It’s all aboard for the Glades cruisers
Two's company on a cruise but 18 is a party, as a group of Halcyon Glades homeowners discovered when they hit the high seas together.
Their time aboard the Sun Princess took the nine couples ‘Across the Ditch’ to experience everything from spectacular Milford Sound and historic Dunedin to art deco-inspired Napier and harbourside Auckland.
Tour leader “Mama” Carole Ritchie initiated the group trip after enjoying the same cruise six years ago.
“As the instigator, I was a bit anxious that people wouldn’t get along,” she said.
But like life at Halcyon, it was the ideal combination of spending time together and doing your own thing.
“It was great fun, we’d always have coffee on the top deck in the morning. There was sometimes two of us, and sometimes six or seven of us,” said Jill Cooper.
“We’d often do our own things during the day and then meet for Happy Hour and then dinner together.”
Ron Coleman said he and wife Marlene thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to take a cruise as part of a group.
“Usually when you go with just your partner you don’t know anybody else,” he said.
“But it’s great going with people you know, we had such fun taking the mickey out of one another.
“Three or four couples liked it so much that they have put deposits down on a future cruise.
“We’re even planning another trip to New Zealand, where we fly over, hire cars and tour around, that’s how good the Halcyon Glades crowd was.”
Experienced cruisers Peter and Louise Sams had a fantastic time on their 18th sea jaunt.
“It was a great cruise and we all got on well together, there was a lot of laughs,” Louise said.
“We all did our own thing from time to time, but we’d meet up now and then.
“We took some shore tours together including exploring Hawkes Bay and visiting the International Antarctic Centre in Akaroa.”
Other land-based highlights included Dunedin where the gents toured Speight’s Brewery and the ladies sampled the sweet magic of Cadbury World.
And in Auckland, Ron, Marlene, Jill and husband Gary took a spin around the City of Sails on an unexpectedly high-speed and hair-raising trike tour.
“We were doing 138km an hour across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, it was great,” Jill said.
“We had a lot of fun travelling with them all. Now that we’re back we have a lot of laughs together because we’ve experienced the same things.”
Louise is now looking forward to cruise number 19.
“I’m waiting for them to organise another trip somewhere – preferably a cruise simply because you unpack once and everything’s there,” she said.
“I’d love to go on another one with everyone from here again.”
Carole, who travelled with husband Vic, said her anxiety about the trip was washed away by the fantastic rapport the group enjoyed.
“We had a brilliant time, and we all came back talking,” she said.
“We definitely would love to be doing some more cruises together.”
After returning with plenty of happy memories, some tall stories and many shared experiences to enrich their Halcyon Days, moves are afoot to organise a cruise to Asia, with other Glades homeowners likely to jump on board too.