One of Britain's best-loved gardeners, Charlie Dimmock, first co-hosted Ground Force and has since presented Garden Rescue and the BBC's coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Discover Holland in bloom with Charlie Dimmock
The Netherlands' famous bulb fields burst into flower every spring, covering the countryside in a riot of reds, oranges, pinks and yellows that keen gardeners will love. On this fantastic seven-day river cruise you will see the best of Holland in bloom from Amsterdam to Kampen. The highlight of your trip will be a full day exploring the fabulous Floriade Expo, one of the world's great floral events that only takes place once every 10 years.
Next year's Floriade - which will be held in Almere on the outskirts of Amsterdam - will be a lively and colourful celebration of trees, shrubs, perennials, creepers and flower bulbs.
During this delightful holiday you will also have the chance to enjoy an optional excursion to the magnificent Het Loo Palace, which was built in 1686 for William of Orange. There'll be a chance to stroll around the 17 themed gardens at De Kruidhof Botanical Garden, the largest botanical garden in the Netherlands, and a special opportunity see how delicious Dutch specialties such as 'gevulde koek' (almond paste cookies) and 'speculaas' (gingerbread cookies) are made in a local bakery.
To top it all, you will also meet and hear from TV gardening favourite Charlie Dimmock, the perfect special guest for this wonderful, green-fingered holiday.
Reasons to book
See the world's greatest flower show
Meet Charlie Dimmock
Your expert guides
- Six-night full-board cruise on MS Calypso
- Welcome drink and Captain's Gala Dinner
- On-board entertainment every evening
- Services of a Cruise Manager
- Return travel from the UK by coach (air and rail options are also available)
- Full-day excursion to Floriade 2022
- Exclusive talk and Q&A session with guest speaker Charlie Dimmock.
- Visits to Amsterdam, Hoorn, Den Helder, Harlingen, Kampen, Lelystad
Day1London to AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
Travel to Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, on the Eurostar, and then embark the MS Arena. You're invited for a welcome drink and Captain's Gala Dinner onboard the ship tonight.
Day2Amsterdam to HoornHoorn, Netherlands
This morning, there's the opportunity to join an optional excursion to the Van Loon Museum in Amsterdam's canal district. Its first resident was the painter Ferdinand Bol, a pupil of Rembrandt and in the rooms, you'll see a large collection of paintings, fine furniture, precious silver and porcelain from different centuries on display. Behind the house is a beautiful garden, an oasis of quiet in the modern inner city. You'll return to the ship for lunch onboard and this afternoon, cruise onwards to Hoorn. You'll arrive into Hoorn later this afternoon and have free time to explore this wonderful little city full of history and interesting architecture.
Day3Den HelderDen Helder, Netherlands
Arrive this morning in the unique town of Den Helder, situated at the northernmost tip of the province of North Holland. After lunch, why not join our optional excursion to the Medemblik Bakery, a quaint two-story museum where you'll see how traditional Dutch specialities are made, including 'gevulde koek', which is an almond paste cookie, and 'speculaas', which are delicious gingerbread cookies. Return to the ship in Den Helder for a relaxing evening on board as you cruise towards Harlingen.
Day4Harlingen to KampenHarlingen, Netherlands
This morning you can join an optional excursion to De Kruidhof Botanical Garden, which is the largest botanical garden in the Netherlands. It features 17 themed gardens each with their own plant collections, including medicinal herbs, roses, woodland flowers and wildflowers, fruit, ferns, paint and dye plants and even plants mentioned in the Bible. The Ice Age Museum, which illustrates the prehistory of the Frisian Woodlands, is also housed in the gardens. Return to the ship at lunchtime and sail onwards to Kampen, arriving later this evening.
Day5Kampen to LelystadLelystad, Netherlands
This morning you can join an optional excursion to Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, a Dutch Baroque palace built for William, Prince of Orange and later King of England, Scotland and Ireland. Members of the House of Oranje-Nassau lived and worked at Het Loo Palace for more than 300 years. Return to the ship at lunchtime and sail onwards to Lelystad where there's time to explore this lively little port as you are berthed here overnight.
Day6The Floriade World Horticultural ExpoAlmere, Netherlands
After breakfast, you'll be taken by coach to the Floriade World Horticultural Expo in the town of Almere, where you'll have plenty of time to enjoy this horticultural delight. For six months, the focus will be on 'Growing Green Cities'. Visitors will have a unique and meaningful experience: while visiting the expo they will be invited to 'explore, touch and change'. This expo will also be the start of a new city district close to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Almost everything that will be built for the exhibition will become part of the legacy of Almere and the structures will remain and become part of the community. The expo site will be developed as a Green City Arboretum, serving as a model for green structure development in cities. Around 3000 species have been selected that contribute to the green city in terms of biodiversity, air purification, food production and city climate management.
Return to the ship in Lelystad and enjoy your last night on board as you sail onwards to Amsterdam.
Day7Amsterdam to UKAmsterdam, Netherlands
Bid farewell to the captain and crew after breakfast this morning and set off on the return Eurostar journey to the UK.
Three-star plus ship with great facilities, welcoming cabins and an inviting sun deck
This traditional, friendly ship is the perfect base for you to relax and enjoy whilst on your river cruise.
Enjoy a coffee and a good book in the lounge bar, dine in the spacious restaurant or soak up the sensational views from the ship's sun deck. All cabins on board have outward-facing floor to ceiling picture windows so you can enjoy beautiful river views from the comfort of your cabin.
Step out on the sun deck to recline in a lounger and sip on a sundowner brought to you from the bar by your friendly waiter, or savour a drink with new friends in the lounge bar as you marvel at the views from the picture windows. In the evenings, you can enjoy some light entertainment - there's an on-board musician as well as a dance floor. Meals are served in the spacious restaurant, a sociable place with hot and cold options.
The comfortable cabins feature en-suite bathrooms with a shower and toilet. There's plenty of space and storage for your belongings, plus air conditioning, TV, desk and a safe all come as standard. Choose from accommodation on the promenade deck or main deck; all with contemporary furnishings, providing the ideal home from home on your cruise.