FAQs – Cruises

The following questions and answers are specifically useful for those people joining us on one of our garden cruises.

How can I book a cruise with you?

All our tours are booked online.  For further information concerning our booking procedure please visit our How to Book page.

I have questions about this cruise. How can I contact you?

You can contact us by email or phone.  Please see our contact page.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Can I upgrade my accommodation on board the Ms Oosterdam?

Yes you can .  Our quoted prices include accommodation in Category DD cabins but there are many more options for you to choose from.  Please explore the various cabins available on the the ship by visiting this website.   Please contact us to discuss tour options and get further pricing information.

I’ve never been on a cruise before.  What do I need to know?

You might like to take a look at this video.  Alternatively, Holland America Lines have a very good website with information about life on board their ships.


I have special dietary requirements can these be accommodated?

Yes, please let us know by email and we will do our best to accommodate your requirements.

What do I need to be aware of when I travel with the Holland America Line?

Luggage Tags:

You will be provided with luggage tags with your travel documents prior to checking in at ms Oosterdam.   Please attached these to your suitcases before checking in.

ID card:

During the check-in procedure at the Cruise Terminal a photo will be made of you and used on an ID card for your use on board. The following are data is on the card: passenger name, ship name, cruise data, your Mariner ID, information about the time, time and table number and your Life Boat number. The ID card is the ‘key’ of your cabin / suite. You need the card to order drinks and for other purchases made on-board. You also need this personal ID card to leave the ship and board again after going offshore on an excursion.


Before leaving from Auckland a obligatory safety exercise and everyone is asked to join his / her lifeboat.


You will receive an activity program from the ship for the following day every day.  You will find this item in the letterbox next to the door of your cabin.

Ship layout:

You will find a map of the ship in your cabin. The complete deck plan can be found on the Holland America Lines website:

Payments On Board:

For all payments on board you need to use the ID card issued to you.  In addition to the fixed daily tip for all crew members, you pay for wine / drinks at dinner, in the various bars and room service; special coffee in the Explorations cafe; additional costs for Pinnacle Grill; Internet access and any further personal expenses.  Approximately two days before arrival in Sydney you will receive an overview for to check of all your expenses on board.

Tip policy:

Tips are paid on board. An amount of $ 13.50 per person per day will automatically be debited from your onboard account.  For suites the tips are $15 per person per day and exclude an additional 15% service charge on the your final bill.

Room service:

Your stateroom is a hotel room and is cleaned every day and your bed will be made up for you. You can order drinks from room service. If necessary you can have your clothes washed, costs and instructions are on the form in the laundry bag in your closet. If desired, you can also eat in your cabin.   For breakfast you will receive one order card every evening.

Garden Visits:

On excursion days we gather in the morning at a fixed location. Your tour guide will give you more information on the final time and correct meeting location the day before we arrive in port.  You have no further obligations on sea days and you can organize your day as you wish. We see each other at dinner every day around 2000 in the Dining room

Clothing advice:

Evening wear is divided into two categories:

Formal (ladies’ trousers with jacket, cocktail dress or evening dress and men’s jacket with a tie, a dark suit or a tuxedo) and casual wear (trousers with a shirt for men and a dress or trousers for the ladies). T-shirts, swimsuits, sleeveless shirts and shorts are not permitted in the restaurants or public areas during the evening hours. There are three gala evenings during our cruise.


You can make calls on board with your mobile phone via the satellite ship connection. There are (high) additional costs involved. There is a medical service on board for extensive first aid treatment. The costs of treatment and medication on board are for your own account. Smoking is only permitted in designated places outside on deck.  Smoking is not allowed cabins or their outside spaces.   On shore, you can pay with a credit card or with your bank debit card. Make sure that world coverage has activated before you leave your country of residence.


A few days before the end of the cruise you will receive confirmation on of our time of arrival in Sydney. You will also receive a colored label to attach to your suitcases.  Please put them in the corridor outside of your accommodation the night before our arrival.  Next morning you will disembark according to your allotted color group. You can collect your suitcases at the cruise terminal after disembarkation.

How strenuous are the tours?

We rank each of our tours according to their level of difficulty: Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Adventurous or Challenging. Please be advised that all of our tours will require a certain amount of walking, stair-climbing and/or standing around for lengthy periods. This doesn’t mean that you have to be super fit to join one of our tours but it does mean that you need to have a normal level of fitness. Our tours won’t be suitable for you if you are slow, lack stamina or need support walking.  Before you book please reassure yourself that you have an adequate level of fitness.

Does the price of my cruise include travel insurance?

No, none of our tours includes travel insurance. We do not offer travel insurance services but you might like to visit the following websites to find a travel insurance which most suits your needs.

Insure My Trip

We will ask you to provide us with a copy of your travel insurance policy before you join one of our tours. Your travel insurance will give you peace of mind and should cover the costs of medical treatment, repatriation, loss of property and cancellation charges.

Please do not rely on any free insurance offered by your credit card company.

Do I get some sort of financial protection if I book a cruise with you?

Yes. If you book a tour with us you automatically get two levels of financial protection. Garden Tours BV is a member of the Dutch Calamity Fund scheme (Stichting Calamiteitenfonds Reizen). Within the boundaries of the Calamity Fund’s guarantee scheme, journeys issued by Garden Tours BV are covered by the Calamity Fund’s guarantee. This guarantee means that you as a consumer who participates in a trip organized by Garden Tours BV: (a part of) your travel sum will be refunded if Garden Tours BV cannot or not fully carry out the trip as a result of a calamity; the necessary additional costs will be reimbursed if Garden Tours BV has to adjust the trip as a result of a calamity or if Garden Tours BV has to repatriate you early. Garden Tours BV is also affiliated with the Dutch Guarantee Fund Association for Travel and Tourism (Stichting Garantiefonds Reisgelden) under registration number 2284. Within the limits of the SGR guarantee scheme, the trips published by GARDENTOURS.COM fall under the guarantee of SGR. The SGR guarantee means that the consumer is insured if the other party cannot meet the agreed consideration due to financial inability. This includes repatriation.

Do your garden cruises include air travel?

No, none of our tours include the cost of air travel.

I’ve booked a tour with you but I need to cancel it.  Can you tell me what the cancellation conditions are?

Please refer to the cancellation conditions section of the Booking Conditions section of our website.

How large are your garden cruise tour groups?

Our garden tours operate with groups of between 20-30 people.

Where is GardenTours.com located?

GardenTours.com is located in Europe, south of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands (Holland).  You can find us here on google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/LvQcSrYM5jr.

How many years have you been in business?

Garden Tours BV has been in business for 35 years.  GardenTours.com is an authorized trading name of IBJ Travel BV, a sister company of Garden Tours BV.  For more information please visit our About Us page.

What language is my tour in ?

All our tours are conducted in English unless otherwise specified.

How do we travel from garden to garden during the tour?

Each tour has a dedicated executive coach with an experienced driver.

What sort of hotels will we stay in?

We have carefully selected the hotels that we use in each of our tours based upon their level of comfort and location.  As a general rule all of our hotels meet a superior 4* international standard.

Is there free time during the tour?

Yes, most of our tours include at least one city visit.  Our tours take place during the day and the evenings are kept free for you to relax or make your own plans.

What is the cost of my tour and is it guaranteed ?

The prices shown on our website or in our other published literature that we make available to you are based on double room/cabin occupancy.  Single supplements are charged to cover our additional costs for single occupancy of double rooms/cabins.  The price of your trip is fully guaranteed and will not be subject to any surcharges.

I’m traveling solo – will I feel out of place on one of your tours?

No !  There are usually several independent travelers on each of our tours so you will not feel alone or out of place.  In the evening, when dinner is not included you always have the option to dine with your tour manager.  We do charge a single supplement however.  This single supplement is levied by the hotels that we stay at and is unfortunately beyond our control.  We do not add a margin to the single supplements that we charge.

What is included and excluded in the cost of my tour?

What is included and excluded in the price of each tour published on our website is made explicit in the description of each tour that we make available to you.  In general, our stated tour prices include superior 4* accommodation; meals as listed; wine with dinners as specified; full-time services of a driver and professional tour manager; 15-20 seat motor coach, depending on group size; entrances as listed; transfers and additional transportation as specified; all porterage, tips to local guides, taxes and service charges.

Our tours do not include airfare (except where specified), excess baggage charges, items of personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls or room service, meals not listed in the tour itinerary, or tips to tour manager and driver(s).  Please read our Terms of Service and Booking Conditions.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Why aren’t all lunches and dinners included in the price of my tour?

Our tours include all breakfasts as well as a certain number of lunches and dinners.  We believe in providing our customers with as much choice over their dining options as possible.  For this reason, the number of lunches and dinners included in each of the tours that we run are different.  We include lunch options that range from a choice of delicious home cooked food at one of the gardens that we visit to a meal at a traditional local bistro that we pass by on our journey.  For dinner, many of the hotels that we stay at have award winning restaurants and/or are located in or nearby cities which have a range of dining options for you to choose from.  We believe that our approach provides you with the right level of choice over your meal plans during your tour with us.  For details on what meals are included/excluded during any given tour please refer to the tour description for further information.

Do I receive a program booklet?

Yes, upon departure your tour guide will provide you with a progam booklet.

What travel documents do I need for travel to Australia and New Zealand?

You must have a passport that is still six months after the date of the return trip is valid and in possession of a return ticket. Before arrival in New Zealand you receive an arrival card on the plane and you must complete this with your personal details. After handing in at customs you will receive a visitors permit. You may then three months in New Zealand. For a stay longer than three months is a visa necessary. You need a tourist visa for Australia. This can be done through various commercial organizations local to you.  Visit the Australian Government’s website for more information.

I have some questions that are not answered here.  Who can help?

Please call or contact us and we would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding this or any of our cruises.



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