Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel

Monday, July 15, 2019

A Cruise Ship May be Closer Than You Think

Where can you set sail aboard a cruise ship? Most of us are familiar with the biggest cruise ship home ports, including New York, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Los Angeles. But there are more options, including some that may allow you to drive, instead of fly, to your ship. By some estimates, about half of U.S. residents live within driving distance of a cruise ship. Home ports also typically offer fun opportunities for a pre- or post-cruise stay.

Here is a list of cruise departure ports you may not be aware of:

In the northeast: 
Baltimore, MD: Board a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship bound for Bermuda, Canada or the Bahamas.

Boston, MA: Sail to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda, or the New England and Canadian coast with Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises or Royal Caribbean.

Montreal, QC: From the cruise terminal in Old Montreal, sail with Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Viking Ocean Cruises and others down the St. Lawrence River to Maritime Canada and New England, or south as far as South America.

In the south:
Port Canaveral, FL: A quick drive from Orlando, this port provides an opportunity for a combined amusement park-and-cruise vacation. You can sail Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian to the Bahamas and all points in the Caribbean.

Tampa, FL: Tampa offers a nice selection of short cruises to Cozumel or the Bahamas, plus longer cruises of the Western Caribbean via Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Holland America.

New Orleans, LA, or Galveston, TX: Drivable for many residents of the south-central U.S., both ports offer cruises to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, Costa Maya, the Cayman Islands or Jamaica on a Disney or Royal Caribbean ship.

On the West Coast:

San Diego, CA: From San Diego, hop on a ship from Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises or others to sail to the Mexican Riviera, South America, Hawaii or the South Pacific.

San Francisco, CA: This is another place to begin a cruise to Mexico or Hawaii or sail north to see the Pacific Northwest or Southeastern Alaska. Cruise lines include Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania.

Seattle, WA, or Vancouver, BC: These ports are best known for cruises to Alaska on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Celebrity ships.

To discuss drive-to options for your next cruise, talk with Anita, your travel professional.

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Cruise to the Galapagos Islands


The Galapagos Islands have become an incredibly popular cruise destination and it’s no wonder. These small, volcanic islands are like no place else on earth. A remote province of Ecuador, which lies 550 miles to the east, the islands teem with wildlife found nowhere else on the globe. They are a World Heritage Site, a biological marine reserve, and a national park. In other words, a real treasure.

A small-ship cruise is an ideal way to visit these special islands. A luxurious ship provides easy movement between the islands, along with comfortable accommodations and exceptional dining. There are cruises as brief as four days and some as long as 18 days, which usually includes a pre-or post-cruise stay in Ecuador. To see a good variety of Galapagos habitats and species, experts recommend a cruise of at least eight days.

Cruise ship routes in the Galapagos are carefully controlled for the protection and preservation of the islands’ unique ecologies, but there are variations between itineraries. Be sure to compare carefully before you choose.

Guided shore excursions will help you fully experience the islands. Wear your sturdy walking or hiking shoes and bring your camera. You may be able to capture photos of:

Marine iguanas, the only type of iguana that forages for food in the sea.
Darwin’s finches, with species that vary in subtle ways from one island to another.
Blue-footed boobies, which have bright-blue feet they show off when courting.
Giant tortoises, versions of which used to roam most of the earth, however, now, the Galapagos are one of only two places on earth that you’ll find them.
Flightless cormorants, the only type of cormorant that has lost the ability to fly (although, with their small wings, they swim well).
Galapagos penguins, the world’s only tropical penguin.

You can sail to the islands at any time of year, but you may prefer one or the other of two main seasons:

December through May, the weather is warm (high 80s during the day) with sporadic rain and calm water.
June through November, the weather is a bit cooler and more comfortable for hiking (high 70s during the day), with little rain. A change in ocean currents means that the water, while rarely rough, may be choppy.

To plan your cruise to the Galapagos – one of the world’s most distinctive destinations – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Crossing the Atlantic


Does the idea of crossing the entire expanse of the Atlantic Ocean tickle your imagination? If so, talk with your professional travel advisor to explore the options for a transatlantic cruise.


These ocean crossings are truly special. With a string of consecutive days at sea, a transatlantic cruise can put the stresses of everyday life into perspective, reminding you of the vastness and beauty of the ocean and our world.

You’ll be away from the pressures of home and work and the noise of social media, if you choose. You won’t even need to worry about what to see on shore each day. You’ll have time to enjoy all the amenities of the ship (spas and swimming pools, deck games and more), to curl up with a good book for a whole day (or longer), to relax on a deck chair and simply watch the changing colors and moods of the ocean, and to try out every dining venue on board.

A transatlantic cruise also provides time to get to know your fellow passengers and make new friends. Cruise lines often schedule special guest lectures and learning sessions, giving everyone something interesting to talk about at dinner.

Some transatlantic cruises are repositioning cruises, which means the cruise line is repositioning the ship from one part of the world to another. For example, some ships sail the Caribbean through the winter, then reposition across the Atlantic to sail Europe during the summer. These cruises range from about 11 to 20 nights or more, often visiting lovely ports at the beginning or end of the cruise, or both. To provide just two examples:

A crossing from Miami to Barcelona would take about 15 days and may stop in the Azores, Lisbon, and Majorca.

A ship that’s repositioning from Copenhagen might sail for about 20 days, with stops in London, Ireland, and Bermuda before reaching Miami.

There are also transatlantic cruises that are not for the purpose of repositioning a ship. Some cruise lines offer itineraries that regularly cross the Atlantic. For example, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 crosses the Atlantic from Southampton, England, to New York at least once a month from April through November with voyages typically lasting six days.

Transatlantic sailings tend to provide excellent value, with costs per day as little as $50 per person – with all the relaxation and pampering you’ve dreamed of.

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Monday, June 24, 2019

A Day in Aruba

Just off the northeast coast of South America, the ABC Islands of the Southern Caribbean – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – are beautiful cruise destinations. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the islands have spectacular weather all year long. They also lie south of the paths of most Atlantic hurricane systems, so they’re a great choice for summer and early fall cruises.

Aruba, the most-visited of the three, isn’t your average tropical island. The climate is drier than you might expect, and the island is dotted with forests of cacti. If you explore them, you could see some animals found nowhere else, including the Aruban Whiptail – a blue-hued, long-tailed lizard – a brown-throated parakeet, or the endangered Aruba rattlesnake (don’t get too close).

The glittering casinos in the port of Oranjestad are an attraction, but many visitors choose Aruba due to its wonderful beaches. The southern and western shores are mostly sheltered from strong ocean currents, with stretches of soft white sand. One of the most popular is Eagle Beach – long, wide and often included on lists of the world’s best beaches. If you’re there during sea turtle nesting season (March through September), red-and-white markers will alert you to the protected nests. You might even see some tiny hatchlings make their way to the ocean.

If you have young children with you and want the calmest water, take an excursion to Baby Beach. Lovely Palm Beach, backed by resort hotels, is a good place for watersports. If you’re really feeling adventurous, Hadicurari Beach on the north shore offers strong waves and breezes for experienced swimmers and kite surfers.

The wreck of the SS Pedernales, a World War II tanker sunk by a German U-boat, is a relatively shallow but interesting snorkel site. Experienced divers can take a catamaran tour out to the wreck of the Antilla, a German freighter.

To see Aruba’s interior, choose from ATV, horseback, Jeep and bike tours. You can visit Arikok National Park to see wildlife, caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs. Around the island, there’s also an ostrich farm, a butterfly farm, a lighthouse, and a donkey sanctuary that cares for the descendants of donkeys that were once the island’s main form of transportation.

Cruise itineraries that call on Aruba are usually seven days or more, departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or San Juan. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you select a cruise that will bring you to this one-of-a-kind island.


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Cruising: The Best Way to Explore Hawaii


Cruising: The Best Way to Explore Hawaii

There’s more than one way to see Hawaii, and we would pick a cruise every time. Here’s why:

While they’re all stunning, each Hawaiian Island has its own unique landscape and special character, from the volcanoes of the Big Island to the towering waterfalls of Kauai. You’ll want to see more than one island, and a cruise makes that easy. You board your ship, unpack and relax, with no worries about having to repack to catch a flight each time you change islands.

A cruise is cost-efficient, too: Taking flights between islands gets expensive. Also, meals on shore can be pricey. As a cruise passenger, you’ll have the option of returning to the ship for delicious meals that are included in your cruise fare.

A cruise also guarantees some spectacular over-the-water views of the islands from the ship’s decks, if not from your very own stateroom. That’s something you don’t necessarily get from a hotel or resort, even if it’s on the water.

When you choose to cruise Hawaii, you have a choice of two basic cruise options. One is to fly to Honolulu and board a ship that cruises only among the islands. This will maximize your vacation time in Hawaii. Another option is to sail from a west coast port like San Diego, Los Angeles or Vancouver. This will give you time to enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail across the Pacific.

However you get there, what can you plan to see on a Hawaiian cruise? Popular ports include Honolulu on the island of Oahu, with the iconic peak of Diamondhead and Waikiki Beach. A visit to the lovely and solemn USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a must, too.

Some people say Kauai is the most beautiful of the islands. Popular shore excursions include lush Waimea Canyon or a visit to the island’s breathtaking Napali coast.

Maui is known for its laid-back, artsy ambiance, with fantastic beaches and Haleakala National Park, which offers some adventurous excursions.

The Big Island of Hawaii has plantations that produce world-famous Kona coffee, plus, the stark beauty of Volcanoes National Park.

Some cruises visit the tranquil, less-developed islands of Lanai and Molokai, too. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, soon to make your plans for cruising the Hawaiian Islands.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Eight Thrilling Cruise Ship Attractions for Kids

The best cruise ships for families are equipped to keep kids entertained, especially while at sea. Many cruise ships offer great child- and family-friendly activities, but some offer truly heart-pumping attractions to thrill the kids. We find that Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships offer quite a few activities that fall into the “thrilling” category. (Parents, note that many of these thrills can be enjoyed by the whole family.)

Racetracks. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Joy and Bliss are the first ships at sea to offer two-level racetracks designed for competitive racing. Kids can zoom along at up to 30 mph.

Escape Rooms. Several Norwegian ships have escape rooms with a carnival theme. When a carnival act goes wrong, the kids must solve puzzles to “Escape the Big Top” before time runs out.

Ziplines. On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, kids can zip from deck 16 to 15, high above the Boardwalk neighborhood. Norwegian also features ziplines on the Getaway and Breakaway as part of a multi-level ropes course.

The Plank. Norwegian Cruise Line’s ropes courses also feature The Plank: eight feet long and just six inches wide, it extends over the ocean to give kids the experience of walking the plank, just like a pirate. (Parents, don’t worry – there’s a secure safety harness involved.)

Trapeze School. The Sea Plex on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships offers several heart-pumping experiences for kids, including Trapeze School. Kids six years of age and older can take lessons on the flying trapeze (with safety equipment).

Skydiving. The same Royal Caribbean ships offer RipCord skydiving simulators. In this glass-enclosed wind tunnel, kids can experience the feeling of free-fall skydiving.

The North Star. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class also has the North Star, an enclosed glass capsule that rises 300 feet up and extends out over the water for fabulous, 360-degree views.

Waterslides. Norwegian’s Breakaway class ships have no less than five multistory waterslides, including one that drops a pair of kids nearly straight down for several stories before spinning them through loops. Kids on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas get a warning that the Ultimate Abyss is one of the cruise world’s most thrilling waterslides. They start the 10-story drop by stepping into the mouth of a monster-like fish.

If you’re looking for a cruise ship that offers fun and thrills for your kids, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor about where these ships can take you, too.


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Monday, June 10, 2019

Wildlife on an Alaskan Cruise

The stunning scenery is a huge draw, but some people cruise Alaska for a different reason: to see the wildlife that abounds there. What animals can you expect to see – at least through binoculars, and perhaps close-up – on a cruise of southeast Alaska?

On Land
The most commonly sighted Alaskan bear may be the “rock bear,” which turns out to be a boulder on the shoreline. However, it’s common to spot brown or black bears while sailing near shore or even while hiking: some shore excursions will take you to salmon streams where bears (and eagles) love to feed on fresh fish.

Mountain goats can be spotted throughout southeast Alaska. When you sail close to craggy mountains or cliffs, watch for the shaggy, surefooted creatures on high ledges.

So that you won’t be disappointed, know that one Alaskan animal you’re unlikely to see while cruising is the moose. There’s always a chance, but they usually stay farther inland.

In the Water
Alaska’s Inside Passage is a good place to spot adorable sea otters; they swim on their backs, the better to show their cute, whiskered faces. You’re also likely to see harbor seals and colonies of sea lions – the males can weigh up to a ton.

The nutrient-rich waters of Southeast Alaska attract humpback whales, and more than 500 spend the summer in the Inside Passage. These massive creatures love to “breach,” rising out of the water and dramatically splashing down on their backs. Also present, but harder to spot, are black-and-white orcas, or “killer” whales (which are actually part of the dolphin family).

Many cruises offer whale-watching excursions (via boat or kayak), which usually include sightings of other sea life, too. If your cruise calls on Seward, take an excursion to the Alaska SeaLife Center, an excellent aquarium that offers behind-the-scenes animal encounters.

In the Air
Puffins are actually better at swimming and diving than flying; watch for their distinctive orange beaks on the water or among the rocks. The oystercatcher’s bill is orange, too, though longer and slimmer than a puffin’s; they’re most often seen wading and feeding along shorelines.

Alaska also has a large population of bald eagles. You’ll spot them soaring overhead, plucking fish from the water or resting on nests high in the trees. You can take an excursion to the Alaska Raptor Center in Ketchikan, a rehabilitation center for injured eagles, owls and other birds.

To select an Alaskan cruise for the wildlife lover in you, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.


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