CLIA Announces 2016 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Award Winners Recipients Honored at 12th Annual Cruise360 Conference

Published on : Saturday, June 4, 2016

CLIA_noRegion_BLKCruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is proud to announce the 2016 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Award Winners. The awards recognize individuals and organizations whose efforts and accomplishments represent a significant contribution to the cruise industry. Winners were nominated and voted by CLIA Members earlier this year.


The 2016 Award Winners were honored at the Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards dinner during the CLIA Cruise360 conference in Vancouver, BC, on June 2, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“Each year, the selection process is extremely difficult as the nominees included some of the brightest, most talented, hard-working individuals that are truly dedicated to advance the cruise industry,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The 2016 Hall of Fame Award Cruise Industry Winners represent the best of cruising and we are proud to honor them with this recognition.”


Congratulations to the 2016 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Award Winners:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS – Awarded to an individual or individuals from any aspect of the cruise industry that is an advocate for cruise travel and has made remarkable positive contributions to the cruise industry.

Bill Smith – Vice President, Cruise Sales and Performance Management, Virtuoso, Seattle, WA – Bill has been working in the travel industry for more than 44 years and is scheduled to retire on July 1, 2016. He currently serves as Vice President of Cruise Sales for Virtuoso where he has made significant contributions, including the rebranding and expansion of the cruise program Virtuoso Voyages. Bill admits he “didn’t know the front end of a boat from the back” when he moved to Los Angeles in 1984 to work for Sitmar Cruises. However, he quickly became a maritime devotee, working for 26 years in executive positions for cruise lines, including Crystal, Silversea, Costa and Princess.


“Receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award means you’ve dedicated your life to the goal of furthering an industry or cause, and have done so in a way that has truly impacted those you serve,” says Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “Bill Smith has done just that in his 44-year history in this business. I feel so fortunate that the last five years of his career were at Virtuoso, and I’m proud to say he has been a supplier partner, colleague and friend for more than 25 years. Not only did he accomplish so much, but he enriched our lives with his passion and made it all so much fun. It is extremely befitting that Bill is inducted into CLIA’s ‘Hall of Fame’ as he unleashes his boat and sails into retirement, creating his own personal ‘wave season’!”


Rudi Schreiner – President and Co-Owner, AmaWaterways, (Calabasas, CA) – Known as the “The Godfather of River Cruising,” Rudi has helped turn river cruising from a niche travel experience to one of the most popular forms of cruising around the globe. He studied architecture and was inspired to enter the travel industry by his youthful adventures. In his early 20s, he constructed a raft for research on the Amazon River and spent seven months sailing through the legendary region – which could be considered his first river cruise. Rudi has been instrumental in the development and success of building river cruising into a hugely popular mainstream vacation as well as leading the design of some of the industry’s most innovative cruise ships.


“Almost 15 years ago, Rudi and I, along with our partner Jimmy Murphy, had the dream to create the best possible river cruising experience.  I could not be more pleased to see Rudi’s success recognized, as he truly is a pioneer in so many ways,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice-president and co-owner of AmaWaterways.  “I know that I speak on behalf of the entire AmaWaterways family in saying how proud we are of Rudi for all that he has achieved through his hard work, passion and energy.  Rudi’s innovative spirit and dedication to his business partners, the travel agent community and the AmaWaterways team and crew have helped create the long-lasting relationships that have made our company what it is today.”


TRAVEL AGENCY INNOVATOR AWARD WINNER – Awarded to a travel agency that has demonstrated innovation in their approach to promoting the benefits and value of cruise travel.

Cruises & Tours Unlimited – Jacksonville, FL – Cruises & Tours Unlimited received numerous nominations from employees that praised the agencies genuine desire to see them all succeed – not just as an agency, but as individuals. Nominees praised the organization’s commitment to improving agents’ education, sales skills and cruise travel knowledge by providing and encouraging new and innovative programs. They praised the agency’s amazing training and back office support, lauding top of the line on-demand training available 24/7, marketing tools and excellent customer service.

RISING STAR AWARD WINNER – Awarded to an Individual Travel Agent who has significantly impacted the travel agent landscape through contributions to their agency, as well as demonstrated their commitment to professional development, with a maximum of three years cruise industry experience.

Christine Brown – Expedia Cruise Ship Centers Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV – Christine joined Expedia Cruise Ship Centers Summerlin less than three years ago with no book of business and completely dedicated herself to the industry. She completed the ACC requirements in three months, has been appointed to the Norwegian Cruise Line advisory board, and has been invited to the Disneyland AEP. In the local community, she has increased awareness for cruise vacations, by hosting group events for church groups, high school reunions, family reunions/multi-generational cruising, and consistently helps customers experience these incredible vacations. Less than two years after joining the agency, she was promoted to Cruise Sales Manager, helping other agents in the office achieve great success.


The new and refreshed awards program gives CLIA Members an even greater opportunity to nominate and select the award recipients in the three aforementioned categories.  CLIA Members and leaders from the CLIA STARBoard and Trade Relations Committee nominated and voted for this year’s winners.


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