The Cruise Stars Awards judging panel is made up of distinguished specialists and expert industry representatives, together with the editor of Cruise Trade News, Rebecca Barnes. The judges are divided into two groups, the first representing travel agents who judge the cruise line categories and the second representing the cruise lines, who judge the agent categories.
You can read more about our judges below:
Rebecca Barnes – Chair of Judges, Editor, Cruise Trade News and Cruise Destinations
Editor of Cruise Trade News and Cruise Destinations, Rebecca Barnes, is an award-winning, London-based journalist and editor with 18 years experience. Having previously written travel articles for countless consumer, national and trade titles and websites including The Independent, Tatler, You & Your Wedding, Zest and Sunday Express, Rebecca has travelled to destinations including Mexico, St Lucia, Panama and the Cayman Islands, interviewed high-profile celebrities, industry icons and TV personalities, and worked with brands and agencies looking for innovative content, engaging social media, direction and insight. Rebecca’s blog, Beauty Voyage, was nominated in the Best Emerging Blogger category at the J&J Journalism Awards 2016. Always in search of the ‘next big thing’ in global travel, Rebecca’s favourite destinations include the Greek Islands, Ibiza, Copenhagen and Marrakech.
Cruise Line/ Brands Category Judging Panel
Scott Anderson – General Manager, The Luxury Cruise Company
Scott is one of the most well-travelled people we know, having visited more than 70 countries and counting. He has worked in the cruise industry since he was 19 years old, beginning as a cruise ship photographer and duty free shop manager, and knows more than most how enjoyable cruising can be. “A luxury or adventure cruise is a wonderful way to see several destinations in one unforgettable holiday, with the added advantage of only having to unpack once. Best of all, it offers excellent value for money, with almost everything usually included in the list price: meals, accommodation and entertainment on board, and in some instances all shore excursions and beverages too, even champagne.” Burma is perhaps Scott’s favourite destination, which he visited with Crystal Cruises and loved for the warmth and hospitality of its people. As excursions go, his most treasured memory is dogsledding in Arctic Norway with Hurtigruten, an experience that was capped by a campfire dinner beneath a dazzling display of the Northern Lights.
Edwina Lonsdale – Managing Director, Mundy Cruising
A true ‘early adopter’, Edwina boasts a lifetime’s work in the cruise industry, stretching back to the early years at Fred.Olsen where she started work as a fresh-faced graduate in 1982, looking after a range of long gone cruise lines including Sun Line, American Hawaii and Blue Funnel cruises.
After a brief foray into tour operating at the newly formed Redwing Holidays, she returned to the industry she loves in 1989, working for her long term mentor Paul Mundy as sales manager for Royal Viking Line, and later Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises.
In 1999, she and her husband Matthew purchased Paul and Judith Mundy’s business in a management buyout, and they have continued to focus on the luxury end of the market, in addition to expedition cruising and a few quirky one-offs, through their acclaimed and respected brands Mundy Cruising, The Cruise Portfolio and Mundy Adventures.
Amanda Darrington, Sales Director Royal Caribbean
As Sales Director, Amanda provides leadership to the thirty-strong Royal Caribbean sales team in the UK & Ireland.
Amanda joined Royal Caribbean in April 2017 and will continue to build on the successes of the sales team as the company heads into a series of innovative ship launch years from 2018.
Amanda has a wealth of travel experience earned during her 30 years within the travel industry and during this time held the position of Sales Director for Funway Holidays and prior to that, acted as Head of Trade Sales at Kuoni Travel UK for over three years.
In addition to ongoing engagement with valued trade partners, delivering promotional campaigns and rewarding agents via leading loyalty programme, Club Royal, Amanda will also foster and develop key talent to help Royal Caribbean achieve its vision of having the best sales team in the travel industry.
Jamie Loizou, Sales, Marketing & Digital Director AmaWaterways
Having spent his entire working life in the industry and the last 14 years working in cruise, Jamie has travel in his blood. He started his career working for Cosmos, part of the Globus Group, before moving to luxury cruise specialist travel agency Mundy Cruising. Over the course of 9 years, he worked his way up to Sales & Marketing Director, gaining valuable experience in both cruise and luxury travel. From a travel agency, he moved to The Travel Corporation looking after the UK marketing for Trafalgar, Insight Vacations and Uniworld. Now he heads up the sales and marketing for AmaWaterways.
Bernie Carter, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, EMEA, Oceania Cruises
With over 30 years in the Cruise Industry Bernard Carter is a true veteran (although he would likely dispute this!), working in various sectors from contemporary (NCL & Festival) to ultra-luxury (Silversea & The World of ResidenSea) before joining the Upper-Premium sector leader, Oceania Cruises in 2005. In this time he has seen many changes across the industry, from brand offerings to promotional strategies and commercial channels. With the above experience, and having built his current team from scratch he is ideally placed to spot new and exciting talent.
Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises Managing Director, UK and Ireland
Antonio Paradiso joined MSC Cruises as Trade Manager for Austria, Germany and Switzerland in 2010. Since joining the world’s largest privately owned cruise company he has worked in over 30 countries as Executive Director and comes to the role of MD for the UK and Ireland with a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise.
Born in Brighton to a British mother and an Italian father Antonio has a real passion for the UK and is very delighted to be leading the UK & Irish markets at such an exciting time. Since taking up the position in 2016 Antonio has focused on growing the business in the UK and is proud to have achieved unprecedented growth across the UK & Irish markets. With a trade focused approach Antonio’s first action was to grow the sales team in order to provide a hands on approach. With a new Director of Sales and a larger on the ground team the impact has been obvious and MSC Cruises reputation in the UK is going from strength to strength. The cruise company is at the start of an ambitious growth plan and Antonio is proud to be leading this in one of the world’s most important cruise markets, the UK.
Travel Agent Category Judging Panel
Iain Powell – Head of Trade Sales, Saga
I started my career in travel largely by accident, securing my first full time role at Virgin Holidays. Working in Sales gave me the chance to talk about and experience some amazing destinations around the World; from this point, I was hooked. Since then I have been lucky enough to work for TUI, Carnival UK and now Saga. I’ve been working in Trade Sales for many years now and I was thrilled to take the role of Head of Trade Sales at Saga in January 2018. My spare time is primarily filled with any sport, although that seems to be more watching than playing lately!
Mike Hall – Head of Marketing, Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Mike Hall is Head of Marketing at Cruise & Maritime Voyages, the UK’s leading and fastest growing independent cruise line. Since its launch in 2010, Mike has been responsible for the marketing of the CMV brand which has grown from zero to approaching 140,000 annual passenger carryings. He has a wealth of travel industry experience in sales, marketing and training, plus travel writing and magazine publication. Mike is well known throughout the UK travel industry, particularly in the cruise sector, and is often called upon for his views and comment.
Mike Evans – Head of Sales, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Mike Evans is Fred. Olsen’s new Head of Sales, be responsible for managing the UK Sales teams, as well as further developing relations with the travel trade. He
has worked for Fred. Olsen since 1992, and has fulfilled a number of roles within the Sales Department of the cruise line during that time, including Regional Sales Manager for the North of England, Scotland & Northern Ireland.
Mike is well-known within the travel industry, having worked in many areas of the travel trade, including retail, tour operating, tourist boards and airline sales, across a 40-year career.