Award-Winning Bartenders at Sea - Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo America

Award-Winning Bartenders at Sea

Mixing drinks on a cruise ship is no easy feat. Subject to crowds of eager holiday-goers, cruise bartenders are required to respond at speed to demands for fruit-filled tropical concoctions, requests for wine recommendations, and mass orders made by those making full use of the drinks packages.

Thankfully, the most talented of these bartenders are celebrated yearly with awards across the industry. In a period of downtime for crews the world over, we thought we’d revisit some award-winning bartenders from the last few years. Coming right up…

Sanja Cvijetic

In 2019, Sanja Cvijetic won the first prize at the BACARDI Legacy Cruise Competition, beating out over 2000 other competitors in her first time at the competition. As of 2019, Sanja tended bar on board Carnival Cruises’ Conquest, having joined Carnival Pride only the year before. The Legacy Cruise format challenges bartenders to create a new concoction to rival Bacardi classics. Sanja’s signature cocktail, Purple Sunset, is a mix of Bacardi Superior, lemonade, Monin Lavender Syrup, and lime juice, with a splash of MARTINI Prosecco and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

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Sanja and her award-winning cocktail Purple Sunset

Miroslav Kljajic

Miroslav Kljajic is a multi-award-winning bartender. After winning the Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition in 2016, Miroslav went on to win the cruise category of the United States Bartenders’ Guild Most Imaginative Bartender competition in 2017. The competition required entrants to craft a signature recipe for a cocktail featuring Bombay Sapphire gin. Miroslav’s cocktail, The Forgotten, is a blend of flavours that utilises the 10 botanicals found in the gin, featuring dry cranberry lemonade, lemongrass syrup, smoky black pepper tincture, and blue cheese Campari alongside the Bombay Sapphire Gin. The Forgotten is then garnished with dried cranberries, zest of lemon with rosemary, and rosemary water spray. Until 2018, Miroslav was Master Mixologist for Carnival Cruise Line. Since then he has gone on to run his own concept bar, and is now Brand Champion for Jagermeister.

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Miroslav Kljajic hard at work

Torbjörn Liljehammar

Scandinavian-based cruise line Tallink Silja Line’s Torbjörn Liljehammar was crowned the winner of the Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition 2020 in February of this year, for his cocktail The Magellan. A dark orange concoction, The Magellan is a mix of Bacardi Reserva Ocho, apricot and vanilla syrup, lemon juice, Blandy’s 10-year-old Sercial Dry Madeira Wine, and 2 dashes of orange bitters.


Shekhar Grover

Royal Caribbean’s Shekhar Grover was crowned the Bacardi Legacy Cruise Bartender of the Year in 2018 for his concoction The Royal Legacy (named not for Royal Caribbean but actually for the legacy of the royal family). The Royal Legacy is a Bacardi Ocho Anos complemented by dates infused with Martini Bianco and Martini Rosso, paired with two dashes of aztec chocolate and plum bitters.


I don’t know about anyone else, but now I feel like a drink! It’s great to see these cruise bartenders recognised for their efforts. If we have missed out any award-winning bartenders, please let us know.

These bartending giants qualify for a VIP Pass at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo. Get in touch with the VIP Team today to see if you qualify for a VIP Pass!

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