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Dance the night away


Meet Emily Rose Wilkin, the Leicestershire lass who found her dancing feet on board Britannia on a Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise

P&O Cruises Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise passenger, Emily Rose Wilkin, dancing with Strictly pro dancer Ian Waite

When Emily Rose Wilkin, 26, from Leicestershire booked her holiday on board Britannia, she never imagined she would end up dancing in the arms of the stars.

Once on board the Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise, Emily was immediately swept up in the fun atmosphere and star-struck by well-known faces from the BBC series, including judge Arlene Philips and professional dancers Ian Waite, Camilla Dallerup and Aljaž Skorjanec.

‘I’d not danced before, other than a bit of ballet when I was about 14,’ Emily explains. ‘But I decided to join in and give it a go – and I just got really in to it. I went along to all the dance classes and I even entered the guest competition.’

‘Ballroom dancing seems to suit me as I’m quite tall. If you haven’t tried it before, you really should as it’s completely different and such fun. I’ve learned so much and met so many lovely people. It made the cruise for me, it really did.’

Entering the dance competition was a new experience for Emily and her dance partner, 60-year-old concert photographer Alan Perry from Coventry. They had met on a previous cruise and, quite by chance, ran into each other again on Britannia. Despite only getting together at the last minute and missing one of the rehearsals, they gamely entered the competition with a waltz to the song Moon River. ‘It was extremely nerve-wracking and, as expected, we came last. But the judges were very encouraging and generous with their marking,’ says Emily. ‘We did a waltz and they really inspired us to go for it, so we did and had a lot of fun. It was an amazing experience and once you’ve danced on stage, you just want to go back and dance some more.’

P&O Cruises Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise passenger, Emily Rose Wilkin, with Strictly pro dancers Kevin Clifton and Aljaž Skorjanec

Another highlight for Emily was meeting the stars backstage after the competition and having a little turn with Aljaž on stage. She also had another opportunity to get some tips from the experts when Ian and Camilla dropped in on the last tango class of the cruise, and Ian stepped in as her partner: ‘It was very surreal and just amazing,’ says Emily. ‘He was really friendly and approachable. It felt great to be in his arms doing a tango! To start with I led him, and then he swung me around and we were off. It was great fun.’

Having got the dancing bug on board Britannia, Emily is keen to keep up her lessons and will definitely stay in touch with her new dancing friends. ‘We’ve all swapped emails. I’m going to take up dancing now and we’ve talked about going to visit each other’s dancehalls at the weekend to meet up and carry on dancing together. I’ve made so many friends who I think will stay with me for a long time.’

And will she be booking another Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruise to show off her improved skills? ‘Oh, definitely!’ she replies.

Watch Emily and Alan’s Strictly dance experience on board Britannia

Find out more about Strictly Come Dancing Themed Cruises

Photos: Alan Perry