Peter and Sue Crook of Gulf Harbour are living their retirement dream, with a goal of travelling the world’s major coastlines by cruise ship.
The couple has already been on 80 cruises, with more planned. Altogether they have spent just under three years on board ships, if you add all the time together.
They will draw on this extensive experience to provide free, independent and helpful advice for retirees considering cruising at a seminar in Manly next month (see below).
Peter took his first cruise with his parents when he was a teenager and has been cruising with his wife Sue since 1998.
“We got hooked,” he says. “Essentially you unpack once and wake up in a new destination almost every day. It’s a very convenient way of looking around places and seeing where you might like to come back to.”
In fact this is how the pair, originally from the UK, “discovered” New Zealand.
“We first came here on a cruise across the Pacific from Los Angeles to Sydney and around New Zealand in 2008, the year we retired,” Peter says. “When our son was thinking about emigrating, we recommended New Zealand. We’d been to around 100 countries by then and New Zealand was the best we’d seen.”
Peter and Sue’s son took their advice, and they followed suit, moving here in 2010.
Having traveled on almost every conceivable type and size of ship and with a wide range of cruise lines, Peter says they have never been on a bad cruise.
“They’ve ranged from good to very good, to excellent,” he says. “The people on board – the staff and fellow guests – are what make the difference, as well as the itinerary of course.”
It hasn’t all been plain sailing. Peter says although he’s been around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, the roughest seas he remembers were in the Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from the Australian mainland.
He also recalls the time they were crossing the Atlantic, heading for Canada, when they got into the swirl of a cyclone. He says “some pretty big waves” were crashing over the ship, as high as Deck 9. “I went up front into the observation area and a solid wall of water hit the glass – it was majestic,” he says. “Although we normally hunker down in mid-ships if it’s rough.”
Alternatively there is the oily dead calm of going across the Pacific, with flying fish and dolphins by the ship. They once went through 150 humpbacked whales, on a cruise heading into Victoria, Canada.
Recently, Peter and Sue returned from cruising in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia and they show no signs of having had enough of shipboard life. They are also still a wee way away from their retirement goal of cruising all the major coastlines.
“We haven’t done enough of Japan or Australia, there’s a section of South America still to go and we haven’t been to Greenland or the Antarctic, “ Peter says. “There’s still plenty to do.”
Free seminars for retirees
A new series of free seminars for retired people, began this week.
The idea came to Methodist Minister Andrew Gamman who says he wants to do something for the older folk – especially as both the Manly and Red Beach Methodist churches are across the road from retirement village.
He asked some of the parishioners for ideas for topics. A crucial factor is that the advice is free and independent. “We want to encourage people to have a full life in retirement,” Andrew says.
The first seminar was held this week, on April 18, on the subject of The Cost of Hearing by Peter Stubbing, past president of the NZ Audiological Society.
The next, called Off on a Cruise, is on May 2 at Manly Methodist Church, 945 Whangaparaoa Road, 2pm. It is by experienced cruisers Peter and Sue Crook (see above).
Andrew says these two seminars are to test the water, and if they are well supported, they will continue as a lot of interesting topics have been suggested.
Info on either seminar, phone Andrew Gamman 021 168 2808.