Philippa Booker –  or Pip, as she is more affectionately known as –  got home last night from work as a local hairdresser in Perth.

The 41-year-old, finally got to her emails at 11pm after putting her two sons to bed. At first, she thought it was a prank. But when it clicked that she had entered a competition for a cruise for two with MSC on Cruise Passenger’s website, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

Pip and her husband are the winners of a seven-night Mediterranean cruise onboard one the lines’ newest ships, the MSC Grandiosa, along with flights on Qatar Airlines.

“My husband Todd and I stayed awake til 2am after reading the email, I was too excited to sleep!” she said.

“I could remember entering the competition… so I looked up all the details again. I enter a lot of different competitions. At first I thought, this must be a joke. But eventually I realised it’s real!”
“I emailed them back to say I had received the news, but I don’t think I said thank you enough!”

The prize is for two adults travelling in an Oceanview Cabin Bella category on MSC Grandiosa, departing from Genoa, Italy and calls at places like Rome (Italy), Palermo (Italy), Valletta (Malta), Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (France).

The prize also includes all main meals, onboard entertainment, taxes, fees, port charges and onboard gratuities.  Plus, return economy airfare for two on Qatar Airways from either Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth or Canberra for travel in 2020.

Pip and her family have cruised before. Their first, was a Southeast Asian cruise through Malaysia and Thailand in 2008. And last year, a four-day cruise around Western Australia.
“My kids will be dying to come with me. We might take the boys… but my first response is that I’ll be taking my husband Todd, he works in fencing. I’m a hairdresser. We could really use this holiday.”
“If I don’t take Todd, I might take my girlfriend Serafina who is Italian. She has two special-needs kids and she speaks Italian, so she would be great to travel with. It was supposed to be her 50th birthday party in April next month… but they’ve had to cancel it!  I know this trip would mean so much to her.”
When asked what her favourite thing is about cruising, Pip was quick to reply.
“It’s like one holiday but with multiple destinations and multiple countries. It’s like a taster of different destinations, all in one trip. Oh, and I also loved the onboard entertainment and the theatre and cabaret shows. And the food!”
Pip has never been to Italy but says it has been on her bucket list for ever. “I’ve never been to the Mediterranean. I’ve been to France when I was 13 years old.  – but never Italy.  I just can’t wait!”
Pip has however, flown with Qatar airlines before and says it is her favourite airline of them all.
“Yes I most certainly have – and I really highly rate them. I flew with them to the UK in 2015 to take my nannies ashes home to Scotland. I had my 81 yr old grandad and my entire family with me. The airline was so amazing to us. They’re my highest rated airline!”
Cruise Passenger wishes Pip and her family a wonderful holiday.