Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia paid homage to industry veteran Steve Odell at last weekend’s 2022 Cruise Industry Awards, hosted at Luna Park in Sydney.
The recently retired Odell was inducted into the CLIA Hall of Fame in recognition of his leadership in the industry for more than three decades, in front of 500 cruise and travel industry personnel, capping off the 20th Cruise Industry Awards on Saturday night.
Most recently the regional head of Oceania Cruises & Regent Seven Seas, Odell has also held senior leadership roles in Australia and the UK with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Silversea Cruises. Odell is the 17th member of the Hall of Fame, joining the most recent additions of Ann Sherry AO (2019), Karen Christensen (2018) and Ted Blamey (2017).
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Presenting the award to Odell was Ben Angell, Australasia Chairman of CLIA, and Vice President and Managing Director of Norwegian Cruise Line APAC.
“Steve has been a superb ambassador for the cruise industry and has held senior management roles for several cruise brands across the contemporary, premium and luxury cruise sectors,” Angell said. “He has always championed the industry, and from the very start of his career has been highly respected by his peers, both in cruise and in the travel agent community.”
“Never losing sight of the importance of the value of travel partners, he has always been a strong proponent of CLIA. He was instrumental in developing the foundation of what CLIA Australasia is today, championing the professional development of our travel agent community, contributing to the growth of the cruise industry across this region, and serving twice as CLIA Chairman.”
Angell said Odell has “always been eager and available to share their knowledge and experience selflessly for the good of the industry as a whole – to encourage, train and mentor others in their professional development, as an investment in the future talent of this industry.”
When he stepped down at the end of 2022, Odell had given almost 20 years of dedicated service to CLIA.
On accepting the recognition, Odell said he has enjoyed “every moment” of his 40 years of experience, which began at the P&O reservations office in the UK in 1982.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone in this room, who has supported me through these years in the business because it’s that support and friendship that makes you successful. You don’t do it on your own,” Odell remarked.
Odell thanked Silversea Cruises’ previous owner, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio for relocating him to Australia in 2001 to unlock the green shoots for luxury business in Australia, Ted Blamey who was on the founding board of Silversea “and pushed my cause”, along with Karen Christensen “who was by my side through those founding years of Silversea in Australia and New Zealand.
He also expressed gratitude to his former colleagues at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and its founding team who have moved forward with the succession plan – namely Angell (Norwegian Cruise Line), Lisa Pile (Regent Seven Seas Cruises) and Jason Worth (Oceania Cruises).
Odell recognised CLIA Australasia’s Managing Director, Joel Katz, as an “unsung hero” of the cruise sector, and thanked his partner, Jay, who has “constantly encouraged me for the last 20 years to push myself to do better.”
“Through the good times or bad times, [Jay] always been there to support me, so I would like to recognise him.”
In closing, Odell said his heart has been in the cruise industry for nearly 40 years.
“It continues to be a very important part of my life. I will always be an Ambassador for this business. Let’s champion it and let’s carry it forward and do even greater things. This is a really big honor for me. Thank you.”