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My first cruise was aboard a remarkable, prestige ship: the Queen Mary 2. Onashort jaunt from Sydney to Auckland, we pulled in at the Bay of Islands where most of the passengers went ashore to explore Paihia. I left them to it, settling into the massive swimming pool at the stern of the boat and watching as the hillsides seemingly turned around us on the tide's slow movement over a slow day.

— Winston Aldworth

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My husband and I love Rhine and Moselle river cruises for making travelling so easy. They are floating hotels gliding past century-old villages and cities, tapestries of hillside vineyards, castles standing sentry-like on lofty heights. Add in great food, wine, service and mingling with guests from different parts of the world. But my favourite part? Waking early to look out our cabin's balcony across the water to see where a night of gentle travel has brought us before going to the top deck to watch the skilled crew maneuver our vessel through the water level changes of the rivers' locks.

— Donna McIntyre

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On a small ship Croatian cruise with Peregrine Adventures, days were spent either drifting gently along the beautiful Dalmatian coastline, on land exploring ancient towns and villages, or — my favourite — diving off the back deck into the crystal-clear, turquoise-tinted waters when we moored in secluded bays under sunny August skies. I think I turned part-fish that holiday, my skin constantly saltcrusted and my hair never quite dry. Pure bliss.

— Stephanie Holmes

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Deep in the Southern Ocean, sitting at the back of the Silver Discoverer watching the southern giant petrels surf alongside the ship at head height, every so often seeming to glance over and say: Don't you wish you could do this? On land they are huge, ungainly, brutal looking scavengers; in the air they are powerful and free. New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands are a wilderness that too few of us ever see but are up there for untamed beauty with any of Earth's remote places.

— Isobel Marriner

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A day of skydiving, surfing and rollerskating on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Oceanwas an extraordinary experience. But the highlight of the entire cruise was drinking a glass of champagne on the top deck of the $1.25 billion Anthem of the Seas on the Hudson River, looking out over the lights of Manhattan. It was an absolute thrill that literally took my breath away.

— Tristram Clayton