Meet the 2023 Judging Panel


Our independent panel of judges is made up of leading voices from across the international cruise community. Drawing on expertise in key sectors including operations, hospitality, technology and marketing they have many years of experience to draw upon when developing the Seatrade Cruise Awards shortlist.

Discover more about our judging panel below including their top tips for success!

Charlie Ball

Cruise and Tour Expert, Holland America Group
- Retired

Until February of 2022, Ball was Executive Vice President of Land Operations and Customer Service for the Holland America Group. In this capacity he oversaw several operational departments including worldwide port and shore operations, cruisetour operations, travel services, crew planning and community and government relations. His responsibilities ran across the group, serving
Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Australia.

He was also president of Holland America-Princess Alaska, overseeing the operation of the Princess and Holland America land tour divisions, including Princess’ and Westmark hotel, transportation and guest service businesses in Alaska.

As Senior Advisor to the Holland America Group President until April of 2023, Charlie Ball assisted in development and analysis of strategic projects and advised the Executive Committee on strategy, operational development and community and government affairs.

A 37-year cruise industry veteran, Charlie served in various capacities at Holland America Line before joining Princess Cruises in 2000 and then back to the Carnival Corporation when P & O Princess was acquired in 2003.

An active member of several travel industry associations, Ball was Chair of th United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) in 2008/09 and 2020/21.  He has also served as Chair of the regional CLIA board for Alaska, Canada and the Northwest and as Chair of the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

Ball is a graduate of Whitman College in Washington with a degree in economics. He and his wife, Maura, have three children.

Per Bjornsen

Managing Director, V.Ships Leisure

Per has had a career of over 25 years dedicated to the cruise industry. Holding key roles at V.Ships Leisure in Monaco before his appointment as Managing Director in 2015, Per has been instrumental in the development of the market leading global ship and hotel management partner for the cruise industry.

Ted Blamey

Principal, CHART Management Consultants

A cruise industry pioneer and leader, over a 40-year career Ted has served as major cruise line President & CEO, Port Authority Chair, retail travel giant CEO and, since founding CHART Management Consultants in 1997, strategist, adviser, analyst and commentator on our industry.

The 2017 Honouree to the CLIA AU Hall of Fame, Visiting Fellow of the Seatrade Academy and a member of cruise industry bodies in Asia, he is a regular speaker and moderator at Seatrade and the major cruise conferences.

Claus Bødker

Cruise Expert

Claus Bødker joined Cruise Baltic and Cruise Copenhagen Network in May 2014. He came from a position as CEO in a subsidiary to the National Lottery in Denmark. In addition to the above, brings with him 14 years of experience from the travel industry from companies such as KILROY travels, Thomas Cook and Hertz Denmark, where he was CEO.

Andrew Coggins

Cruise Industry Analyst, Clinical Professor, Management & Management Science Department- Lubin School of Business, Pace University, New York

Andrew O. Coggins, Jr. is a Professor of Management in Lubin School of Business, Pace University. His Ph.D. dissertation on “What makes a passenger ship a legend?’ won the 2006 ITB “Best International Paper Award.” He has studied the cruise industry and attended Seatrade cruise events worldwide since 1993. A retired USN Surface Warfare Commander, he teaches Business, Hospitality & Tourism, and Cruise Line Management courses.

Michelle Fee

Chief Executive Officer, Cruise Planners an American Express Travel Representative

Michelle is a devoted advocate for Cruise Planners® travel advisors, sitting on the advisory boards of Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), as well as the Executive Forum for Carnival Cruise Lines. Since 1994, Michelle Fee has led Cruise Planners, ensuring franchise owners have the technology, marketing, and training they need to be the best in the industry.
What makes a winning entry?

"I look principally for: value to the industry as a whole (rather than to the candidate per se); value to the cruise consumer; true innovation; results achieved; and how closely the submission addresses the award criteria. I also rate current year projects higher than ones which express aspirations yet to be achieved or were completed in previous years."

Ted Blamey, 2023 Judging Panelist

Liz Gammon


In a career that has spanned more than twenty years, Liz Gammon is considered by many to have played a major part in the successful development of the cruise industry in Iceland; playing matchmaker to ports and cruise lines, crafting sustainable, award-winning land programmes and creating innovative and unique marketing strategies. 

Since starting out as an independent consultant in 2016, she has developed into something of a multidimensional maverick. One day might see her assisting an expedition cruise line with their itinerary plans and sourcing zodiac landing sites in the Arctic. Whilst another might see her working on a social media strategy for a high-profile cruise port association - or perhaps delving into food experiences in the Caribbean. 

Nicky Guerrero

Secretary General of MedCruise

Nicky was born and raised in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and educated in Gibraltar and in the UK.

Nicky then pursued a career in the tourism and hospitality industry and in 1997 joined the Gibraltar Tourist Board, where he carried out the roles of Product Manager and Sales and Marketing Manager.

 Nicky was then Chief Executive of the Gibraltar Tourist Board for the latter half of his time there, before retiring after twenty-four years at the Board in 2021.

Nicky held the post of Director for Events and Partnerships on the Board of Directors of MedCruise, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports. As of 1st January 2023, he is the Association’s Secretary General and is a consultant in the industry.

Nicky has been a regular attendee at all Medcruise and Seatrade events, including Seatrade Cruise Global, for the last 26 years.

Nicky is widely known and respected in the cruise, airline and tourism industry at all levels. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Roberta Jacoby

Global Hospitality & Travel Operations Executive, Jacoby Advisors

Served as key member of the executive leadership team of the two largest world cruise brands, Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Corporation, both publicly traded companies. 

Respected as a transformational leader in disciplined multi-unit operations, destination development and sustainability. Equally well versed in mass market and luxury, with global and multi-generational experience. Skillfully navigates teams through intense crises. Record of serving as a dedicated mentor by identifying and coaching high potential employees to exceptional levels of achievement and growth. 

Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor, Seatrade Cruise Review

Anne Kalosh covers global stories, reporting both breaking and in-depth news on cruising's
significant people, places, ships and trends. A sought-after expert on cruising, she has moderated conferences around the world, including the high-profile State of the Industry panel at Seatrade Cruise Global. She created
and led the acclaimed itinerary-planning case study for Seatrade's cruise master classes held at Cambridge and Oxford universities. She has been the cruise columnist for, and her freelance stories have appeared in a wide range of publications, from The New York Times to The Miami Herald.

Marie-Caroline Laurent

Director General, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe 

As Director General of CLIA in Europe, Marie-Caroline Laurent is leading industry engagement with EU Institutions, European countries, and the wider cruise community in support of policies and practices that foster secure, healthy, and sustainable cruising. Marie-Caroline is a transport policy expert who, prior to joining CLIA in November 2021, has worked in leadership roles at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for nearly a decade, including serving as Assistant Director for EU Affairs. 

Her roles included providing strategic advice to governmental agencies on travel and security innovation. Previously, Marie-Caroline worked in policy development for the Association of European Airlines, where her responsibilities included policy development and representation of the airlines’ interest in the field of aviation security, as well as insurance policies, border controls and passenger data. She has also served as a parliamentary adviser at the European Parliament and as senior policy officer at the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU.

Jens Skrede

Managing Director, Cruise Europe 

Jens Chr. Skrede has worked in the leisure industry since 1990. After graduating at the Sogn & Fjordane University College he went to Germany to work for small tour operator Fjordtra in Essen. Returning to Norway he went on to establish the regional tourism board for Nordfjord, Destination Stryn & Nordfjord. He was promoted to managing director in 1999 and stayed in this position until 2010. He was vital in establishing the cruise network in the Nordfjord region. In this period he was also chairman of Sogn & Fjordane Tourism Board and served at the board of directors at Fjord Norway.  

Since October 2010 he has been the managing director of Cruise Europe. He works out of the small town Stryn in Western Norway, where he also lives with his wife and 2 daughters. Outside of work, Jens is a passionate supporter of Manchester City, loves food, wine, mountains, hunting and literature. 

What makes a winning entry?

"A winning entry should make a unique problem solving contribution to the industry ."

Andrew Coggins, 2023 Judging Panelist

Ida Katrine Skaarup

Senior Manager, Cruise Baltic

Ida Katrine Skaarup is Senior Manager at Cruise Baltic, a B2B network of 31 ports and destinations in the Baltic Sea region.
Ida is working with everything from event planning, marketing, strategy, and
business development in the context of sustainability. She has been with the
network for more than 5 years having previously worked with business tourism in
Visit Denmark and Wonderful Copenhagen.

Ingo Soerensen

Area Vice President, Global Cruise Sales, Oracle

Ingo Soerensen is a seasoned professional with over two decades of expertise in the global cruise industry. In his current role as Area Vice President Global Cruise Sales at Oracle Hospitality, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the industry. Throughout his illustrious career, Ingo has played a pivotal role in shaping the cruise industry by leveraging technology and innovation. Ingo's expertise spans a wide range of areas, including revenue management, guest services, operations, and digital transformation.

Joost Van Ree

Group Business Development Director, Ocean Technologies Group

Joost van Ree brings years of experience in the cruise industry to fruition in his current role, as Group Business Development Director at Ocean Technologies Group. After ending his career at sea, Joost worked in higher management and Director positions at companies such as Norfolkline and the Rotterdam Pilot Association. In 2016 he co-founded Simwave, a state-of-the-art Simulator Center situated in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 4 years ago, Joost joined CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as

Director, Partner Relations. He held this position until he recently joined OTG. With good humor, professional skills, in-depth knowledge and a positive attitude, Joost knows how to inspire and motivate his network, partners and other stakeholders in the global cruise industry.

Monic Van Der Heyden

  Chair, River Cruise Europe

Monic joined the cruise industry in 2016 as Commercial Manager Cruise at Port of Amsterdam. From 2022 she is Commercial Director at Cruise Port Amsterdam. In 2019 she initiated River Cruise Europe, a community for companies and ports working in the European River Cruise Industry.

Main goal for this community is to create a platform for business partners in the River Cruise industry and to enable cooperation and interaction between ports, cruise lines, tour operators, destinations, DMC’s and cruise clubs. Collaboration is needed more than ever to effectively address societal and sustainability challenges. Monic's focus is on facilitating ocean and river cruise in the Amsterdam region, making ships and their passengers feel welcome and safe. Her belief is that this is only possible through cooperation with all parties and stakeholders involved.

Before Monic became a Commercial Manager she worked in the IT business. For many years as an independent consultant and later as the head of IT at Port of Amsterdam. With her experience as an IT manager, she is always looking for new developments to make things smarter, faster and cleaner.