Awards for big and small
AUSTRALIAN-BASED cruise ship Orion has scooped three awards in Cruise Passenger magazine’s annual readers’ choice awards. The Orion was voted best small ship and best adventure ship, and took out the prize for best cuisine as well.
The 106-passenger Orion, with a crew of 76, is known for its imaginative itineraries combined with luxury travel.
Best large ship was the Queen Mary 2, nudging last year’s winner, the retiring QE2, into second spot.
Editor Kayte Nunn credits QM2’s success to a raised profile after its recent visit to this part of the world.
It was also voted best luxury ship for the third year running.
Disney Magic was a surprise winner in the best family ship category, an area dominated in the past by P & O, whose vessels are better known in local waters.
Nunn says the vote suggests Australians are becoming more adventurous with their cruising: they are travelling farther afield and aren’t afraid to take the family. ‘‘ It helps that the Australian dollar is a lot stronger.’’
She says Australians are waking up to the fact that there’s a wide range of cruising options and that cruises offer good value for money, ‘‘ particularly in places like Europe, where the cost of hotels can be exorbitant’’. On a cruise, ‘‘ you’re on a floating hotel, you stop at a number of different ports, and with a lot of itineraries travel is at night and you have a whole day in port. So you really get to see and explore a lot.’’
Best cruise region was the Mediterranean, closely followed by the South Pacific. Best cabin and best spa awards went to the Seven Seas Mariner.
Freedom of the Seas won for best pool area and best gym. Possibly displaying a little bias, readers awarded Sydney the best port award, with Vanuatu’s Port Vila second.
Triple winner: Queen Mary 2 in Sydney