent luxury cruise offerings at exceptional value prices.
Best for Adventure – Hurtigruten
Now this is a cruise line that knows how to explore. Hurtigruten offer an incredible range of activities and adventure aboard every single itinerary. They combine these adventurous opportunities with cosy accommodation and the cruises are good value for money. Whilst not providing the luxury facilities you would receive aboard a larger, glamorous cruise vessel, Hurtigruten still have plenty to offer, hence the winning of this coveted award.
Step aboard a Hurtigruten cruise and you are invited to explore a whole new world of adventure. From witnessing the marvel that is the Northern Lights, resting your head on a bed of ice in an ice-hotel, seeing the captivating sight of a whale crashing out of the ocean to ski-mobiling and glacier exploring in Greenland, there is no limit to the fantastic opportunities on offer. There’s even the chance, should you wish, to take a swim in the waters of Antarctica.
Read more about the Hurtigruten fleet and itineraries here.
Best for Romance – Princess Cruises
It would have been very strange not to see Princess Cruises appear on the winners list somewhere but they made sure that didn’t happen. Alongside being a highly innovative and glamorous cruise line, Princess Cruises have mastered the art of romantic offerings throughout their fleet. Their romance provoking facilities are excellent but it’s the special touches and offerings that make the difference as well as the value. Enjoy a private dinner for two on your own balcony including a four course lobster extravaganza delivered to you or should you be looking to take things a little further and perhaps plan to pop the big question on board, the cruise line will also offer the use of their Movies Under the Stars screen for a video proposal. This video screening will be immediately followed by a parade of red roses and champagne making their way to the bride to be via a brilliant delivery from the waiting staff.
Princess Cruises have an outstanding fleet, from smaller, more intimate vessels to larger superliners. With an exciting choice of destinations available, they are an excellent choice for romance.
Best River Cruise Line – Viking River Cruises
Last but by no means least on our list of award winners on the night is Viking River Cruises, who took the title for Best River Cruise Line. Viking continue to provide an excellent service and what a year this has been for them as they broke the record for most ships christened in one day (ten). They are also planning on unveiling a further twelve long boat designs in 2014. The river cruise operator seems to be a firm believer in the phrase “the more the merrier” and with the more ships it means more itineraries. Potential passengers have the choice of a fascinating choice of destinations with Viking now having the ability to almost tailor make a voyage for you, just the way you want it.
Bolsover Cruise Club has seen a significant rise in the popularity of river cruising in recent times and it is certainly no surprise considering the tremendous service, facilities and itineraries Viking provide.