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 24, 2013

Tune in to YouTube’s Cruise Industry TV

Do you want to hear about the safety, value and overall appeal of cruising from leading industry experts? Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, has launched a YouTube channel called Cruise Industry TV. Located at youtube.com/cruiseindustrytv, the new channel provides information on the fun of cruising and cruise industry practices that are designed to keep passengers safe, happy and enjoying every minute of their vacations.

Cruise Industry TV highlights the diverse experiences and destinations the cruise industry delivers to more than 20 million passengers each year. In addition to safety practices, there’s a wealth of information on industry operations in areas such as health environmental protection.

Cruise Industry TV has three main sections: Industry Practices, Information for Cruise Vacationers, and CLIA Travel Agents.

The Information for Cruise Vacationers section has videos from a variety of cruise lines that showcase the many ways they create memorable vacations. There’s footage of ships, including dining rooms and restaurants, staterooms and promenade decks, spas and theaters – all of which can help you choose the ship you’d like to cruise on next. The videos in this section are a good way to get a feel for the style of different cruise lines.

 
If the cruise destination is more important to you than the ship, some of the videos provide a look at the amazing places you can visit, from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, Europe to Asia, and South America to Alaska.

The Industry Practices section has videos on important health and safety practices. Here, you can learn about health and safety regulations in the cruise industry, how crew members are trained, how ships are cleaned and what you can do to assure your own safety in the rare case of an onboard emergency. You can also find out more about how the cruise industry works to protect the environment and strives to adopt more efficient energy use practices.

The Travel Agents section is a resource for travel professionals that helps them provide vacationers with informed cruise travel guidance and advice.

Check out Cruise Industry TV, and check back often for new and updated videos. When you see a ship or destination you like, or if you just want to learn more, Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert is just a phone call or email away.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Join the Trend: Multi-Generational Cruising

Cruising is a popular choice when two, three or even four generations of a family want to vacation together. There are a number of trends that are contributing to the growth in multi-generational cruising:

 
·         The baby boom generation has entered the ranks of senior citizens with a desire to stay active and to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. By hopping on a cruise ship, a family can see the world in comfort and togetherness.

 

·         The boomer generation is increasing the overall affluence of the senior population, and many of them can afford to pay part or all of what it takes for their children and grandchildren to get on board.

 

·         The younger end of the boomer generation is still working and using their limited vacation time to be with their own parents as well as their children.

 
A cruise is a fantastic choice for multi-generational groups because today’s ships offer something for everyone – and, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you select the best one for your family.

 Many ships offer a combination of kids’ clubs and games for high-energy kids; sports decks and exclusive lounges for teens; quiet spaces and gourmet dining for adults; table games and cultural presentations for seniors; and shows, movies and pool decks for families to enjoy together. When any member of the family needs a break, they can retreat their stateroom or find an out-of-the-way spot to curl up with a book.

 
Families also have lots of options for time spent on shore – options you may want to discuss in advance. Excursions an vary widely in the level of activity required (a 300-foot vertical climb to a hidden waterfall vs. a walk along a level forest path, for example). They can appeal to all family members, or may please just a few (an afternoon on the beach vs. an afternoon at museum). Shore excursions often fill up quickly, so it’s important to decide in advance if you want to choose excursions that everyone will like; let family members choose their own excursions; or do some of each.

 
Anita, Your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can also help you and your family members arrange air travel that will get everyone to the dock on time. If your group is large enough, you may even qualify for discounts on board.
 

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review - RT Alaska from Seattle 5-31-13


When the opportunity to take a Cruise Holidays training class was offered in Seattle this month, we decided to take advantage of the training and re-visit Alaska as well. 

This was to be our third sailing on the Celebrity Solstice – the second time this year.  Needless to say, Celebrity is our favorite, big ship company, and the Solstice is still one of our favorites.  The ship is 5 years young and as beautiful as ever!

 
We had arrived very late the night before our ship sailed.  After a short night, our friends, Ned and Carolyn Nelson, who are also our clients, picked us up at our hotel and took us to Pier 91.  Although the traffic was heavy, once at the pier, check-in was a breeze and we were onboard in under an hour after leaving our hotel.

We boarded the Celebrity Solstice on Friday, 31 May.  The news on CNN about the tornados in the Oklahoma City area (again…), our sail-away enthusiasm was slightly diminished.  Only when we received a call from friends that our neighborhood was spared, could we relax and enjoy.


 
The departure from Seattle was a picture perfect, chamber of commerce post card.  We departed as the sun was casting the warm orange glow on the Seattle skyline.  Since we chose Celebrity Select (anytime we prefer) dining, we didn’t have to rush to dinner.  In fact, made our dinner reservations for each evening when we completed our pre-cruise registration.  It worked out perfectly!  We had 7pm dining, table for 2 every evening except 2 when it was 7:30pm.  The food and service were exceptional with lots of choices each evening along with the usual, “Always Available” menu options.  Garry was able to enjoy escargot every evening!!

 
Our first night out was very smooth sailing – not the usual high, rough seas typically encountered on round trip Seattle departures.  The last 2 sea days were also smoother than expected.  Because a Seattle round trip departure sails on the west side of Vancouver Island (not between the island and mainland British Columbia), out in the open Pacific Ocean, the seas are usually rough all year round.  Because of this, land is not visible and there is nothing to see but water – unlike the sailings that depart from Vancouver, BC where land is visible for the entire voyage, coming and going.  Our recommendation is always to sail from Vancouver, BC, however, you cannot beat the convenience of sailing from Seattle.
 

 
 
On Sunday, another client, Doug and Doris Vig, met us in Ketchikan and took us on a tour of the area.  This was our 5th visit to Ketchikan and it was nice to see it from a local perspective.  After our tour and a stop at Totem Bight State Historical Park, http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/totembgh.htm, we headed for a stop for lunch at the home of another client and friend, Marlene Scanlon.   She greeted us, along with Lynn Clay and Diane , both also clients.  Except for Marlene, we’d never met the others.  Our business has always been done over the phone and via email.  It was really nice to put a face with the voices of these long time, loyal clients.  Thanks Marlene for the wonderful lunch of Alaska Halibut and to Doug and Doris for chauffeuring us to/from the ship.  It was a sunny, warm day in Ketchikan – unusual considering Ketchikan receives nearly 200 inches of rain per year!!


 
Early the next morning, we arrived in Tracy Arm Fjord and the twin Sawyer Glaciers http://alaskancruiser.com/glaciers-in-alaska/tracy-arm-fjord/ .  This was our 3rd cruise into Tracy Arm and our very first to get up close to the glacier.  It was an awesome sight!  We spent over an hour in front of the glacier where we witnessed it ‘calve’ many times.  Although we prefer Glacier Bay over Tracy Arm, they are both unique and equally beautiful.  If you want glacier overload, opt for a cruise that includes Glacier Bay.  If you want a ‘taste of the Norwegian Fjords’, opt for Tracy Arm.

In the Afternoon, the ship arrived in Juneau where, due to the number of ships in port, we were required to take a tender to the shore.   We arrived about 1PM and fortunately our tour didn’t start until 4PM.  We were concerned about the time it would take to get off the ship and we didn’t want to miss our tour.  We had arranged for a whale watching tour with the Shore Excursion Group http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/Articles.asp?ID=143&Click=7502   (not part of the tours offered by the ship).  We were pleasantly surprised.  Our group numbered 13!!  We had a small, comfortable boat with the driver and a guide.  We especially liked the size of the group and the quality of the tour.  Shore Excursion Group guarantees to get you back to the ship in time for departure, or they pay to get you to the next port.  And, they are similar in cost to tours booked through the cruise lines.  However, they were fewer people in both tours.  We are glad we booked thru Shore Excursion Group.

Our next stop was Skagway, and again, since we’d been there many times before, we opted for another tour booked with the Shore Excursion Group.  This tour was a Wildlife Photography tour that took us to Haines.   We docked at the Railroad Dock and followed the instructions on our tickets to meet up with our guide.  This time there were only 4 in our group, plus our guide.  He took us to meet the ferry to Haines and then to his van where we spend the next 6 hours driving to different areas in search of wildlife.  We photographed numerous bald eagles and hoped to see bears, but they were not to be found.

The last port of call was Victoria, BC.  Since the ship docked at 6:30pm, we opted to stay onboard to enjoy our last few hours onboard the Solstice.  Bags packed and dinner at 7pm followed by one last stroll through the ship.  No evening show…the casino was closed, as were the onboard shops.  Only the bars were open while we were docked in Victoria.  The ship sailed at midnight, but by then we had our bags in the hallway for collection and had retired for the evening. 

We awoke to another glorious day in Seattle, and our friends, the Nelson’s were at the pier to take us to our hotel to begin our training. 

  

 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Buzz About Norwegian Breakaway

Early reviews from travel agents and passengers indicate that the new ship from Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Breakaway, provides a terrific onboard experience. Some of the most-talked-about features include:

The Aqua Park. With five full-size water slides, this water park is thrilling for all ages. If you dare, the twin “free fall” slides will drop you and a friend nearly straight down for several stories. There are also two pools, hot tubs, and a SpongeBob-themed play area for little ones.

 The Sports Complex. This three-story playground includes lots of great activities for kids, teens and adults, including an intricate suspended ropes course, nine-hole mini golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall and bungee trampoline.

The Staterooms. The mix of stateroom options includes unique Studio staterooms designed for solo travelers; and, elegant suites in The Haven, “ship within a ship” accommodations that offer 24-hour butler service and access to a secluded courtyard with a pool, fitness area and dining.

The Waterfront. Located on both sides of deck 8, the Waterfront features several restaurants and bars, plus an ice cream stand. Passenger can dine al fresco at tables that overlook the water.

Ocean Blue. Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian’s seafood restaurant reflects the celebrity chef’s devotion to premium-quality ingredients prepared with expert culinary techniques. Dive into Grilled Prawn Panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, Roasted Dover Sole with sauce meuniere, or Risotto of Jonah Crab with hon shimeji mushroom.

The Shows. Guests can see three sensational Broadway shows, including Rock of Ages; an adaptation of Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy; and Burn the Floor, a showcase of passionate ballroom dancing.

 There’s much more to this ship, including features with a distinctly New York feel, such as a branch of Carlo’s Bake Shop, run by Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss; three of the very same Sabrett’s hot dog carts you’ll find on the streets of Manhattan; and regular visits from the ship’s godmothers, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. And, there’s a fireworks show on every sailing!

 Norwegian Breakaway sails from New York year-round, currently to Bermuda, with Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries scheduled in the near future. To make plans to sail on this spectacular new ship, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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