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Sailing through French Polynesia to Sydney and downloadin­g the Cruise Norwegian app and turning my phone into my own personal cruise planner is the best advice I can give you. Landing in Papeete and staying a night at the Hilton Hotel with breakfast sitting over the water, I could see the glorious Norwegian Spirit in the distance. Famous for black pearls and the gateway to Tahiti, Papeete is the first of three Tahitian stops along this itinerary. Once boarded and checked in, because of the late sailing there was actually time for an easy stroll through the local market to whet my appetite with what’s ahead.

First stop is Mo’orea with jagged mountain peaks and lush vegetation rising from the lagoon where we swam and snorkelled with stingray, sharks and multicolou­red fish. This is the one destinatio­n in Tahiti I would like to return and explore more. One day just wasn’t enough.

Vaitape in Bora Bora on the western side of the island is opposite the main channel leading into the lagoon, and where we took a tour to a small island and sat under frangipani trees.

As we marooned ourselves for the morning swimming, laughing, reading, drawing and just being, it was idyllic. In the afternoon we boarded Le Truck an open-air windowless bus, touring around the island where we visited Bloody Mary’s for – you guessed it – a Bloody Mary, and learnt about military artefacts from the US, passing plantation­s, gardens and small shops along the way. A sarong tying class will be firmly etched into my memory.

I love a sea day and there are a couple on this itinerary which suited me as it’s a perfect time to explore the ship and head to the spa, daily sudoku and multiple games of Rummikub as we crossed the Internatio­nal Dateline.

Arriving in Apia, Samoa, I went shopping and bought a range of bright Pacific island-styled patterned shirts for the family back home. We visited the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which was once his house known as ‘Villa Vailima’ and is filled with family memorabili­a. When built, it had the only fireplace at the time in Samoa, the stand-out however was the front parlour walls completely covered in local Tapa cloth. A visit to the Catholic cathedral was another impressive building, showcasing local carving.

Another day at sea before arriving at Lautoka in Fiji. As the ship sailed on towards Sydney I bade farewell and still today dream of my French Polynesian escape. This is a perfect cruise as each destinatio­n gives you a little sample and taste of the glorious Pacific, mixed with days at sea to just stop, relax and rewind.

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