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, dba Cruise Holidays.

Monday, January 30, 2023

 A Wave of Great Cruise Deals

It’s Wave Season, the time of year when cruise lines offer amazing discounts on cruise fares and bundle multiple onboard perks into special offers. Simply put, Wave Season is a post-holiday season sale on cruises. It’s not the only time of year to get an excellent price on a wonderful cruise, but Wave Season deals are definitely some of the best of the year.

Wave Season is a cruise industry tradition, and it happens throughout the first quarter of the new year, from January to March. By presenting wave upon wave of attractive deals, cruise lines hope to secure as many cruise reservations as they can for the rest of 2023 and beyond.

How can you make the most of Wave Season?

First, do some research. A Wave Season deal is truly valuable only when it’s for a cruise you really want to take. Grabbing a deal when the destination doesn’t really interest you or the ship isn’t the best fit for you is a recipe for a lackluster vacation.

So, do some searching to figure out which cruise lines and itineraries appeal to you most; your professional travel advisor can help. Then, when you see a Wave Season deal that matches your top choices, you can grab it with confidence.

Second, look beyond fare discounts. Wave Season offers excellent fares – including some “two-for-one” or “kids sail free” deals – but be sure to look for discounted or complimentary onboard perks. These can range from beverage packages and shore excursions to multi-category cabin upgrades.

Onboard credits are another attractive offer. Depending on your cruise line and ship, you may be able to spend onboard credits on spa treatments, specialty dining packages, professional photos, Wi-Fi access, and more.

Sometimes, Wave Season deals include unusual and exceptional extras, such as free airfare to the ship or a pre-cruise hotel stay. These are more common among luxury cruise lines, and their inclusion in a Wave Season deal can make luxury cruising more affordable.

Finally, remember that you can find great cruise deals at other times of the year, too. If you don’t find a Wave Season offer that appeals to you or you simply can’t commit to a future cruise right now, don’t despair. Wave Season is when virtually every cruise line offers attractive deals, but you can find fare discounts and other special offers at any time of year, especially when you work with an experienced travel advisor.

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Cruise Ports You’ll Want to Visit Again


Cruises can take you to a wonderful variety of destinations, and you can choose a different itinerary every time you sail. But some repeat cruisers find themselves going back to certain ports again and again. Here are some of our favorite repeat port calls. 

 

Bermuda is an island nation with lovely white and pink sand beaches. There are caves full of rock formations, historic fortresses, and velvety green golf courses. Indulge in the British tradition of high tea or take a boat ride to view pastel-colored homes from the water. 

 

Cozumel is a Mexican island known for shopping, but there’s much more to do. You can go snorkeling, take a diving lesson, or relax at a beach club. You can also visit the remnants of Mayan villages, go sport fishing, or drive a dune buggy around the island.  

 

Dubrovnik, Croatia, has a beautiful Old Town that played the role of King’s Landing in the popular “Game of Thrones” TV series. It’s fun to get an overview from atop the city walls, then explore the winding streets and historic buildings. Take the cable car up Srd Hill or sail to Lokrum island to see the botanical garden. 

 

Santorini, in the Greek Isles, is breathtakingly beautiful; the steep-sided, blue-water harbor was formed by a long-ago volcanic eruption. There are beaches formed from lava pebbles overlooked by whitewashed buildings, ancient ruins, charming shops, and plenty of scenic hikes. 

 

Venice, Italy, is full of magnificent art and architecture. The city is spread over more than 100 small islands linked by canals and bridges. It’s possible to explore Venice for days, but must-sees include St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal (especially from a gondola).  

 

St. Lucia is a Caribbean Island with a dramatic, mountainous landscape. You can climb Gros Piton to admire the views, take a refreshing mud bath at Sulphur Springs, stroll through a waterfall garden, snorkel off a beach, or zipline through the forest. 

 

Finally, the favorite return ports for many cruise fans are the private islands owned by the cruise lines. These islands, mostly in the Caribbean, are lovely and have everything you need for a wonderful, relaxing, or adventurous day. You’ll enjoy sun or shade, plenty of activities on land and in the water, refreshing beverages, and a delicious lunch. 

 

If you’re interested in a repeat visit to any of these or other popular cruise ports, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, January 16, 2023

Packing a Cruise Wardrobe


Packing for a cruise can be a little different than packing for other types of vacations, and here’s why: 

·         Storage space in your cabin will be very limited. Packing light is always smart, but it’s truly essential for a cruise.  

·         The nearest shopping center won’t be very near when you’re out at sea, so be sure to pack your “must-have” items. 

·         Onboard laundry services are usually available, but for a fee. You can wash a few things in your bathroom sink and hang them on the retractable clothesline in your shower, but that really works only for small items. 

 

With all that in mind, here’s a quick overview of what to pack. 

 

For daytime, cruise wear has become more casual than it once was. Shorts, jeans, casual pants and skirts, t-shirts, and other everyday tops are usually fine for daytime; just be sure it’s all appropriate for the climate where you’re sailing. Bring a swimsuit and cover-up, and a little gym attire if you plan to use the fitness center. For cooler climates, pack some extra light layers. For itineraries that include religious sites, you may need clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, as well as a scarf or hat. 

 

Cruise line dress codes have become more casual for evenings, too, but check with your professional travel advisor on guidelines for your ship. In general, shorts, jeans, and t-shirts with slogans may not be welcome at dinner; but, long pants with button-down shirts and casual dresses may be as dressy as you need to be. Of course, you’re welcome to dress up as much as you like; and many cruises have formal nights, when glittery dresses, fashionable suits, and even tuxedos abound. 

 

We could devote an entire article to packing shoes for a cruise, but the main point is that they take up a lot of luggage space, so the shoes you bring should be versatile. For example, simple ballet flats and lace-up shoes can work for both day and evening; athletic sandals can be good for going to the pool and on a shore excursion. 

 

Accessories. Bring a few accessories – jewelry, scarves, belts, bags – that can make the same outfit look different the second or third time you wear it. 

 

Special note: Don’t forget the basics! It’s easy to focus so much on outer layers for day and evening that you forget to pack underwear. 

 

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Monday, January 9, 2023

Essential Tips for Your First Cruise

If you’re looking forward to your very first cruise, here are a few tips that can help you start out feeling like a seasoned cruiser. 

 

Remember that your cruise fare includes your cabin and most of the dining and entertainment on board, but some things cost a bit extra. For example, meals in the main dining room and at the buffet are included in your fare; but, your ship may also have specialty restaurants that charge a small fee. 

 

Most onboard dining is included in your fare, but most beverages probably are not. On many ships, the only free beverages are plain water, coffee, and tea. The good news is that cruise lines sell beverage packages that provide discounts on soft drinks, juice, specialty coffee and tea, wine, beer, cocktails, and more. 

 

On most ships, gratuities for the crew are automatically added to the onboard account you’ll settle at the end of the cruise, so there’s no need to tip separately. And if you pay for individual drinks or specialty restaurant meals, a service charge is automatically added to the tab. 

 

Your ship will offer a variety of tours and activities, called shore excursions, in each port. These fun pursuits are usually not included in your fare, except on some luxury ships. You do have the option to stay on the ship while it’s in port, which can be a nice opportunity to enjoy the pool, fitness center, spa, and other amenities. You can also tour a port on your own; just be sure to get back to the ship on time. 

 

Many ships offer tours on the first day of a cruise; join one to find out where everything is. 

Cruise ship designers do a terrific job, but storage space in your cabin will be limited. Pack lightly and bring clothing you can wear in different combinations. 

 

Finally, this is our top tip for your first cruise: work with Anita, a professional travel advisor, to select a cruise line, ship, itinerary, and cabin that meet your needs, interests, schedule, and vacation budget. Every cruise line, ship and destination offers something a little different than the others, and it can be incredibly challenging to navigate it all on your own. That’s why guidance from a professional is so important to have a great first cruise experience. Plus, cruise travel professionals earn much of their income from commissions paid by the cruise lines, rather than by you. 

 

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Great Cruise Ship Bars

On a cruise ship, as on land, a bar is so much more than a place to enjoy a beverage. It’s a welcoming spot where you can relax, socialize or simply enjoy the vibe. Cruise lines put a lot of thought into their onboard bars, and many of them deliver memorable experiences – not to mention delicious drinks – in fun surroundings. Here’s a look at a few of our favorites.

Fans of Star Wars will know that the Force is with them in the Hyperspace Lounge on Disney Cruise Line’s new Disney Wish. Outside the “windows,” a variety of transports – from TIE fighters to the legendary Millennium Falcon – pass by, with frequent jumps to hyperspace. The cocktails are inspired by storied planets from across the Star Wars galaxy.

Some Norwegian Cruise Line ships feature the Skyy Vodka Ice Bar, where just about everything – including the bar, seating, and glassware – is made of ice. Even on a tropical itinerary, the temperature in the Ice Bar is a brisk 17 degrees, but don’t worry – you can borrow a parka to wear while you sip a cocktail.

If you enjoy a traditional British pub, you’ll love the Golden Lion on Cunard Line’s ships. Enjoy a signature Cunard ale or a Pimm’s Cup as you relax on the leather banquettes or play a game of darts. You can tuck into some traditional pub fare, too, like fish and chips or a plowman’s lunch.

In the Bionic Bar on some Royal Caribbean ships, the bartenders are robots who have no conversation, but never tire of mixing drinks. Guests use smart pads to place orders, choose from the menu or select specific ingredients for a custom drink. The robots reach up to select the right ingredients, which hang from the ceiling and mix perfect cocktails.

In Martini Bar & Crush on Celebrity Cruises ships, the bartenders are human and just as skilled at tossing and juggling bottles in the air as they are at making martinis and other drinks. Watch them perform while you enjoy a selection of caviar from the ice-topped bar.

There are many more terrific bars at sea, including Princess Cruises’ Good Spirits at Sea, Holland America Line’s Tamarind Bar, and Azamara’s new Atlas Bar. Some of them are so popular that they require reservations, so ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about the best way to experience a great onboard bar on your next cruise.

 

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Monday, December 26, 2022

Tips for a Smooth Embarkation Day

In the excitement of preparing to cruise, remember that a little preparation will help embarkation day – the first day of your cruise, when you board the ship – go smoothly. Here are some top tips.

Be sure to complete any requirements the cruise line has for health vaccinations, screenings, and tests, including any related to COVID-19. These are subject to change, so ask your professional travel advisor to keep you updated about the current requirements for your cruise line and ship.

If you can, check in early. Many cruise lines encourage passengers to complete an online check-in process a few days before embarkation. Completing required forms in advance, as well as printing your boarding pass and luggage tags can save lots of time when you arrive at the ship.

Before you leave home, double-check that you have all the documents you need. These may include your passport or other photo ID, cruise boarding pass, COVID-19 vaccination records, and test results, as well as a visa if your destination requires one. Your professional travel advisor can help you make a list of everything you need.

Arrive at the port of embarkation a day early. You don’t want a delayed flight or a traffic jam to cause worry about missing your ship. So come in a day early, get a good night’s rest, and enjoy breakfast at your hotel before heading to the cruise ship dock.

Plan how you’ll get to the ship. This is one of those details that can cause last-minute panic if you don’t have a plan, so decide in advance how to get from the hotel or airport to the dock; options may include a shuttle bus, public bus, taxi, private car, or rideshare service. If you’re driving your own vehicle to the dock, check out long-term parking options before you leave home.

Keep your travel documents and any medications with you. When you get to the ship, porters will be ready to take your tagged luggage, and it may be a few hours before they deliver it to your cabin. So, pack a small bag with your travel documents, medications, and other truly essential items, and keep that bag with you.

Arrive at the ship promptly. Many cruise lines assign boarding times to help prevent long lines and wait times in the cruise terminal. Showing up at your assigned time will help things to smoothly not only for you but for everyone who’s boarding the ship.

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Monday, December 19, 2022

Navigating Cruise Ship Dining Options

On cruise ships with multiple dining venues, they often fall into two broad categories: free and specialty. Let’s take a closer look at each, which may help you navigate the dining scene on your next cruise.

In free onboard restaurants, everything on the menu is included in your fare (although a very high-end entrée, such as surf and turf, may have a small upcharge). This category usually includes the main dining room, the buffet, and a few other options.

Main dining rooms are usually big, elegant spaces with attentive service. Some ships assign passengers to specific seating times and tables, while others let you choose when and with whom to dine. Dinner menus usually offer at least three courses with a nice variety of dishes, all beautifully prepared.

The buffet is often located near the pool and is open most of the day, with a variety of salads, sandwiches, side dishes, pasta, main courses, and desserts. Everything is ready when you arrive, so the buffet is a smart choice when you’re ravenously hungry or looking for a quick snack.

Some ships also have pizza parlors, poolside grills that serve hot dogs and hamburgers, coffee houses, and other casual spots. Room service is also included in the fare on many ships, though there may be a small delivery fee. And it’s often available 24 hours a day, with a limited but tempting menu.

In onboard specialty restaurants, truly special dining experiences are yours for an extra fee, but the fee is usually much less than you would pay in a comparable restaurant on land. Many specialty restaurants are intimate spaces, beautifully decorated and designed to put you at ease so you can enjoy a memorable dinner. They are popular choices for special event celebrations and onboard date nights.

Some specialty restaurants highlight certain ingredients, like steak or seafood, while others serve a specific cuisine. With high-quality ingredients and expert preparation, you may feel like you’re actually dining in a Northern Italian trattoria, a Parisian bistro or a sushi bar in the heart of Tokyo.

Be sure to ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about any specialty restaurants on your next cruise; many require reservations, and these can fill quickly. Some ships offer specialty dining packages that ensure reservations and provide discounts on fees. Whatever combination of free and specialty restaurants you choose on your next sailing, you can expect to enjoy the experience.

 

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