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, 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


Monday, August 26, 2019

Getaway Weekend Cruising


A cruise can take you to distant lands, multiple continents, and even all the way around the globe. Or, a cruise can be a brief but fantastic getaway – a “long weekend” experience that relaxes and refreshes you. In fact, taking a weekend cruise has lots of advantages.

For one, it’s a really affordable way to cruise. Cruises, in general, are known for their great value, but weekend cruises are especially easy on your budget. And if you haven’t cruised before, a weekend sailing can be a good way to discover how wonderful a cruise vacation is.

You don’t have to use up all of your vacation days. Many weekend cruises depart on Thursday or Friday and return Sunday or Monday, so your time away from work will be minimal.

It’s an easy way to take a weekend getaway. Once you choose a ship and a stateroom, there’s no need to worry about finding things to do or making dinner reservations. All the dining and entertainment you want will be right on board.

Bring the girls, guys, or family. A weekend cruise is perfect for a group getaway. It’s affordable for everyone, with lots of fun activities to enjoy together. Plus, a three or four-day getaway isn’t so long that you’ll start to feel like you need to “get away” from each other.

Finally, a weekend away puts everyone in a good mood. Everyone wants to make the most of their time onboard, so the atmosphere will be lighthearted and fun.

Given the time available, most weekend cruises visit The Bahamas, the Caribbean or Mexico – a great break from your usual weekend routine. Here are a few of the many options:

·         Board the Norwegian Sky for Norwegian Cruise Line’s three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami, with calls in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island.

·         Princess Cruises offers a four-day West Coast getaway on the Royal Princess, stopping at Catalina Island and Ensenada.

·         Royal Caribbean will take you from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico, on a four-night cruise on the Empress of the Seas.

·         For a truly quick and memorable cruise, Disney Cruise Line offers a two-night Halloween on the High Seas cruise from San Diego to Ensenada on the Disney Wonder. (This fun and spooky cruise is offered from other ports, too, and in a variety of lengths.)

To select your weekend getaway cruise, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

Get Away to a Private Island on Your Next Cruise

If you don’t have friends who own private islands, don’t worry – just sign up for a cruise that features a visit to a private island. Several cruise lines own a small island (or part of a larger island) for the exclusive enjoyment of their guests. Most are in the Bahamas or the Caribbean, but at least one cruise line plans to establish private islands in other regions.

The private island trend began as a way for cruise lines to give guests a hassle-free beach day, complete with lounge chairs and a BBQ lunch buffet. Now, the trend is toward spectacular activities (although you can still enjoy lunch and a nap on the beach).

For example, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line recently unveiled a refurbishment of its private island in The Bahamas, “Perfect Day at CocoCay.” A new waterpark features North America’s tallest waterslide (the 135-foot Daredevil’s Peak), the Caribbean’s largest wave pool, a 1,600-foot-long zip line and a helium balloon that will take you up 450 feet to enjoy the view. Get a refreshing beverage from the swim-up bar at the freshwater Oasis Lagoon or rent a private cabana. December will bring the opening of Coco Beach Club, featuring overwater cabanas with their own water slides. Royal Caribbean plans to develop more private islands in the Caribbean and in Asia and Australia, too.

MSC Cruises is sharing some details about its new private destination in The Bahamas, Ocean Cay, scheduled to open in November. The area was a debris-strewn sand extraction site until MSC invested in it. There will be eight beaches to explore, plus Seakers Family Cove, which will offer fun and games in a shallow lagoon. An island spa will give guests the chance to be pampered while surrounded by nature. Active types can enjoy snorkeling, parasailing, paddleboarding or kayaking, followed by a sunset cruise and evening entertainment under the stars. In addition to delighting its guests, MSC plans for the island to serve as a base for marine biology and research.

Disney Cruise Line just purchased more than 700 acres of land on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, known for pink sand beaches and beautiful surf. This will be Disney’s second private island in The Bahamas, the first being Castaway Cay. Watch for more information as Disney develops its plans.

To select a cruise (on these or other cruise lines) that will give you a private island experience, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.


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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Cruising with Craft Brews

If you love trying new craft beers, it’s a pastime you can indulge in on your next cruise. Whether you prefer ales or lagers, more ships are featuring places to enjoy craft brews, so you’re sure to find one suited to your palate. You’ll have company, too: a recent Travel Leaders Group survey determined that 44% of consumers make a point of trying local or regional craft beers when they travel.

If you’d like to set sail with a variety of flavorful brews, here are some options.

The Equinox and the Eclipse are two Celebrity Cruises ships that feature craft beer lounges. Originally called Gastrobar on both ships, a recent refurbishment of the Equinox brought a name change to Craft Social. In both lounges, you’ll find about 40 boutique brews on tap or in bottles. There are also cocktails, a nice wine list, and a wide selection of gourmet bar bites, from steamed pork buns to truffled grilled cheese. The ambiance is sophisticated coziness, with low lighting, flat-screen TVs for viewing a game, and music in the evening.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s District Brew House, found on the Bliss and the Escape, offers more than 70 beers, including 24 rotating beers on tap and about 50 types of bottled beer. Some come from Miami-based Wynwood Brewing Company, with many other breweries represented, too. The cushy leather furniture creates a welcoming pub experience with wonderful views of the sea (or of the keg room, if you prefer). The District isn’t just for beer, though – if your companions would rather have craft cocktails, the District has them, along with gastropub-style small plates to share.

Several Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships have a Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade (a “barcade”), which serves a variety of domestic and international craft beers and ciders. If you find a selection your whole group likes, you can order pitchers. If you want to do some tasting, order a flight. In this casual spot, sports are always on big TVs, with local games and matches taking priority. You can order up classic bar food like Buffalo chicken wings, burgers, nachos, and stuffed potato skins. Then, try your skill at games like Connect Four, Jenga or foosball, or try for the high score on a variety of arcade games.

To make sure craft beer is part of your next cruise, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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


Monday, August 5, 2019

The Quieter Caribbean

The Caribbean is a top cruise destination, and ports like St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Aruba are among the most popular places for cruise ships to visit. There’s a reason for that: these ports are full of wonderful things to see and do, from adventurous excursions to a lazy day at the beach.

However, there are other Caribbean ports that, while quieter, have just as much to offer. When planning your next Caribbean cruise, ask your professional travel advisor about itineraries that include some of these less-visited cruise ports.

Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands, is surrounded by clear, calm water beloved by snorkelers, divers, yacht captains, and fish. The mountainous island offers hiking trails and white sand beaches where you can sun, swim or kayak. Or, take a day trip to surrounding islands like lively Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda, where you can explore the “Baths” – boulder formations that shelter cool grottos – and the Treasure Caves of Norman Island.

Bonaire’s protective reef makes this island a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kiteboarding, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding excursions are all available on Bonaire, as are tours of a flamingo sanctuary and a sanctuary for donkeys. Visitors are welcome to help feed the gentle herd.

St. Kitts was repeatedly fought over by the British and French in the 17th and 18th centuries, and pirates did brisk business from the port of Basseterre. Now its own nation with sister island Nevis, St. Kitts offers unspoiled beauty, hiking up an extinct volcano, rides on a scenic railway originally built to transport sugarcane, and the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress.

St. Croix is the largest and perhaps most relaxed of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s a great place for history buffs with the Christiansted National Historic Site featuring Fort Christiansvaern and other historic structures. You can also tour rum factories, take a bike tour along the coast, or check out the Danish Creole architecture in Frederiksted.

Dominica is a special island – in a region full of natural beauty. Hence its nickname, the “Nature Island.” The mountains are covered with pristine rain forest, a dozen major waterfalls and pools of freshwater or bubbling hot springs, heated by volcanic activity beneath the surface. The deep water around the island makes it a great spot for whale-watching, too.

To discuss a cruise itinerary that features less-traveled Caribbean destinations, talk to Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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