When Fred Olsen invited Sales Consultant Daisy Bartram to go island hopping in the Indian Ocean, she was only too happy to oblige. Here’s part one of Daisy’s diary of her time on the islands that make up the cruise line’s exotic Indian Ocean itineraries.
As soon as our group arrived, we were met at the airport by Concorde, Fred Olsen’s excursion partner, who would be spending the next few days giving us a tour of the island. After a 15-minute drive to Blue Bay, we found ourselves at Ile des Deux Cocos, a private resort on the south-east coast of Mauritius. The island was so calm and inviting, with stunning turquoise waters and pearl white beaches. We spent the whole of the afternoon here relaxing!
There was so much to do on the island, from snorkelling and diving to trips on glass-bottom boats, watersports or simply relaxing by the sea on the luxurious cabanas. A visit to the resort is one of the excursions Fred Olsen offers. It costs around €100 for the day and that includes all equipment, activities, food and drink.
After a relaxing afternoon, we checked into our hotel, The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa around 4pm. After a short tour of the luxury resort, which is in the south of the island, we all met on the beach for cocktails whilst watching the sunset!
Today we had an early start as we were doing a full day tour of the south of the island. Firstly, we went to Trou aux Cerfs, an extinct volcano. It is lying dormant for now but according to experts, it could become active any time within the next thousand years! We then spent the next hour at Grand Bassin, a sacred lake surrounded by beautiful Hindu temples. This was a very cultural experience and I received a good luck blessing.
Next, we had a short stop at the Black River Gorges National Park. The scenery is amazing here and the park is home to rare monkeys and wildlife. Lunch was served with a view at the Varangue Sur Morne. The restaurant sits 500 metres above sea level and has the best views of the island to complement the traditional Mauritian food.
After lunch we visited Rhumerie de Chamarel for rum tasting. The distillery is situated in the vicinity of the Coloured Earths of Chamarel, one of Mauritius’ most popular tourist attractions. The road leading to the attraction is lined with vast plantations of sugar cane and tropical fruits. We stopped off at the Seven Coloured Earths, which are a geological formation of sand dunes comprising seven colours – red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow – which surprisingly never erode despite the torrential tropical rains.
In the evening the hotel hosted a BBQ on the beach. The surroundings were beautiful. There was a local band and a fire for toasting marshmallows later on.
Today we toured the north of the island. We visited Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, which is famous for its long ponds of giant water lilies. Afterwards, we went to Sugar World to learn about the island’s history and sugar heritage. We had a fabulous lunch at La Brasserie Chic at the Labourdonnais Hotel on the waterfront, which overlooked our ship Boudicca, which had just arrived in port.
We had a little free time to explore the folkloric local market of Port Louis, before embarking Boudicca. After we said our goodbyes to the fabulous Concorde tour guides, we had a speedy embarkation and were on-board within 15 minutes. My cabin was the largest terrace balcony suite on Lido Deck 7 and my lovely cabin steward was on hand to welcome me with champagne and canapes. Our group met for welcome drinks in the Observatory Lounge, before dining in the Four Seasons. We were docked in Port Louis overnight.
Today was a free day in Port Louis. We all met for breakfast, with the option to dine in the Secret Garden buffet restaurant or enjoy waiter service in Four Seasons or Tintagel. We opted to eat in Four Seasons and were seated straight away. After exploring the whole island for the last three days, I decided that I would chill by the pool today as the weather was a beautiful 32 degrees! Boudicca set sail around 6pm and everyone was out on deck as we departed Mauritius with a traditional sail away.
Stay tuned for part two of Daisy’s diary…
Book your Fred Olsen cruise to the Fred Olsen – Indian Ocean cruise today and experience the destination’s picture-perfect paradise islands for yourself in 2018.