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Meet the team: Leona Wilson

27/01/2016

Leona Wilson is a Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager on board Oriana. Here she talks to us about what attracted her to the high seas

P&O Cruises Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager, Leona Wilson, in Bruges

P&O Cruises Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager, Leona Wilson, in Bruges

You’re quite new to P&O Cruises. What have been your first impressions of working for such an iconic brand?

While I’m new to working with P&O Cruises, having joined as a Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager on board Oriana in October 2015, I have been a passenger on P&O Cruises ships twice in recent years – on Arcadia in March 2013 and on Ventura in April 2014. It was these experiences that influenced my decision to work for P&O Cruises over all the other cruise lines I’ve sailed on. Two things really stand out for me since I started working on board: one, the friendliness of the crew; and two, the excellent care provided for people with special needs, whether it be medical, mobility, dietary or any disability. I’ve been very impressed with both.

 

What did you do before working for P&O Cruises?

I was born and grew up in Sydney, Australia, and my background is mainly education. Most recently I was a Principal of a Primary School in Sydney, Australia. Then for the first six months of 2015 I made a career change and became a Real Estate Sales Agent, also in Sydney. However my passion for cruising won out, and here I am!

 

What attracted you to the high seas?

I fell in love with cruising on my first cruise 20 years ago and have been cruising as much as I can since then. Having cruised many times with many different cruise lines, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the types of job roles that are available on board. The role of Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager seemed so right for me – it meant I could talk about my favourite subject, cruising, and share my passion for it with like-minded people. I love talking to and helping people, which is a big part of this job, and working with a committed team to ensure passengers get the best experience is something that really interested me. Being able to be involved in organising events, which is something I really enjoy, as well as having the opportunity to live and work on a cruise ship and travel the world were definitely big selling points for me!

 

What have you learnt since starting your job on board, and what does your role involve?

I’ve been working hard to learn all aspects of the job, as well as finding my way around the ship. Especially back of house – there’s a whole other world behind the doors that say ‘Crew only’! There are two main aspects to my job – sales and loyalty. Helping passengers choose and book their next cruise destination and ship; and managing our on board loyalty programme, the Peninsular Club. This involves organising loyalty events, such as cocktail parties and lunches, answering enquiries about the programme, and ensuring our guests receive their on board benefits.

 

Have you enjoyed working closely with the passengers?

I really do enjoy this – I love sharing stories of past cruise experiences and destinations around the world. The passengers help me to be better at my job by sharing their knowledge and experience. They have been extremely supportive of me, especially when I haven’t known how to do something or take longer to do something because I’m still learning.

P&O Cruises Loyalty and Future Cruise Sales Manager, Leona Wilson, at The Rock of Gibraltar

Leona at The Rock of Gibraltar

Do you feel part of a great team on board?

Yes, absolutely! The crew are amazing. We’re such a diverse group of people from so many different cultures who come together to provide outstanding service and holiday experiences for our passengers. Everyone is very supportive and friendly – it’s like being a part of one big family.

 

Which are your favourite destinations you’ve visited so far?

The Canary Islands are new for me, so it’s been great to do several cruises there. I love the Mediterranean, so I really enjoyed cruising there recently, and it was great to discover Gibraltar and Madeira, too. I’ve also really liked revisiting places I enjoyed in the past as a passenger, such as Amsterdam.

 

And what ports of call are on your wish list?

I’ve always wanted to do a world cruise and to transit the Panama Canal on a cruise ship. I would also love to see the Great Wall of China and, from what everyone tells me, I think the Caribbean is a must!

 

Do you have a favourite ship and why?

It would have to be Arcadia – the first P&O Cruises ship I cruised on as a passenger. I had an amazing time on board and still have many friends around the world that I met during that holiday. Everyone says you love your first ship the most. Working on Oriana has been a great experience so far and I suspect she may well be my favourite work ship, for the same reasons. I guess I’ll have to wait and see!

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