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Stepping off the plane in Mauritius, I basked in the beautiful sunny morning that welcomed us. After leaving the UK  12 hours ago amid rain and clouds, I couldn’t help but smile (a little bit smugly, I’ll admit) to myself. I was one of eight lucky Travel Agents to win this Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines trip-of-a-lifetime competition.

Whilst in Mauritius we stayed in a magnificent 5 star hotel for two nights. We also took advantage of the meticulously planned itinerary and excursions that Fred. Olsen had organised for us – available to all Fred. Olsen passengers, these exceptional excursions aim to enhance the destination experience and our first trip did just that. We were taken to a Mauritian restaurant to sample some local cuisine – but that’s not all. The restaurant itself was located on a private island called the “Ile des Deux Cocos”. We were taken to this secluded paradise island by glass-bottomed shuttle boat and spent the whole afternoon feasting and relaxing – bliss.

Having never been to Mauritius before, I was keen to see and experience as much as I could in the two days we were there, this included a trip to the Pamplemousse Botanical Garden which is the oldest botanical garden in the Southern Hemisphere. We also visited the Bois Cheri Tea Factory and Tea Museum and, perhaps my favourite place to visit, was the Rhumerie de Charmarel Distillery. Situated in the South West part of Mauritius, this rum factory is surrounded by vast sugar cane plantations. Our very knowledgeable guide took us behind-the-scenes of the workings in the factory and gave a detailed explanation of the rum making process. At the end of the tour, we were encouraged to indulge in the tasting of 20 different rums, needless to say I purchased a few bottles in the gift shop on my way out.

On day three, we embarked the beautiful Boudicca, and set sail – bound for the stunning islands of the Indian Ocean. I was lucky enough to be given a Terrace Balcony Suite, the cabin was very spacious and the décor was modern and contemporary, there was even a bottle of sparkling wine on ice, a bowl brimming of fresh fruit and every day at 4pm sumptuous, freshly prepared canapés were delivered right to my suite. We were also privileged to be given exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Bridge to meet the ship’s Captain, and the galley to meet the head chef, which really allowed me to appreciate the amazing work that goes into a Fred. Olsen cruise.

On day seven, we arrived at beautiful Praslin Island in the Seychelles. It was here that I visited the most idyllic beach I’ve ever seen, the Anse Lazio. When you think of the Indian Ocean and the Seychelles, this beach is the image that you conjure up – over half a mile of perfect, fine white sand and gorgeous turquoise waters where you can actually see the fish swim around you. Sadly, our time on board Boudicca was coming to an end. Luckily for us, our final night on board brought with it the chance to experience dining al fresco in The Grill. The food served here was the best meal I’ve experienced at sea, and all accompanied by the house band playing all the Christmas classics much to the delight of everyone listening.

I have no hesitation in recommending a 2018 Fred Olsen Indian Ocean Fly Cruise, especially the Christmas cruise and urge anyone interested to call ROL Cruise today to book yourselves a simply unforgettable holiday.

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