Bill Smith & Rudi Schreiner Receive CLIA Life Time Achievement Awards
CLIA has announced its 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 by and voted on by CLIA Members earlier this year.
The 2016 Award Winners were honoured at the Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards dinner during the CLIA Cruise360 conference in Vancouver on June 2nd.
“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 & CEO, CLIA.
There were 2 lifetime achievement award winners inducted into the hall of fame:
Bill Smith – V.P., Cruise Sales & Performance Management, Virtuoso
Smith has spent over 44 years in the travel industry and is scheduled to retire 01JUL. 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.
Smith 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 & CEO of Virtuoso. “Bill Smith has done just that in his 44 yr. history in this business. I feel so fortunate that the last 5 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.”
Rudi Schreiner –President& Co-Owner, AmaWaterways
Known as the “The Godfather of River Cruising,” Schreiner 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 7 months sailing through the legendary region – which could be considered his 1st river cruise.
CLIA says Schreiner has been instrumental in building river cruising into a 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.”