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, November 11, 2019

Port of Embarkation: Singapore



In November, we escorted a group on the Azamara Quest, roundtrip Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Our last visit to Singapore was four years ago. The city hasn’t really changed, and we have always enjoyed our visits to the island nation.

As we left Changi Airport for the hotel, I was surprised by the lack of litter, graffiti, and exhaust fumes from older vehicles.  Then I remembered, Singapore takes pride in a clean city and environment.  You can drink the water and eat at the hawker stands (food courts).

Our recommended hotel in Singapore is the Hilton.  It’s on the north end of Orchard road, near shopping, restaurants, and the subway.  We spent three nights at the Hilton Hotel.  It’s in the heart of the city and has plenty of upscale shopping nearby.  We walked a lot and used the MRT (subway) for access to remote sites.   We didn’t go out at night but would not have any concerns about walking to nearby venues – It’s a safe city.

We visited the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel.  It’s the home of the Singapore Sling.  It’s an interesting place to visit but has become very touristy and pricy.  However, the visit to the Long Bar is recommended and you can enjoy the free peanuts and throw the empty shells on the floor - it’s a local tradition.

The subway is a great way to get around the city. The ticket kiosks are located in the terminals where you can buy a ticket: roundtrip or one way for any subway destination on the island.  Don’t throw away your used ticket, you need it to get out of the subway station at your destination.  Besides, the ticket stub is reusable, just add another segment or two to the same paper ticket.  You can use the ticket for up to 6 trips in 24 hours. Uber is not available in Singapore.

If you are going on a cruise from Singapore, be sure you know the name and address of your terminal since there are two cruise terminals on the island and they are not close to each other.   Small ships often sail out of the Harbor Front terminal, near Sentosa Island.  The other terminal is close to the Marina Sands Hotel.  Your cruise documents will list the address for the correct cruise terminal.
Enjoy your cruise!

Questions about Singapore?  Ask Anita, your travel expert at Land & Sea,                                                                                     
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Monday, October 28, 2019

The Cruise Ports of Italy

Enduring traditions in art, fashion, music and cuisine make Italy an awesome place to cruise. Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula extends into the Mediterranean Sea, creating more than 1,000 miles of beautiful coastline. There’s an abundance of cruise ship ports to explore on Italy’s western coast alone. Here are some highlights, from north to south.

Perhaps best known as the hometown of explorer Christopher Columbus, Genoa is well worth exploring. There are promenades that overlook the sea; the Stade Nuova (new streets) and fabulous palaces built when Genoa was at the height of its wealth; and many historic churches, museums and piazzas. Or, take an excursion to Portofino, a lovely holiday resort on a promontory south of Genoa.

Many passengers who disembark in Livorno immediately take off on an excursion to Pisa (to see the Leaning Power), Lucca (to see the Renaissance-era city walls), or Florence (a city filled with Renaissance art and architecture). But Livorno has a lot to offer, too. Once ruled by the Medici family, Livorno was well-fortified during the Renaissance and many towers, forts and city walls are still intact. The canals around the old Fortezza Nuova will remind you of Venice. Another option is to take an excursion to Cinque Terre, five picturesque villages that cling to rugged cliffs above the sea.

Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, which is inland from the coast. While you really can’t miss seeing Rome (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the treasures of the Vatican and much more), Civitavecchia has its own charms. If you’ve been to Rome before, you may enjoy spending the day in its port city, which has a lovely promenade, lots of open-air restaurants and cafes, and a traditional city market.

One of the most ancient of European ports, Naples lies in the shadow of brooding Mt. Vesuvius. The city’s historic heart, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is full of Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. There are a wide array of historic palaces, museums and churches to tour. From Naples, you can also take an excursion to the ruins of Pompeii, destroyed in a 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, drive along the stunning Amalfi Coast to Sorrento or take a boat to the Isle of Capri and explore this beautiful, mountainous island.

Italy is a year-round cruise destination. To explore your options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Cruise the Winter Blues Away



Winter is coming, and you may need a break from the stretch of chilly days ahead. Why not plan a winter cruise? We have some suggestions about where to sail.

Beautiful and close to home, the Caribbean offers warmth and hospitality all year long, even during the darkest days of winter. The beaches, gardens, dive sites, hiking trails, scenic overlooks and historic ports of the Caribbean will be ready to give you the winter break you dream of, wrapped in warm temperatures and tropical breezes.

Central America is a year-round cruise destination, the North American winter is a wonderful time to cruise the Panama Canal. In addition to discovering this feat of ingenuity and engineering, you can take shore excursions to the coffee plantations, rain forests and cloud forests of Panama.

Clustered around the equator (and therefore warm all year), the Galapagos Islands will give you a memorable winter cruise experience. These isolated Pacific islands, about 600 miles west of Ecuador, are home to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth.

At the same time winter encroaches on North America, summer comes to South America, making it an ideal time to cruise there. The hard part is choosing an itinerary because the choices include everything from the Amazon River and its mighty rainforest, to the scenic coastlines of Argentina and Chile, or even a cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Antarctica (note that it will be pretty chilly that close to the South Pole, so this may not be the best choice if you need warm weather).

It will also be summer in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, the northern and central parts of Australia can be downright hot at that time of year. Still, the ocean will be there to cool you as you enjoy the incredible scenery of New Zealand and the beaches and sights of Australia.

A European cruise won’t provide warm temperatures, but will provide the warmth of a different kind. A December river cruise will take you to some of the enchanting Christmas Markets of Europe, where you can drink mulled wine and browse for handmade treasures under twinkling lights. Or, pack your winter gear and venture north to Scandinavia to view the northern lights and visit cozy towns that will provide a warm welcome.

To make your arrangements for a cruise this winter, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor soon.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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