The 2008 Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards took place on December 11 at the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. These awards recognize and honor companies in the travel industry (including airlines, car rental companies, hotel chains and cruise lines) who represent “the best of the best”. Because the winners are selected by travel industry professionals (who vote based on their vast personal experience as well as feedback collectively provided from tens of thousands of their clients), the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards are among the most coveted awards in the industry and winning just one such award would make any company extremely proud.
The awards presentation was attended by approximately 400 top travel industry executives and their guests. Greg Coiro (CEO of Direct Line Cruises, Inc.) was honored to attend as a guest and key travel partner of Royal Caribbean International. Tom Coiro (VP of Direct Line Cruises, Inc.) had the privilege of attending as a guest and key travel partner of Celebrity Cruises and its deluxe brand, Azamara Cruises.
When the presentations were completed, it was clear that Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises had dominated the cruise awards. Celebrity Cruises won “Best Premium Cruise Line” (beating out nominees Holland America, Oceania and Princess) and the Azamara Journey was voted “Best Premium Cruise Ship” (beating out 5 other ships that were in contention for that title). Accepting the awards for Celebrity / Azamara was Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales.
Royal Caribbean walked away with an amazing four awards: “Best Cruise Line: Caribbean”, “Best Cruise Ship Overall” (for Freedom of the Seas), “Best Cruise Line Overall” (beating out nominees Carnival, Holland America, NCL and Princess) and “Best Sales and Service” (a category that recognizes a cruise line for how well it works with the travel agent community and its clients). Accepting the awards for Royal Caribbean were Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Ken Muskat, Vice President of Sales.