The legendary TV presenter, actress and broadcaster shares her love of cruise travel and the destinations on her wishlist

RHS ambassador Floella Benjamin opens the Birmingham City Council – Windrush Garden exhibition during press day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 in London Monday, May 21, 2018

It was an honour to host the British Cruise Awards. Cruising is my favourite way to travel. Iʼve got so many cruise brochures at home and I go on the internet to research cruises. I know a lot about cruising.

I would love to do a cruise to the Antarctic. Thereʼs a 90-day cruise going through the Panama Canal, then all the way down along the west coast of South America, down to the Antarctic and then all the way up again. Wouldnʼt it be wonderful?

There is a feeling of peace on a ship. I love water, I love beauty, I love serenity, I love nature. And you get to meet people from all walks of life on a cruise. I feel like a free spirit at sea. Iʼd recommend a cruise to anyone.

One of my favourite cruises was to Norway to see the magnificent Fjords. I think one of the best ways to explore Norway is by ship.

New Zealand is high on my list of places to travel next, and Iʼve never been to Australia either. Iʼd like to go all over the world. Iʼve even thought, wouldnʼt it be lovely to buy one of those rooms on a big cruise ship if I won the Lottery, thatʼs what Iʼd do.

I canʼt tell you how excited I was to have a garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Birmingham City Council. I knew that this year would be the 70th anniversary of Windrush, so two years ago I started planning. I love Chelsea Flower Show, Iʼve been going for over 30 years, and I thought, I would love to create a garden of my own one year.

People felt a strong affinity with my Chelsea garden, and with the Windrush story. The garden was created in three elements; the Caribbean representing the vibrancy of the islands we had left behind; the journey on the big ship across the Atlantic for 4,000 miles; and then ending up here in Britain and the contribution weʼve made to Britain through the NHS. I was really pleased with how it came together. Iʼm already thinking of my garden for next year.

When I speak at an awards ceremony or on a cruise, I try and connect with people emotionally. When you find that link you find there is more that holds us together than tears us apart.

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