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Charlie Dimmock on cruises, overpacking and the greatest flower show in the world

Author: Vicky Mayer

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Charlie Dimmock may be best known for her love of gardening but the TV star also has a penchant for cruises. Here she spills her travel secrets.

TV gardener Charlie Dimmock will be hosting a Dutch river cruise to Floriade Expo 2022 – the greatest flower show in the world.

World of Cruising sat down with her to discuss all things cruise.

What do you love most about cruising?

The fact that you never have to worry about luggage or transfers, but at the same time you see lots of different places.

I enjoy meeting people, too, and while a cruise gives you plenty of opportunities to do that, you also get time to yourself. It’s the best of all worlds.

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What kind of cruise do you enjoy the most?

Although I’ve done quite a few ocean cruises and really enjoyed them, I have to say I prefer river because there’s always so much to see, whether it’s the passing countryside or city sights.

I’m a huge fan of the European waterways but a cruise on the Amazon or the Nile would be amazing one day.

- READ MORE: Nine of the weirdest cruises in the world -

Who would be your ideal cruise travelling companion?

Travelling with a close friend or relative is always enjoyable and I have several that I sail with regularly. I love it when we create shared memories that will last a lifetime.

Charlie Dimmock interview: "If I’m visiting gardens I make a point of taking comfortable clothes and good shoes." Credit: Shutterstock

What do you pack to take on a cruise?

Way too much! But if I’m visiting gardens I make a point of taking comfortable clothes and good shoes, plus a camera and a notebook so I can keep track of interesting plants I come across.

- READ MORE: Jane McDonald reveals how to pack for a cruise holiday -

You’ll be hosting a special Arena river cruise next spring. What can we expect?

This will be my third trip with Arena River Cruises and I’m looking forward to joining passengers on excursions to the fabulous Floriade Expo, as well as the De Kruidhof Botanical Gardens and Het Loo Palace. Onboard, I’ll be giving a couple of talks and hosting a Q&A too.

Charlie Dimmock interview: "I’m looking forward to joining passengers on excursions to the fabulous Floriade Expo." Credit: Floriade Expo

What is so special about the Floriade Expo?

It happens only once every 10 years so it’s always pretty spectacular. It showcases the very best of the best – there will be plants and gardens from all over the world, and so much to see.

As with many of these really big events, the design and technology elements will be impressive too. I can’t wait!

- READ MORE: Riviera's spring river cruises to Amsterdam, Cologne & beyond -

What lessons can visitors learn from the show?

The theme of Floriade 2022 is green cities, so everything will have a focus on sustainability and the environment. This is something that most keen gardeners are already really passionate about and there will be plenty of ideas and tips to pick up.

Even someone with a tiny garden can make a positive move towards being more sustainable and helping the environment – I expect the show to be really inspiring.

What are your favourite gardens around the world?

My absolute favourite is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. It’s incredible – the different biomes are enormous, the indoor waterfalls are very dramatic, and it’s fantastic to see plants from so many different places.

Charlie Dimmock interview: "My absolute favourite is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore." Credit: Shutterstock

Do you always visit gardens when you travel?

Yes, but the most exciting thing is to see amazing flowers and plants growing in their natural state.

So many exotic plants are considered ornamental here in the UK, yet they grow wild in their native countries and it’s thrilling to find them growing by the roadside and even – as I once saw in the Cook Islands – being treated like weeds.

- READ MORE: MSC Cruises' winter programme to Northern Europe -

What is your top travel tip?

Try to build in something that you wouldn’t normally do. For instance, you may book your trip primarily to visit gardens, but if you try some other excursions at the same time, you might discover a passion for something new.

Get on board

Six-night ‘Delightful Holland & the Floriade’ cruise aboard MS Arena, round trip from Amsterdam via Den Helder, Harlingen and Kampen, departing May 11, 2022, from £1,149.