Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has been voted Best Cruise Line by the readers of Group Leisure & Travel magazine in the 2019 Group Leisure & Travel Awards, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Milton Keynes.

Best Cruise Line - GLT Awards 2019

Harold Burke from just for groups! (right) presents the award for Best Cruise Line to Zoe Murphy, Ellie Fulcher and Hayley Walker from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines along with host Martin Bayfield.

The accolade recognises the very best groups’ cruise experience, from the initial booking process to on-board facilities as well as the quality of shore excursions on offer.

Fred. Olsen was recognised at the glittering awards ceremony which took place in Milton Keynes on Wednesday 9th October. 

The other finalists in the category, as chosen by readers, were:

  • Cruise & Maritime Voyages
  • P&O Cruises
  • Saga Cruises
  • CroisiEurope
  • Emerald Waterways

Ellie Fulcher, sales manager – groups & affinity at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, also won The Excellence Award, in recognition of her outstanding service to group travel organisers nationwide.

She said: “It is a great honour to receive the Best Cruise Line award for a record eighth time – a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us.

“2019 has been another excellent year, with an increasing number of group travel organisers and their groups choosing to travel with us, including on our river ship Brabant, for holidays along the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube.

More about the ceremony

Now in its 23rd year, the winners of the Group Leisure & Travel Awards are voted for by active group travel organisers from sports and social clubs, retired associations, special interest societies and other groups, on what they consider to be the best groups experience across 21 categories.

The Awards were presented by TV presenter and former England International Rugby Player, Martin Bayfield, alongside Group Leisure & Travel Magazine publisher, Rob Yandell. Well-known for serving as the body and stunt double of the giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, Martin previously presented Crimewatch, the NFL and World’s Strongest Man.

Ellie continued: “On a personal note, I feel very privileged to work in an industry that I love, and am truly honoured to have received The Excellence Award this year - thank you to all of the GTOs who voted for me. It is down to the great working relationships that I have with our loyal clients that makes my job even more enjoyable and rewarding. I would also like to say a ‘big well done’ to the other three deserving finalists nominated in this category.”

Excellence Award winner 2019

Ellie Fulcher also won The Excellence Award, presented by Wendy Hartley-Scarff from the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) and Martin Bayfield.

Further reaction to the accolade

Geoff Ridgeon, head of sales at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “I am extremely proud of our whole team, both ship-based and shoreside. It is a huge achievement to win the Best Cruise Line award and be acknowledged for our ability to accommodate these various groups on our cruises so well.

“I am also pleased for Ellie personally, as being recognised in this significant way is a testimony to her close and long-standing relationships with group travel organisers all across the UK.”

 For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at