Credit: Princess Cruises

'Get your case out and go' Olympic gold-medallist Tessa Sanderson on returning to cruising

Author: Vicky Mayer

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Tessa Sanderson is one of Great Britain’s greatest ever track and field athletes. Here she speaks to World of Cruising ahead of sailing with Princess Cruises.

Olympic gold medallist Tessa Sanderson is a former javelin thrower and heptathlete.

She was the first and only British athlete to win an Olympic throwing event at Los Angeles in 1984 and went on to become the first and only British woman to date to compete at six successive Olympic Games over two decades.

As the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 get underway this year, the Jamaican-born athlete, now 65, speaks to World of Cruising about her travels.

The Olympian will be sharing her story with guests aboard Regal Princess this summer as she joins Princess Cruises - here's a sneak peek.

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How did you discover cruising?

It wasn’t a cruise as such, but while I was competing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I spent four nights onboard the Cunard ship Vistafjord, which was based in the city during the Games.

What was the first ship you sailed on?

That was P&O’s Oriana, and since then I’ve sailed on many other P&O ships, cruising the Med and the Caribbean.

Of all the places you’ve cruised, where is your favourite port stop?

Probably Curaçao – it’s a tiny little Caribbean island with houses straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen storybook.

Curaçao is "a tiny little Caribbean island with houses straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen storybook". Credit: Shutterstock

Where are you planning on cruising first when the Covid crisis is over?

I’ll be joining Regal Princess for my first post-Covid cruise, and I’m so excited to be back on board. We’ll be sailing around the UK but maybe next year I can travel further afield.

Have you sailed with Princess Cruises before?

Yes, I cruised on Royal Princess last year. We sailed from Southampton to Norway and the fjords. It was great seeing sights like the Little Mermaid, and I loved reliving the story with pictures for my daughter Ruby May. I’ve always loved cruising on Princess ships because the entertainment is first class – the live performances really are fantastic.

What do you love most about cruising?

It gives me the chance to explore places that I wasn’t able to enjoy when I was competing. Also, I love the relaxation that cruising offers – you can just sit on your balcony and gaze out to sea at great ocean views and stunning sunsets. And who wouldn’t enjoy being pampered on board with incredible food, luxurious rooms and all those amazing gyms and spas?

Tessa Sanderson: "I’ll be joining Regal Princess for my first post-Covid cruise, and I’m so excited to be back on board." Credit: Princess Cruises

What would be your ideal cruise itinerary?

That would have to be the Caribbean. A cruise to Jamaica would be fantastic, as I still have family there and it would be great to visit them by ship.

Who is your ideal cruise travelling companion?

I love travelling with my hubby, Densign White. He’s also an ex-athlete and we share lots of interests but he also enjoys just sitting in the sun and relaxing, which is so important. My sister and niece would be great to travel with, too, as they are both great fun to be with.

Do you get recognised when you cruise?

Yes, people on board are lovely and often want to stop and chat. I really enjoy meeting folk who remember me as an Olympic athlete – it’s great to relive those days and bring back wonderful memories, but I also enjoy telling them what I’m up to now.

Jamaica also has fantastic beaches to enjoy. Credit: Shutterstock

What would you tell someone who has never cruised before?

Just get your case out and go. I’ve encouraged my mother-in-law and all my friends to book cruises, and they’ve never looked back.

What do you pack to take on a cruise?

A couple of special evening outfits in readiness for formal nights or dinner at the captain’s table, plenty of casual clothing to relax in, and pretty much anything else I can squeeze into my suitcase!

What do you like to eat on a cruise?

I always try to go for the healthy option whenever possible, but at the same time, I do like to experience new foods and flavours from all around the world.

Get on board

Princess Cruises four-night ‘Summer Seacation’ cruise with Tessa Sanderson aboard Regal Princess, round trip from Southampton, departing 28 August 2021, from £379.

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About Vicky Mayer

Vicky began her career working on young women’s magazines before moving on to TV and entertainment titles. Her passion, though, has always been travel, so as Editor of World of Cruising, she combines her love of magazines with the chance to shout about cruise holidays around the world.