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“Vegan, macrobiotic or gluten-free?”

It was not a question I had expected from the woman at the check-in desk – and it was my first cue that this was to be no ordinary big-ship cruise.

And we hadn’t even boarded yet.

What followed was six more days of surprises: lessons about living, eating, surviving, exercising and thriving, all in a setting usually associated with an indulgent, sedentary escape of seven meals a day and a constant stream of umbrella drinks.