Sydney-sider Shirley Dunesky, who has chalked up 244 cruises on Crystal Cruises ships, is a citizen of the world.
This year, she will celebrate Christmas in Rio and next year she will be back in Sydney on board Crystal Symphony to watch the fabulous New Year Eve fireworks on the harbour.
Since the death of her husband, Peter, two years ago, Mrs Dunesky has chosen to live on board Crystal Symphony for 11 months of the year.
“I have spent more time living on board Crystal Symphony than I have lived on land. And I love it,”she said.
Not that life on the penthouse floor with butler in attendance is tough for the 78-year-old who has a grown-up daughter living in Sydney.
Every evening, she dresses up for a pre-dinner drink at the Starlite Club before she is chaperoned by Crystal Society hostess and selected ship officers for dinner at speciality restaurant Prego, the renowned Nobu Silk Road or the main Crystal Dining Room. She seldom eats alone.
Her first cruise with Crystal was on board Crystal Harmony through the Panama Canal in 1992.
Prior to sailing with Crystal, Mr and Mrs Dunesky regularly sailed on Royal Viking Line. When some members of the staff left Royal for Crystal, they decided to try a cruise with Crystal. They have never looked back.
Her most memorable journey was her first World Cruise in 2000. She admits she did not know what to expect but she was bowled over by the Crystal style. Mrs Dunesky has completed at least four World Cruises with Crystal over the years.
When she does visit her daughter at least once a year and stays in her city apartment, she keeps her diary pretty full with dinner parties with close friends and relatives. She also sits on the board of St Vincents Curran Foundation.
She still counts Hong Kong as one of her favourite and exciting ports to visit as she enjoys the shopping and culture of the vibrant city.
At the end of the day, she insists that her favourite “destination” is still the ship.
“The officers, staff and crew always make me feel so welcome when I am on board. I feel like the ship is actually my home, as I spend more time on the ship than my home in Sydney,” she told Crystal Society’s Passport.
A veteran cruiser, Mrs Dunesky finds sea days on board incredibly relaxing.
“I enjoy the solitude of doing what I want, when I want and how I want. I love the endless time I have to read, watch movies and spend time with my Crystal family. I have been known to visit the casino here and there as well.”
When booking a cruise, Mrs Dunesky always stays on board for more than one sailing at a time.
“I really feel like this is my home away from home,” she said. “I never stay for just one cruise, as when I board I never want to leave.”
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