There are the adults-only cruises, which allow grown-ups to be free of children so they can still be free to behave like them, and then there are the adult cruises, where children are allowed and the grown-ups are free to act like adults.
Nowadays a cruise really does exist for every taste, every interest, and, yes, every tolerance level, with the ports to which a cruise ship calls becoming as integral to the complete experience as the myriad amenities aboard the ship itself.
For me, then – someone who prefers sliding into a cosy bed after an exhausting day of foot-slogging exploration and discovery ashore, rather than sliding down a thrill-a-second waterslide on a sun-baked upper deck – I may have just found the perfect ship, or perhaps it's found me.
It's Regent Seven Seas Voyager, commissioned in 2003 and refurbished in 2016, my floating abode for a 10-day, sun-kissed odyssey around the Mediterranean, a positively grown-up corner of the world with its cavalcade of ancient ruins, blockbuster islands and bucket-list cities.
On this particular cruise, with the odd, exceptionally well-behaved child mixed in among the oldies, the emphasis is not only on the wonder of being aboard an ocean-going ship but the untold wonders that exist on the shores beyond it.
Certainly, Regent Seven Seas Voyager is recognised, along with its sister ships, as one of the most luxurious passenger vessels afloat. It's on the appealingly medium-sized side, too, with capacity for a manageable 700 passengers and 447 crew. But it shares the limelight with its dazzling ports o' call.
The destinations on the Athens to Rome itinerary are the equivalent of a Hollywood epic with visits to Mykonos, Ephesus, Taormina, Corfu, the Amalfi Coast and Istanbul, which only began welcoming cruise ships again earlier this year following a spate of incidents too heinous to recall here. Regent Seven Seas Cruises was the first line to return to Istanbul, which helped inject almost as much spice into my action-packed itinerary as the city's famed Spice Market
A cruise on the Mediterranean, with this many attractions on offer, can begin to uncannily resemble a river cruise where the daily emphasis is somewhat less on the ship and its amenities and more on the allure of the destinations.
Fine by me, though the pace on such an ocean cruise can be a little gruelling with only one scheduled catch-your-breath-if-you-can day at sea between Athens and Rome. Although the wide range of daily shore excursions are optional, with the choice, too, to remain on board, there's no way I'm going to miss the opportunity to experience a roll-call of some of the world's stellar spots.
It means rising early most days with sufficient time for ablutions and breakfast before assembling at the designated time in the ship's Constellation Theatre – by night, an entertainment epicentre – where passengers, group by group, are dispatched on their seemingly endless quantity of carefully-themed shore excursions. It's all performed with the studied efficiency of a minor troop deployment.
One of the aspects of Regent Seven Seas Voyager, that I appreciate on this voyage is that it's more cocktail-party ship than a party-party ship with no pressure whatsoever to participate in anything, should you wish not to.
Indeed, after the first four, often hot, days or so, traipsing around on shore, I find myself returning to my comfortable and inviting 33 square metre deluxe verandah suite – one of Regent Seven Seas Voyager's 350 all-balcony cabins – and slipping out of my sweaty clothing into the in-room bathrobe (too much information?), collapsing onto the bed, pathetically exhausted, and resorting to room service for sustenance. It doesn't help that the in-suite television includes nearly every channel you'd find on the set in a five-star hotel room back on land, including a smartly-curated selection of current and classic films.
This is all coupled with the fact that I'm travelling solo on this occasion with no terse entreaties from a partner to wake up to myself and hurry up, and get showered and dressed for dinner.
But I eventually realise I need to act, well, more grown-up, on this adult-minded cruise and resist the post-shore excursion urge to crash, since aboard Regent Seven Seas Voyager there's a variety of enticing, celebrity chef-free dining options including the rather posh Chartreuse, serving semi-formal, though creative, French fare. Then there's the more relaxed Prime 7, a classic, upscale American-style steakhouse with a menu offering everything from tender filet mignon to Alaskan king crab.
If that's a little on the conservative side for the Australian palate, consider Sette Mari, an Italian restaurant that at night replaces the breakfast and lunch-focussed La Veranda diner with its eclectic culinary options as well as the larger yet elegant Compass Rose.
Indeed, during those interludes aboard the ship before heading out to sea, I also aim to allow some time to visit what soon becomes one of my favourite on-board destinations: the library which has a large selection of books that can be borrowed or read on the spot in the armchairs provided as well as the world's leading English-language newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Times. All are meticulously printed-out, page-by-page, and stapled (and hopefully, eventually recycled), exactly as they appeared that day. How more adult can you get?
Ultimately, the heated ship versus shore contest, during this dreamy, delightfully destination-heavy cruise, comes to a head while visiting Taormina, the sublime, ancient Sicilian hilltop town that overlooks a bluer-than-blue Ionian Sea. From the land, I find I can't avert my gaze from Regent Seven Seas Voyager, anchored glamorously in the bay below, awaiting my return.
If only I can be adult enough to resist that irresistible in-room suite bathrobe for just another night.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO DO ABOARD
SEA AND BE SEEN
Pop yourself down at the Observation Lounge – one of the most sophisticated venues on a sophisticated ship with gold, black and white palette – for not only a pre-dinner drink accompanied by an onboard musician who takes requests, but also for some of the best ocean views from the ship.
Regent Seven Seas Voyager, along with its sister ships, features the legendary US-based Canyon Ranch brand, known for its wellness resorts on land. Onboard it has a full range of facilities including a fitness centre, beauty salon and, of course, a day spa.
After a show in the Constellation Theatre, where the plush seating is tiered for an unobstructed view of the stage on which a variety of performance are held, retire not to bed but for a nightcap at the Meridian Lounge. The bar offers an expansive choice of drinks as well as entertainment by the ship's resident musicians.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE
If all that exercise gained on land as part of the daily shore excursion isn't enough to get your Fitbit going, there's also the ship's jogging, or if you prefer, walking, track. At sea there's the bonus of the ocean vistas to enjoy as you work up a sweat.
If you feel like a flutter, and, let's face it, if you're on this ship you can probably afford to, there's a casino, discreetly located on one of the lower decks, with a full range of enticements including poker machines, as well as table games such as blackjack, roulette and the unfortunately named mini-craps.
Anthony Dennis travelled as a guest of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
There are nearly two dozen Mediterranean sailings, ranging from seven to 40 nights and visiting a wide range of ports, scheduled aboard Regent Seven Sevens Voyager in 2020. In addition to the Mediterranean, Regent Seven Seas offers itineraries that include Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, South America, Australia and New Zealand and Northern Europe.
Fares for Regent Seven Seas Mediterranean itineraries start from $4755 a person twin share in a deluxe verandah suite. Children are permitted on Regent Seven Seas Cruises. See rssc.com
Emirates operates regular flights to and from Sydney and Melbourne to Athens and Rome, the start and end points for the featured cruise. See emirates.com
Before your cruise, AthensWas is a delightful boutique-style hotel located in the heart of Athens, and close to the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum and the Plaka, the Greek capital's old town. After your cruise, Rome's Elizabeth Unique Hotel is a sophisticated small hotel reminiscent of Paris, and adjacent to Via del Corso, the popular shopping street, and near the Spanish Steps. See designhotels.com