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, June 1, 2020

Cruise Line Dress Codes

Everything about a cruise is meant to be relaxing, so don’t worry about figuring out what to wear on board; we have the information you need right here. Overall, cruise line dress codes have become more casual, but there are still opportunities to dress up for special evenings. Here’s a quick summary of current dress codes:

Resort Casual. Also known as Country Club Casual, this style calls for button-down shirts, nice slacks, dresses or skirts and coordinating tops. Don’t bring jeans, shorts, t-shirts, baseball caps or tennis shoes; if you do, don’t wear them onboard after 6 p.m. Cruise lines with this type of dress code include Azamara, Crystal, Cunard, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Windstar, and Viking.

Smart Casual. Smart Casual is a little more relaxed than Resort Casual; sport shirts, khaki pants, nice jeans, capri pants, and dressy shorts are acceptable. Less common are t-shirts, athletic wear, flip-flops and men’s sleeveless shirts; again, these items are particularly unwelcome after 6 p.m. Cruise lines with this type of dress code include Celebrity, Costa and Holland America.

Cruise Casual. The most casual dress code at sea includes jeans (they can be worn-in, but shouldn’t have rips or tears), shorts, t-shirts, and athletic wear, although you should change into a nice pair of pants and shirt or a casual dress for dinner. Cruise lines with this type of dress code include Disney, MSC, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean.

Formal Evenings. Whatever the dress code, most cruises include at least one formal night, when passengers are welcome, encouraged – and perhaps even required – to get dressed up for dinner. Trust us, it’s a lot of fun when everyone on board puts on their finest.

The exact level of formality varies; expected attire can range from a sport jacket and tie to a tuxedo for men; for women, a cocktail dress, or a ball gown, maybe just the thing. Your personal travel advisor can help you understand what to pack for your ship’s formal evenings.

If your ship has some required formal evenings but you’re just not comfortable getting dressed up for dinner, don’t worry. You’ll find the buffet on the lido deck or another casual venue will still be open for dinner. Room service is always an option, too.

One more tip: Keep in mind that on almost any cruise ship, swimsuits are appropriate only on pool decks and not in dining areas.

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Monday, May 25, 2020

The Best Cruise Line Private Islands

Really, any cruise line private island could be on this list of the best: all of them are lovely tropical getaways designed to provide a relaxing experience. While cruise line private islands have that in common, each has unique features, and focusing on the differences enabled us to make these picks:

Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line. We rate this 1,000-acre island in the northern Bahamas highly for its wonderful array of family activities, combined with serene adults-only spaces. There’s a splash playground for the youngest guests, a club for school-aged kids and a teen hideout. Everyone can enjoy kayaks and paddleboats, foosball and table tennis in the Game Pavilion, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear lagoon. Rent a cabana – in the family area or at adults-only Serenity Bay – to enjoy comfortable lounges, a stocked mini-fridge, your own shower, beach gear and butler service. Guests rave about the quality of the food at Castaway Cays’ beach buffet, too.

CocoCay, Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean recently spent $250 million to refurbish this island in the Bahamas, and the results are fantastic. The centerpiece is a waterpark with North America’s tallest water slide (the 135-foot Daredevil’s Peak), a giant wave pool, and a helium balloon that will take you 450 feet up in the air. Grab a bite at the Chill Grill, or enjoy upscale fare at the Coco Beach Club. Visit the swim-up bar at Oasis Lagoon, then lounge on a swim-up island. Rent a clamshell chair or a cabana on the sand; or, try Bali-style luxury in an over-water cabana with bottled water, fresh towels, a USB outlet and a Bluetooth speaker for your music.

Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line
Harvest Caye is distinctive because it’s one of few cruise ship private islands outside the Bahamas. Just a quick ferry ride off the coast of Belize, Harvest Caye has a resort vibe, with a 15,000-square-foot pool, a seven-acre beach, and a splash playground for little ones. Glide across the caye on a zip line; paddle across the lagoon in a kayak; and visit macaws, toucans and other tropical friends in the nature park. Shady cabanas equipped with air conditioning, bathrooms and Wi-Fi are available for rent. Surprisingly, there’s no buffet: instead, select from locally-operated island bars and restaurants.

For more information about these and other private islands – including Princess Cays, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay and MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Transatlantic Cruising: A Great Vacation Choice

If you want a different type of cruise experience, a transatlantic cruise might be what you’re looking for. If you seek tranquility, a transatlantic voyage gives you time to find it. A cruise ship usually takes at least six days to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and more if there’s a stop or two along the way; some transatlantic crossings take two weeks or more.

Most of the cruise is spent at sea, and you can spend time reading, writing and reflecting; enjoying portable hobbies like knitting or embroidery, or simply gazing at the changing colors and moods of the ocean. The peacefulness of a transatlantic crossing is a wonderful opportunity for romantic partners or old friends to reconnect.

You’ll also have lots of time to enjoy the amenities of the ship: for example, working out in the gym, pampering yourself in the spa, and trying all of the dining options. Transatlantic cruises tend to bring extra entertainment and learning opportunities on board, so you could learn to paint, bake or fence, or add to your knowledge of music, history or drama. You’ll have time and opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers, too.

There are two basic types of transatlantic cruises:

·         Repositioning cruises usually take place in spring or fall, when a ship relocates from one part of the globe to another. For example, ships that sail the Baltic or Mediterranean during the summer might cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean or South America for the winter season. Many major cruise lines – including Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess – offer this type of cruise.

·         Other transatlantic cruises are not for repositioning a ship, but simply for the joy of crossing the Atlantic. These are mostly offered by luxury cruise lines like Crystal, Cunard, or Silversea. The season for regular transatlantic cruises is April through November.

On a transatlantic cruise, you’re likely to visit at least one port of call. Popular stops include Bermuda, where attractions include golf courses, art galleries, historic British forts and pink sand beaches. Ships repositioning from the Mediterranean might call on Madeira, a beautiful garden island; or Tenerife, where 12,000-foot-high Mount Tiede overlooks banana plantations, charming villages and pretty beaches.

Transatlantic cruises often have attractive fares, but keep in mind that you’ll need to book at least one transatlantic flight – unless you book back-to-back transatlantic cruises. To consider the options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Try a Suite for Family Cruise Fun

When you plan a cruise for your family, you’re the best judge of how much cabin space you need. If you plan to be up on deck or exploring the shore most of the time, using your cabin just to shower and sleep, consider an economical standard inside or outside stateroom. But, if you need a little more elbow room to be happy, consider a cabin designed with families in mind. You’ll spend a bit more, but the extra space and amenities may raise everyone’s enjoyment of your family cruise vacation.

Disney Cruise Line caters to families, and its ships offer many connecting cabins so parents and kids can enjoy separate-yet-connected spaces. In addition to a full bath, most Disney cabins have an additional half bath, a major advantage for families. You can also go way upscale: on the Disney Magic, the Concierge Royal Suite with Veranda sleeps seven, with four TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll love the walk-in closets, granite and marble baths, down duvets, and pillow menu.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Encore offers a Family Oceanview Cabin (technically it’s not a suite, so it’s easier on the budget). Kids can gaze at the water through the picture window or watch a movie on the big-screen TV. These cabins have great storage space, and larger bathrooms with bathtubs – a plus when traveling with little ones. Some Norwegian ships also have two-bedroom, two-bath villas in The Haven, a special ship-within-a-ship area. These villas have 24-hour butler service, plus exclusive pool and dining areas just for Haven guests. The Haven has a focus on tranquility, so this may be a good choice for families with older (or at least quieter) kids.

Most Royal Caribbean ships have a range of cabins designed for families, from interior cabins that accommodate a family of six to a lavish Presidential Family Suite that comfortably houses 14. If you want to go all-out on a memorable family cruise experience, the Ultimate Family Suite on Symphony of the Seas is spectacular. Use the in-suite slide to glide from the second level to the first (there are stairs, too). Have fun with the LEGO construction wall, the cinema room with gaming consoles, the dining table that converts to air hockey, the bunk room and much more. You’ll also have your own personal Royal Genie to provide concierge services for your family.

To discover more sweet suite options for your family’s next cruise, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Picture-Taking Tips for a Cruise

Wherever you may cruise, you’ll want to capture some beautiful images to preserve and share your memories. But, taking good (or great) photos while on a cruise takes some special know-how, starting with how to handle the movement of the ship.

Anytime you take a photo onboard, the movement of the ship, however gentle, can make the camera shake a little, which can result in blurred images. Tripods don’t really help because they can’t mitigate the movement. Instead, use your body to steady your camera: spread your feet a bit wider than usual, hold your elbows close to your torso, and hold your camera with both hands. Depending on the angle you want, you can also literally lie down on your stomach (but not if you’re in a high-traffic area) and use the deck to steady the camera.

On ship or onshore, pay attention to the light. Lots of cruise ports are in sunny climates, but the sun may not be your friend when you’re taking a photo. The basic rule is not to take a photo when facing the sun (unless it’s a selfie, and your camera is reversed toward your face). If the sun is behind who or what you’re photographing, you’re likely to capture a lot of shadows. Also, when on or near the water – whether it’s the ocean or the onboard swimming pool – be careful that the sun’s glare off the surface of the water doesn’t wash out your image.

Another lighting tip is to take photos during the “golden hour” just after sunrise and just before sunset (“hour” is figurative, but it gives you an idea of when you can take advantage of the best light of the day). When the sun is low in the sky, it gives a softer, more diffused light than in the middle of the day, which is flattering to photography subjects.

Finally, some photo-worthy cruise moments can be planned or anticipated, but many are spontaneous. So, stay alert for photo opportunities and have your camera ready, or at least close to hand. Part of being ready for unexpected photo opportunities is understanding the layout of your ship so that when the crew announces a wildlife sighting off the ship’s bow, stern, port side or starboard side, you’ll know the quickest way to get there to photograph the moment.

To select a cruise destination that will produce wonderful photo opportunities for you, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Voluntourism on a Cruise

Travel is a way to enjoy the beauty and diversity of our world, and many travelers want to take action to help improve the economy or ecology of the places they visit. That’s called voluntourism, and it’s taken hold in the cruise industry.

Voluntourism can help you find a balance between enjoying your cruise and knowing that you’ve done something to help and support the ports you visit along the way. Voluntourism opportunities in the cruise world range from onboard fundraising activities, to spending some time doing volunteer work onshore, to taking a charter cruise with the sole purpose of supporting a nonprofit organization.

Onboard fundraising supports programs from cancer research to preserving habitat for wildlife. Holland America’s On Deck for a Cause program invites passengers to join in a 5k walk around the decks in exchange for a $20 donation. The proceeds support cancer organizations in six different countries, so it’s an easy way to do good (and feel good because you got your exercise). Royal Caribbean holds a similar event to support the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); on some itineraries, you can also “Swim for Sea Turtles” in the ship’s pool. A purchase of WWF merchandise in the onboard gift shop supports the organization, too.

Several cruise lines – including Princess, Holland America Line and Crystal – offer shore excursions specifically designed for voluntourism. You might participate in a beach cleanup, deliver donations of food and clothing, plant trees, visit schools to deliver supplies for students, or help build new homes for hurricane victims. Some voluntourism excursions focus on animals: you could help marine scientists gather data on sea life, care for injured animals, or work on habitat preservation projects.

Some nonprofit organizations charter ships for cruises that raise funds for their causes. A portion of each cruise fare goes to support the organization, and there may be onboard auctions and activities designed to raise additional funds. Examples include cruises that raise money to provide service dogs to veterans, active military and first responders who have disabilities; cruises that support the maintenance of breeding ground habitats for sea life; and most recently, cruises that support assistance and relief for victims of Australia’s wildfires.

Choosing a cruise with voluntourism opportunities makes your vacation so much more than a great time; you’ll be doing good and spreading love, too. For more information, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Cruise Line Libations

To all lovers of cocktails and craft beer: don’t worry that you’ll need to endure a cruise without enjoying your favorite libations. Creative cocktails and brews abound on cruise ships; you can imbibe a familiar favorite or try a new taste. Here are a few of the trendsetting bars you can enjoy at sea, and their signature drinks.

The atmosphere in Celebrity Cruises’ Martini Bar is cool, thanks to the ice-topped bar. The bartenders are cool, too, putting on a bottle-flipping, glass-stacking show. If you can’t pick just one martini flavor, order the Martini Flight to try six: the flavors change over time, but you can count on trying a classic, a fruity Blue Wave, and other delicious tastes.

The Craft Social beer lounge on the Celebrity Equinox offers 40 boutique brews from around the globe; you may find Delirium Tremens from Belgium, Canada’s La Fin du Monde, or Fuller’s London Pride. Perch on a leather-upholstered bar stool or sink into a lounge chair to enjoy your beer with some upscale pub food from the Craft Social menu. A selection of wines and cocktails is available, too.

Part of the fun at Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar is that the bar is entirely staffed by robots. On the Harmony of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, the Bionic Bar’s mechanical arms reach up to select from the dozens of bottles suspended above them. These precise mixologists can create a seemingly endless array of cocktails. Try one of the Bionic Signature drinks: the Infinity is a refreshing combination of gin, cranberry, tonic, and lime.

Another great choice for craft beer fans is the Norwegian Escape, which features the District Brew House. A partnership with Miami-based Wynwood Brewing Company means you can delight your taste buds with 24 rotating beers on tap – from hard ciders and IPAs to milk stouts – and 50 different types of bottled beer. You’ll also find District Ale, which is brewed exclusively for the ship. On the Norwegian Bliss, a partnership with M.I.A. Beer Company adds to the District Brew House’s craft brew mix.

Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about booking your cruise and, as always, enjoy your cruise cocktails and beer responsibly. Cheers!

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