Nature Travel Specialists

nature tours & travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, Southeast Asia, South America, Alaska & Europe


Amsterdam to London via Floriade, Monet's Garden and the Chelsea Flower Show



Aboard the luxury small ship

Azamara Club Journey


Join us in May for a once in a lifetime opportunity, when we board the premium small ship Azamara Club Journey in Amsterdam to sail to Antwerp, Bruges, London and Paris. But this isn't an ordinary cruise, with just part of a single day in each port. Rather, this is a land tour that uses our ship as a moving hotel, and that true luxury when traveling - one unpack and one pack for the entire journey of 12 days. And with a maximum of 694 guests, this is a boutique ship/hotel, not a large, impersonal glass and chrome block. So we have plenty of time to explore, but most importantly plenty of time to take in our reason for undertaking this trip - to visit some of the most significant flower shows and gardens in Europe during the Spring flower season. Floriade, the World Horticultural Expo in The Netherlands, is held just once every ten years on grounds covering about 160 acres, and will be our first amazing undertaking. In London we have two days to explore the amazing and oftern whimsical Chelsea Flower Show, Kew Gardens and several others, and London herself. Paris in the Spring is always a blaze of color, but we'll make a special trip to Giverny to visit Monet's own gardens. But like other stops, Paris won't have to be seen in a day, as we have two and a half days to explore the City of Lights.


Our cruise starts May 17, 2012, in Amsterdam and our 12 day voyage ends in Southampton on May 29. We hope you can join us on this unique cruise; there won't be another one for ten years.




Optional Day A - May 15: Home City/In Flight
Fly from your home city to Amsterdam. Leaving a day early and having a pre-night in Amsterdam ensures your flight arrives in time for the ship, and gives those who have not been to Amsterdam before an opportunity to see the city.

Optional Day B - May 16: In Flight/Amsterdam
Arrive in Amsterdam, and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time the room may not be ready. We will book one or two rooms, depending on group size for this optional early arrival, so we have somewhere to freshen up. Many flights arrive about 6am, and if you prefer we can pre-book your room to give you your own space to rest and refresh. This afternoon we'll do a city tour, possibly including Van Gogh and Rijks Museums, depending on the how we arrange tomorrow for the rest of the group. Those who have been to Amsterdam before can opt for other arrangements, possibly a trip to the nearby village of Zaanse Schans. While the village is well-visited by tourists, it still enables one to see a traditional Dutch village dating from the 1700s, with residents still living there, while some houses have been converted to shops. You’ll see the inner workings of a windmill, follow the cheese-making process, and see the traditional wooden shoes – klomps, or clogs in English – are carved.

Day 1 - May 16: Home City/In Flight
Fly from your home city to Amsterdam.

Day 2 - May 17: In Flight/Amsterdam
Those who arrived early will discover more of Amsterdam with a canal tour. The rest of the group will arrive today, and transfer to the ship. Depending on whether the ship has an early embarkation we may have a couple of hotel rooms for the early arriving newcomers to freshen up in. Again depending on flight arrival time we can organize a visit to the Van Gogh and Rijks Museums. We then all embark Azamara Journey.

Day 3 - May 18: Amsterdam/Antwerp
Today we have a unique visit to a number of private and historical gardens. Our guide is garden designer and historian Andre Ancion, who will take you on a special walking tour through the historic city centre of Amsterdam; many locals have not seen what you will see. We'll some of Amsterdam's most impressive mansions and gardens, learning about 17th - 20th century gable architecture, interiors and garden history and how the merchant families lived. The huge gardens behind some of the private mansions are Amsterdam's best kept secret. We'll visit a 17th century almshouse, a summerhouse and coach houses with beautiful Louis XIV facades, and gardens on the golden Bend, the best area in Amsterdam. The Beguines Court and the impressive Bazel Building, with its spectacular treasure room, are also visited. Along with a 400 year old English church and its hidden chapel we'll see the two oldest wooden houses in Amsterdam, from 1470. Tonight at 11pm sail from Amsterdam on our route to Antwerp, Belgium.

Day 4 - May 19: The Netherlands/Vlissingen/Antwerp
Details of the itinerary for the following days have not been finalized by the ship yet, other than arrival and departure times. As soon as Azamara advise us of any organized activities we will update the itienrary, and also add our own shore-side arrangements.
We arrive at Vlissingen at 9am today, after sailing down the canal through the Dutch countryside - it seem more like being on a river cruise than an ocean voyage, with the lights of houses and villages on each side - to the North Sea. We them make our way down the coast before stopping in Vlissingen - this is primarily a ship flushing stop. At 2pm we continue, sailing through the Netherlands, but this time during the day. Our route takes along the Scheldt River, at this point virtually a sound, which has widened since it's origins in France and passage through Belgium to about two miles wide, and as we sail the 40 miles to Antwerp we watch the Flanders countryside slip by. As the Scheldt narrows we enter Belgium, and dock in Antwerp at 7pm.

Day 5 - May 20: Antwerp
Today we have our first opportunity to visit Floriade, the World Horticultural Expo that is only held once every ten years in Venlo, The Netherlands. Floriade takes place on a 160 acre park, which is divided into five themed areas, each separated by wooded areas. Floriade is not just gardens, but huge and innovative greenhouses full of all varieties of plants; there's also music and other cultural events, and it's not surprising that each Floriade takes ten years of planning and preparation. It's also not surprising that it takes more than one visit to appreciate what Floriade has to offer the visitor.

Day 6 - May 21: Antwerp
Another day to take in the sights, smells and color of Floriade. At 11pm we set sail once again, heading back out into the North Sea and south to Bruges.

Day 7 - May 22: Bruges
We dock at 8am, and have the day to discover the historic Flanders city, the entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like Amsterdam, Bruges is also a city of canals. At 6pm we set sail once again, this time for London across the North Sea.

Day 8 - May 23: London
Our route to London lies along the River Thames, which we sail up to anchor at 10am at Greenwich, just six miles from the heart of London, Westminster. We are tendered to shore, and have the day for the Chelsea Flower Show. In addition to just flowers the Show has a great variety of plants, often displayed in settings including full size cottages and other often whimsical scenarios.

Day 9 - May 24: London
We continue to explore the gardens and history of London today, with an option for our group to tour Kew Gardens, after Versailles one of the most famous gardens in the world.

Day 10 - May 25: London/Paris (Rouen)
At 8am this morning we say farewell to London (but only for a few days) to sail to Paris, once again entering the North Sea, then sailing through the English Channel and down the coast of France. At Le Havre we sail up the Seine River through Normandy to Rouen. Most of this 110 mile journey is through the Parc Nationale des Boucles de la Seine, which follows the curves of the river, combing and important nature reserve with the preservation of small towns and village.

Day 11 - May 26: Paris (Rouen)
We dock in Rouen at 8am this morning, about one and a half hours from Paris itself. Halfway between these two cities is the village of Giverny, home to the great impressionist Claude Monet. Many of Monet's best known and seminal works feature his garden, and during our time in France we will be visiting this treasure.

Day 12 - May 27: Paris (Rouen)
We continue to discover, or rediscover, Paris in the Spring. Just fifteen miles outside the city center is Versailles, home of the palace of Versailles and the aforesaid Gardens. Created for Louis XIV, and mostly built during the 1660s, both the palace and the surrounding 2000 acres of gardens are World Heritage listed.

Day 13 - May 28: Paris/At Sea
After our final morning in France we sail downriver, passing Le Havre and crossing once more to Great Britain, sailing past the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth on our passage.

Day 14: Southampton
After sailing up the Solent we arrive in Southampton at 6am, our final stop on this amazing journey through some of the great gardens and flower shows of the world. From Southampton we transfer to the airport in London for our flights home, or for further personal touring.


For information about prices and staterooms, please click here


or call Andrew on 1 877 285 1170