Cole Porter said it best about this time of year, when you have the Golden Globes, the AACTAs, the SAGs and the Grammys (and, of course, the Oscars in a few weeks’ time):
And that’s why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let’s do it, let’s…hand out Awards.
Okay, so that may not be very original, what with Uncle Tom Cobley and All staging their own honours rituals in the first month or two of the year. We’ve even seen the first Travel gongs of 2019 (Travel Weekly’s Globe Awards) amid the welter of rituals for this, that and the other. But it certainly opens the door to all kinds of associated nonsense in the name of class distinction (and we’re all in favour of class and distinction, it has to be said).
So, here at Over The Yardarm, we decided it was to add to all the votive tomfoolery with some of our own, the first annual Treadwell And Tenny Cruise Awards, or TATs for short, highlighting the good, great and downright insane elements of the cruise world, not all of which is totally tongue in cheek (we’ll leave you to figure out the bona fide from the totally bogus). And we’ll kick it all off with one of the most righteous and decidedly deserved tributes of them all…
The Jeeves Award For The Most Proper Use Of The Word Luxury In A Brochure
There are several contenders for this prestigious prize, which comes with its own cloth-bound Oxford Dictionary highlighting the text in question:
Luxury, (noun); A state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense. As in “he lived a life of luxury.” Note to mainstream cruise lines – just having a new ship does NOT make you a ‘luxury’ line.
Silversea (mainly because any advertising about them makes it sound like one word, as in SilverseaLuxuryCruises), Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club and Regent Seven Seas are our joint runners-up in this category, behind this year’s winners, Crystal Cruises. They jumped to the head of the queue with their advance publicity for the forthcoming Crystal Endeavour expedition ship, which will have its own helicopter, as well as a personal submersible, and all in a polar-qualified cruiser. “Where luxury roams freely,” proclaimed the brochure, and we absolutely, positively, 100 per cent believe that it will do in this particular case.
The Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou Award For Best Use of a Musical Soundtrack On Setting Sail From Any Port Of Call
There is really only one candidate for this singular honour this year, and any other, come to that. Windstar has completely cornered the market here, as their inspired use of the main theme from the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise sets them apart from any possible rival when it comes to leaving port in ultra-evocative style. Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, otherwise known as Vangelis, would definitely approve.
The Lord Lucan ‘Whatever Happened To The Midnight Buffet?’ Award
In appreciation of the inaugural year of this particular esteemed category, there can be only one winner – all the cruise lines of the world. In tribute to the fact there has been an industry-wide move to abandon this hoary old cruise chestnut, we nominate every line for taking the decision to dump the traditional, stale, midnight buffet in the dustbin of maritime history. Huzzah! PS: Can we nominate Baked Alaska for this award next year? Please? Pretty please? ‘Bored-out-of-our-minds-with-it’ please?
The ‘Thank-God-It’s-Not-Another-Bloody-Starbucks’ Award For The Best Coffee Bar At Sea
Multiple nominees were in line for this one – including Crystal, with their The Bistro lounges on both ships, Holland America, for the super-chic Explorations Café, and Disney Cruise Line’s surprisingly sophisticated Cove Café – but our grateful thanks in this instance go to Silversea and their Silver Muse flagship, where the indoor/outdoor Arts Café is simply superb when it comes to providing an appealing venue for tea, coffee, pastries and snacks at absolutely any time of the day, Elevenses be dashed! Special Non-Award to: Royal Caribbean. In God’s name why add a Starbucks café to your newest ships when some of us go to sea to avoid the wretched muck they serve?
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘It’s All About The Journey, Not The Destination’ Award For Travelling Slowly (aka Our River Cruise Award)
The world of river-cruising has evolved enormously in the last 10 years or so as it has attracted a bigger, younger, more quality-conscious audience. The likes of Viking, AmaWaterways and Avalon have all poured huge resources into creating ships that are both comfy for those of more advanced age while still appealing to a wider demographic. Uniworld took things a stage further with a positively urbane, cultured vibe on their latest vessels, but this honour has to go to Crystal River Cruises for truly elevating the genre into indisputable six-star territory, adding butler service, signature excursions and a proper all-inclusive style that floats our (river)boat every day of the week.
The ‘They Put WHAT On Board a Cruise Ship?’ Award
When it comes to our views on what constitutes proper sea-going architecture and what is actually a nautical carbuncle, we thought Norwegian Cruise Line had a stranglehold on building ships that make you shudder. You know; maritime eyesores. Yes, they are lovely enough on the inside, but having to peer across port at the Norwegian Epic or go-kart-decked Norwegian Bliss is an exercise in visual torture. But now Carnival Cruises, bless their little Miami souls, have come up with an even more outlandish, nay, carbunclish, idea by adding a roller-coaster to their forthcoming Mardi Gras that is due to make its debut in 2020. If you ever wondered what an explosion in the world’s biggest boiler factory might look like, just take a gander at the renderings for the top deck of this ship. Ugh and double Ugh.
Norway’s Answer To ‘The Jacques Cousteau Award For Environmental Perspicacity’ Award
Cruising and environmental awareness haven’t always gone hand in hand, to put it mildly. Some of the older sulfur-fuelled smoke-stackers put more pollution into the atmosphere than a fleet of jumbo jets. But this is the 21st century, hence eco-friendly is the new black, and cruise lines that advance genuinely progressive agendas are to be applauded and given special, spurious awards dedicated to the late French oceanographer and conservationist. Which is all a preposterous preamble to an authentically brilliant approach from Norwegian adventure specialists Hurtigruten, who are bringing in a whole new generation of hybrid propulsion vessels that will have a much smaller carbon footprint (should that be ‘wakeprint,’ actually?), which should help usher the industry into a new era of responsible cruising. Plus, we also like to write ‘perspicacity.’
Love, Treadwell & Tenny
So, who did we miss? Who do YOU think should get a cruise award in 2019, and why? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.