There's much more than supersized shopping malls to see on a cruise around the Arabian Peninsula.
I'm joining 10 fellow Azamara guests for a brisk hike to the summit of Mauao, an incongruous lava dome that rises 232 metres above Tauranga on New Zealand's North Island.
Ensure the smoothest of sailings with these useful tips and insights into cruising etiquette for the virgin or even veteran cruiser.
Chanting ''hee'' and then ''haa'' helps us paddle in unison.
Return customers love this cruise line that makes them feel like part of a family, and there is even a "secret handshake".
Proud modern-day Vikings, the Lofoten Islanders make millions from cod and their cows give so much milk they have to wear bras.
I spy my first giant clam, sitting on the sea bed not far below, looking like a big clutch purse with fuzzy iridescent blue lips.
For those who travel to see places rather than sit on ships, cruising is getting ever more interesting.
Busy Phuket is nearby but Koh Yao Yai moves to a different, more laidback rhythm.
It's every bit like the movie version and you really must see the South Pacific from the deck of the sublime Crystal Symphony.
Space and service are primary luxuries of cruising aboard Seven Seas Explorer, but there's much, much more.
The legendary island paradise passes the authenticity test with flying colours - make that azure.