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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Customer feedback on Viking River Cruise

Our Thanks to Dick & Jeanine for writing this helpful review of their Viking River Cruise and allowing us to book it for them.  Thanks, Dick & Jeanine!

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Just want to thank you for helping with our trip - it was just wonderful!  Everything was perfect and we would highly recommend Viking to anyone!

 

Our flight on Delta from Sea-Amsterdam-Paris was very smooth.  The nonstop from Paris to Seattle was very smooth also.  Granted it was an 11 hour flight, but knowing that we didn't have to get off and change planes was very nice.  They fed us many times and we watched about 4 movies!

 

The car service you arranged at Paris was an excellent idea.  We picked up our luggage, walked out of baggage claim and there he was!  Simple and easy!

 

The hotel was okay, but I wouldn't recommend it - it's more of a business hotel.  Not charming at all, but it was nice to be at the hotel where Viking is situated as the Seine River was too high because of recent rains so the boat had to stay in Conflans.  We wouldn't have known this if there wasn't a Viking representative at the hotel!  We opted to take a cab to Conflans instead of waiting for the bus.  Sure glad we did as it was only about a 45 mins cab ride - we arrived about Noon, our cabin was ready, we had lunch, was unpacked and were already out walking the time the bus showed up.

 

Where do I start about how wonderful Viking is?  Might be easier if I list all the pluses (there are no negatives).  They are very much like Vantage, but just a little classier.

 

1.  Cabins are very nice, the bed and pillows were super comfy - we slept very well!  Our cabin had a huge picture window which opened!  We spent a lot of time just relaxing, reading and watching the world go by from our room!  Bottled water was provided in the cabin and our cabin person (Loretta) was excellent!  Every night there was a towel animal and a special note from her, even one wishing us a Happy Anniversary!

 

2.  The Hotel Manager, Oliver, was very nice and personable - and was always around chatting with everyone.

 

3.  The Cruise Director, Annika, was one of the best I have ever met!  I don't know when she slept because she was always around socializing and providing information.  She was super nice, made us all feel important and kept us informed of everything!  Everything ran smoothly!  The front desk was staffed 24 hours with the best people!

 

4.  Food was excellent and the staff amazing!  At our first dinner, every lady received a red rose!  Such a nice touch!  For breakfast, they had a nice buffet or you could order off the menu (or do both!).  They even served breakfast on the last morning, even a lite breakfast for one couple who had to be off the boat by 5:30 am.  Lunch was the same - nice salad bar and good menu.  Dinner was menu only with lots of choices, or you could always have steak, chicken or salmon.  I had salmon two nights and it was excellent!  I heard that the steak was also very good.

 

5.  The day of our Normandie Tour, it was an all day trip and very cold.  Upon arriving back at the boat, they had hot towels and hot chocolate waiting for us as we boarded!  Once again, a simply thing, but so appreciated!  They also provided bottled water every time there was a shore excursion.

 

This was the most fun, relaxing and well organized trip we have ever taken.  We will take Viking again!  So, if you get any information on a Holland or Italy boat cruise on Viking, let me know!

 

Thanks again for all your help - it was greatly appreciated and you made our 30th wedding anniversary trip a huge success!

 

Dick and Jeanine

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Thriving Cruise Port of Baltimore

You may know Baltimore as a terrific Eastern seaboard city, but did you know it’s also a great cruise ship port? Baltimore’s position on the map makes it an easy “drive-to” port for more than 40 million people. Currently, about 100 cruises embark from the Port of Baltimore each year. And, ships depart all year long: a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled boarding bridge will keep you warm as you board a ship for a winter cruise to the Caribbean.

Depending on the season, ships depart from Baltimore for New England and Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas or the Caribbean. For example, the port of Baltimore can send you:

·       On a brief but relaxing cruise to Bermuda and back.

·       On a roundtrip cruise to Port Canaveral, Fla.; Nassau in the Bahamas; and Key West, Fla.

·       To the Eastern Caribbean, with stops such as San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

·       To the western Caribbean, featuring ports like Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman Island; and Cozumel, Mexico.

·       To the coast of New England and Canada, with visits to historic seaports like Boston, Mass.; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fall is the prime time for these cruises, when you can admire colorful leaves against dark evergreens.

A roundtrip cruise from Baltimore also presents a terrific opportunity to explore this historic city for a few days before or after your cruise. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, once a center of shipping that fell into disuse as ships became larger and heavier, has been beautifully redeveloped as a neighborhood that connects the city with the waterfront. There are award-winning parks and plazas, hotels, shops, and lots of places to feast on fresh seafood.

The Inner Harbor is home to the National Aquarium, an amazing attraction where you can see more than 650 species of fish, reptiles, birds and more. Be sure to check out the shark tank, the Atlantic coral reef exhibit and the bottlenose dolphins.

It’s a short walk from the Inner Harbor to Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles and the Sports Legends Museum in a beautiful former railroad station. Or, take a water taxi to explore Fort McHenry or the Fells Point neighborhood.

For more information about things to do in Baltimore before or after your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Caribbean Getaway: Dominican Republic

Winter is approaching quickly, and it’s prime time to book one of the best winter getaways: a Caribbean cruise. Be sure to take a look at itineraries that include the Dominican Republic, which continues to develop as a vacation paradise.

Christopher Columbus claimed the island of Hispaniola for Spain on his 1492 voyage of exploration. About 200 years later, the Spanish ceded the western third of the island – now known as Haiti – to France. Spain retained the eastern two-thirds of the island, the present-day Dominican Republic.

In the capital city of Santo Domingo, cruise ships dock at the Sansouci Pier, the main cruise terminal. It’s a quick taxi ride to the sights of the city, which include the Zona Colonial (Colonial City), a UNESCO World Heritage site with the first cathedral, first hospital and first fort built in the Americas.

No one is certain where the remains of Christopher Columbus lie, but residents of Santo Domingo will tell you they are at El Faro a Colon, where a tomb is watched over by an impressive lighthouse. Pope John Paul II visited during the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival, and his “Popemobile” is still on display.

To explore shops, restaurants and casinos, head to the Malecon, an oceanside walkway. Or, choose an excursion to the town of Boca Chica, which has great shopping and a lovely beach dotted with food stalls that offer local specialties, such as empanadas stuffed with fresh fish, rice and spices.

Some ships that call on Santo Domingo also visit La Romana, a town next to the resort village of Casa de Campo. Many cruise ship visitors take a shuttle up to Altos de Chav√≥n, a hilltop re-creation of a 16th-century European village. The lovely stone buildings house restaurants, art galleries and shops with handiwork from local artisans. Don’t miss the 5,000-seat Roman-style amphitheater or St. Stanislaus Church and plaza, a popular site for weddings. There’s also a museum of archaeology with a collection of pre-Columbian artifacts found in the area.

Serious golfers will love the resort’s 18-hole course, Teeth of the Dog, ranked 46th in the world by Golf Magazine in 2013. Visit the Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Wonders) to see fascinating cave drawings; or, simply relax on nearby Bayahibe Beach.

To select a Caribbean cruise that will take you to the Dominican Republic, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Travel Agents Provide Valuable Service

While talking about how technology has changed the workplace, President Obama recently said that travel agents no longer exist. With all due respect, we must disagree. Not only do travel agents still exist, they provide significant value to the traveling public. We know this because our clients regularly tell us so.

A vacation is a big investment, and travel agents can ensure that travelers receive the best value for their vacation dollars. Travel professionals have access to deals, discounts and special offers that are not available to the general public. And, their long-standing relationships with a variety of preferred travel and lodging providers enable them to offer airline, hotel, restaurant and tour reservations that travelers can’t easily make on their own.

Travel agents love to travel, and their first-hand experiences – combined with their professional training – give them the expertise needed to provide wise travel guidance. They are passionate about their work and continually research new destinations and the best ways to get there.

Agents are also trained to listen and understand what clients really want from their vacation investment. There’s no need to wade through hundreds of confusing online travel offers when a travel professional can narrow it down to the best options in a fraction of the time.

Travel professionals can help with everything from a simple weekend getaway to a complex, lengthy trip involving multiple destinations and a mix of lodging, tours and transportation. They are also essential to smooth group travel – such as a wedding or a family reunion – getting everyone where they need to be on time and on budget.

Possibly the very best reason to work with a travel agent is peace of mind. You’ll rest easy knowing that you made a good investment of your vacation budget. And, a travel agent’s service to you doesn’t stop after your reservations are made. Call your agent if you have questions, need to make changes before you leave, or need help while you’re on your vacation.

Travel agents are committed to providing the best possible service: after all, they want you to come back to them for your future travel needs. In addition to handling all the details of your travel arrangements and reservations, they act as your advocate for quality and value in travel services.

That’s why travel professionals still exist. To find out more about what a travel professional can do for you, call Anita, your Cruise Holidays travel experts today.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Take a Distinctive Voyage

Booking a cruise lets you look forward to the thrill of sailing on the open sea, the ease of having everything you need right on board, and the excitement of seeing new places. And, when you work with a Cruise Holidays expert who specializes in cruises, you can look forward to some luxury amenities – at no additional cost.

Cruise Holidays’ Distinctive Voyages program selects sailings on premium cruise lines and on ships bound for some of the world’s most desirable destinations, then adds extra amenities to enhance your cruise experience. These extra touches include:

·       The services of a concierge host, who will be available to assist you and answer your questions throughout the voyage.

·       An invitation to a private cocktail reception where you can meet fellow passengers and make new friends to share in your cruise adventures.

·       An exclusive on-shore event that will truly be a highlight of your cruise. The details of the event depend on the destination, but it’s always designed to give you a true connection with the local culture.

For example, if your ship calls in Bangkok, Thailand, you might visit the extraordinary Sanctuary of Truth, an awe-inspiring temple adorned with traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. You’ll also see the stunning lakeside complex of Wat Yansangwararam, where temples of various architectural styles are set among landscaped gardens, and a 500-foot-tall Buddha is carved into the side of a mountain.

In Sorrento, Italy, you might be driven into the hills that look over the Amalfi Coast. As an honored guest at a family-owned farm, you would sample their outstanding mozzarella, olive oil and home-cured salami. Your hosts would also show you how they make Limoncello, the delicious lemon liqueur, using the fruit of their own lemon trees; and, teach you to make hand-rolled gnocchi for gnocchi alla Sorrentina.

These special on-shore events are arranged and guided by local experts to be a more personal type of shore excursion, available to just a few of the passengers on your ship.

Distinctive Voyages are not limited to just a few sailings – you can choose from more than 200. The special amenities are provided at no additional cost – consider it Cruise Holidays’ gift to you.

To learn more about Distinctive Voyages, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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