After a near-death experience and the passing of her father, Cheryl boarded the P&O’s Pacific Pearl five years ago – and has since, cruised on the ship over 60 times.
Ms Debenham may be Australia’s most fanatical cruiser with 67 trips under her belt. We want to find out if she is.
Cruise Passenger has shipping lines scouring the seas – or at least their passenger manifests.
She has been cruising since 1970 but has done the bulk of her voyages over the last five years – and mainly on P&O ships.
“My favourite ship is the Pacific Pearl and she has so much soul. There was just something about that ship, and from the moment I stepped onboard, I knew I was home,” said the mother of two and former café owner.
“My father’s name is Charlie and on my first trip on Pacific Pearl, I discovered Charlie’s Bar, so I took it as a sign that I was meant to be on this ship.”
Her favourite cruises are the three to four day cruises around the South Pacific onboard Pacific Pearl.
“I’m just addicted to P&O – my first ever cruise in 1970 was onboard a P&O ship. I was working around Circular Quay in Sydney at the time and I would go down to the harbour and marvel at these amazing ships. Then one day, I decided to just book a holiday and I loved it.
“But it wasn’t until 2006 that I did my next cruise onboard the Pacific Princess and then my next one, was in 2010. So in the last five years, I’ve really racked up a number of cruises I’ve been on.”
And why does she love P&O so much?
“The staff are so friendly and I’ve gotten to know them so well. I’ve done other cruises on other lines like Royal Caribbean and I’ve enjoyed the experience, but nothing is quite like P&O.
“I know the staff so well on Pacific Pearl. A couple of years ago, I was onboard when my mother passed away and when the staff found out, they took care of me like I was a member of their family. And I feel you can’t get service like that anywhere else.”
The fanatic, who even runs her own Facebook group called Cruiseaholics, for other like-minded cruisers, has built up a following of over 2,500 people worldwide.
Ms Debenham said she has met many lifelong friends through the group and even cruises with them.
“It’s amazing to be part of a community of people who love and understand cruising. A couple of years ago, I organised a large group for a cruise around Hawaii for 18 days on the Celebrity Solstice and we had a fantastic time.”