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Meet the team: Hannah Matthews


From charity partnerships to TV adverts, we talk to Guest Experience Support Manager Hannah Matthews about working in events for P&O Cruises

Hannah Matthews holding Macmillan Cancer Support flags

Hannah Matthews celebrating on board charity partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support

How long have you worked for P&O Cruises?

I started in December 2010 after finishing my Sociology degree at Southampton University. I had my heart set on working for Carnival UK – I knew people that worked here and felt like it would be a great place to start my career. My first role was as a Personal Assistant, which I did for nine months. I then took over the role of Events Coordinator, which I did for just over four years before becoming a P&O Cruises Guest Experience Support Manager at the end of 2015.


What does your job involve?

My role is quite varied, but my three main responsibilities are: events on board (which can vary from helping passengers organise their birthday celebrations to in port functions); seasonal planning to help support our fleet, and coordinating our on board charity partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support and Teenage Cancer Trust.


What are the key challenges and rewards of your job?

It’s fantastic to be on board and see an event come together. I also love being involved with our charity partnerships – you feel that you’re really making a difference. Our partnership with Macmillan began in March 2013 and since then we’ve raised well over £1 million for the charity. We hold fundraising events on board for both our passengers and crew – from coffee mornings to running up the Rock of Gibraltar, we have it covered. We’ve recently begun a partnership with the Teenager Cancer Trust, too, and so far we’ve organised fundraising activities on board Britannia, Ventura and Azura. It can sometimes be a challenge to try and juggle all of the events happening on the ships, though – for 2015 I had nearly 700! Thankfully, it’s in my nature to be organised.


What exciting events have you worked on recently?

The most memorable project I worked on last year was the filming for the latest P&O Cruises TV advert. I was the lead on organising the filming on board Oceana and then travelled out with the film crew to assist the team. After two days’ filming on board we spent some time filming on shore in Europe. Despite all of the hard work, it really was the highlight of my career to date and I loved every minute of it. This year I’m looking forward to our Saturday Night Takeaway cruise B608 on Britannia, taking place in the spring, which will be an exciting night for all those involved.

Hannah Matthews at Ocean Terminal

Hannah Matthews at Ocean Terminal for a Gala Dinner on board Britannia

Do you have a favourite P&O Cruises ship?

Britannia really does have the ‘wow’ factor and she has so much to offer. But I do have a soft spot for Oceana. She was the first ship I ever went on during a two-week cruise round the Med as a teenager.


Do you enjoy cruising yourself?

I certainly do. There is so much to do on board and so many different wonders of the world to see. Among many other fantastic places, I’ve visited Cadiz, which is full of beautiful buildings, and Madeira with its famous toboggan ride, which is not to be missed. I would love to sail into Sydney and see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ve never been as far as Australia and it’s a place I definitely want to visit – what better way to do it than on a cruise.


What’s the best thing about your job?

I’m very lucky to have a job that is so varied. I really enjoy the fact that each event I plan is different and I get to interact with so many people around the business, plus lots of our passengers.


Do any particular events stand out from your time with P&O Cruises?

There’s no doubt that it was a magical moment eagerly awaiting Britannia’s arrival into Southampton for the first time. I was also involved in her Naming Ceremony and it was a great highlight to see Her Majesty the Queen. Another momentous occasion was the P&O Cruises 175th anniversary celebrations on 3 July 2012, when all seven ships at the time were berthed in Southampton. To see the whole fleet together for a day of celebrations is one I will never forget.