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Cruising through life

04 Dec 2019

Cruising through life Image

By Rhonda Dredge

Every time Judy or Brian Halsted go to the fridge they’re reminded of all the great times they’ve had on the oceans, cruising between continents and islands, befriending captains and staff and generally living a life of action.

There are 30 cruise ships up there on fridge magnets in their little gallery plus one of the sayings they treasure about their chosen lifestyle.

“Kiwis don’t fly. They prefer to cruise,” the magnet says.

Judy is from Auckland and Brian from a town near Manchester, England and they have settled together on the 10th floor of their Yarra’s Edge apartment building when they’re not out on the ocean.

During their 62 years of marriage, this adventurous couple has been on more than 70 cruises. Next month they’ll leave on three back-to-back.

They’re such old hands at cruising that when bad weather diverted their boat four years ago from Fiji to Hobart they didn’t kick up a fuss.

“Brian and I don’t mind where we go,” Judy said. “We would’ve complained if we hit storms.”

The Docklands couple live in the first tower built at Yarra’s Edge and these seafaring addicts will always be able to watch cruise ships dock at Station Pier from their window.

“That’s the Celebrity Solstice,” said Judy, looking out the window. “It’s got 15 decks and 2850 passengers.”

They track the ships that arrive during the season and keep abreast of cruises on offer. Their knowledge of the scene is impressive.

“There’ll be 76 cruise ships in this year,” Judy said. “Sometimes we go down and have a look.”

Brian caught his first ship at 15, travelling alone cross the world from England to New Zealand and he’s been a fan of the sea ever since. The ship only stopped twice on the way but that didn’t worry him for he prefers the water to the land.

When they first settled in Melbourne they ran a milk bar at Seaford, then later lived on The Esplanade before settling at Yarra’s Edge 18 years ago where they can keep an eye on the scene.

The journeys have merged a bit in their memory over the years. The worst trips were around Cape Horn before the opening of the Suez Canal.

“A couple of people didn’t survive one trip,” Brian said. “The lifts opened but they’d jammed. They stepped in and lost their lives.”

Another time, on the classic Achille Lauro, they hit a storm and Judy and the three boys were told to stay inside their cabin for their safety.

Brian prides himself on his loyalty. He favours an American cruise company and gets special deals as a result. Return tickets to Singapore in February with a 14-day cruise is costing them only $1900 each. And they went on a world cruise in 2012 and got 106 nights at a price of $19,000 in a two-for-one deal.

They’re cruising, Judy and Brian, in their high-rise life watching the world go by.

“If you’re going past and want a cup of tea drop in,” Judy said. She likes to offer hospitality in a cruise-like fashion. “We invite strangers in.”

 

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