Hi, Anita! The trip was great!! We had not seen any of the ports before, so it was a real adventure. Glad we didn't have a tour at each place, we would have been too tired. The heat bothered Steve more than it did me this time (unusual!), but all in all it was great weather. Oceania was very good. The crowd was PERFECT for us. Met some great people, but no pool hairy chest contests! We also loved no ship photos; no in-room announcements; any-time dining (they handled this VERY well), and the lack of power chairs & wheel chairs. Out biggest complaint was that the ship docked so far from the tourist area sometimes requiring us to walk a mile or more to catch a shuttle some shop provided. The ship did not have any way of getting us past dock security all the way back to the ship except the tour buses or the town shuttle that tended to take you to a shopping area somewhere and dump you. Even the taxis could not go back in to the commercial docking area where the ship was. We seemed to be the only ones complaining, am surprised more with limps and canes didn't think this was a bit much. We are fairly fit, but have never experienced so much required walking just to get to the tourist areas. I see that Azamara is advertising their "free" ship shuttles to the ports now.
Well, all in all, it was a great trip.
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 27, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
These pictures of cruise ships in Seattle were taken by Ned & Carolyn.
As you can see, they arrived at the dock in time to see the ships return from a voyage to Alaska.
What a great way to start a Sunday morning in Seattle!
Sapphire Princess, approaching pier 91
Carolyn & Elise
Norwegian Pearl at pier 66
Carolyn & Ned at pier 66
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Nestled deep in the Southern Caribbean, the ABC Islands of the Leeward Antilles – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – enjoy reliably balmy weather and are outside the usual hurricane zone. These are desert islands where cacti share the landscape with palm trees, and sparkling blue waters invite visitors to dive in. All three islands are part of the Netherlands, and most residents speak English, making them easy places to visit and enjoy.
On Aruba, cruise ships dock right in the capital city of Oranjestad, with lots of shops and restaurants in easy walking distance – and, the shopping is duty-free. There are wide, white sand beaches seemingly made for snorkeling and parasailing. You can play golf or ride a horse, visit a historic lighthouse or spend time at a butterfly farm. Or, you may decide to try your luck in one of Aruba’s glittering casinos.
There are no casinos in Bonaire, a quiet island that is consistently rated among the best locations in the world for scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing. Bonaire has long-standing laws to protect its coral reefs, and the entire coastline is designated as a marine sanctuary. Cruise ships dock in downtown Kralendijk, the capital, with shopping and dining a short walk away. Bonaire is one of the few Caribbean islands with a large population of flamingos, many of which live in a sanctuary on the island’s south end.
Curacao, the largest ABC island, is known for its brightly-painted Dutch colonial houses – you’ll see some of them as your ship approaches the city of Willemstad. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is brimming with historic and walkable neighborhoods. You can visit the Maritime Museum; the Jewish Historical Museum and a 350-year-old synagogue; or the Curacao Sea Aquarium, which houses many species of marine life that are native to the waters around the island. When you’re ready for a break, try a cocktail made with authentic Curacao liqueur, flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit grown on the island. Diving and snorkeling are popular on this island, too.
Some southern Caribbean cruise itineraries include one, two or all three of the ABC islands. Ask your personal cruise expert to help you select one as your next cruise.