Cruise Lines International Association Australasia’s 2022 Cruise Industry Awards last weekend recognised a trio of ‘Champions’ across three fields, including the perennial travel advisor, a new category for cruise lines, and a surprise media acknowledgment.
Cruise Champion, Australasia
Tasmania’s Robyn Sinfield of Home Travel Company was honoured with the title of Cruise Champion Australasia.
This award recognises an individual who actively champions on behalf of the cruise industry, with nominees required to explain and provide examples of how they embody CLIA’s mission of educating, advocating and promoting on behalf of the cruise industry in ways that extend beyond a sales focus and into the wider interests of the cruise community. Just last week, the Virtuoso travel advisor appeared on The Seven Network’s morning show, Sunrise, to promote a batch of special offerings with cruise lines.
Sinfield was one of three finalists, up alongside Barry Downs who regularly presents The Big Cruise Podcast, and Belle Goldie of itravel.
Sinfield has been an active member of CLIA for more than 20 years and is an advisor to the Australasian cruise
industry through CLIA’s Travel Agent Advisory Committee.
She told LATTE first and foremost “this is not just my award,” emphasising it was a shared accolade with her husband, Murray.
“He’s my whole support,” Sinfield gushed.
It was the long-running support of the likes of Karen Christensen, Sarina Bratton, Andrew Milmore, Richard Cranmer, Diane Patrick and Robert Broadley who laid the foundations for Robyn and Murray’s joint success, Sinfield explained.
“Each gave of their individual time. I remember being in Melbourne with Murray at an ICCA (International Cruise Council Australasia) Masters Marketing day. Diane Patrick from Wiltrans (the general sales agent for Regent and Crystal at the time) helped us create a marketing plan – we could choose, Crystal or Regent.”
“And we chose Regent, Alaska. She threw money at us and we threw bookings back!”
“Such profound relationships and partnerships were formed with all cruise line members.
“No one likes change but it came and in March 2013 the ICCA was changed to be CLIA and we haven’t looked back, with solid management under Joel Katz,” Sinfield said.
“Wonderful events/membership from Marita Nosic Lam and training from Peter Koller.”
“There is no I in TEAM and my success is because of the amazing support along the journey- and there is no secret the Cruise Champion to me is the pinnacle.”
“In 2001, we won the ICCA Best Cruise Office Australia, with 100 people in attendance at AFTA head office in Pitt Street, Sydney. Now look at the event!”
Sinfield reflected on her recognition in 2019 at the last ‘CLIAs’, where she picked up ‘Best Mobile Cruise Advisor for Australia’, fuelled somewhat by sales and support.
“But this one is about relationships, education, training and advocacy.”
Sinfield added that it is her wish that CLIA “remains locally – managed locally, not globally, and taking the time with the cruise agency network to continue to train, educate and advocate on our behalf.”
In closing, she said of the recognition that she is “humbled by it, but so very pleased with the journey cruise has taken our humble Tasmanian business.”
Cruise Line Champion, Australasia
Similarly, the Cruise Line Champion recognises an individual sales representative who actively champions the local cruise community and supports CLIA’s travel agent membership. Nominees were required to provide examples of how they embody CLIA’s vision of educating, advocating and promoting the cruise industry outside of their regular sales focus.
In its maiden year, the gong went to Shaun Kavanagh of Princess Cruises.
Other finalists were Christine Oliver of Holland America Line and Mel Watson of Silversea Cruises.
“I’m really honoured to be the winner of this inaugural category, there’s plenty of calibre in this category so I’m humbled to win,” Kavanagh told LATTE.
“I’m supported by some incredible, talented and driven people at Princess, so while this reward is recognised as an individual one, I feel the award is as much for my colleagues as it is for me.
“The night was incredible, it was amazing to reconnect with so many peers, colleagues and friends.”
Media Cruise Champion, Australasia
The 2022 CLIA’s also acknowledged – as Managing Director for CLIA Australasia, Joel Katz said – “one of the industry’s most tireless advocates,” Bruce Piper of Business Publishing Group, aka. Cruise Weekly, Travel Daily and travelBulletin.
In bestowing the surprise honour on an unsuspecting Piper, Katz said: “As we fought for revival, we were supported by several key media figures who swam against the tide and helped us change the narrative around cruising. We’re grateful to each of them, and many are here tonight.”
“But one, in particular, championed cruising on an almost daily basis. He used his position as an industry authority to help amplify our voice and to give credibility to our message. He never paused. He helped keep us together. And he kept the home fires burning.”
A humble Piper told LATTE, “I was completely blindsided by this award which is very much appreciated.
“It’s been a tough few years for cruise, and to have had the opportunity to fight the good fight and support the industry in the public arena was an absolute privilege.”
“I’m so thrilled to be recognised in this way, and would very much like to thank Joel Katz and the whole CLIA Committee for this most unexpected acknowledgement,” he said.
Lead image: Murray and Robyn Sinfield, Home Travel Company.