Braemar Caribbean Islands & Gardens Cruise
Gardeners World Magazine

Caribbean Islands & Gardens

with David Hurrion

Fred. Olsen Cruise Line – Braemar – 18 February – 4 March 2021 

from £2699pp

With no fewer than nine beautiful islands on the itinerary, plus a sailing past mountainous Montserrat at sunset, this quintessential Caribbean escape is full to the brim with horticultural highlights, expertly guided by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine associate editor, David Hurrion

David Hurrion

“The gardens we’re visiting will be full of vivid colour and foliage. I particularly love Hunte’s Gardens, which is one of the most exuberant and exotic gardens I’ve ever seen.” David Hurrion

Exclusive Horticultural Highlights

The Dr Rafael Maria Moscoso Botanic Gardenthe largest in the Caribbean with a diverse range of flora to be explored

The Botanical Gardens of Nevis – A tranquil oasis, full of tropical flowers, orchid terraces and water lily ponds.

Hyde Park Tropical Gardens – One of Grenada’s finest gardens

Palm Tree Garden – amazing variety of plants in a beautiful setting and rich in history

GemRose Eden Garden – a warm welcome awaits at this hillside gem of a garden

Hunte’s Gardens – ‘the most enchanting place on earth’ Andromeda Gardens – featured on BBC Gardeners World and described as ‘world-famous

Your Garden Cruise Itinerary

18 February – 4 March – 14 nights

Caribbean Islands

Arrive Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Fly Manchester or *London Gatwick to Santo Domingo. Transfer to port to embark Braemar. Settle in and enjoy your evening with dinner and entertainment.

Discovered by Columbus in 1496, Santo Domingo is the New World’s oldest colonial city. A beautiful place to simply walk around, the cobbled streets of Santo Domingo are lined with 15th & 16th century buildings that remind you of the city’s unique history.

Santo Domingo

We visit our first garden this morning, the The Dr Rafael María Moscoso Botanic Garden. Enjoy a picturesque drive through the city of Santo Domingo, before embarking on a tour of the largest botanical garden in the Caribbean.

Covering over 200 acres, this park is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. It is also considered to be one of the finest in the world with more than 300 varieties of orchids, palms, exotic plants.

The garden is located within a protected area dedicated to the observation and study of nature. Stroll through the many trails and pathways, and don’t forget to marvel at what was once the largest floral clock in the New World.

Cruising

A day at sea, cruising and time for you to do as much or as little as you wish with a variety of experiences, events, classes and much more to enjoy on board. Plus join your host, David for his illustrated talk on ‘Creating an Exotic Garden in the UK’ with plenty of time for questions.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

An enthralling and staggeringly beautiful city, Cartagena is one of Colombia’s true gems bursting with Spanish heritage. Dominated by the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the captivating city of Cartagena is also home to the wonderful Santo Domingo Plaza, Palacio de la Inquisicion and its 16th century cathedral.

Taking time out to relax at one of Cartagena’s many open-air cafés is a popular pastime; perfect for watching the parade of horse-drawn carriages, fashionable locals and romantic street life. From one of its many beaches, many take the opportunity to mingle with the sea life on a Cartegena snorkelling trip, passing San Jose and San Ferna en route.

Cruising

Join David for his gardeners’ get-together with question time and quiz.

Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles

UNESCO-protected Willemstad on Curaçao has narrow-gabled, 18th century houses in cool pastel shades, juxtaposed with intense yellows and royal blues. It’s akin to a carbon copy of Amsterdam, but with the gorgeous Caribbean climate thrown in.The town has a number of intriguing museums worth visiting: the Curaçao Museum, the Maritime Museum and Kura Hulanda, which tells the history of the local slave trade. At Scharlooweg 77 is the house known as the ‘Wedding Cake’, a near perfect example of Dutch colonial architecture.Willemstad is actually divided into two sections, Otrobanda and Punda, and both boast a rich, cultural heritage. They are connected by the Queen Emma Bridge, also known as the Swinging Old Lady, a floating, pontoon bridge powered by diesel, which swings open daily to allow ships in and out of the harbour.Situated not far from the waterfront, the crowded streets of Punda are packed with smart galleries and shops, while nearby Pietermaai is alive with cool restaurants, bars and clubs. The island’s fantastic beaches are a true delight, with Santa Barbara Beach probably the pick of them all.

Kralendijk, Bonaire Netherlands

Kralendijk, the lively, Dutch-controlled capital of Bonaire, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and fantastic Caribbean climate.

This colourful town is characterised by its many beaches dotted with quaint stucco houses in pastel shades of pink, green and blue. Surrounded by the protected Marine Park, the island’s waters are home to large numbers of tropical fauna, rare seabirds and sea life, including turtles, tuna, Blue Marlin and sailfish.

Washington Slagbaai National Park is a great place to spot flamingos, iguanas and giant cacti, while sun-worshippers intent on pure relaxation can enjoy the gorgeous white-sand beach on the nearby uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire.In Kralendijk itself, interesting shops sell jewellery, wood and leather products hand-crafted by the locals. There are plenty of restaurants selling an enticing mixture of cuisine, from Creole dishes, such as grilled spicy fish, goat stew and cactus soup to local versions of Dutch foods, such as smoked meat and excellent cheese. The locally brewed beer is also worth trying, as is the creamy hot chocolate.

Cruising

Time to join your fellow gardeners’ for David’s illustrated talk on ‘Economic Plants of the Caribbean’.

Philipsburg, St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch half of St. Maarten, a Caribbean island amicably shared between Holland and France for centuries. The town is known as a shopper’s paradise, while its charming sandy beach, studded with colourful clapboard restaurants and outdoor cafés, is accessible via water taxi.

Front Street, Philipsburg’s long main street, is festooned with shops, but the alleys and courtyards down to Back Street are also worth exploring. There are some stylish restaurants, but the Lo-Lo huts, which sell grilled chicken, fish and cakes from home-made barbecues, are great for a cheap snack of authentic Caribbean food.

This tiny island was divided between the Dutch and French in the 1600s, as a bastion against the Spanish. This melting pot of rich cultures and old-world charm was supposedly divided up by someone from each country walking round the coastline in opposite directions until they met up again.

Two historic forts reflect the island’s colonial past: Fort Amsterdam, built in 1631 and soon after captured by the Spanish, offers fine views over Philipsburg from the original walls, and Fort Willem, built by the British during the Napoleonic War.

Basseterre, St Kitts

With some of the oldest colonial buildings in the Caribbean, the elegant St. Kitts & Nevis capital of Basseterre is a beautiful town bursting with history. 

We discover the sister island of St Kitts, the isle of Nevis today where we will visit the Botanical Gardens of Nevis. Our journey starts with a short boat ride to Charlestown. Continuing, travel through several sleepy villages before your arrival at the Botanical Gardens of Nevis. The gardens offer eight acres of the most diversified planted tropical landscape to be found in the islands. Collected from tropical locations around the world, these magnificent plants provide both serene beauty and education to the visitor. Enjoy a guided tour.

St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda

A sunbather’s haven, St John’s is the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, an island often referred to as the crown jewels of the Caribbean. With its large selection of beaches, typically hot climate and an array of cool seaside bars, the city of St John’s is a sun worshipper’s paradise.

In the city itself, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda has exhibits on island history and St. John’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Anglican Church, sits sweetly on a hill near the 17th century Government House. The city’s vibrant red and yellow colonial buildings reflect the personality and warm welcome from locals, while a monument to the nation’s founder, V.C. Bird, is next to the colourful street market which sells flowers, fruit and handicrafts.

St. George’s fascinating history is brought to life on the stunning English Harbour and celebrated Nelson’s Dockyard. Also known as Britain’s West Indies naval base, it has now been restored to its 18th century glory.

There is shopping and speciality restaurants to be found in Heritage Quay and, of course, no visit would be complete without a spell on one of the island’s 365 stunning beaches – one for each day of the year say the Antiguans.

Cruising by Montserrat, Antigua

Previously considered dormant, the volcanic island of Montserrat was devastated by huge eruptions in 1995 and volcanic activity has occurred here ever since. Sadly large portions of the island’s lush vegetation and a number of settlements – including Plymouth, the capital – have been destroyed, but what remains is simply stunning. 

Cruising by the island is the best way to admire the incredible scenery here, which combines pockets of tropical beauty and breathtaking volcanic ruins. Your glide by the island will be even more special however, with the rising or setting sun providing a glorious backdrop. 

Castries, St. Lucia

Castries, the capital of the island nation of St. Lucia, is known for its palm-lined, soft, white Vigie Beach. Like St. Lucia itself, the city combines heritage and culture with peace, relaxation and tranquillity, and Castries is a gateway to St. Lucia’s wealth of national parks with vast forests, native plants and wildlife. 

The city’s streets are easy to navigate. Leafy Derek Walcott Square – named after a native noble laureate – is home to a 400-year-old Samaan tree and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception built in 1897. The nearby market in Jeremie Street, sells a wide range of items including fresh local fruit.

Overlooking the town is Morne Fortune, which provides some splendid views alongside Royal Navy history. Here the original French colonists built La Toc Battery, but was taken by the British in 1796, replacing it with a new fort built in 1888 to protect the harbour.

St George’s, Grenada

The popular destination of St. George’s is the capital of Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island with a long history of British and French rule. The town is a gateway to a volcanic island, with a jaw-dropping landscape of crater lakes, rainforests, coral reefs and white-sand beaches.

It’s gardens galore again today with visits to three gardens where you will be greeted by the owners and given guided tours. Hyde Park Tropical Garden with its abundance and variety of palms, cycads, heliconias, bougainvillea and other tropical plants. The owners, Fay and her husband John will greet you and whilst Fay starts by giving you the history of Hyde Park, John will then take over and personally guide you on your visit. Back at the house, you’ll be invited to join them on the veranda where you’ll be served to fresh lime juice and have a chance to ask Fay any questions.

Set across 2 acres of impeccably groomed land, Palm Tree Gardens overlooks the stunning south-east coast of Grenada. You’ll be met by the owner Laurie Lambert who will host your visit. Two acres of botanical gardens and over 300 plant species including 40 palm varieties, anthuriums, bromeliads and orchids plus don’t forget to take a peek at the red-footed tortoises.  And finally enjoy GemRose Eden, a hidden private garden where you will be met by the owner, Mrs Gemma Flemming whose enthusiasm for her plants is infectious!

Bridgetown, Barbados

This very British Caribbean island is a favourite with tourists; the city’s streets are lined with shops, boutiques, street vendors, bars and places to eat – there is always something to do. Broad Street, the main street of Bridgetown is often packed with welcoming locals. It’s easy to see why Barbados is known as Little England given Bridgetown’s Georgian houses, the horse-racing track, Parliament Square, and a statue of Nelson.

A double horticultural treat awaits today as you take in the refreshing island breezes, tropical blooms and towering trees which will greet you at Andromeda Gardens, the only RHS Partner Garden in the West Indies. The manager and head gardener, Sharon Cooke will meet you and provide a guided tour of these gardens comprising of a Palm Garden, Succulent Garden, White Garden, Arum Garden, Bougainvillea Garden and Heliconia Walk.

Be sure to have your cameras at the ready for Hunte’s Gardens. Created by legendary horticulturist, Anthony Hunte who has combined vibrant colours and textures of rare exotic plants with statues and antiques. Relax and wander through these beautifully landscaped gardens whilst classical musical serenades your visit.

Port Image

Bridgetown, Barbados

Breakfast and farewells before your transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

Return Flight

Arrive Early morning to the UK

What’s Included in your Cruise

  • Comfortable, stylish rooms and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning
  • A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more
  • Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea and in-room sandwiches and snacks
  • Exclusive on board Gardeners’ Programme, including two formal illustrated talks, Gardeners’ Quiz & Question Time, Plant Clinic, welcome get-together and drinks party
  • 4 Garden Tours to include 7 garden visits all hosted.
  • A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music
  • Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
  • *Flights and connecting transfers to/from your ship, as arranged and confirmed as part of a fly-cruise holiday
  • Formal welcome Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet

BRAEMAR – elegant Braemar is the shortest of Fred. Olsen’s four smaller, friendly ocean-going cruise ships, Like the rest of the fleet, Braemar assumes the welcoming feel and intimacy of a country house hotel, and a sense of timeless style and elegance flows through the ship’s comfortable bars and lounges, restaurants and spacious accommodation for up to 929 guests.

To Book your place on our Gardeners’ Cruise call now on 07885 774694 quoting Gardeners’ World.

Terms and Conditions This group departure is organised by Victoria Travel Club for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.  Victoria Travel Club is operated as an independent, GoCruise franchise. GoCruise is a trading name of Fred Olsen Travel Ltd, ATOL 0944, ABTA J5035. *This departure is based on Manchester flights from the UK. London Gatwick flights are available at a £100pp supplement. Please note all tours and places of interest mentioned, apart from the 4 Included tours, are not included in the cruise fare and may be visited on optional tours. The experts hosting any of our cruises are subject to personal circumstances permitting. We plan to visit the gardens and ports mentioned in the itinerary however we reserve the right to change a visit should circumstances become necessary.

Important –  Dominican Republic. Please note that a tourism entry tax of (10USD) per person is required for travel to the Dominican Republic and this will automatically be added to your holiday cost and paid on your behalf.  E&OE 

Rooms & Prices

* Prices correct at time of publication. Please call 07885 774694 for availability & prices.

BS - Balcony Suite

These suites are approximately 225 square feet in size and can be found on Bridge Deck 7 and Lido Deck 6.

They have a sitting area, picture windows, a balcony, bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts). Smoking is permitted on room balconies.

From £4,599

SS - Superior Suite

This suite is approximately 300 square feet in size and can be found on Bridge Deck 7.

This suite has a seating area and a balcony.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts). Smoking is permitted on room balconies.

From £4,999

BA - Superior Balcony Room

These rooms are approximately 190 square feet in size and can be found on Bridge Deck 7 and Lido Deck 6.

They have a bedroom with balcony and bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts). Smoking is permitted on room balconies.

From £4,249

DC - Deluxe Balcony Room

This room is approximately 225 square feet in size and can be found on Marquee Deck 8.

It has a bedroom with balcony, bathroom with shower and/ or bath.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer and tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts). Smoking is permitted on room balconies.

From £4,399

A - Superior Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Lido Deck 6.
 
It has a picture window and a bathroom with shower.
 
Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.
 
All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).
 
From £3,599

B - Superior Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Lido Deck 6 and Main Deck 4.

It has a picture window and a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00 pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,399

C - Superior Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Lido Deck 6 and Main Deck 4.

It has a bedroom with picture window.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer and tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

Please note, rooms 6097 and 6095 have been equipped for use by disabled passengers.

From £3,349

D - Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Atlantic Deck 3.

It has two portholes and a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,199

E - Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Atlantic Deck 3.

It has two portholes and bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,149

F - Ocean View

This room is approximately 130 square feet in size and can be found on Marina Deck 2.

This has 2 portholes and a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00 pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £2,999

LA - Large Superior Ocean View

These rooms are approximately 175 square feet in size and can be found on Lido Deck 6 and Bridge Deck 7.

They have a bedroom with a large picture window and a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer and tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00 pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,699

G - Superior Interior Room

This room is approximately 130 square feet in size and can be found on Bridge Deck 7 and Lido Deck 6.
It has a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £2,899

H - Interior Room

This room is approximately 130 square feet in size and can be found on Main Deck 4.

It has a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £2,799

I - Interior Room

This room is approximately 130 square feet in size and can be found on Atlantic Deck 3.

It has a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £2,699

J - Single Superior Ocean View

This room is approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Bridge Deck 7 and Lido Deck 6.

It has a balcony and bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

Smoking is permitted on room balconies.

From £5,299

K - Single Ocean View

These rooms are approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Main Deck 4 and Bridge Deck 7.

These rooms have a picture window and a bathroom with shower. Please note, room 4003 has a porthole.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00 pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £4,799

L - Single Ocean View

These rooms are approximately 140 square feet in size and can be found on Atlantic Deck 3 and Marina Deck 2.

These rooms have 2 portholes and a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00 pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £4,399

M - Single Interior Room

This room is approximately 130 square feet in size and can be found on Atlantic Deck 3.

It has a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,999

N - Single Interior Room

These rooms can be found on Marina Deck 2, and is approximately 130 square feet.

They have a bathroom with shower.

Facilities include climate control, Interactive Smart TV, desk, phone, mini-fridge, hairdryer & tea & coffee making facilities.

All rooms are non-smoking, have room service available until 11.00pm, and require a European 2 pin plug (220 volts).

From £3,799

Upgrade to All inclusive from only £19 per person per night

Welcome Aboard Braemar

 

Make a booking

To book a cruise please use the booking enquiry form below, send us an email at enquiries@victoriatravelclub.com or request a callback

Booking Enquiry

Newsletter & Offers

If you would like to receive our regular newsletter with features from our Garden experts plus advance information on our Garden Holidays please subscribe here.