On a luxurious cruise ship, Jamie Morton goes hunting for his happy place.
Inside every luxury liner, so cruise lore goes, is a place just for you. It could be a leather couch in the dim corner of a less-frequented whisky club, a lounger on a sunny side deck, or a stool at a poolside bar.
Indeed, somewhere on the opulent Celebrity Solstice - amid 19 decks, spa clinics and all manner of bars, restaurants, dining rooms and cafes - hid my very own happy place.
It did take some time to find.
On the pink and orange evening we pull away from Sydney's Circular Quay, I'd already counted on it being The Sunset Bar.
Here, at the ship's highest point aft, you can sip on a cold cocktail and watch the last rays of a Pacific sunset play upon the ship's wake.
It's my first voyage on a cruise ship, and as the Sydney Opera House and its sparkling surrounds slide out of view, I enjoy the high spiritedness of those around me setting sail for their seventh or eighth time, iPad cameras snapping away amid the cheerful banter.
"After this, mate," a grinning bloke from Queensland tells me, "you're going to become one of us."
Soon after, waiting on an espresso at the Solstice's midship European-style coffee shop, Cafe al Bacio, a couple nearby hoot at the surprise appearance of old friends. Both couples had been secretly stitched up by their kids; the conspiracy meant the next eight days were going to be good ones.
Exploring the ship, you find each deck is its own happy world.
You can kick off an evening on Deck 5 with one or two icy concoctions at the Molecular Bar, a cocktail lovers' dream, before strolling to the Ensemble Lounge for another top-shelf tipple.
This intimate bar, typically serenaded by a jazz trio or a string quartet, is situated as the gateway to the Solstice's premier fine dining destinations.
Take your pick from the colourful Asian fare of Silk Harvest, the Italian charms of Tuscan Grille, or the elite option, Murano.
Diners at this elegant restaurant, devoted to contemporary French cuisine, rightly tend to gravitate toward its famous lobster. Missing the event, says one chap quick enough to have secured a few nights' bookings, is like visiting Paris and skipping the Arc de Triomphe.
For most of the voyage, my partner and I are content in feasting at the ship's main dining location - The Grand Epernay Restaurant - where a menu that offers culinary delights such as cajun-spiced drum fish or barolo-braised beef short ribs couldn't exactly be considered second rate.
After breakfast next morning, it's time to take a stroll around the upper decks. The trip up in a glass elevator offers a cross-section view as it climbs past the library and a full-grown ficus tree suspended in the atrium. The doors open to the sound of dance music and I step out to see a poolside Zumba session in full swing.
A handful of joggers lope past on a circuit around the top deck, while others lob bottles of sun tan lotion and Kindles on to beach chairs, marking their spots for a day of happy nothing.
It's another day before we arrive in New Caledonia, and a perfect time to familiarise myself with the Solstice.
Fortunately, I have a book and a drink in my hand - you can take them all around the ship - when I discover The Sky Lounge at the port end.
In the evenings it's a classy place to socialise over a martini or cut loose to a dance band but, right now, with the morning sun beaming through its glass walls, I sprawl on a leather lounge chair.
Past my jandals, I see before me only the wide-open Pacific -- this might just be my happy place.
The Celebrity Solstice. Photo / Suppled
Meanwhile, there's much otherwise to be seeing and doing on the ship.
On this day, there's a masterclass in cuisine with the Solstice's executive chef, and a guided tour of its galley. Feeding over 3000 guests and crew comes with immense supply demands - or precisely, 19,200 litres of beer, 95,674 litres of milk, 10 tonnes of beef and 9235 dozen eggs.
All interesting figures, but more engaging are some of the lectures held each day in the ship's 900-seat theatre.
Oddball Californian naturalist Milos Radakovich is entertaining enough - think Robin Williams meets David Attenborough - to make a lecture about ocean ecology almost as appealing as the beer and hot dogs on offer above decks.
The first we know of arriving in Noumea a day later is pulling back the curtains of our cosy stateroom to see the palm-lined hills across the water. On a solid recommendation, we'd chosen the shore excursion that took us via high-speed ferry to the splendid tropical seclusion of Amedee Island.
This tiny atoll, boasting sandy white beaches, turquoise water and France's first metal lighthouse, can be traversed in a matter of minutes.
A traditional banquet comes with dancing and French red wine; a swim amid colourful coral offers an enjoyable encounter with an insouciant sea turtle.
It's a tough place to leave.
Back on board, I book a spot at the Persian Garden, perhaps the jewel in the Solstice's varied spa options.
Reclining on a heated tile lounger, the day's sunburn is quickly soothed out of mind.