My week on board Regent Seven Seas Cruises Voyager began in Hobart, Tasmania where I was among a handful of people embarking midway through the 15-night Sydney to Christchurch cruise. The weather was glorious, the 42,363-ton ship gleaming in the sunshine – and the attractive harbour looked far bigger than I recalled from one previous fleeting visit. Salamanca Markets were in full swing and the old shops, galleries and alleyways lovely to wander around. I hadn’t realised that Hobart is Australia’s second-oldest capital city, after Sydney – and next time I visit I will make sure I have time to see MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. Passengers I met who had gone there were divided about its appeal – all loved the building but not everyone liked the exhibits.

Once on board Voyager us latecomers were processed by Immigration and given a thorough safety drill. My suite is at the aft of the ship on Deck 9, very spacious and tasetefully decorated in shades of cream and taupe with light, blond-wood furnishings and a gloriously comfortable king-size bed. My butler for the week, Amit from Delhi, introduced himself – it was his first weekend on the ship, and the handsome, helpful 26-year-old came from Delhi with a background of working at the prestigious Taj group of  hotels. He whisked away my pile of ironing and later that evening, after Sailaway, served me a comfort-food special (cheesburger and chips) in my suite.

Captain Gianmario Sanguineti announced that the next 48 hours could be “rocky” and anyone “sensitive’ to the motion of the sea” should take appropriate medication. I was just looking forward to five whole days at sea and having lots of time to explore this lovely ship.