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, January 28, 2013

Shore Excursions Just Right for Two

Shore excursions are a wonderful part of any cruise: they provide the opportunity to learn about a different culture, try a new adventure or simply take in the sights of a port of call. When you and your loved one cruise as a couple, shore excursions offer a chance to explore a destination together.

 

Couples who appreciate history might enjoy excursions that focus on the fascinating remnants of ancient cultures, such as the former Greek port of Ephesus, just 20 miles from the cruise ship dock at Kusadasi, Turkey. You can view the remains of a massive outdoor theater; the Library of Celsus, which once held 12,000 scrolls; the Basilica of St. John; and the lone column that is all that remains of the Temple of Artemis. Only an estimated 15 percent of Ephesus has been excavated, and work on this vast outdoor museum continues daily.

 

It takes two to tango, and couples sailing to Buenos Aires, Argentina, have the opportunity to watch experts perform the romantic dance at a tango show. Better yet, your ship may offer shore excursions that include lessons in the seductive, passionate dance. If dance isn’t for you, another option is a tour of the city’s colorful “barrios,” or neighborhoods.

 

Alaska’s ports buzz with activity during the summer cruise season, so a couple might enjoy heading a short way out of town to enjoy the spectacular natural scenery. Opportunities to hike nature trails, skim over the water in a kayak or navigate forest paths on an all-terrain vehicle are never far away – your ship is sure to provide a choice of such excursions.

 

Couples who cruise to the Caribbean, Mexico or Australia have a terrific selection of beach-oriented shore excursions that offer sun, fun and a bit of romance. A quiet afternoon on a beach of soft, white sand; riding on horseback through the sparkling surf; parasailing high above the coastline; or diving down to visit a world of colorful sea life are just some of the possibilities.

 

Every cruise offers great shore excursion options for couples to enjoy together. For help in selecting yours, talk with Anita, your personal cruise expert.
 
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Thoughts on the Allure of the Seas


A few weeks ago, I wrote about our 7 day cruise in the Caribbean on the Allure of the Seas.  At that time, I want to clarify my thoughts before writing more on our shipboard experience.


In my opinion, I would like to sail an Oasis class ship like the Allure on a repositioning cruise from the US to Europe (a sailing without any/many ports of call).  On a small ship, I get cabin-fever after a few sea days.  On the Allure, I don’t believe it is possible to be bored – too much to do! 
 
If I had children traveling with me, I would love to sail on the Allure to almost any destination.  Again, many things for kids to do, including an ice ring, Flow Riders, cartoon characters, children program… If I were going with an extended group of family members, I would like to sail on the Allure (or the Oasis) for the same reason – lots to do.

For the two of us to sail the Caribbean, the Allure is not our favorite ship – it’s too big and carries too many passengers. Most of the activities are facing inwards, towards the center of the ship.  When I was onboard, I could forget that we were on an ocean going vessel (not what I wanted to do).  It felt more like a combined hotel, shopping mail, and an amusement park.  That is not the reason that we love to cruise.

However, getting on/off the ship (including embarkation and debarkation) was extremely efficient.  I was surprised that Royal Caribbean was able to move 5400 passengers so quickly.   The required mandatory drill before leaving port was painless.  We didn’t carry our life vests to our drill stations, they ship’s crew is prepared to pass out life vests when needed.  We didn’t feel overcrowded in the venues.

Personally, I like smaller ships…

Monday, January 14, 2013

Special Packages for Wine and Beer Lovers

While most elements of a great cruise vacation are bundled into one base price – including comfortable accommodations, attentive service from the cabin crew, fabulous meals and snacks, nightly entertainment, deck games and more – beverages are usually not part of that base price, other than the basics such as juice, milk and coffee or tea.

For the convenience of passengers, many cruise lines offer fountain drink packages that guests can purchase when they come on board. For a set cost, these packages provide unlimited soft drinks, served with a smile.

Fountain drink packages are popular, especially with passengers who like to know their costs in advance. Now, to accommodate a wider range of beverage preferences, some cruise lines are beginning to offer packages for alcoholic drinks.

Carnival Cruise Lines’ CHEERS! Program is currently available on a limited number of ships, including the Victory, Splendor, Breeze and Dream, on cruises of six days or more. For $42.95 per day, plus a 15% gratuity, guests can order unlimited wines by the glass, beer and cocktails that are individually priced at $10 or less. They also receive 25% off bottles of wine and premium cocktails, as well as a 25% discount on bottled water.

Norwegian Cruise Lines has a selection of beverage packages for guests who are traveling as a group, provided that all group members are of legal drinking age. The Freestyler’s program provides unlimited house and call brand spirits, domestic beer, house wines and fountain drinks for $46 per group member, per day. The Freestyler’s Premium program provides premium versions of these beverages for $56 per guest, per day.

Royal Caribbean just introduced two new beverage packages for its guests: Classic and Premium. For $45 per guest, per day, the Classic package features beer, house wines by the glass, and non-alcoholic cocktails, fountain drinks and juices. The Premium package, $55 per day, adds frozen drinks and cocktails made with premium-brand spirits. These beverage packages are available on cruises of seven nights or longer.

Some cruise lines also allow passengers to bring a small amount of wine or spirits on board to enjoy in their staterooms or with a special dinner. Finally, one reason river cruising has gained popularity is because wine and beer is often included with lunch and dinner.

Ask your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to check the carry-on policy, as well as any beverage package options, for the specific cruise lines you’re interested in.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Concordia and Cruise Ship Safety, One Year Later

On the evening of January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia struck rock off the western coast of Italy. Through a gash in the hull, water flooded parts of the engine room, causing the ship to lose power, list to one side and become partially submerged.

While the large majority of passengers and crew were successfully evacuated from the ship, there were injuries and loss of life. While accidents like this one are extremely rare in cruising, the tragedy led the cruise industry to review its safety practices and find opportunities for improvement.

Less than a month after the Concordia’s accident, the cruise industry announced a new emergency drill policy that requires muster station drills to be held for embarking passengers before ship departs. This policy exceeds legal requirements, which mandate a muster drill within 24 hours of the ship’s departure. Muster drills ensure that passengers are informed of essential safety procedures, including procedures and routes for emergency evacuation of the ship.

More new safety policies developed by the cruise industry include:

·       Mandatory requirements for passage planning

·       Greater restrictions on access to the bridge

·       Increased quantities of life jackets on board

·       Recording passengers’ nationalities (information that can help search and rescue personnel)

·       Twelve common elements in the safety instructions given to passengers during muster drills

All of these new policies exceed current regulatory requirements, in keeping with the cruise industry’s longtime commitment to passenger and crew safety.

Christine Duffy, chief executive officer of the Cruise Lines International Association, hopes the industry can prevent an accident like the one suffered by the passengers and crew of the Concordia from ever happening again. And, she reminds travelers that cruising remains one of the safest forms of travel.

“Amid all of this activity and interest lies one central question: are cruise ships safe?” said Duffy.  “The answer is resoundingly yes. Evidence clearly shows that compared to virtually any other form of mass recreation or travel, cruises are one of the safest activities around.  In the five years before the Concordia incident, more than 100 million people took a cruise, with 16 casualties worldwide due to marine accident or collision.  The cruise industry takes safety very seriously.”

Talk with your Cruise Holidays travel professional about any concerns you may have about safety on your next cruise.

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