tours & travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general
travel to Australia, Southeast Asia, South America, Alaska
to London via Floriade, Monet's Garden and the Chelsea Flower Show
the luxury small ship
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.
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.
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.
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.
1 - May 16: Home City/In Flight
Fly from your home city to Amsterdam.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
information about prices and staterooms, please click here
call Andrew on 1 877 285 1170