Sunday, February 01, 2015

P&O Australian Open Tennis Cruise!

Hey Blogosphere!

I need to get this post out there because tomorrow is the BIG day. More on that later...but first! Cruising!

So, I have this new career in travel. I originally applied for a position in Cruiseabout, because I thought to myself "I could totally sell cruises all day long", but they filled that and asked "would you like to work for Escape Travel instead?" and I thought "um, no, but ok". So nearly a year later, I am working for Escape Travel. And I am DAMN GOOD at selling cruising, because, duh, I love to cruise and I love helping novice and experienced cruisers find their way out onto the open ocean.

I'm so good at selling cruising that little ol' me made it into the Top 20 sellers of P&O Australia!!! Mind you, I have about 74 ukelele players and their friends and family signed up for a big ukelele group cruise, which really got me over the line, but I sold them on the concept!

And so, P&O decided this year, for the first year, that they would offer a Reward Cruise to the Flagship Club - those top 20 agents throughout Australia - and reward them with a 5 night cruise on the Pacific Pearl to go and see the Australian Open Tennis (the Mens Final is on tonight)!!! For a few months there, I was number 21 on the list - and I kind of wrote it off. But lo and behold, I got the call and I made it!!!! To say I was excited is an understatement! I could take another person, and so I took Hubby, who is a tennis tragic (having played 1st grade tennis back in his youth).

So without further ado, here is a pictorial account of a FREE cruise, with lots of special, FREE shit thrown in!

[caption id="attachment_2247" align="aligncenter" width="640"]1888741_10153588842343712_1096095618317149013_n P&O flew us from Canberra to Sydney, and although the weather wasn't kind to us, we got to see this magnificent view of Sydney Harbour (our ship in the foreground to the left, Carnival Spirit tucked just to the right of the Bridge).[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2205" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150119_133608 View of the Pacific Pearl from our gangway at White Bay, Sydney[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2206" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150119_162515 Every sailaway calls for bubbles![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2207" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150119_162555 Well, cheers![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2249" align="aligncenter" width="720"]10615515_10153589097068712_3439209233980126406_n Winners are grinners![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2213" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8220 (Medium) Our Oceanview (porthole) cabin on Deck 4 - no, it wasn't underwater![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2214" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8230 (Medium) Hello White Bay![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2215" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8234 (Medium) It is quite an amazing experience to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a cruise ship! Only the "smaller" ones can fit under![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2216" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8241 (Medium) Sailing by the Opera House is pretty nice too! Pity it wasn't a sunnier day...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2217" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8249 (Medium) They call this "the Gap" - and you can see why! We are out of Sydney Harbour and heading towards open ocean and our destination - Melbourne![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2218" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8253 (Medium) A sunny sea day! What else is there to do but soak up the sun and watch a bit of tennis....?[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2209" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150120_231033 Note to self - sunscreen is a great invention. It works. But you have to put it on carefully, because the bits you miss get seriously sunburnt! (especially at sea - no pollution plus reflection off the ocean increases the sun's power).[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2219" align="aligncenter" width="512"]IMG_8254 (Medium) What is a cruise without towel animals left in your cabin by your steward?[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2220" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8258 (Medium) And the day dawns sunny, bright and warm in Melbourne (expected top temperature - 36C - 97F for my US friends!)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2221" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8261 (Medium) Yay! We are finally at the tennis![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2246" align="aligncenter" width="960"]1599664_10153593851523712_3120554246288318552_o Big day coming up![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2223" align="aligncenter" width="768"]IMG_8317 (Medium) Hubbyy was actually coached for a bit by the legendary Tony Roach![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2222" align="aligncenter" width="512"]IMG_8313 (Medium) We got to watch Martina Hingis warm up on the outer courts![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2224" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8318 (Medium) We had a couple of hours hosted by P&O in one of the (air-conditioned!!!!) VIP tents!!! Feeling very special![/caption]



[caption id="attachment_2211" align="aligncenter" width="767"]IMG_20150121_134041 #aoselfie! The Australian Open liked my pic on Instagram!!!! I'm famous!!!![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2226" align="aligncenter" width="768"]IMG_8355 (Medium) Maria Sharapova in full flight![/caption]

IMG_8428 (Medium)

[caption id="attachment_2230" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8466 (Medium) We also got to watch Roger Federer play![/caption]

IMG_8471 (Medium) IMG_8511 (Medium) IMG_8577 (Medium)20150121_203505

[caption id="attachment_2248" align="aligncenter" width="720"]10387313_10153594705693712_4544515526622551962_n A fantastic day watching top-level tennis! But the heat got to me, I'm afraid! Puffy cankles and a nasty headache put paid to any plans I might have had to catch up with online friends in Melbourne :-([/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2237" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8613 (Medium) Nurofen, water and a new day! I loved this as we were driving past on the coach - demolition of an old building reveals a slice of history...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2238" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8614 (Medium) Day 2, Round 2 - Rod Laver Arena! We had seats in the all-day sun, but I queued up to change them to the shade. Much better![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2240" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8639 (Medium) The big names continue - Serena Williams - although I will admit I am NOT a fan...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2242" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8672 (Medium) But damn, the chick can play tennis![/caption]

IMG_8681 (Medium) IMG_8723 (Medium)




[caption id="attachment_2253" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8766 (Medium)IMG_8777 (Medium) Next up...Novak Djokovic! Finesse at it's best![/caption]


IMG_8816 (Medium)IMG_8825 (Medium)IMG_8864 (Medium)


[caption id="attachment_2259" align="aligncenter" width="635"]IMG_20150122_193654 Watermelon martinis on the house![/caption]



[caption id="attachment_2263" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150122_201615 007 martinis on the house![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2210" align="aligncenter" width="714"]20150122_201656 Cucumber martinis on the house - the best kind! The rest of the night is kind of hazy....[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2261" align="aligncenter" width="635"]IMG_20150122_215934 Although I do remember eating this - so light and fluffy and yummy![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2262" align="aligncenter" width="1428"]IMG_20150124_083232-EFFECTS Home! Is quite spectacular![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2266" align="aligncenter" width="1152"]IMG_8933 (Medium) Bright light![/caption]

I work really hard in this new job of mine. It takes me away from my family and means I don't homeschool. So it was really nice to get some reward for all those long hours and stress. It was a fabulous experience and I'm happy I got to do it. Plus now, I can sell more P&O confidently and with any luck make next years trip (11 nights to the South Pacific - if you would like to cruise P&O please email me!!!).

And now it is the night before the BIG day. The day my kids go back to school. Stay tuned for photos and a few tissues.



  1. Ingi, OMG too much cool stuff in this post to comment on. That trip looks like an amazing experience. Well done for earning it, that really is an accomplishment, especially considering the short time you have been doing your job! That towel animal ... too cute! Your room? OMG I was in the bottom of the ship in a dog box ... yours must have cost a bomb ... sooo fancy! Your ankles look huge; commiserations. Same happens to one of mine but I had a quaterzone shot last year in Jan and my ankle was swelling and pain free for like 8 months ... might work for you?

    BTW you have taken so many awesome photos, they look professional! The Novak leg lift one just cracks me up! And I love seeing the pics of you and also hubby. You both look good; wining, dining and cruising obviously agrees with you.

  2. Wow! Congratulations! What fun! Love the pictures and story. It looks so bright and warm...freezing in my sweaters here. It was well deserved and thanks for sharing.


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