Hauppauge, NY (Vocus/PRWEB) December 22, 2010
“It’s like the Academy Awards for the travel industry…” said Helen Coiro, President of Direct Line Cruises, Inc., after attending Travel Weekly’s Readers Choice Awards Dinner last night at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City. Mrs. Coiro, who along with her husband, Tom, were invited as guests of Royal Caribbean International, then added, “…and, what made it even more exciting is that our friends at Royal Caribbean and Celebrity stole the show.”
Surpassing their extraordinary success at the 2009 Travel Weekly Awards (at which they won an unprecedented seven awards), Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises (the two largest brands of Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD) collectively took home a total of nine awards at this year’s Eighth Annual Readers Choice event. Celebrity won “Best Cruise Line: Europe”, “Best Cruise Line: Premium” and “Best Cruise Ship: Premium” for their world-class Celebrity Solstice. Royal Caribbean won “Best Cruise Line: Domestic”, “Best Cruise Line: Caribbean”, “Best Cruise Line Overall” and the coveted “Best Cruise Line: Sales and Service” award which is a testament to the cooperation and support that the cruise line provides to their travel agent partners. In addition, Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas (the largest cruise ship in the world along with her sister ship Allure of the Seas) won two awards; “Best Cruise Ship: Rookie” and Best Cruise Ship: Overall Individual.”
Several other well-known cruise lines (such as Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian and Princess) were also nominated in each of the ten award categories for which Celebrity and Royal Caribbean were eligible but, when the evening was over, only one award went to any of the competing cruise lines. “It was a near sweep,” said Greg Coiro, CEO of Direct Line Cruises, Inc. who attended as a guest of Celebrity Cruises. “The entire audience applauded and cheered louder and louder each time Dondra Ritzenthaler (Senior Vice President of Sales for Celebrity Cruises) and Vicki Freed (Senior Vice President of Sales for Royal Caribbean International) went up to the stage to accept another award.”
Among those cheering for Ms. Ritzenthaler and Ms. Freed was Edie Bornstein, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for “sister company” Azamara Club Cruises. With a keen eye for style and elegance
that is so much a part of the upscale Azamra brand, Ms. Bornstein observed that, “Dondra and Vicki look absolutely stunning and it’s so great to keep these awards in the family”.
In the final tribute of the night, Richard Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD was honored as one of four recipients of Travel Weekly’s Lifetime Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, Mr. Fain displayed both his wit and humility to which the audience enthusiastically responded, especially when he openly acknowledged the importance of travel agents in the past, present and future success of the industry.
After the event, Helen Coiro reflected back to when she started Direct Line Cruises, working from a small desk in the basement of her house. “Fifteen years ago, I never would have imagined that I’d be sitting at a table front and center at the Plaza Hotel, rubbing elbows with top executives from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. This is an amazing business and it was truly a magical evening.”
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