Who knew that the best steak you’ve ever had is several miles out to sea, off the Irish coast?

It is. When you’re aboard the Caribbean Princess.

Tucking in to the succulent slice of meat in a beautiful dining room, the only reminder of the fact we were no longer on terra firma was the endless blue I could see out the window.

When I worked in Weymouth, I went on a day trip with the local fishermen for a story. I was so seasick that I passed out and earned myself the nickname ‘Sleepy Sam’ forevermore. ‘There she is,’ they’d say when I frequented the harbourside ‘Ol’ Sea Sick.’

So, given my past escapades, I must admit I was slightly concerned about going out to sea again. Food, cocktails and dancing are some of my favourite things. But doing all that on the ocean waves? Just the thought of it made me queasy.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. I had the time of my life!

I didn't really 'get' cruising before. I thought it was reserved for the elderly bourgeoisie; people who floated around in satin house coats, smelling of Chanel No.5, inhaling from long cigarette holders and greeting everyone as 'dahling.'

...Maybe that's because my first ever understanding of a cruise ship was the movie Titanic, which came out when I was four and gave me many, somewhat misguided, ideas about cruises and romance.

(and yes, in case you're wondering, I did force by boyfriend in to recreating the 'I'm flying' scene on the bow of the ship. It was not romantic at all. For one, it was very dark. It was also cold, and raining, and the wind blew my dress so forcefully that the only thing 'flying' away was my dignity.)

I have friends my age (can get away with mid-20s if I've had enough sleep) who've been bitten by the cruising bug.

Some have tried to persuade me to go with them. They'd rave about what a good time they'd had but I just didn't see the appeal.

And I like my space. No offence to my friends, I love you. But on a ship, there's no escape (or so I thought)...I'd probably end up flinging myself overboard just to get away.

The truth, I later learned, is that aboard a cruise ship, you rarely see the same face twice.

I was overwhelmed by its size and scale; it's a floating town, with thousands of residents.

And there are many people I successfully avoid in my hometown, so this should be alright.

But when the steak is as good as it is at on-board restaurant, you don't really care who's at the next table.

Boarding was easy. A private taxi took us from front door to gate in just over an hour.

We were able to enjoy some drinks in our room as we settled in, then moseyed on up to the top deck for 'sail away' (and more drinks).

What I loved most about our cruise was waking up in a different place every day. You're travelling hundreds of miles a day, but without feeling it.

And if you are onboard for days at a time, there is plenty to do.

One novelty experience is 'Movies under the Stars.'

You can relax on top deck with popcorn or pizza and watch a recent blockbuster as a the world goes by.

I can imagine that on a beautiful night on the Med, it's Heaven.

On a grim night in the Irish Sea it's...a challenge.

I was pretty comfortable once I was tucked in to several blankets with my hands around a nice hot tea.

Boyfriend, who had been commanded to go and fetch me said blankets and hot tea, was not so amused.

Neither was he so amused when I made him get up and dance later in Skywalkers bar, where the DJ seemed to be a big fan of lyrical *cough* genius *cough* Pitbull (anyone that can get the words 'donkey like a monkey' in to a song deserves nothing but success).

We rarely felt the sea when aboard, the only exception being that particularly rough night at Skywalkers. On such nights, the ship sways so much that you're carried across the dancefloor. and so if you weren't blessed with natural rhythm, it looks like you can really throw some shapes.

Unfortunately, I had stuffed myself silly at Planks BBQ so my dance move of choice was more of a 'roll' that any jazzy steps.

But it was worth it. If you're a fan of meat, you must check out Planks. The platter of meat presented to our table was, quite frankly, ridiculous.

I waddled out of there, having consumed half a farm yard.

And try the Sweet n' Smoky Rita cocktail. It tastes great with sunset.

The ship has just gone through a multi-million pound refit, the largest refurb of its kind onboard any Princess Cruises ship, and all the restaurants have been upgraded. They rival any I've been to on land.

But when you stop off at the ports, it would be rude not to try the local cuisine too, right?

They say good sailors have a girl in every port.

I feel the same way...except about cake.

We certainly saved the best 'til last. The chocolate lava cake at Made in Belfast. The city is beautiful; City Hall is a breathtaking piece of architecture, which wouldn't look out of place in Rome.

The people are friendly, the shopping centre is a fashionista's heaven and there's plenty of places to stop for a Guinness or two.

If you go there you must visit the old Market. Go to the Belfast Times stall and meet Jeff, quite possibly the nicest guy in N.Ireland.

But if there's one thing that makes this sailor want to dock in Belfast again, it's that cake.

I shall dream about her sweet, gooey centre on the long lonely nights of detoxing.

And trust me, you need to detox after this trip.

It would probably be quite easy, really, to eat healthily aboard. Being out at sea doesn't stop you getting your hands on an abundance of fruit and veg.

We took a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the (nine) kitchens, which serve seven restaurants.

Ninety-five per cent of what you eat is made onboard.

It can take a year to get the dish from concept to plate. Such is the level of organisation that goes in to these trips.

The ship was built with water treatment facility, meaning it can take ocean water and take out the salt and other impurities, and make it fit for human consumption.

We took a look at the bridge and got to marvel at some of the technology used to steer a beast of this size.

The captain explained that as popularity from cruising grows, so must facilities.

Many ports have be constantly dredged deeper and wider to accommodate the supersized liners of today.

Caribbean Princess is huge. But she looks demure and petite next to some of the biggest cruise ships in the world.

Regardless, I thought she was the perfect hostess.


British Isles with an overnight stay in Dublin

12 nights

Ship: Royal Princess

Sailing roundtrip from Southampton. Calling at Guernsey (St. Peter Port), England | Cork, Ireland (Cobh - For Blarney Castle) | Dublin, Ireland (overnight) | Belfast, Northern Ireland | Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland | Invergordon, Scotland | Edinburgh (South Queensferry), Scotland | Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), France

Prices start from £1,538pp

Price includes accommodation, all main meals, 24-hour room service and onboard entertainment.