When Adele Draper’s husband of 58 years died, she gave up all hope of taking the world cruise they had planned together.
But today, four years since his death, the 82-year-old sea-loving Auckland grandmother cruised into Queen’s Wharf having completed the 105 day “trip of a lifetime”.
The trip was made possible by her children who joined her on different parts of the trip because they believed it was what their father would have wanted.
Draper set off from Auckland on the Sea Princess on May 11 with her eldest daughter, Karyn, and husband. The trio cruised around Australia and then to Europe together.
In London, they met Draper’s other daughter, Jenny and her two sons, Jayden, 14, and Connor, 12.
The group cruised to Boston and then on to New York together. Karyn and her husband disembarked in New York, while the rest of the family continued to South America and French Polynesia, and then home.
“It was an absolutely wonderful trip,” Draper said. “I had thought I could do the cruise alone but I have a few health issues so the doctors wouldn’t let me.
“It was lovely having family on the trip with me. The boys got to see and experience a lot, and everyone on the ship loved them.
“There was a lot of older people on the cruise who missed their own grandchildren so they enjoyed having the boys there.”
Draper first went on a cruise with her mother when she was 23. Since then, she has been on about 40, including two previous cruises around the world.
“I grew up in Nelson by the sea and my father was right in to boats, so I’ve always had a love for the sea.
“My husband loved it too. He was a volunteer in the navy and we always lived by the sea.
“A lot of the trip brought back memories of cruises I went on with him.”
Draper said her highlights were seeing how much her family enjoyed the trip, and seeing South American countries she hadn’t been to.
“I was very surprised by the difference in wealth and poverty in Peru and Chile. It was quite eye-opening for me, and of course, for the boys as well.”
Draper’s daughter Jenny, who is also a widow, said the family was very tightknit.
“When we talked about the trip, all I could think is us all being together was what Dad would have wanted. We’ve seen a lot, done a lot all while spending a lot of quality time together.”
-Story by Catherine Gaffaney, NZ Herald.