The Readers Choice gala: The night in awards and photos: Travel Weekly

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Travel Weekly is proud to present the winners of our 16th annual Readers Choice Awards.

The awards are presented to the industry's suppliers who led the way in product and service during the past year.

The winners, one for each of 78 categories, represent the best of the best of the travel industry in the airline, car rental, hospitality, rail, GDS, agent education, tour, cruise, destination and theme park sectors.

The 2018 awards were presented Dec. 13 during a black-tie gala dinner and ceremony at the Conrad New York. In addition, Travel Weekly honored Dave Hilfman, formerly United's senior vice president of worldwide sales, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

All photos by Lin Pernille.

AIRLINE

Delta scored wins in four categories: Domestic (its eighth consecutive victory), International, Sales & Service (for the third year in a row) and Overall (its fifth win in that category). United repeated its 2017 win for Global Network, and Dubai-based Emirates won for Business/First Class for the seventh time.

Scott Jordan, Norma Dean, Kristen Shovlin and  Laurie Miles of Delta Air Lines.
Scott Jordan, Norma Dean, Kristen Shovlin and Laurie Miles of Delta Air Lines.

Vic Kerckhoff and Dave Hilfman of United Airlines.
Vic Kerckhoff and Dave Hilfman of United Airlines.

CAR RENTAL

Maurice Honor of Hertz Corp.
Maurice Honor of Hertz Corp.

As it did in 2017, Hertz swept this category, scoring its 16th consecutive Readers Choice Award for International and its 14th win for Domestic.

CRUISE

Royal Caribbean International took home five awards: Overall wins in the Individual Cruise Ship (for Harmony of the Seas) and Cruise Line categories as well as wins for its Caribbean itineraries, Sales & Service and Entertainment.
Sister line Celebrity Cruises repeated wins in the categories of Europe, Premium and Cruise Ship: Premium (for the Celebrity Reflection) and added to that a victory in the Expedition category.

Vicki Freed, Nick Weir, Christi Coachman and Joanne Schimelman of Royal Caribbean International.
Vicki Freed, Nick Weir, Christi Coachman and Joanne Schimelman of Royal Caribbean International.

Dondra Ritzenthaler and Ron Gulaskey of Celebrity Cruises.
Dondra Ritzenthaler and Ron Gulaskey of Celebrity Cruises.

Princess Cruises continued its Alaska winning streak with a 15th victory in that category. Carnival Cruise Line repeated its win in the Domestic category and also scored the Readers Choice Award for Best Family Cruise Line.

Erin Douglas, Mike Julius, Jodi Kinmon, Christine Duffy, Adolfo Perez, Janet Wygert, Vicki Tomasino and Ken Tate of Carnival Cruise Line.
Erin Douglas, Mike Julius, Jodi Kinmon, Christine Duffy, Adolfo Perez, Janet Wygert, Vicki Tomasino and Ken Tate of Carnival Cruise Line.

 

John Chernesky and Anthony Viciana of <a href=Princess Cruises.' title='John Chernesky and Anthony Viciana of Princess Cruises.' src="http://image-blog.cruisingtonight.com/images/blog/T0121RCA11145_C-cruise-in-halong-bay-25-06-2019.JPG" >
John Chernesky and Anthony Viciana of Princess Cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line won for Hawaii/Pacific as well as in the Cruise Ship: New category (for the Norwegian Bliss).

As it did the previous year, Seabourn took the honors in the Under 1,000 Berths category.

Holland America Line repeated wins for World Cruise Itinerary and Private Island/Destination (for Half Moon Cay), while Oceania Cruises scored its third Readers Choice Award for Cuisine.

Melissa Araya, Kari Tarnowski, Carmen Roig, Vanessa Rodriguez and Walter Littlejohn of Crystal Cruises.
Melissa Araya, Kari Tarnowski, Carmen Roig, Vanessa Rodriguez and Walter Littlejohn of Crystal Cruises.

Nikki Upshaw of Oceania Cruises, which won for Cuisine.
Nikki Upshaw of Oceania Cruises, which won for Cuisine.

Robert Coleman, Eva Jenner and Michelle Sutter of Holland America Line, winner for World Cruise Itinerary and Private Island/Destination.
Robert Coleman, Eva Jenner and Michelle Sutter of Holland America Line, winner for World Cruise Itinerary and Private Island/Destination.

Kate Otto and Carol Herron of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Kate Otto and Carol Herron of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

 

Doug Seagle and Chris Austin of Seabourn.
Doug Seagle and Chris Austin of Seabourn.

In the category of Cruise Ship: Luxury, Regent Seven Seas Cruises once again took the honors for its Seven Seas Explorer, and Crystal Cruises repeated its win for Cruise Line: Luxury.

Among river cruise lines, Viking repeated its wins in the River Cruising and River Cruise Sales & Service categories, while readers once again picked AmaWaterways' AmaKristina as the top river cruise ship.

Darren Dolan, Javier Yataco, Michele Saegesser, Martha Troncoza and Erik De La Cruz of Viking Cruises, winner for River Cruising and River Cruise Sales & Service.
Darren Dolan, Javier Yataco, Michele Saegesser, Martha Troncoza and Erik De La Cruz of Viking Cruises, winner for River Cruising and River Cruise Sales & Service.

Alex Pinelo and Gary Murphy of AmaWaterways, which had the top river ship.
Alex Pinelo and Gary Murphy of AmaWaterways, which had the top river ship.

DESTINATIONS

Hawaii won its 15th consecutive Readers Choice Award in the category of U.S. state. And among Hawaii's islands, Maui, too, scored its 15th consecutive victory. Back on the mainland, Las Vegas nabbed its 14th Readers Choice Award for U.S. City.

Robyn Basso of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Robyn Basso of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Dario Flota of the Riviera Maya tourism bureau.
Dario Flota of the Riviera Maya tourism bureau.

South of the border, the Riviera Maya won its 15th consecutive Readers Choice Award for Mexico. Meanwhile, up north, Vancouver repeated its Canada win.

The Dominican Republic was readers' pick in the Caribbean, while Costa Rica won its 14th consecutive award in Central/South America.

Glen Davis and Robert Keddy of Tourism Australia.
Glen Davis and Robert Keddy of Tourism Australia.

Travel Weekly’s Bob Sullivan and Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland.
Travel Weekly’s Bob Sullivan and Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland.

Ireland won for Europe for the fifth consecutive year, while South Africa and Australia repeated their 2017 wins in the Africa and Asia/Pacific categories.

GDS

Robert Needs of Sabre, winner of the GDS category.
Robert Needs of Sabre, winner of the GDS category.

Readers continue to favor Sabre, the oldest of the major GDSs and the leading U.S. system by market share: It emerged victorious in this category for the 10th consecutive year.

HOTEL CHAIN

Marriott International claimed its 15th consecutive Readers Choice Award in the Domestic category. Marriott also won for Overall Hotel Group, Sales & Service and Hawaii/South Pacific. For the eighth year in row, Marriott subsidiary Ritz-Carlton took the honors for Luxury.

Cynthia Perry and Alexis Romer of Marriott International.
Cynthia Perry and Alexis Romer of Marriott International.

InterContinental Hotels Group once again took the honors for Asia and added a win for Europe, while Sandals extended its winning streak in the Caribbean and All-Inclusive categories, with its 16th and 13th victories, respectively. Karisma Hotels & Resorts was the 2018 winner in the Boutique category.

Dennis Grunden of InterContinental Hotels Group.
Dennis Grunden of InterContinental Hotels Group.

James Berglie, Be All Inclusive; Megan Doncsecz and Jennifer Doncsecz, VIP Vacations; Tina Hearn, Paradise Weddings and Travel; Sarah Bonsall, Sunset Travel; Marilyn Cairo, Karisma; Shelli Nornes, Romance Travel Group; Mandy Chomat, Karisma; Jackie Waechter, Blissful Honeymoon & Destination Weddings; and Mandy Delve, TWIL Travel.
James Berglie, Be All Inclusive; Megan Doncsecz and Jennifer Doncsecz, VIP Vacations; Tina Hearn, Paradise Weddings and Travel; Sarah Bonsall, Sunset Travel; Marilyn Cairo, Karisma; Shelli Nornes, Romance Travel Group; Mandy Chomat, Karisma; Jackie Waechter, Blissful Honeymoon & Destination Weddings; and Mandy Delve, TWIL Travel.

Garth Laird and Susan Granger of Sandals.
Garth Laird and Susan Granger of Sandals.

Hyatt/Playa Resorts repeated its Mexico win, while Hilton got the nod in the Upscale category. Hilton's Hampton Inn brand continued its reign in the Midpriced category with an 11th consecutive win.

Howard Tanenbaum, Andrea Wright, Kevin Froemming and Karen Callahan of Playa Hotels and Resorts.
Howard Tanenbaum, Andrea Wright, Kevin Froemming and Karen Callahan of Playa Hotels and Resorts.

INSURANCE PROVIDER

Among a field of five competitors, Allianz Global Assistance racked up its third consecutive victory. Allianz Global Assistance provides travel insurance to nearly 13 million customers annually.

Daniel Durazo, Ashley McLaughlin and Tom Trotta of Allianz.
Daniel Durazo, Ashley McLaughlin and Tom Trotta of Allianz.

RAIL VACATION

Rocky Mountaineer scored its 10th consecutive win in this category. The company offers vacation packages on rail routes throughout British Columbia, Alberta and the Canadian Rockies.

Doug Johnson, Inna Germanotta and Jonathan Hope of Rocky Mountaineer, winner for Rail Vacation.
Doug Johnson, Inna Germanotta and Jonathan Hope of Rocky Mountaineer, winner for Rail Vacation.

RESORT WORLDWIDE

After missing out in 2017, the St. Regis Bora Bora reclaimed top honors in this category, scoring its 10th win. The 44-acre private-island resort features the largest overwater and beach bungalow villas in the South Pacific.

THEME PARK

Walt Disney World scored its 16th consecutive victory in this category. This summer will see the opening of the park's NBA Experience attraction.

Doreen Brown and Maryellen Kline of Disney Destinations.
Doreen Brown and Maryellen Kline of Disney Destinations.

TOUR OPERATOR

Trafalgar Tours continued its winning streak in the Domestic Escorted and International categories, and Gogo Vacations once again got the nod for the Group Packaged category.

In the Packaged Sales & Service category, Travel Impressions scored its fourth victory, while for Packaged Overall, it was Delta Vacations' year.

Melissa da Silva of Trafalgar, which won in the Domestic Escorted and International categories.
Melissa da Silva of Trafalgar, which won in the Domestic Escorted and International categories.

Sam Combs and Scott Wiseman of Travel Impressions, winner of the Packaged Sales & Service category.
Sam Combs and Scott Wiseman of Travel Impressions, winner of the Packaged Sales & Service category.

Kevin McCullough, Tracee Adams, John Van den Heuvel and Brennan Quesnele of Gogo Vacations, winner in the Group Packaged category.
Kevin McCullough, Tracee Adams, John Van den Heuvel and Brennan Quesnele of Gogo Vacations, winner in the Group Packaged category.

Globus repeated its wins in the Escorted Sales & Service and Europe categories and added victories in Asia/Pacific and Escorted Overall for 2018, while Tauck got the nod for Canada.

Apple Vacations repeated the previous year's win for the Caribbean. Also repeating was Funjet Vacations for Mexico; Funjet also took home the Domestic Packaged award. Pleasant Holidays scored once again for Hawaii, its 15th victory in that category.

Barbie Groves and Donna Mulligan of Mark Travel/Funjet, which won for Mexico and Domestic Packaged.
Barbie Groves and Donna Mulligan of Mark Travel/Funjet, which won for Mexico and Domestic Packaged.

Paula Hayes and Jennifer Halboth of Globus, a winner in four categories: Escorted Sales & Service, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Escorted Overall.
Paula Hayes and Jennifer Halboth of Globus, a winner in four categories: Escorted Sales & Service, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Escorted Overall.

Jack Richards and Nancy Logan of Pleasant Holidays, winner in the Hawaii tours category.
Jack Richards and Nancy Logan of Pleasant Holidays, winner in the Hawaii tours category.

Shawn Johnson, Norma Spadola, Marett Taylor, Keith Baron and Catherine Moran of Abercrombie & Kent, which won in the Luxury and Adventure categories.
Shawn Johnson, Norma Spadola, Marett Taylor, Keith Baron and Catherine Moran of Abercrombie & Kent, which won in the Luxury and Adventure categories.

Abercrombie & Kent won in the Luxury category for the 14th time and added Adventure to its slate of wins, while the Africa category this time went to African Travel Inc.

TRAVEL AGENT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

For 2018, Delta Vacations University emerged as Travel Weekly readers' favorite educational program. Established in 1994, the program provides thousands of U.S. and Canadian agents with more than 60 destination, specialty and business development classes at its annual event, where agents have access to more than 200 representatives of hotels, destinations and products.

John Diulus, Meg Lee, Camille Olivere, Andy Stuart and Nathan Hickman of Norwegian Cruise Line, winner in the Travel Agent Loyalty Program category as well as for Hawaii/Pacific and the Cruise Ship: New category (for the Norwegian Bliss).
John Diulus, Meg Lee, Camille Olivere, Andy Stuart and Nathan Hickman of Norwegian Cruise Line, winner in the Travel Agent Loyalty Program category as well as for Hawaii/Pacific and the Cruise Ship: New category (for the Norwegian Bliss).

TRAVEL AGENT LOYALTY PROGRAM

Readers are loyal to Norwegian Cruise Line's loyalty program: The company once again beat out a field of resort and tour operators and other cruise lines for this win. Agents who become Norwegian Specialists automatically qualify for a free cruise for two.

Steve Diggelmann and Jennie Ho of Delta Vacations, which won the tour operators Packaged Overall category and for its travel agent educational program.
Steve Diggelmann and Jennie Ho of Delta Vacations, which won the tour operators Packaged Overall category and for its travel agent educational program.

Share.