It is always great to discover new 'must-see' places around the world, writes Tony Collins.

And, having visited the Cape Verde islands for the first time I have no hesitation in adding them to my global list of attractions.

It was the lure of setting foot for the first time on the islands, which lie some 400 miles off the west coast of Africa, that persuaded me to embark on the Canaries &andCape Verde cruise with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines.

The Cape Verde archipelago, made up of 10 volcanic islands totalling just over 1,500 square miles, remain something of a hidden discovery for most travellers.

In fact the islands were uninhabited until the 15th century, and then only prospered when the Portugese, who discovered and colonised them, made them the focal point for the Atlantic slave trade.

Today, Cape Verde is pretty much a new country, having only achieved independence from Portugal in 1975 following 500 years of European rule.

But this history, and close proximity to the coast of Senegal, provide the rich mixture of Creole, Portuguese and African culture that gives Cape Verde its unique flavour.

And, to enrich its tourist appeal, the islands collectively boast untold miles of beaches which are a sunbathers dream as well as providing jumping-off points for various windsports or diving among shipwrecks.

I chose to visit Cape Verde as part of a 14-night Fred.Olsen cruise which began and ended in Tenerife.

Next season will see Fred.Olsen’s four ships visit 253 destinations in 84 countries. But, while the majority of cruises will depart from a record ten UK departure ports, I flew to the Canary Islands to meet up with our ship, Braemar.

Over the following fortnight I hopped from one fabulous island to another, comprising stunning volcanic landscapes, beautiful UNESCO forests, and interesting towns, while basking in temperatures in the 70s and low 80s.

Our first stop was the tiny Canary island of La Gomera, which Christopher Columbus sailed from in 1492 on his voyage to discover America.

But with Cape Verde a two day sailing away it gave me ample opportunity to enjoy the facilities of the 929-passenger Braemar, from its excellent restaurants, bars and entertainment to the swimming pools, fitness centre, spa, library, and guest lectures.

My introduction to Cape Verde began with Santiago, the largest of the islands and the most African in terms of its inhabitants.

But, rather than stay in the capital Praia, I took a tour of the island which included the ‘must see’ picturesque fishing bay of Tarrafal on its northern tip.

The following day brought me to the European-inspired city of Mindelo on neighbouring Sao Vicente with its miles of gorgeous beaches.

The remainder of the cruise took me back to the Canary Islands and a stop in Lanzarote.

Its lunar landscape made a trip to Timanfaya National Park, or ‘fire mountain’, a must as the soaring temperatures just below the surface enable guides to ignite dried grass and create geysers of steam by pouring water into holes.

A brief break from ‘island hopping’ brought the ship to Agadir in Morocco, rebuilt next to the ruins of the old town destroyed in an earthquake in 1960.

The ancient Kasbah, built in 1540, remains a focal point of this richly interesting city, but there are also miles of beach to enjoy.

After leaving North Africa it was back to the Canary Islands for the final leg of my cruise, starting with Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, and then a short hop to tiny La Palma, before Braemar finally re-docked in Tenerife.

Factfile A similar cruise with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines will be a 14-night ‘Cape Verde & the Canary Islands’ cruise on board Braemar, (M1629), departing from Santa Cruz, Tenerife, on 24th November 2016. Ports of call include: San Sebastian, La Estaca, Praia, Mindelo, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz (La Palma), and an overnight stay in Funchal, before Braemar arrives back in Tenerife.

Cruise-only prices start from £999 per person, based on an inside twin-bedded cabin, subject to availability, and includes all food and entertainment on board, and port taxes.

Prices including return flights from London Gatwick/Manchester airports start from £1,299 per person, also based on an inside twin-bedded cabin, and all food and entertainment on board, return flights, port and airport taxes and transfers.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at or call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 (Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm; Saturday, 9am – 5pm; Sunday, 10am – 4pm).