Cruising to the World’s Top Gardens
Whether you’re a master gardener or simply enjoy pretty flowers, a cruise can take you to some of the world’s most spectacular gardens. Late spring and summer tend to be the best time to take a cruise with a garden excursion, but tropical gardens can bloom all year; gardens in four-season areas can be gorgeous in the fall, too.
Monet’s Garden at Giverny, France. Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted his famous Water Lilies series from life in his garden at Giverny. The garden, which contains much more than water lilies, is truly awe-inspiring: the artist spent years creating a living version of his watercolor paintings, even diverting part of the Epte River to create a perfect water garden. You can also tour part of the beautiful house where Monet lived from 1883 until his death in 1926. Giverny is an excursion on some Seine River cruises and ocean cruises that call on Le Havre.
Madeira Botanical Gardens, Funchal, Madeira, and Palmetum of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. Just a few minutes from the center of Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira, a cable car will take you up to the Madeira Botanical Garden. Have your camera ready to photograph the brilliantly colored plants laid out in a mosaic pattern, with the blue Atlantic in the distance. There are collections of succulents, medicinal plants and palm trees, plus exotic birds and a small natural history museum. Many cruise itineraries that include Madeira also call on the Canary Islands: here, take an excursion to the Palmetum, a botanical garden with an extensive and valuable collection of palms.
Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, Canada. In 1904, Robert and Jennie Butchart began to quarry limestone for their prosperous cement plant; Jennie also began making plans to create something of beauty after the quarry was exhausted. She created a sunken garden, full of colorful flowers and ornamental shrubs. Through the years, the Butcharts added an amazing variety of gardens – including rose, Italian and Japanese – and other features, such as a carousel, and totem poles. Vancouver Island is a port of call on some cruises that depart from Seattle or Vancouver for the wonders of Alaska.
To find a cruise that will satisfy your love of gardens, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.