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, October 14, 2019

Learn Something New on a Cruise


You may not think of a cruise as a learning environment, but you can actually learn quite a lot on a cruise ship. Many cruises, especially those that include days at sea, offer fun and interesting opportunities to pick up some new skills.

Exactly what you can learn depends on your cruise line, ship, and itinerary. But, here are some of the most common things you can learn on a cruise, often at no additional charge.

Cooking. Food is an essential and enjoyable part of any cruise, and many ships offer cooking demonstrations and classes. Chef-led classes can show you how to prepare a shipboard favorite or a signature dish from the region you’re visiting.

Photography. Several cruise lines have onboard photography classes that will help you take photos like a pro. You may pick up some photo editing skills, too.

Linen Folding. You, too, can learn to fold dinner napkins into intricate patterns or construct a work of art out of a bath towel. Use these new skills to amaze your family and friends when you return home!

Languages. Some cruise lines teach you a few important phrases in the language of the place you’ll visit, which can be very helpful onshore (think of being able to order a beer, in Hawaiian, when in Hawaii). A few cruise lines offer more in-depth instruction through classes or self-paced learning.

Dance. It’s always fun to get your groove on while cruising, and many ships have dance classes to help you move like a pro. You can join a group class to refresh your dance skills, or take a private lesson with an instructor if you want to look super smooth out on the floor.

Exercise. If you want to keep (or start) a workout routine on board, ships have well-equipped gyms that probably offer a workout technique or piece of equipment that you haven’t tried before. (By the way, Cunard Line offers an elegant form of exercise – fencing lessons for adults).

History. While many shore excursions focus on activity, others focus on history and culture. Some cruise lines bring guest presenters and performers onboard to help immerse you in the history of the area. This can heighten your appreciation of what you see onshore.

For more information about cruises that provide interesting learning opportunities, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel



Monday, October 7, 2019

Celebrating on a Cruise


What type of special occasion can you celebrate on a cruise? Just about anything! Lots of people cruise to mark a special occasion, be it a birthday, graduation, family reunion or another life milestone.

Anything in the matrimonial category – proposals, bachelor/bachelorette parties, commitment ceremonies, weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries, vow renewals – even divorces – are often celebrated on a cruise.

Mainstream and luxury cruise lines are very experienced at helping guests celebrate special occasions. Depending on your destination and the features of your ship, you could:

Have dinner in your stateroom, a very good choice for a honeymoon, anniversary or any other romantic occasion. If you have a balcony, your room steward and waiter can set up your dinner in the open air. A beautiful sunset and ocean view will amp up the ambiance.

Have dinner in a specialty restaurant, another great choice for a romantic dinner, or a gourmet experience for a group. You may have the opportunity to make special arrangements, such as a champagne toast or a special dessert.

Have a photo session. Ship’s photographers are often available for a personal or group photoshoots. You’ll look amazing against the scenic backdrop of a cruise.

Have a delightful spa day. For a romantic couple, there are sure to be some couple’s massage and other dual treatments available. A group can have fun with the pampering treatments of their choice and relaxing in the spa’s lounge, steam room or pool.

Have fun on a shore excursion. All cruise lines offer fantastic experiences onshore, but the shore excursion desk can help you make it really special. For a couple, ask about experiences best shared by two, such as hot air balloon rides or small craft flightseeing. A group could have fun with a cooking demonstration at a local restaurant, a hike to a beautiful view, or a visit to a farm, winery or artisan workshop.

Here are a couple of tips for the best enjoyment of your onboard celebration:

First, let your professional travel advisor know what you’ll be celebrating. They can help you work with the cruise line to make arrangements.

Second, you can enjoy some special celebratory perks even with a relatively small group. Many cruise lines will arrange for a group as small as 15 to have adjacent staterooms, an onboard reception, and a discount on fares. Again, ask Anita, your travel advisor to help you.

Then, get ready to set sail and celebrate!

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel


Monday, September 30, 2019

Cruising in Fall Shoulder Season


Good news – it’s almost fall, shoulder season! We’re not talking about covering your shoulders against the post-summer chill but taking a wonderful cruise at a time when prices drop, promotions abound and ports are not as busy. Coming after the peak summer season and before the start of any bad winter weather, many consider fall shoulder season to be the very best time to cruise.

On some itineraries, you will see a reduction in price versus summertime fares. You should also see more value-added offers, such as discounted airfare to and from the port, or discounts on drinks packages and shore excursions.

So, where should you cruise during fall should season?

The weather will be cooler but still pleasant in Northern Europe, where you can cruise the British Isles or Scandinavia. Fall brings glorious color to the shores of a European river cruise (just be sure to sail before the Christmas Markets open, when prices will rise again). As for the Mediterranean, cruises in this region may not offer big discounts because demand remains high, but the wonderful sights onshore will be less crowded.

In the Caribbean, fall can bring some attractive pricing. It may be possible for you to stretch your budget so that you don’t have to make a choice between an Eastern or Western Caribbean itinerary. Treat yourself with a longer itinerary that visits both.

While winter is coming to the northern hemisphere, remember that September, October, and November are spring in the southern hemisphere. That means it’s almost time for the spring shoulder season in South America. In addition to fresh spring weather, there are spectacular sights and experiences along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the continent, from the rainforests of the Amazon to the rugged beauty of Cape Horn.

Shoulder season often brings memorable onshore experiences, too. With smaller crowds, tour operators, shop owners, restaurant chefs, and others are likely to have more time to welcome you and make your time onshore extra-special.

To make the most of this shoulder season, don’t delay – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor today and book a high-value cruise.

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel


Monday, September 23, 2019

Amazing New Ships for 2020


To experience the newest innovations in cruising, it makes sense to consider cruising on a new ship. Several ships, now in the final stages of construction, are set to make their debuts in 2020, including the following:

Celebrity Cruises will launch the Celebrity Apex, the second ship in its Edge series, in April. Like its sister ship, the Celebrity Edge, the Apex will offer new-to-cruising features like the Magic Carpet, a space that can move up and down the ship, transforming from an expansion of the embarkation area, to a restaurant, to a bar with a Deck 16 view. The Apex will also have Infinite Veranda cabins, which use folding windows to blend the indoors and outdoors. The ship will also feature two fabulous new suite classes: the 2,500-square-foot Iconic Suite and the two-level Edge Villa. The ship will make its debut out of Southampton, England, to sail northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Princess Cruises will add to its Royal Class with the Enchanted Princess, set to launch in June. Passengers will enjoy familiar Princess features like Movies Under the Stars and the adults-only Sanctuary area. The ship will have some innovative accommodations, including Sky Suites. Each of these expansive suites will have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a dining area with a skylight that will bring in the sunlight and starlight. A large balcony will provide a 270-degree view from the top of the ship, including a private view of the Movies Under the Stars screen.

In September, MSC Cruises will launch the MSC Virtuosa, with capacity for more than 6,000 passengers. Onboard, passengers will be able to browse a fine art museum, stroll an indoor promenade with restaurants, shops and an LED canopy, and be entertained by Cirque du Soleil. Families will like the new “Super Family Plus” cabins that can accommodate up to 10 people, an indoor amusement park, an outdoor water park, and two Formula 1 race car simulators.

Royal Caribbean is keeping mum on many of the details of its new ship set to debut in October, except its name: Odyssey of the Seas. The line’s second Quantum Ultra Class ship is expected to feature passenger favorites like bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and the North Star, a a glassed-in pod that extends upward for fantastic views.

Make your plans to sail on one of these fabulous new ships; talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel


Monday, September 16, 2019

St. Thomas Is a Cruise Favorite


There’s a reason most ships that sail Eastern Caribbean itineraries stop in St. Thomas, the best-known of the U.S. Virgin Islands. There’s an amazing number of things to do and see packed into the island’s 32 square miles. And, it’s all set against a stunning backdrop of green mountains, fringed with natural beaches and the deep blue water of the Caribbean.

Your ship will arrive at one of two docks next to the main town of Charlotte Amalie – either Havensight Pier or Crown Bay. There are shops and diversions at both of these docks, but for serious duty-free shopping you’ll want to head into town. Along Veterans Street, there are lots of elegant shops stocked with designer fashion, fine jewelry, perfume, and liquor. If you’re looking for local art and hand-made crafts, many of the best shops and galleries are outside of the downtown so you may want to hire a driver and do a little exploring.

While the shopping is great, there’s much more to Charlotte Amalie. Historic sites include Blackbeard’s Castle, a 1679 watchtower built not by Blackbeard, but by Danish colonials to protect the harbor and Fort Christian. Fort Christian dates from 1672 and re-opened just two years ago after a decade of renovation. It houses the St. Thomas Museum. Historic places of worship include the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral and St. Thomas Synagogue.

After shopping or touring, you can visit one of more than 40 wonderful beaches. Some of the most popular are Magen’s Bay Beach, Sapphire Beach and Coki Point. Magen’s Bay is a beautiful, well-protected inlet with calm water that’s perfect for floating and playing beneath the blue sky. Sapphire Bay offers lots of water sports, including snorkeling and windsurfing. Coki Point is a lively beach known for its easy snorkeling; plus, it’s right next to Coral World Ocean Park.

While there are many ways to spend a day on St. Thomas, some cruise passengers use the stop as a gateway to nearby islands. You can take an excursion to beautiful St. John, fun-loving Jost Van Dyke, or laid-back Water Island.

To see for yourself why so many cruise passengers love to call on St. Thomas, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel



Monday, September 9, 2019

Say Happy Holidays with a Cruise


The winter holidays are a popular time to cruise, and ships fill quickly – but there’s still time to book a great itinerary for you and your family, especially if you work with your professional travel advisor.

If you haven’t taken a holiday season cruise before, it’s absolutely delightful. You won’t miss out on any of the festivities, music, food or fellowship that you look forward to at the holidays (and you won’t need to clean or cook while you’re afloat, unless it’s in a demonstration kitchen).

Throughout the holiday season, cruise ships are beautifully decorated with glittering ornaments and twinkling lights (providing abundant selfie opportunities). The galley crew creates special holiday dinners with traditional favorites, sometimes with a local twist. You’ll hear the sounds of the season throughout the ship, too, and crew members and passengers often get together for sing-alongs and caroling.

During December, Santa is likely to make an appearance or two, equipped with special gifts for the children on board. In fact, if you sail a popular cruise line during the holidays, expect to see lots of happy children on board; even luxury cruises may have more children and family groups than usual.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your holiday cruise:

If you look forward to attending worship services on Christmas Day, check itineraries carefully. Many onshore businesses and attractions are closed on Christmas Day, so some ships spend the day at sea and offer onboard, clergy-led worship services. Or, you may call on a port where you can attend a local church service or celebration. If you have a preference, be sure to choose your itinerary accordingly.

Pack a little bling for yourself and your stateroom. Bring some festive clothing and accessories (such as reindeer-antler headbands, holiday-themed jewelry and party hats). You can dress your stateroom up a little, too, with some sparkly ornaments, holiday cards or a small wreath for your door. Don’t bring strings of lights or candles, which are fire hazards.

Finally, leave your holiday gifts at home. You don’t want to use luggage or stateroom space for packages. You could consider the cruise itself to be one big, amazing holiday gift, or get your companions to agree to shop for gifts in the ports you visit. You may want to purchase small gifts for the crew members who serve you – after all, they’re away from home and working during the holidays.
  
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel

Monday, September 2, 2019

Cruise the Mexican Riviera


If you’ve explored Cozumel, Cancun and Riviera Maya, there’s another side of Mexico you should cruise: the Mexican Riviera along the Pacific Ocean. The coastline – lots of sandy beaches backed by lush green mountains – is visually stunning, and the charming ports are ready to welcome cruise ship passengers.

The Mexican Riviera is a year-round cruise destination, and there’s a lot to do. Excursions range from exciting watersports to fascinating remnants of ancient civilizations.

Ensenada is the northernmost port on the Mexican Riviera, less than 70 miles south of the U.S. Lots of visitors like to visit La Bufadora, a marine geyser that spouts water 60 feet into the air. If you like wine, you may be surprised to learn that the area around Ensenada is a developing wine district – and, you can visit some of the wineries.

At the southern tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas is where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific, with scenic results. Try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or parasailing, go fishing for marlin, or golf on a championship course. You could also venture to nearby San Jose del Cabo to see the lovely mission founded in 1730 or, drive about an hour north to see the artists’ colony and colonial buildings at Todos Santos.

The bustling port of Mazatlan has an amazing long seaside promenade and a quaint historic core. You can easily spend an afternoon touring the leafy plazas and stopping for refreshments in the shade of elegant buildings. History buffs may enjoy the nearby mining towns of Capala and Concordia, which have cobblestone streets and buildings dating from the 1600s.

The storied Sierra Madres form a mountainous backdrop for beautiful Acapulco, where you can see cliff divers do their dangerous and breathtaking work at La Quebrada. The old part of the city features the Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral, as well as murals that famed artist Diego Rivera painted during the last two years of his life.

Puerto Vallarta is a long-time resort town with a lovely seaside promenade lined with sculptures (touch one for good luck), fine beaches, and a busy market with lots of crafts, textiles and jewelry for sale. The town is also a favorite of foodies, with an emphasis on fresh, delicious seafood.

Many major cruise lines offer Mexican Riviera cruises for all or part of the year, including Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises. To explore the possibilities, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

Follow & like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel