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Q&A on European River Cruising with Judy Vanrenen

Judy Vanrenen OAM shares her love of cruising Europe’s grand rivers and visiting incredible gardens along the way.

Judy Vanrenen, Botanica’s founder, has travelled the waterways of Europe on a Botanica cruise many times now. In this interview she shares her passion for cruising, especially around the Bordeaux region and on the Rhine and Moselle rivers.

You have travelled on a number of cruises now Judy, what do you find still surprises you about river cruising?

The ease of travel as we smoothly glide from place to place on what were once the ‘water highways’ of Europe. As we take our floating hotel with us, there is the relaxing luxury of unpacking for the whole cruise providing our ‘home away from home’. We return each day after our sightseeing to our familiar surroundings and can relax before dinner.


Image of river ship docked

What do you look forward to seeing on a Botanica cruise?

Being able to stand on deck and enjoy the passing landscapes. In late April the landscape along the rivers will be alive with white blossoms from the flowering ornamental trees which is a picturesque sight. I am also looking forward to combining gardens and cultural sights as we glide through medieval villages exploring both rivers.


rhine gorge katz castle turrets st goarshausen, germany

Many people tell us that they are unsure if their partner/travelling companion will tire of visiting gardens, what are your thoughts on this?

On these two Botanica cruises, one exploring Bordeaux region and the other the Rhine and Moselle rivers, there is something for everyone. As we often include Freedom of Choice options, each partner can enjoy sightseeing that appeals to their interests. Comparing notes over dinner makes for an interesting conversation.

What are your top tips for making the most of a Botanica river cruise?

Enjoy the company of your fellow like-minded travellers. They all have an interesting story. Be curious and keen to learn about the culture, history and places you are cruising through. Understand that life won’t be the same as at home. Embrace these new experiences with flexible patience.


Follow Judy on Instagram @judybotanica


rudesheim riverfront vineyards, germany
Coming in 2022

2022 will see the return of the once-in-a-decade event, the Floriade Expo. The expo sees different cities and countries come together to share their inspiring ideas for a Green City. Walk through the city, crafted near Amsterdam, and experience living in the Green City of the future, where smart solutions are created for city living in a sustainable world. The expo is divided into four categories: green, food, energy and health. Listen to inspiring stories, participate in workshops, experience the exhibitions and see the unique attractions.

tulips floriade gardens canberra, australia
Floriade, The Netherlands – 2022. Register your interest to join a Botanica Europe cruise in 2022 which will include a visit to this special event held every 10 years.