2009 WAVE Awards

Top suppliers, agents honored at black-tie gala By: By Deanna Ting

Photo Tour

Click here to view a photo tour of the 2009 WAVE Awards

Click here to view a video from the 2009 WAVE Awards

More than 110 companies, individuals and destinations were celebrated by the readers of TravelAge West as part of the TravelAge West WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards dinner held June 4 in Beverly Hills. Honorees were recognized in 44 categories that spanned the cruise, tour operator, airline, hotel and resort and destination travel fields. The awards gave travel agents in the Western U.S. the opportunity to recognize the outstanding qualities and services of their travel supplier partners.


Ken Shapiro presides at the 2009 WAVE Awards // (c) 2009

Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro presides over the
TravelAge West 2009 WAVE Awards

In addition, top travel agents were honored in five categories as part of the 2009 Trendsetters Awards, also presented at the gala.


Travel agent professionals throughout the 14 Western states and readers of TravelAge West were invited to vote on the best-of-the-best from a list of Editor’s Pick award recipients that were chosen after careful review by Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro and the editorial team of TravelAge West. Review methods included product analysis, on-site visits, a survey of a select group of travel agents and online research.

“After extensive research by our editorial staff, we have no doubts that the companies we’ve honored are truly the best in their fields,” said Shapiro. “We are delighted to acknowledge them with this award.”

At the black-tie event, guests dined on a four-course meal while being treated to a multimedia presentation of the award recipients.

“The WAVE Awards are a celebration of excellence in travel products, services and destinations,” said Michelle Rosenberg, publisher of TravelAge West. “This year’s WAVE winners have consistently demonstrated excellence within the travel marketplace.”

TravelAge West will also feature the winners in a special WAVE Awards Spotlight Issue due out in August 2009.

2009 WAVE Award Recipients

Best Onboard Dining
Oceania Cruises

Best Spa Facility, Cruise
Freedom of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International

Best Onboard Children’s Program
Disney Cruise Line

Best Line for River Cruising
Viking River Cruises

Best New Ship (Ocean-going)
Holland America Line

Best New Ship (River Cruise)
Avalon Scenery
Avalon Waterways

Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction
Celebrity Cruises

Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Travel Agent Support, Cruise
Royal Caribbean International

Best Travel Agent Support, River Cruise
Viking River Cruises

Best Travel Agent Incentive Program, Cruise Line
Princess Cruises

Best Resort for Families, Mexico
Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa

Best Resort for Families, Hawaii
Hilton Waikoloa Village

Best Resort for Families, Caribbean
Beaches Turks & Caicos

Best Resort Spa, Mexico
Royal Hideaway Spa at Royal Hideaway Playacar

Best New Property or Major Renovation, Mexico
Hotel Riu Palace Pacifico

Best New Property or Major Renovation, Hawaii
Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Best New Property or Major Renovation, Caribbean
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites

Best Travel Agent Support, Hotel
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Best Travel Agent Incentive Program, Hotel
Marriott International

Best Tour Operator
Globus Family of Brands

Best Tour Operator, Africa
Abercrombie & Kent

Best Tour Operator, Middle East

Best Tour Operator, Hawaii
Pleasant Holidays

Best Tour Operator, Mexico
Apple Vacations

Best Tour Operator, Asia
Pacific Delight Tours

Best Tour Operator, Europe
Tauck World Discovery

Best Tour Operator, Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific
Qantas Vacations

Most Knowledgeable Reservations Staff
Classic Vacations

Best Travel Agent Support, Tour Operator
Pleasant Holidays

Best Airline, Domestic

Best Airline, International
Singapore Airlines

Best Travel Agent Support, Car Rental

Favorite Weekend Destination to Sell
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Best Destination for a Beach Vacation, Mexico
Riviera Maya

Best Destination for a Beach Vacation, Caribbean

Best Country for Cultural Travel, Asia

Best Family Destination, Europe

Best Vacation Value, Europe

Best Luxury Resort in the Western US
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Favorite Individual Sales Rep Recipients

Favorite Individual Hotel Sales Representative
Diane Fraser
Aston Hotels & Resorts

Favorite Individual Cruise Line Sales Representative
Lori Goldspiel
Royal Caribbean International

Favorite Individual Tour Operator Sales Representative
Cheryl Breen
Classic Vacations

International Tourist Board
Providing the Best Travel Agent Support
Jamaica Tourist Board

TravelAge West 2009 Trendsetter Award Recipients

Best Group Booking Sales Effort

Jason Coleman, Jason Coleman, Inc.

Sharon Kay Howell, Travel Masters

Best Community Service Effort

Denise Emory, Cruise & Tour Escapes

Marc Kassouf, Pride Travel

Best One-Time Sales Event

Michael Ginsburg, Michaels Travel Centre, Inc.

Roberta Christman, AAA Northern CA, NV, UT

Best Agency Advertising Campaign



Best Employee Recruitment/Education Program

Paula Mitchell Manning, Call Lynn 2 Travel

Dianne Tuttle, Academy Cruises & Tours/Academy Travel School

Adventure Travel JDS Africa Middle East JDS Destinations