WAVE Awards 2023

On Monday, 13 November 2023, Real Response Media hosted their ninth WAVE Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of Cruising’ at The Dorchester in the heart of Park Lane. 

The night kicked off with a warm welcome from our CEO and founder, Chris Pitchford.  

He spoke about the many successes of the cruise industry, whilst sharing data published earlier this year by CLIA, including the staggering fact that in 2022 British and Irish holidaymakers took around 1.7 million cruises – that’s up 479,000 from the previous year 

Chris left us all with some encouraging words that cruising continues to diversify and attract holidaymakers of all ages, an exciting time for the industry. 

And before our guests tucked into their starters, Chris announced a very special award; The Peter Grant Contribution to the Cruise Industry Award. This is a very special accolade in memory of Peter Grant, Chris’s former business partner, and a much-loved friend of Real Response Media, and the entire cruise industry.  

Fiona Archbold-Graham from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines joined Chris on stage to announce the worthy winner; James Cole, managing director of Panache Cruises. James is synonymous with cruise and in the last few years has pushed the boundaries with their latest venture-congratulations James.


After the starters, our host for the evening, comedian and TV personality Joel Dommett, took to the stage and handed out a total of 38 awards to agents, cruise lines, ports, destinations and bloggers.  

Riviera Travel claimed the biggest accolade of the night, scooping the coveted Grand Prix award as well as Favourite River Cruise Line, Best for Solo Travellers and Best Escorted and Specialist Tour Operator.   

“It feels absolutely incredible,” said Riviera head of commercial partnerships Vicky Billing.  

It means the world to us. We work so hard, and we want to always do the best for our customers, so winning this means so much to the team.” 

Meanwhile, P&O Cruises was named Favourite Ocean Cruise Line and Cunard – who showcased new entertainment during the ceremony – picked up the gongs for Favourite Luxury or Premium Cruise Line and new award Best for Wellness and Enrichment. 

You can view the full list of winners from this year’s Wave Awards here


With entertainment from Fred Olsen and Pop Up Global, giving us a glimpse of the fantastic onboard entertainment – it certainly got us moving.  

We also enjoyed entertainment from Cunard with Olivier Award-winning Matt Henry MBE, and YolanDa Brown OBE DL – a composer and saxophonist who has toured with the likes of Jools Holland and The Temptations. Topped off by an incredible after party from Marella Cruises with a fantastic roaming band, dancers and DJ set.