"We thought cruising was for the newlyweds, overfed or nearly dead," remarks one of the passengers on new ITV fly-on-the-wall show The Cruise.

Admittedly, I once thought the same. But in 2011, I caught the sailing bug and realised how wrong I was.

Princess Cruises celebrated their recent 50th anniversary with a host of new facilities on board their fleet of luxury ships and the company is also the subject of a new reality TV documentary, starting on March 3.

Keen to find out what happens when the cameras stop rolling, I've joined a week's voyage with Ruby Princess along the Mexican Riviera.

Alberto and Cecilia, who both appear in The Cruise, are two of the 3,000 passengers (and 1,000-plus crew) joining me. They tell me how they became more than just ships passing in the night - or day - after getting together on the Royal Princess. There's more magic between them than a Hogwarts convention.

But I soon embark on a love affair of my own when I dine in Curtis Stone's posh new eatery Share, one of the many new features on the ship.

Curtis - Australia's answer to Gordon Ramsay - certainly knows his onions. All the dishes are a delight, as are those served up in the Crown Grill. A fine filet mignon, delicious sides and hyper-attentive waiters ensure a terrific evening.

Meat lovers who prefer something lighter should try Princess's other new dining attraction, The Salty Dog gastropub. Their Ernesto mini burgers and fries go down a treat.

While these eateries involve paying extra on top of the cruise fee, Princess' all-inclusive main buffet area, Horizon Court, is so good, some may never want to go anywhere else.

As we sail past Baja California, towards Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, I take the opportunity to trial Ruby's new entertainment facilities. Movies Under The Stars takes place on the top deck and becomes a guilty pleasure, while Magic To Do is a tantalizing mash-up of Stephen Schwartz songs with dazzling costumes and impressive trickery.

Passengers even have the chance to shine in the spotlight as part of The Voice Of The Ocean, an engaging take on the TV talent search.

Admittedly, there are mild cosmetic blemishes on Princess Ruby's tiara: some of the cabin decor is chintzy and the Movies Under The Stars screen could do with some TLC. But the pros far outweigh the cons.

The excursions, for example, are thoroughly enjoyable. I join an impromptu walking tour of Puerto Vallarta, where Arnie Schwarzenegger shot Predator 30 years ago. A day later in Mazatlan, I tour the fascinating city on a hop on, hop off bus, stopping off to watch cliff divers and eat nachos.

Of course, not every port is big enough to accommodate a vessel the size of a town, so my trip to and from Cabo San Lucas via tender proves to be more entertaining than the port itself.

Although our whale watching tour is a damp squib due to reluctant stars, it scarcely matters. The crew ensures there is rarely a dull moment.

Regardless of what port you arrive in, I understand why many become addicted to life on board - the Princess bubble is hugely appealing.

Whether throwing shapes in nightclub Skywalkers, or having muscular knots untied at the excellent Lotus Spa, there's plenty of scope for indulging yourself.

At the gym, there's something very surreal about watching old sitcom The Love Boat while working out, getting off a treadmill and walking down a swaying corridor like I've had too many margaritas.

'Come Back New' screams the tagline for Princess' latest campaign throughout the trip.

I'm not sure about that, but whether travelling out of Southampton, Los Angeles or any port on a Princess vessel, you are bound to come back happier.


:: Roger Crow was a guest of Princess Cruises who offer a seven-day cruise on the Ruby Princess to the Mexican Riviera from £538pp (two sharing) including meals, 24-hour room service and on-board entertainment. Departs Los Angeles on October 15, 2016. Fare excludes flights.

:: The Emerald Princess sails from Southampton on April 16. Prices from £499pp (based on two adults sharing an inside stateroom). Fare includes accommodation, meals, 24-hour room service and entertainment.

:: For more information on either of these cruises, visit www.princess.com/discover or call 0843 374 2403.