DRIFTING through a curtain of bubbles, I spot the Yolanda Reef for the very first time.
The majestic coral cliff is a scene of vibrant orange creatures, green plants and fluorescent yellow bannerfish, which loop around the rocks oblivious to my presence.
I’d only tried diving for the first time just a few days earlier and I’m now inside what feels like the world’s largest tropical aquarium, Ras Mohammed National Park, just outside the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.
I AM a novice when it comes to cruising – the last time I sailed was on a tiny vessel on the Yangtze River when I was 11.
More than two decades later, I am back in China for another cruise. But this time it is aboard the biggest liner in Asia: Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas.
It is the first Quantum Ultra-class ship from Royal Caribbean and has space for more than 4,000 passengers across 16 decks. To keep sailors of every age happy, there is everything from a creche, splash pool for toddlers, laser tag for teens and a casino for grown-ups.
FOOD is a big deal in Cyprus, with the island’s famous squeaky cheese taking pride of place.
Halloumi is so important in its home country that many locals are named after the salty stuff, from Mr Hallumas to entire families of Hallumakis.
So first stop on my culinary island adventure had to be the tiny village of Letymbou, in rolling hills seven miles north from Paphos, to see how the locals make the fabulously fry-able sandwich filling.