After a long day waiting to leave Sydney, our first day sailing is all about figuring out how the whole thing works. Activities, kids’ clubs and meal times – how do we actually find all these things?

After another trip to the buffet for breakfast wander about a bit aimlessly looking for inspiration – the top deck is incredibly windy and it’s not bad fun trying to walk against it. There is ocean in every direction as far as I can see – it’s a strange isolated sensation.

We lounge around playing Uno and Scrabble until our allotted lunch hour and then head for the main attraction as far as Mary (9) is concerned. Pets at Sea, open only between 2pm and 3pm, where you can stuff your own plush animal and dress him in a range of Royal Caribbean clothing. We’ve gone for a horse dressed as a chef and named him Shef.

“Because he is a chef and it would be kind of weird if his name was spelled with a C.”

You just can’t argue with logic like that. Or at least I can’t.

Shef joins us for an afternoon matinee and retires for a nap before our first formal ship dinner, which is, possibly the poshest dinner my kids have been to – there are toddlers in tuxedos and lots of little girls that would look more at home at a wedding with posies. Bet their mums had fun dressing them.