The incentive travel industry has exploded in sync with the cruise industry. As American companies discover the efficacy of incentive travel for rewarding both highly productive employees and key high-volume customers, planners have been called upon to custom design travel rewards that can be used to motivate a wide variety of tastes and interests.
At the same time the cruise industry has exploded. Once the bastion of the super-rich or elderly retirees, taking a cruise has been democratized for the working class who, it turns out, would love to take a cruise. Cruise ships became bigger, staterooms smaller, buffet service the order of the day, and destinations morphed into two-hour layovers on sunny islands that specialized in straw hats, coconut tanning oil and humorous tee-shirts.
The incentive travel planner must somehow synchronize these two fluid variables (the increasing number of varied candidates and the increasing number of cruise options) when trying to design the perfect cruise travel incentive for the millionaire CEO customer or the highly productive accounts payable clerk in the accounting department.
Cruise Critic Editor’s Awards
For the last ten years, a group called the Cruise Critic Editors have surveyed the entire worldwide cruise industry and picked the best of the best in a carefully selected variety of categories, like Best New Ship, Best for Adventure, Best Dining, Best for Solo Travelers, etc. In addition to surveying their members, they combine their findings with an extensive survey of actual travelers who have recently gone on a cruise. Both surveys are conducted in categories that incentive travel planners find especially useful.
Here are the results of the 2017 survey and who won the award in the categories planners pay particular attention to. The awards are granted in two separate categories; Ocean Cruising and River Cruising.
BEST CRUISE LINE: Regent Seven Seas AmaWaterways
BEST FOR ADVENTURE: Silversea Cruises Pandaw Cruises
BEST DINING: Oceania Cruises Crystal River Cruises
BEST ENRICHMENT: Seabourn Cruise Line Viking River Cruises
BEST ITINERARIES: Azamara Club Cruises CroisEurope
BEST SERVICE: Crystal Cruises Uniworld Boutique
BEST FOR SOLO TRAVEL: Crystal Cruises American Cruise Lines
MSC Seaside won the award for the best new ocean cruise ship. It is a flashy new 4,000+ passenger ship with bells and whistles like a full-sized bowling alley, 5D movie theater and outdoor waterpark.
Silverseas’ Silver Muse, which carries fewer than 600 passengers and boasts understated luxury with all suites and butlers, won for the best new luxury ship.
Let’s Go Cruising
The annual Cruise Critic Editor’s Awards help planners sort through an ever-evolving, complex cruise industry to match an appropriate incentive award to a grateful recipient. Ocean and river cruises get better every year as cruise companies build bigger and better ships and design cruises that appeal to a wider audience. Let’s get on board.