We are proud to be a multi-award-winning cruise specialist

Blooming marvellous! 5 of the best cruises for gardeners

Cruise Advice

Whether specifically designated a 'Garden Cruise' or not, there are a number of superb cruise options for those with a horticultural interest.

Here are five of our favourites...

1. Spring in Keukenhof

Holland's Keukenhof Gardens is only open to the public two months a year, but during those two months in spring the gardens, an easy drive from Amsterdam, put on an extraordinary showcase, with millions of tulips of all hues, golden daffodils, multicoloured hyacinths and more. The history of Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century when Keukenhof Castle was built. The park opened its gates to the public as an exhibition of spring flowering bulbs in 1950, and has been a huge visitor attraction for 70 years. Pick a magical tulip river cruise from or to Amsterdam to experience it in all its wonder.

Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands

2. Autumn in Kirstenbosch

There is a reason why the magically beautiful drive between Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay, close to Cape Town, is known as The Garden Route. On a leisurely drive of under 200 miles, you can take in national parks, dense forests, placid lakes and beautiful beaches, enjoying the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation. When you arrive in Cape Town, visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, and majestically located on the eastern slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain. Combine this with a cruise from or to Cape Town with a number of cruise lines offering Cape Town round trip voyages in the winter months or even more unusual sailings along Africa's West Coast or into the Indian Ocean and beyond.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, South Africa

3. Cherry Blossoms in Japan

We all know about the Japanese obsession with Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, but Japan has so much more to offer the interested gardener. A cruise is an ideal way to explore this island nation with itineraries often designed to visit beautiful gardens which are both visually stunning and historically fascinating. From Kobe you can visit Himeji Castle and its adjacent Kokoen Garden, which consists of nine separate gardens. Kanazawa's fame depends on Kenrokuen, one of the 'Three Great Gardens of Japan'. From Niigata you can visit the Shimizu-en Garden, built in 1693 during the Edo era, while in Aomori you can visit the lovely Seibien, built during the Meiji era. From Tokyo enjoy Hamarikyu Garden, the only surviving seaside garden of Japan's Edo Period, the tranquil garden of the Nezu Institute of Fine Art, and the outer garden of the Imperial Palace.

Himeji Castle and Mount Fuji, Japan

4. Floriade in 2022

Keen horticulturalists will know that Floriade is an international exhibition and garden festival, held every 10 years in the Netherlands. The exhibition lasts for six months, and the seventh Floriade in 2022 will focus on the 'Green City of the Future'. With participation from all over the world, the Floriade site will be a living laboratory of inspirational exhibitions, including a unique collection of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Many river cruise itineraries and several ocean cruise options include time in Amsterdam from which to visit the iconic Floriade Horticultural Expo, and some will also enjoy time in Rouen, with the opportunity to visit Monet's garden in Giverny, not to mention the lavish gardens in Versailles.

Floriade 2022 - Green City Arboretum

5. Gardening on Queen Elizabeth

Cunard's first dedicated gardening voyage is a Melbourne round-trip cruise on Queen Elizabeth, departing 4th February 2023 for 7 nights. Six leading gardening experts and well-known personalities will join this special 7-night voyage to share their latest knowledge and garden trends with guests during informative talks and dinners. The entertainment programme will have a green-fingered twist, with opportunities to take part in a range of onboard activities and hands-on workshops including gardening trivia, special craft classes and lessons in cooking from your garden.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

Get your free subscription to Cruise News

The UK's most authoritative magazine about the world of luxury cruising. New ships, new destinations, new experiences and new offers. Be more informed, every two months, with Cruise News.

Order your copy