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, August 10, 2020

Why Use a Travel Advisor

  1. Relationships with suppliers – you know when you’re visiting your neighborhood restaurant where the servers are familiar and give you a new dessert to try with your meal sometimes? Companies and people love to reward loyalty and the same is true about travel providers. Travel advisors have relationships with these companies and their staff and want to keep that relationship mutually beneficial! The suppliers know that if they can keep their travel advisors’ clients happy, they’ll be more likely to send more people their way. Sometimes this can translate into extra attention, free upgrades, or even things like chocolate-covered strawberries in your room!
  2. Knowledge about products – what’s the best travel insurance and should you get it? If something were to go wrong or there were any last-minute changes, which suppliers have the best cancellation policies? Ask your advisor! They treat knowledge about travel like it’s their job (because it is!)
  3. Better rates / added benefits – you won’t always get better rates booking with an advisor, but you’ll often get more value-added. In the age of online booking, it’s easier than ever to find “deals” online, but when you go through a massive online booking company, oftentimes, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Is that hotel room so cheap because it’s on the side of the building next to train tracks and faces a brick wall? With an advisor, you know exactly what you’re getting and what added benefits are coming along with it. Travel advisors also stay updated on what kind of sales are happening. If they know you’re looking for a river cruise to Europe and a big sale starts, they’ll know to pass that information along to you!
  4. Translating dreams to reality – How do you take your vague notion about a dream vacation and turn it into reality? Ask your travel advisor! They’re able to translate your wants into real locations and help you identify what pieces of your trip will matter the most.
  5. Travel logistics – How much time do you need for a layover? Would it make the most sense to rent a car, hire a driver, or something else altogether? If even starting down that train of thought is giving you sweaty palms, take a deep breath and call your travel advisor.
  6. Peace of mind – In the unfortunate event that something does go wrong, having someone on your side to help you through it and advocate for you is invaluable. Instead of being stuck internationally frantically trying to track down all of the people you need to call, you can make one call to your travel advisor and trust them to figure out the best plan for you.
  7. They get to know you – The more you use a travel advisor, the more valuable they are. With each trip you take through them, the more feedback you’re able to give them on what worked for you and what you’d skip next time, making each subsequent trip even further beyond perfect.



Monday, August 3, 2020

Surf Locations to Check Out While You’re Traveling


From Blue Crush to The Endless Summer, many of us have only experienced surfing through movies, often leaving us wishing we could be surfing somewhere ourselves. Do you know some of the most popular spots in the world for surfers to flock to?

Kauai, Hawaii

If you were wanting to see where the heart of surfing began and to see what Hawaii has to offer, check out Kauai during the summer months. However, if you're more experienced, visit South Shore from November to February where you can see ocean swells that are as large as 30 – 40 feet.
  • Kalapaki Beach – This beach is great for those who are just learning to surf because of the protective break walls that help create gentle conditions to surf in.
  • Kahili Beach – If you’re a beginner and are traveling in the summer months, this will be a good beach for you because the waves are consistent and small. In the winter, the waves become longer and more powerful, making this spot more dangerous. Nevertheless, this would be a great spot for intermediate surfers.
  • Hanalei Bay – Similar to Kahili Beach, Hanalei Bay, located on the North Shore of Kauai is going to be calmer in the summer months and more powerful in the winter. So, if you’re a beginner, try coming to this spot during the summer months.
  • Kealia Beach – This beach is more open and exposed, so if you’re a beginner this will still be a good spot, you’ll just want to be a little more aware! The surf can get dangerous, so be careful!
  • Kekaha Beach – With the strong currents and rough ocean conditions, this beach might not be the best for beginners. For those who are intermediate to advanced, though, the rougher conditions make this location less crowded.

Southern California

Maybe you want to stay on the mainland and see the sunny state of California; don’t worry, there are plenty of places to surf here!
  • Huntington Beach – You might know this beach by its nickname: “Surf City USA.” This is a very popular location because of its consistent surf and is also known because it hosts the Annual Vans US Open of Surfing every year.
  • Surfrider Beach – This popular location is best surfed during the summer months. What’s great about this beach is that it accommodates all surfing levels. If you’re a beginner, you can surf closer to the shore where the waves are gentler; the further out you go, the bigger the surf will get which is best for intermediate to advanced surfers.
  • San Onofre State Beach, San Clemente – If you’re looking for a beach to spend the day with your family and friends, this is the place to go! With multiple beach areas and parking lots to play games and tailgate, everyone can have fun. If you’re coming to San Onofre to surf, there are two areas you can head to. The first is the Lower Trestles, which is located on the south side. It's known for consistently having the best waves and, because of that, you may spot a pro–surfer hanging out there. Another beach at San Onofre is Old Man’s. This easily accessible location is a great surf spot with gentle waves which is perfect for beginners.

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

  • Playa Zicatela – This famous surf spot has big, powerful, and bone–breaking tubular waves. If you’re a beginner, you definitely won’t want to practice out here. Only the advanced surfers should be playing here since this surf spot has been known to break surfboards into pieces, and in some cases, caused some deaths. However, because of these tubular waves, Playa Zicatela has been considered one of the most important surf destinations in Mexico and Central America. However, if you are heading to this area and still want to surf as a beginner or an intermediate surfer, head over to La Punta, Carrizalillo, and Playa Marinero for some tamer waves.

Biarritz, France

When you think of France, do you immediately think of Paris and the Eiffel tower? Did you that there are places in France recognized for their beaches and surf spots? Fun fact: Biarritz was the birthplace of surfing in Europe and the surf is so good, many well–known surfers visit just to surf there.
Biarritz, France is located in the southwest Aquitaine region where you will find some of the most iconic beaches: La Cote des Basques and Grand Plage.
  • La Cote de Basques – This beach is great for beginners, especially from April to October and June and July. If you’re a bit on the intermediate level, you can surf all year, but from May to March and September and November the crowds are quieter and the surf is bigger.

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

A town known for how welcoming they are to their guests from all around the world, people love the balance of the small–town feel yet a big city for bringing people together. Jeffrey’s Bay, also known as J–Bay, has multiple beaches that have great surfing conditions for all levels of experience, especially during the months of March through October.
  • Point and Kitchen Windows – These are two beaches that will be great for beginners. They offer smaller waves that are still powerful enough to give you a longer ride.
  • Subertubes – This beach is best for intermediate to expert levels, in which you will see 12–foot waves to surf.

Uluwato, Indonesia

This is a unique place to visit especially if you’re an experienced surfer. This popular location can get a bit crowded, so it tends to be more competitive.
  • Uluwatu – Uluwatu is right under a cliff, which makes for some amazing views and an interesting way to get out to the water. If you are surfing, you have to work your way down to the ocean by climbing down a set of stairs in the Uluwatu cliff, which is essentially a cave. Once you get to the bottom, if the tide is high, you will be welcomed by the ocean within the cave. To get out of the cave into the open cove of the beach, you have to get on your surfboard and paddle out of the cave. When the tide is low and you’ve reached the bottom of the staircase, you’ll be able to just walk out of the cave to the coved beach area where you can start surfing.
No matter if you are a surfer or not, if you want to learn, or are just fascinated by the sport, you can find some neat surf spots while traveling that are worth checking out!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Cruise Recipes You Can Make at Home


Shipboard cuisine has always been among the many pleasures of cruising. And while cruise menus have become more conscious about nutrition through the years, they’ve also become more global, drawing on the flavors and ingredients native to cruise destinations.
If you’re missing the delicious tastes you’ve experienced on a cruise, try your hand at producing some of them in your own kitchen. Not all cruise ship recipes translate easily to home cooking, but here are three, shared by three different cruise lines, that you can try.

Disney Cruise Line’s Avocado-Citrus Salad
Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 lime, juiced
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
·         Combine orange juice and lime juice in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, salt and pepper, whisking vigorously until combined. If making in advance, re-whisk before serving.
Salad:
4 navel oranges
3 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
6 cups mixed baby lettuce
·         Cut peel, including the white pith, from the oranges with a small knife. Cut segments free from membranes; set segments aside and discard membranes.
·         Cut avocadoes into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
·         Divide mixed greens among 4 salad bowls. Top with 5 avocado slices and 5 to 8 orange segments; drizzle lightly with dressing. Serve immediately.

Viking Cruises’ Norwegian-Style Meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
½ lb ground pork
1 large egg
¾ cups panko
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
⅛ tsp allspice
½ cup milk
1 cup yellow onion, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
6 tbsp butter, divided
¼ cup flour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup red wine

·         Combine beef, pork and egg in a large bowl; make a well in the center and add breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, ginger, allspice and milk; let stand 2 minutes.
·         Add onion and parsley and mix together with your hands until completely incorporated; form into 1-inch balls.

·         Place 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high, and working in batches, brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through, about 8 minutes per batch.

·         Transfer to a serving bowl; cover loosely to keep warm.

·         Reduce heat to medium, place remaining butter in skillet, add flour and stir to form a thick paste.
·         Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes; then whisk in broth and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer until thickened, about 7 minutes.

·         Pour over meatballs, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

Royal Caribbean’s Coconut Ranger Cookies
600 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
500 grams unsalted butter, softened
500 grams brown sugar
80 grams dried coconut, shredded
100 milliliters coconut milk
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
·         Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C).
·         In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda.
·         In another bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until smooth.
·         Beat in eggs one by one until well blended.
·         Mix in the coconut milk and vanilla extract.
·         Fold in dry mixture of flour and baking soda, and then the dried coconut until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
·         Using an ice-cream scoop or 1/4-cup measure, scoop cookie dough onto a baking sheet and shape into a circular shape.
·         Bake until slightly puffed but barely colored, 9-12 minutes.

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Monday, July 20, 2020

The Most Popular Shipboard Spa Treatments


Your next cruise can be made even more relaxing and rejuvenating with a visit to the ship’s spa. These are wonderful spaces equipped with facilities, equipment, operators and amenities that rival the poshest spas on land. They’re so popular that appointments can fill quickly, so make your appointment on embarkation day, if you can.

If you’re not sure which spa experience you’d like to try, we’ve got the skinny on the most-requested pampering treatments.

Massages. Massage is the practice of using hands to rub and knead the body, easing tension and pain. Most shipboard spas offer a few different types of massage; if you haven’t had one before, try a Swedish massage, a gentle type of full-body massage. In a hot stone massage, the masseuse uses heated stones in addition to hands to help improve blood flow and promote relaxation. An aromatherapy massage adds essential oils to help boost your mood.

A deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage, seeking to relieve tension in the deepest layers of your muscles and tissues. Some spas offer shiatsu, a Japanese style of massage in which the masseuse puts rhythmic pressure on certain points of your body. Thai massage uses a series of yoga-like stretches to relax you. Couples massages are very popular, not only because you can enjoy the process with a partner, but because they often include access to additional spa facilities, from saunas to solariums.

Facials. Deep cleaning of facial skin, followed by moisturizing, is next in popularity. If you haven’t had one before, start with the gentlest facial on the menu; more intense facials may leave your face feeling a bit tender if you’re not used to them. Most ship’s spas offer a menu of facials, some using vitamins or other substances to help purify the skin.

Scrubs and Wraps. Scrubs that exfoliate the skin and wraps that detoxify the skin round out the top shipboard spa treatments. Either treatment may use salt, herbs and other botanicals, or even mud to soften and nourish the skin.

Some spas also offer treatments like reiki, reflexology and acupuncture. Your ship’s spa may offer cosmetic services, such as teeth whitening or cellulite reduction. Many shipboard spas include salons that offer hairstyling and coloring, manicures and pedicures.

Spa facilities and services do vary by ship, even among ships from the same cruise line. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for more information about ships will provide a lovely spa experience.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Cruising Is an Ideal Choice for Travelers with Mobility Issues



Issues with mobility are common, and they should not be a barrier to a delightful vacation. Because cruise lines strive to welcome everyone who wants to cruise, they’ve been working for years to make cruising more comfortable for passengers who need special mobility accommodations.

Still, it’s wise to do a little research in order to select a ship, stateroom and itinerary that best fit your mobility needs. Your professional travel advisor can help.

Here are some things to consider:

The ship. Look for a ship that has plenty of elevators to get you from deck to deck. And, look at where the elevators are located – smaller banks of elevators spaced along the length of the ship may be better than a larger but centrally located bank, which could give you long trips down the hallways. If you’ll need a wheelchair or scooter in order to navigate the hallways and common areas on the ship, you’ll need to bring your own (either owned or rented). Most major cruise lines have a few wheelchairs on board, but they are used only for boarding and off-boarding.

Also, check into seating areas in the ship’s dining venues and other common areas to make sure they can accommodate your wheelchair or other mobility equipment. Some ships even have lifts that help people with limited mobility into pools and hot tubs.

The stateroom. Accessible staterooms are usually significantly larger than standard staterooms. They are often equipped with wider doorways, lower closet rods and bathroom sinks, and roll-in showers with grab bars and fold-down seats. These staterooms are often located close to elevators, too. Some newer ships have accessible staterooms with automatic doors and enough turning radius for a wheelchair in the sleeping, sitting and bathroom areas.

But, remember that the number of accessible staterooms available on any ship is limited. So, it’s good to begin your search and select your ship and stateroom as far in advance as possible.

The excursions. Most cruise lines offer accessible shore excursions – not every excursion can welcome people who have mobility issues, but there should be some options to choose from in most ports. Shore excursion descriptions usually include notes about how strenuous they are and whether they are suited for someone with mobility issues.

Do your research, but also visit the shore excursion desk after you board your ship; the specialists there will have more details to help you pick the excursions that are best for you.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

The Mississippi River: An Exciting Cruise Opportunity



The Mississippi River, flowing more than 2,300 miles from Northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, has been a vital waterway for centuries. During its long history, the mighty river has been an essential source of life and transportation for Native American cultures; has served as the western border of the young United States; was a gateway north to freedom for American Slaves; and is still regarded as the unofficial dividing line between the Eastern and Western U.S.

Lined by major cities and historic river towns, woodlands and agricultural plains, the river is a fascinating cruise destination overflowing with history and culture. That’s exciting to travelers who are looking for a great vacation experience within U.S. borders.

The river’s length is such that many cruises focus on one of three sections, generally defined as Upper (St. Paul, Minn., to St. Louis, Mo.), Middle (St. Louis, Mo., to Memphis, Tenn.) and Lower (Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans, La.). The segment you choose to cruise may depend on the time of year you want to sail. Cruises on the Lower Mississippi are more popular outside the warmest months of July and August, while those can be the best months to sail the Middle and Upper sections.

Plan on a five- to seven-day cruise to see one section of the river; if you have two weeks, you can sail all the way from St. Paul to New Orleans (or the reverse). Whatever itinerary you choose, it will be a port-intensive experience rich in history and culture. What can you expect to see?

·         In addition to New Orleans, the Lower Mississippi offers a look at plantation life in rural Louisiana; Louisiana capitol of Baton Rouge, steeped in Creole and Cajun culture; and the Civil War battlefields at Vicksburg, Miss.

·         Middle Mississippi cruises feature the Blues and BBQ of Memphis, Tenn., and may also call on New Madrid, Mo., originally a Spanish settlement; and Paducah, Ky., which has a 20-block historic downtown.

·         The Upper Mississippi offers what some consider to be the best scenery along the river, especially when the trees change color in early fall. In addition to the great river cities of St. Louis and St. Paul, ports may include the historic towns of Hannibal, Mo.; Dubuque, Ia., and Red Wing, Minn.

Along with a range of itineraries, there are a variety of cruise lines and elegant, comfortable river cruise ships for you to choose from. To explore your options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Surf Locations to Check Out While You’re Traveling


From Blue Crush to The Endless Summer, many of us have only experienced surfing through movies, often leaving us wishing we could be surfing somewhere ourselves. Do you know some of the most popular spots in the world for surfers to flock to?

Kauai, Hawaii

If you were wanting to see where the heart of surfing began and to see what Hawaii has to offer, check out Kauai during the summer months. However, if you're more experienced, visit South Shore from November to February where you can see ocean swells that are as large as 30 – 40 feet.
  • Kalapaki Beach – This beach is great for those who are just learning to surf because of the protective break walls that help create gentle conditions to surf in.
  • Kahili Beach – If you’re a beginner and are traveling in the summer months, this will be a good beach for you because the waves are consistent and small. In the winter, the waves become longer and more powerful, making this spot more dangerous. Nevertheless, this would be a great spot for intermediate surfers.
  • Hanalei Bay – Similar to Kahili Beach, Hanalei Bay, located on the North Shore of Kauai is going to be calmer in the summer months and more powerful in the winter. So, if you’re a beginner, try coming to this spot during the summer months.
  • Kealia Beach – This beach is more open and exposed, so if you’re a beginner this will still be a good spot, you’ll just want to be a little more aware! The surf can get dangerous, so be careful!
  • Kekaha Beach – With the strong currents and rough ocean conditions, this beach might not be the best for beginners. For those who are intermediate to advanced, though, the rougher conditions make this location less crowded.

Southern California

Maybe you want to stay on the mainland and see the sunny state of California; don’t worry, there are plenty of places to surf here!