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, dba Cruise Holidays.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Relaxed Anguilla

If you’re looking for an exceptionally relaxing port of call on your next Caribbean cruise, look for itineraries that mention Anguilla. The island’s very appearance is low-key: while many neighboring islands are mountainous, Anguilla is a low, flat island made mostly of coral. The reefs around the island protect its beautiful beaches and offer wonderful opportunities for snorkeling and diving.

 Anguilla doesn’t have a harbor that can accommodate large cruise ships, although smaller ships are able to anchor in Road Bay. However, you can experience Anguilla if your ship calls on St. Maarten/St. Martin (the island that’s half Dutch, half French). You can catch a ferry from Marigot (on the French side) to Anguilla for the day.

 From the ferry landing at Blowing Point on Anguilla’s west end, it’s a quick taxi ride to one of the island’s beaches, where you can simply relax on the white sand or rent snorkeling and diving equipment. Anguilla is known as a good place for beginning divers: Sea Fan, protected on three sides by reefs, is always calm, and sightings of sea turtles and rays are common. Beginners Reef is another good location for those who are just learning, and nearby Sandy Island offers three more sites for fun, easy dives.

More experienced and adventurous divers will enjoy Anguilla’s ship wreck dives. In the late 1980s, seven ships were towed to the north side of Anguilla and allowed to sink in 60 to 80 feet of water. The wrecks attract fish and other sea life, creating a marine playground for divers to explore.

The interior of Anguilla offers some attractions as well. Salt mining was once the island’s main industry, and a visit to the Old Salt Factory offers a look into the island’s past. Bird watchers will enjoy a visit to the old salt ponds, which are now home to several colorful winged species. Visitors can also tour the island’s only surviving plantation house, the Wallblake House, where all of the outbuildings – kitchen, stables and workers’ quarters – are still intact.

Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert about how you can include Anguilla in your next cruise of the Caribbean.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Unspoiled Caribbean: Dominica

In a region of beautiful islands, Dominica is prized for its exceptional and unspoiled natural attributes. The island’s lack of commercial development means that much of its mountainous interior is best seen on foot. If you venture along the trails, which range from easy to challenging, you’ll be rewarded by the lush surroundings of rainforests, waterfalls, and natural freshwater pools.

As your ship approaches the town of Roseau (larger ships) or the town of Portsmouth (smaller ships), the island may look familiar – it’s had a starring role in a number of pirate movies. But, seeing the island on the movie screen can’t compare with being there in person. Jagged cliffs rise dramatically from the ocean, mango and banana trees sway in the breeze, and whales can be spotted in the deep water around the island all year long.

 If you’re up for a fairly strenuous hike, Dominica’s Boiling Lake is one of the world’s largest hot springs (its impressively high temperature is due to hot gasses that escape through a crack in a volcanic crater). Another of Dominica’s top sights, the beautiful Emerald Pool in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, is on an easy, half-mile loop trail.

Dominica is great for bird watching, and Morne Diablotins National Park is home to gorgeous and rare Sisserou parrots. A boat ride on the Indian River is another way to see some of the island’s nearly 200 types of birds.

Dominica is one of the few islands in the Caribbean where descendants of the native Carib tribe still live. On the eastern side of Dominica, about 3,000 Caribs live in a special territory that includes a model Carib village. Look for intricately woven larouma reed baskets, a traditional Carib handicraft, available for sale around the island.

The waves are gentler on Dominica’s west side, and there are some narrow, sandy beaches where you can swim, sun, snorkel and dive. For a truly memorable snorkeling experience, visit Champagne Beach, where small gas bubbles rise from the volcanic sea floor. You’ll feel like you’re gliding through an enormous glass of Champagne.

To find out how you can cruise to the pristine island of Dominica, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

So Many Beaches: Antigua and Barbuda

The irregular coastline of Antigua offers numerous bays, several excellent harbors and many lovely beaches: in fact, the locals say the island has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. Having been a British colony for many years, the island also has historic shipyards – once overseen by Horatio, Lord Nelson – that are interesting to explore. The island and its scenic harbors are attractive to modern-day sailors, too: the annual yachting and sailing season begins in December and culminates in a grand regatta each May.

Most cruise ships that call on Antigua dock at Heritage Quay or Nevis Pier in St. John’s, the island’s capital. Some smaller cruise ships drop anchor in Falmouth Harbor on the south side of the island and run tenders in to the dock. Wherever you step ashore on Antigua, there will be duty-free shopping, boutiques filled with local crafts, and restaurants close by. If you dock at Heritage Quay, several of Antigua’s cultural treasures, including the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, are within easy walking distance.

 Antigua was a mainstay of the sugar industry during colonial days, and tours of the old plantations are available. You can also ride an all-terrain vehicle through former sugar estates, a fine way to see the natural beauty of the island’s interior.

 Still, for many visitors, the lure of Antigua’s beaches is too strong to resist. It’s wonderful to simply float in the turquoise water or relax in the sand, but lots of activities are available, too, including snorkeling, surfing, kite surfing and other water sports.

To expand your choice of beach excursions, Antigua’s quiet sister island, Barbuda, has miles of gorgeous, white-and-pink sand beaches. Thanks to several ships that were wrecked on the island’s reefs, there are some very good spots for scuba diving, too. There’s also a sanctuary for frigatebirds in the lagoon next to the town of Codington. Barbuda can be reached by round-trip catamaran service from Antigua.

To select a cruise that will take you to Antigua and Barbuda, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Sail to St. Kitts and Nevis

If you’re lucky enough to visit St. Kitts and Nevis on your next Caribbean cruise, you’ll enjoy the lush, tropical beauty of these islands. Little wonder that they were fought over by the Spanish, French and British before becoming a long-time part of the British Empire. Since 1983, St. Kitts and Nevis has been an independent nation.

Cruise ships, both large and small, sail into Port Zante, St. Kitts, just outside the historic capital of Basseterre. Port Zante is a deep-water port that can accommodate the largest ships currently at sea. Birdrock Port, located just across Basseterre Harbor, is a freight port that can also welcome cruise ships when Port Zante is full.

From the port area, it’s just a 15-minute stroll to downtown Basseterre. The 18th-century buildings that have survived numerous hurricanes, fires and earthquakes give the town a timeless air. The hub of activity is The Circus, an octagonal plaza that’s a smaller version of London’s Picadilly Circus. The much-photographed clock tower in the center of the plaza is surrounded by art galleries, caf├ęs, boutiques and craft shops.

Beyond Basseterre, take a ride on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, originally built to haul sugar cane; visit the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; or tour the remnants of sugar cane plantations. You might also choose to visit one of the island’s many beaches – some are calm and perfect for swimming and snorkeling, others have waves ideal for bodysurfing or windsurfing.

There’s a ferry that can take you across a shallow channel to Nevis, which also has wonderful beaches of soft white sand or black volcanic sand. You can look for pottery made of Nevis clay, take a nature hike in search of adorable vervet monkeys, or visit the lovely Botanical Gardens of Nevis.

Cruise ships call on St. Kitts and Nevis all year long. High season runs from mid-December through Mid-April.

To find out more about cruises that visit St. Kitts and Nevis, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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