Cruis­ing:

from opera to gardens, the best themed cruises

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Whether you’ve taken 10 cruises or are con­tem­plat­ing your first, a themed cruise is a great way to com­bine your pas­sion with dream des­ti­na­tions. What mad-keen gar­dener could re­sist a cruise that takes in Monet’s gardens at Giverny, pri­vate tours of French and English es­tates and a day at the Chelsea Flower Show?

Gar­den­ing, golf, mu­sic and wineap­pre­ci­a­tion are among the most pop­u­lar themed cruises but you can also find itin­er­ar­ies spe­cial­is­ing in cinema, quilt­ing and even the stock mar­ket. There are ex­perts on board host­ing work­shops and giv­ing lec­tures, tai­lored shore ex­cur­sions and fel­low pas­sen­gers to bond with over your shared in­ter­est. Here are a few to in­spire your hol­i­day plans…

Fit­ness and well­be­ing

RIVER: Cy­cling around cities or along­side Europe’s wa­ter­ways is all the rage on river cruises and some lines now of­fer ca­noe­ing, hik­ing, Seg­way and jog­ging tours as well. APT’s new cy­cling cruises on its Bordeaux itin­er­ar­ies are de­signed for all lev­els of abil­ity, from novices to the su­per-fit. Dis­tances vary from 18 to 100km and guides take you through vil­lages, vine­yards and un­spoilt towns. All bike tours are graded by length, in­ten­sity and du­ra­tion and sup­port ve­hi­cles fol­low “just in case”. See www.ap­tour­ing.co.nz, phone 0800 278 687.

OCEAN: Well­ness is the buzz­word of the mo­ment. Sil­versea Ex­pe­di­tions runs “Well­ness Ex­pe­di­tion” voy­ages ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing your health while you ex­plore South-East Asia and the South Pa­cific. Off-ship ac­tiv­i­ties can in­clude hik­ing, scuba div­ing and kayak­ing; on board, you can take classes in yoga, Pilates, stretch and aquaro­bics with nu­tri­tion­ists and life­style con­sul­tants. See sil­versea.com, phone 0800 701 427.

Gardens

RIVER: As its name sug­gests, Botan­ica World Dis­cov­er­ies spe­cialises in cruises and tours fo­cus­ing on gardens, led by ex­pert botan­i­cal guides. Art and ar­chi­tec­ture are part and par­cel of Botan­ica’s itin­er­ar­ies, which are de­signed by the com­pany’s di­rec­tor, Judy Van­re­nen, a very well-trav­elled gar­den en­thu­si­ast and au­thor.

In 2018, the 12-day cruise-land pack­age that vis­its Monet’s gar­den at Giverny and London’s Chelsea Flower Show starts in Paris on May 17. The seven-night Seine cruise on APT’s AmaLyra in­cludes tours of ex­quis­ite gardens in Nor­mandy and Napoleon Bon­a­parte’s Château Mal­mai­son, famed for the roses planted by Josephine. In Eng­land, you will spend five days ex­plor­ing some of the coun­try’s out­stand­ing his­toric homes and gardens.

OCEAN: Botan­ica runs gar­den­themed cruises on APT’s small ships in Asia, North­ern Europe and the Mediter­ranean. As on the river cruises, you’re ac­com­pa­nied by a botan­i­cal guide and cruise di­rec­tor, who host ex­cur­sions and present lec­tures on board. Peren­nial favourites in­clude cherry blos­som cruises to Ja­pan and South Korea; castles, gardens and wild­flow­ers in Scot­land and Nor­way; and ro­man­tic palaces and gardens in Italy and Croa­tia. Visit botan­ica.travel, phone 0800 525 300.

“Favourites in­clude cherry blos­som cruises to Ja­pan; castles, gardens and wild­flow­ers in Scot­land.”

Mu­sic

RIVER: If you en­joy all things cul­tural, check out the mu­sic and art cruise Aus­tralian ra­dio host Christo­pher Lawrence is tak­ing in June 2018 on Ger­many’s Elbe River. The eight-night itin­er­ary will fea­ture mu­se­ums and gal­leries as well as mu­sic events. High notes are per­for­mances at Ber­lin’s Phil­har­monie and Konz­erthaus, opera at the Ber­lin State Opera and a con­cert at Lobkow­icz Palace in Prague.

Elbe Princesse is a new CroisiEurope ship and this cruise sails from Ber­lin to Prague. She only holds 80 pas­sen­gers so you may want to book soon. See re­nais­sance­tours.com.au, phone 0800 403 621.

OCEAN: José Car­reras is head­lin­ing this Oc­to­ber’s Bravo! Cruise of the Per­form­ing Arts on board Ra­di­ance of the Seas as part of his farewell tour. The world-fa­mous tenor will be joined by stars from musical theatre, opera and clas­si­cal mu­sic, in­clud­ing renowned mae­stro David Giménez. The seven-night round-trip cruise from Syd­ney calls at Noumea and the Isle of Pines. See bravo2017.com.

His­tory

RIVER: In Europe you are sur­rounded by Ro­man ru­ins, gothic cathe­drals and or­nate palaces but a his­tory-themed cruise of­fers a much more de­tailed per­spec­tive. This year, Uni­world has two new itin­er­ar­ies for his­tory buffs.

The Monarch Col­lec­tion is all about Euro­pean roy­alty and cel­e­brates the 300th an­niver­sary of Em­press Maria Theresa’s birth. You’ll be in­vited to a con­cert and din­ner in a Re­nais­sance palace and join a princess for drinks in her cas­tle, among other one-off events.

Jewish Her­itage cruises cover the gamut of Jewish his­tory from the Mid­dle Ages to World War II and mod­ern times. His­to­ri­ans and knowl­edge­able local guides will take you to sites that will make you weep and oth­ers that will in­spire you. See uni­world.com/nz.

OCEAN: Learn how to trace your fam­ily his­tory on Queen Mary 2’s A Jour­ney of Ge­neal­ogy in Novem­ber 2018. Ex­perts from An­ces­try will be on board the transat­lantic cross­ing, hold­ing work­shops, pre­sent­ing lec­tures and re­veal­ing fas­ci­nat­ing facts about se­lected guests and ship’s of­fi­cers. See cu­nard­line.com.au.

“Local guides will take you to sites that make you weep.”

The ma­jes­tic Lo­foten Is­lands in Nor­way. BE­LOW: Cy­cling in Bordeaux, France.

Cy­cling around Europe

A de­light­ful gar­den bench at the Chelsea Flower Show in Eng­land.

Pfalz­grafen­stein Cas­tle on the Rhine River in Ger­many.

Join José Car­reras

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