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, December 29, 2014

Popular Cruise Ships for 2015

Cruise Holidays recently conducted a survey of its agencies across North America, asking its cruise experts to use actual client booking data to help identify trends in cruise travel. We previously looked at the most popular destinations nationally and internationally; now, let’s look at the most popular ships, based on bookings for 2015.

1.     Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. This ship’s recent $7 million refurbishment added digital signage that makes it easier to find your way around the 3,600-passenger ship; a cupcake shop; an Italian restaurant; and a nursery for the youngest guests. Royal Caribbean’s signature entertainment features, including a surfing simulator and ice skating rink, make the ship a great choice for families.

2.     Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. First launched in 2009 with an innovative “neighborhoods” concept, this 5,400-passenger ship had a recent overhaul to add some of the dining and technology features found on the line’s newest ships. This March, the ship will unveil its Dynamic Dining program, with nearly 20 restaurants for passengers to choose from.

3.     Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Cruises. This 2,100-passenger ship serves as something of a laboratory; it’s where Celebrity tests out new dining and entertainment programs. Because there’s always something new on board, this ship tends to attract repeat passengers.

4.     Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. This is the nearly identical twin sister of the Oasis of the Seas, but some thoughtful touches make it unique. For example, the Allure features a casual hot dog stand, a cantina, the first Starbucks at sea, and some high-end shops that are not found on the Oasis.

5.     Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Cruises. This sophisticated, 3,046-passenger ship has all the popular features of the cruise line’s Solstice Class, including the grassy Lawn Club. It’s the largest ship in the Solstice Class, which allows more room for the luxurious suites, including the Reflection, Signature and AquaClass Spa suites.

Cruise Holidays also asked its experts which ships are most popular for group bookings (eight staterooms or more). Some of the ships above are in the top five for groups, too:

1.     Celebrity Summit, Celebrity Cruises
2.     Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Cruises
3.     Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
4.     Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Cruise Line
5.     Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

While these ships are currently among the most popular, keep in mind that there are more than 400 wonderful cruise ships available to you; and Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert will help you arrange to sail on any one of them!


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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Banana Coast Welcomes Cruise Ships to Honduras

There’s a new cruise destination in the Western Caribbean: the Banana Coast of Honduras. Until now, cruise ships could call at the island of Roatan, a world-class snorkeling and diving destination just off the coast, but there was no option for visiting the country’s mainland. Now, the port of Trujillo offers a gateway to the rest of Honduras.

Trujillo’s natural deep-water harbor is fringed by miles of beautiful white sand beach. It’s historic too, being the place where Christopher Columbus first made landfall on the mainland of the Americas in 1502. Trujillo is also the historical center of banana production on the north coast of Honduras.

The Banana Coast has a spectacular natural setting between the sparkling Bay of Trujillo and a pair of jungle-covered mountains, Mount Capiro and Mount Calentura. Although the Banana Coast is a new stop for cruise ships, there are already more than a dozen options for excursions on shore.

To provide a few examples, you can explore the extensive rainforest on ATVs; take a walking tour of a nature park and animal rescue center; or, get acquainted with the birds, animals and plants of Honduras during a day of kayaking through a mangrove forest. It’s a thrill to ride a beautiful horse down the pristine beach, or to venture into the forest in search of waterfalls. There are also historical tours that explore a 15th-century fortress, Trujillo’s town square and cathedral, and former consulates from the town’s days as the capital of Honduras.

There are also plenty of beach and water activities available, including snorkeling, river tubing, and white-water rafting. You could also make a humanitarian visit to a local orphanage, or learn about the native Garifuna, Miskito and Pech cultures.

Cruise itineraries that include the Banana Coast are likely to include other popular Western Caribbean destinations like Mexico’s Cozumel or Costa Maya, Belize or the Cayman Islands.

The Banana Coast expects to welcome about 50,000 cruise passengers this winter, and up to 100,000 next winter. To make sure that you’re among them, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Cutting-Edge Fitness at Sea

Cruise vacations are all about breaking away from your normal routine to relax and indulge in new places, tastes and activities. That can include breaking the mold of your usual exercise routine and trying some new ways of staying fit and healthy.

Most sizable cruise ships have impressively equipped gyms; plus, your onboard workout can feature an ocean view! Following are some of the most intriguing fitness opportunities at sea.

Holland America Line’s Cardio Ki-Bo Circuit classes. These classes combine aerobic conditioning, kickboxing and other moves to help release chi, the Chinese term for essential life energy. If KI-Bo sounds a bit too intense, try an aquaerobics or yoga class.

Cunard Line’s Pilates Institute at Sea. Pilates is a form of yoga that focuses on improving strength and flexibility, and the Queen Mary 2 has staff from the famed Pilates Institute who present lectures and lead personal and group sessions. You can learn to use Pilates to release tension, improve your ease of movement, and even fix your golf swing.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Flywheel Sports studios. This line’s newest ships, including Breakaway and Getaway, feature onboard branches of Flywheel Sports, a hi-tech cycling studio. Each class is choreographed to heart-pumping music that will keep you motivated. The Getaway also has a Nexersys interactive fight training module for high-intensity training against an avatar.

Princess Cruises’ “Core.Balance.Strength. Fitness Program.” This program combines specialized classes, nutritional guidance and lifestyle counseling to cultivate a balanced lifestyle long after your cruise. Activities include yoga, Pilates and spinning classes, along with individualized training.

Celebrity Cruises Zumba Classes. Zumba fitness classes, with their upbeat rhythms and easy-to-follow choreography, have become very popular on land and at sea. Celebrity’s fitness centers offer an amazing variety of Zumba classes, from Aqua Zumba in the pool to Zumba Gold for active, older adults.

One of the best things about trying a new fitness techniques on a cruise is that the fitness centers are often integrated with very fine spas. So, after a workout, you can relax with a massage, some aquatherapy or aromatherapy, or treat yourself to a facial or manicure.

Finally, there’s nothing better than walking off an enjoyable evening meal with a leisurely stroll on deck, beneath the stars and listening to the waves.

For more ideas about ramping up your fitness while at sea, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

River Cruising to Paris

The increasing variety of river cruise itineraries is making the non-coastal capitals of Europe more accessible to cruise travelers. Paris, France, is a perfect example: it’s 150 miles from the English Channel, and ocean-going ships must dock at the port of Le Havre or at Rouen. River cruise ships, however, can travel up the winding Seine river right into Paris, docking near the Eiffel Tower and other incredible sights in the City of Lights.

From the river, you’ll see some of the dozens of bridges that cross the Seine, including Pont Neuf, which connects both banks of the Seine to Île de la Cité, where Paris began. The island is home to the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris; climb the stairs inside the towers for a wonderful view of the city. There’s also Sainte-Chapelle, a royal chapel in the Gothic style; and the sobering history of the Conciergerie prison, where thousands of prisoners awaited execution during the French Revolution.

In addition to the Eiffel Tower, be sure to see the Arc de Triomphe, the magnificent arch that Napoleon intended as a monument to his military success. From the arch, follow the boulevard Champs-Élysées to Place de la Concorde, the city’s largest square. While King Louis XVI and other noteworthy Parisians were guillotined here during the French Revolution, much of the square’s history has been peaceful. Today, it’s decorated with fountains, statues and the stunning Luxor Obelisk.

Monmartre is a hilly neighborhood watched over by Sacre-Coeur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The beautiful dome and the gardens are open to the public. The steps are a popular place to sit in the evening as the lights of Paris come on.

Paris’ Musee du Louvre is simply one of the finest art museums in the world. Everyone wants to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there are also enormous collections of paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture, plus antiquities from the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Asian empires.

Beyond its monuments and museums, Paris is full of charming streets lined with unique shops, exceptional restaurants and delightful cafes. Plan to spend a few days in the city before or after a cruise on the Seine, and you’ll dream of the day that you can return! For more information, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Cruising the Adriatic

Traversed by sailors since ancient times, the Adriatic Sea sparkles between the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas. Today, the Adriatic welcomes cruise ships and passengers who appreciate this relaxed, scenic part of the world.

A northern arm of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic has something of a split personality. The western shore – essentially, the long eastern coast of Italy – is known for gentle water and sandy beaches. The eastern shore, shared by Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania, has dramatic, with rocky islands and cliffs that rise from the water, backed by inland mountains covered with deep green forest.

Many cruises of the Adriatic begin or end in Venice, the dreamy city that occupies a series of islands in the delta of the River Po. Ornate bridges and romantic canals link the islands and the landmarks they hold, such as the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and its imposing cathedral. Venice is full of historic buildings that appear to float on the surface of the water: some are now museums, art galleries, artisan workshops, and pleasant cafes where you can sip caffè macchiato and watch life go by.

Croatia claims about half of the eastern shore of the Adriatic, and the gorgeous scenery includes more than 1,000 coastal islands. Some cruise ships drop anchor at the island of Hvar, known for its lavender fields, pretty beaches, and delicious red and white wines. On the mainland, the city of Dubrovnik, “Pearl of the Adriatic,” has become a mainstay of Adriatic cruises. Stroll among the red-roofed buildings in the walled Old City, or take the somewhat rigorous 1.5-mile walk along the top of the walls for wonderful views.

You’ll want to be awake and on deck during your ship’s approach to Kotor, Montenegro: the ship will sail up the Bay of Kotor, with stunning mountains on either side of the narrow waterway. Like Dubrovnik, Kotor has a well-preserved Old Town, dotted with lovely churches and peaceful squares. If you walk these city walls, you’ll eventually come to a long staircase up to a citadel built on the site of an ancient fortress.

Some cruises of the Adriatic also sail to the islands of Greece, or around the “boot” of the Italian Peninsula to Naples and Rome. To plan a cruise to this part of the Mediterranean, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

To Visit Rome, Sail into Civitavecchia

Rome, Italy, sits on the banks of the Tiber River but depends on Civitavecchia, a small city 50 miles to the northwest, to serve as its port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean. Civitavecchia, a commercial port since the second century, boasts a massive fort – part of it was designed by Michelangelo. Still, you won’t want to spend too much time there when all of Rome is waiting for you.

It’s a 20-minute walk from the port into Civitavecchia, but most cruise lines will have shuttles waiting to take you into town. There, you can board a bus or hire a taxi to get to Rome; the ride will take 90 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. There is also train service, which is a bit faster, delivering you to Rome in just over an hour. A knowledgeable travel consultant will also be able to assist with private transportation options.

There’s a lot to see in Rome, and there are a variety of shore excursions to help you make the most of your time there. If you’d like to see as much of the city as possible, choose a tour that will take you to several iconic sites, such as the Colosseum, the Forum and Vatican City.

If you’d like to focus on just a few of Rome’s many treasures, you can choose an excursion that focuses on the Colosseum and its incredible history; Rome’s beautiful churches, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore; or the Appian Way and the Catacombs of Domitilla, to name just a few possibilities.

You can forgo an official shore excursion and explore on your own, but remember that your cruise ship will not wait for you if you lose track of time while touring the Eternal City (it’s easy to do).

Excursions in Rome may include a significant amount of walking over cobblestones and up steps; choose one that offers the right pace and level of activity for you. Also, dress appropriately if you will visit religious sites: bare shoulders, shorts and skirts above the knee are not appropriate. Finally, if you see the beautiful Trevi Fountain, toss in a coin, which is said to ensure your return to Rome.

For more information about cruises that call on Civitavecchia/Rome, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
  

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Ebola: What Travelers Should Know


Travelers who are concerned that simply being on a plane or cruise ship with someone who has been exposed to the Ebola virus could lead to infection should be reassured by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, who reports that, Ebola is not highly contagious; and, the virus does not travel through the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the Ebola virus spreads only through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person who is actively displaying the symptoms of the disease.

Ebola virus disease is a certainly a serious health concern, especially in West Africa, where the largest outbreak ever continues to claim victims. In an abundance of caution, the travel industry is taking steps to further reduce the extremely low risk of contracting Ebola from a fellow traveler.

For example, the Cruise Lines International Association worked with public health authorities to develop guidelines for its member cruise lines. These include denial of boarding to anyone:

  • Arriving from a country with a Level 3 health warning (at this writing, this includes Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).
  • Who traveled to, in or through those countries within 21 days before embarkation.
  • Who had physical contract with or helped care for a person with Ebola virus disease within 21 days before embarkation.


The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security have also implemented enhanced screening at the five U.S. airports that receive more than 94% of travelers from West Africa.

Cruise Holidays’ travel experts can provide the latest Ebola outbreak information to help clients make informed decisions about travel to Africa. Much of this vast continent lies far from the outbreak. For example, the safari parks of South Africa are roughly 6,000 miles from Ebola’s epicenter in West Africa – a bit more than the distance between Los Angeles and Madrid, Spain. 

If you’ll be traveling in the near future and are concerned about Ebola, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays travel expert, about purchasing travel insurance, which can offer an additional layer of protection and assistance in any type of medical or travel emergency. Your travel expert will also be available to you during your trip and can make alternate travel arrangements as needed; that’s good for your peace of mind!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Los Cabos Update


Los Cabos, the delightful Mexican resort area and cruise ship port at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, is rebounding quickly from the effects of Hurricane Odile. The storm came ashore September 14, 2014, as a powerful category 3 hurricane; it was the strongest storm to make landfall on the peninsula in more than 45 years.

While Odile temporarily left nearly the entire state of Baja California Sur without power or water, cleanup in Los Cabos began immediately. The small Cabo San Lucas airport had no damage to its runways and was back in operation as soon as the storm passed; the larger San Jose del Cabo International Airport reopened to domestic and international flights on October 3. Most year-round flights from U.S. airports have resumed, and seasonal service from the U.S. is expected to operate as usual beginning this month.

Essential services, including power, water, phone, Internet, sanitation and public transportation have all been restored in Los Cabos. Some hotels and resorts had only minor storm damage: with some fresh paint and carefully cleaned beaches, they are now welcoming visitors. About a dozen resorts with significant structural damage are busy making repairs and have scheduled re-opening dates from December 2014 through April 2015.

Cruise ships retuned to the port of Cabo San Lucas in early October, with shore excursion operators, water taxis, restaurants and souvenir stands ready to welcome and serve the passengers.

Perhaps best of all, the natural wonders of Los Cabos were not damaged by powerful Hurricane Odile. The famous rock formations of Land’s End still rise above the water where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez; the small, rocky islands are still dotted by sea lions basking in the sun. Diving, snorkeling and surfing in and around Los Cabos is as wonderful as ever, and the area’s world-class sport fishing seems to be unaffected by the storm.

If you already have plans to visit Los Cabos this winter, check with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal travel expert, to make sure that your resort is ready to welcome you or that your cruise line hasn’t changed the itinerary. If you’d like to make plans to visit, be assured that fun-loving Los Cabos is ready to welcome you, better than ever.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Distinctive Cruise Regions of the Caribbean

For a winter cruise vacation, who can resist the warm breezes, soft sand and swaying palms of the Caribbean? The Caribbean lies close to North America, but offers a completely different world of tranquil lagoons, coral reefs alive with colorful sea life, festive music and spicy flavors. Now is the perfect time to explore your options for a winter Caribbean cruise getaway.

The Eastern Caribbean includes the American and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten/St. Martin. Many Eastern Caribbean cruises also include islands that technically lie north of the Caribbean, such as the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. This is a well-developed cruise region with lots of welcoming ports and activities for visitors, including beaches, watersports, boat tours, fishing, tours of historic sites, hiking and duty-free shopping. You can embark from home ports stretching from Miami to as far north as New York City; some cruises, especially those that include Southern Caribbean ports, depart from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The islands of the Southern Caribbean – including St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada and the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) – tend to be a bit quieter and even more culturally diverse then their Eastern Caribbean counterparts. Many of the islands retain a strong colonial; for example, French-speaking St. Barth’s is like a little bit of Paris dropped into the tropics (there are also interesting buildings left over from its time as a Swedish colony). These islands offer a stunning variety of landscapes, from the distinctive twin peaks (the Pitons) of St. Lucia to the cactus-dotted hills and flat volcanic plain of Aruba. While it’s possible to embark on Southern Caribbean cruises from northern homeports, more often they depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or San Juan.

The Western Caribbean is a family cruise favorite, though it’s a lovely romantic and spring break destination, too. This region includes Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cozumel and the Caribbean coastlines of Mexico and Belize. Mexico’s Costa Maya blends modern attractions – such as dolphin adventures, zip lines and ecoparks – with impressive historical sites, including the archeological sites in Tulum and Chichen Itza. There are white sand beaches separated by rocky headlands; just off the coast is the world’s second-longest barrier reef. This region is served by an array of convenient homeports along the Eastern and Gulf Coasts, including Houston and New Orleans.

To plan your winter getaway to the warmth and sun of the Caribbean, talk with Anita, your travel professional.


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Cruise Holidays Wins 3 Magellan Awards

The critics have spoken, and in 2014, Cruise Holidays International has won three prestigious Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly. The awards were bestowed in the categories of Marketing as well as Agent Innovation.

Specifically, Cruise Holidays brought home the highest honor, Gold, for its Compass magazine. Compass is a glossy, full-color magazine delivered to Cruise Holidays clients, filled with interesting destinations and offerings from some of the most luxurious cruise lines.

Cruise Holidays won a Silver Magellan Award for www.cruiseholidays.com, the website that is constantly being updated with valuable offers for clients. The website received a facelift in 2014, with new descriptions of destinations around the world, plus more information about exciting resort vacations.  All this information is available on our local website, www.attheta.com.

Finally, Cruise Holidays received a Silver Magellan Award in the Agency Innovation category for AgentMate. AgentMate is not something clients typically hear about, because it is a system used behind the scenes by Cruise Holidays agents. However, this is the piece of technology that enables agents to search for pricing that is equal to or better than what customers may find on the Internet, and it is also chock-full of offers that allow agents to provide certain “extras” to clients, such as a free bottle of wine or an onboard credit for your cruise vacation. Furthermore, AgentMate is tied into the accounting system of Cruise Holidays agencies. Simply put, it helps agents spend less time on technology and more time doing what they do best: finding you the right vacation for the right price!

This is the third year running that Cruise Holidays has been named a multiple-category winner in the Magellan Awards. The next time you are thinking about booking a vacation, keep in mind these award-winning services and how they can be put to use to help you plan that dream vacation.


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Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy Holidays on a Cruise

As the days grow shorter and cooler, the cruise industry has a tempting offer for you: a cruise to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or whatever winter holiday you most like to celebrate.
If your immediate reaction is that you can’t imagine being away from home, family and friends during the holidays, take just a moment to think about this:

You can take your family and friends with you. You can be together with the fun of celebrating the holidays in a new way. Cruise ships can accommodate groups of all sizes, and your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can make everyone’s flight and cruise reservations. Depending on the size of your group, you may qualify for special discounts. It could be the start of a new tradition!

You can relax as never before. Holidays at home are lovely, but they can also involve a lot of work: cooking, cleaning, more cooking, more cleaning...on a cruise ship, those tasks are done for you: you can simply enjoy time with your loved ones.

You won’t miss out on the magic of the season. Well, there won’t be any real snow on board (except maybe on a European Christmas Market river cruise). But, that will be about all that’s missing, because cruise ships turn into sparkling wonderlands for the holidays. Pumpkins and other harvest decorations abound at Thanksgiving, then give way to the snowmen, decorated trees, menorahs and sleighs full of gifts that exemplify the winter holidays. Many ships have special holiday meals, services and entertainment, too.

You can simplify your holiday shopping. Depending on your holiday budget, you can give some or all of the cruise fare to your loved ones as a gift. If friends and family members will pay their own way, you can work with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to arrange welcome baskets, shore excursions, or onboard spa services as special gifts. And, just imagine the keepsakes you can purchase in port for your friends back home.

You can go somewhere warm and beautiful. There are lots of possibilities, including the Caribbean, South America and the Pacific coast of Mexico. If you would like to venture farther from home, there’s the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and Africa, too.
If you’re ready to find out more about holiday cruising, contact Anita, your Cruise Holidays expert, for personalized guidance. Then, get ready for one of the happiest holidays ever.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Personalize Your Travel

In some wonderful ways, many cruise vacations are the same: they take nearly an all-inclusive approach to pricing, they appeal to all ages (depending on the cruise line), they accommodate groups of many sizes, and they offer a mix of relaxation, activity and adventure. Still, each cruise passenger is unique, and there are lots of ways to personalize the cruise experience.

Personalization begins with your choice of ship and itinerary. Are you looking for simple elegance or family-oriented fun? Would you like an onboard cultural education program, or do you yearn to relax on warm, sandy beaches? All of these options – and more – are available, and your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you select your ideal ship and itinerary.

After you select a cruise, consider the shore excursions. This is an area where you can truly personalize your cruise. Depending on your destination, you could take a helicopter ride up a mountain and ski down, snorkel along a coral reef, or learn to prepare local specialties and pair them with the right wines, to name just a few possibilities. If you want to do something really special, talk with your personal cruise expert: it may be possible to work with the cruise line to organize a fully customized excursion.

When it comes to dining, cruise lines have made great strides in catering to individual tastes. Many ships offer multiple specialty restaurants (some designed by famous chefs) that serve a variety of cuisines.  In a single cruise, you could enjoy the tastes of Tuscany, Japanese hibachi, classic French cooking, American steakhouse fare and more.

You can also personalize your vacation by adding a pre- or post-cruise stay in your ship’s homeport. Your personal cruise expert can make your land-based arrangements, too, and can help you pick a great hotel.

Just like cruise ships, hotels are adding features that help guests personalize their stay: for example, “pillow menus” let guests select their preferred level of firmness or fluffiness. Some hotels are using social media to gather helpful information about their guests and provide information to them: for example, if the hotel staff knows your dining preferences, they can send you a list of suggested restaurants.

Personalizing your travel experiences is easy when you work with a knowledgeable travel professional. Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about your preferences, and she will do everything possible to assure a wonderful experience tailored to your tastes.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Website Puts a World of Travel Information at Your Fingertips

Finding a Cruise Holidays expert, seeing the latest on special offers, learning about destinations that interest you: it’s all easy to do on our convenient website, www.attheta.com. Recently, the site was expanded to provide you with more vacation ideas and information, available at a click of your mouse.

Because Cruise Holidays can do even more for you than arrange your next cruise, check out the new Resorts/Tours section. Cruise Holidays can arrange land-based vacation packages as an alternative or an addition to a cruise vacation. Close relationships with dozens of respected hotel and resort operators mean that Cruise Holidays can arrange a land-based vacation just about anywhere you’d like to go. And, your Cruise Holidays expert’s ability to package a hotel or resort stay with air travel, ground transportation – like rental cars or a limo to the port – will be a great value and save you time.

If you dream of a land-based vacation with multiple destinations, Cruise Holidays can also provide options for an escorted tour that will introduce you to a new part of the world or reacquaint you with a place you’ve been before. Partnerships with the world’s best tour operators give your Cruise Holidays expert access to the best tours on all seven continents.

As for cruises, another new section on the Cruise Holidays site will help you find a specific type of onboard experience. The Specialty Cruises section provides more information about:

Distinctive Voyages, which feature an onboard host who serves as a resource for you on your cruise, a private cocktail reception, and an exclusive shore event that will connect you with the local culture – all compliments of Cruise Holidays.

Group Cruises, which Cruise Holidays can arrange just for your group, whether it’s a family reunion, a business retreat, or simply a group of friends who want to cruise together.

Singles Cruises, with lots of social activities for solo travelers who want to enjoy the cruise experience with new friends.

River Cruises, for cruise travelers who want to visit the interior of Europe or Asia, docking in the heart of riverside towns and stepping off the ship right into the local culture.

Luxury Cruises for travelers who are interested in the elegant and intimate cruise experiences offered by high-end, luxury cruise lines.

To find out more about everything that Cruise Holidays can do to make your next vacation fabulous and memorable, contact Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, or go to our website, www.attheta.com


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Monday, September 8, 2014

Zip Line Adventures

Zip lines – gravity-propelled, off-the-ground pulley and cable systems – are booming in popularity and are in high demand as cruise shore excursions. The cruise lines meet their guests’ desire to zip through the air, offering zip line adventures in many ports around the globe. It’s a great way to see scenery – forest canopies, mountains, remote waterfalls – that would be difficult to see from a lower vantage point.

Zip lines had humble beginnings, serving as practical transportation down mountains or across river valleys. Today, most zip lines are used for entertainment and adventure: riders say the feeling is something like flying. Reputable zip line operators follow careful procedures; steel cables and strong harnesses assure comfort and safety, along with an exhilarating experience.

Since 2007, more than 40,000 cruise ship guests have ridden the zip line at Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska, where the adventure begins with a scenic ride up the mountain (keep an eye out for bears!). At 1,300 feet above sea level, guests are secured into special harness seats. Six zip lines run side-by-side, so you can glide along with family members and friends, although it may not be possible to ensure you all go the same pace.

Icy Strait Point’s zip lines are more than a mile long, and the 1,300-foot vertical drop means you can reach speeds of 60 mph or more. You’ll be above the treetops most of the way, with stunning views of Icy Strait and Port Frederick: you may even spot majestic bald eagles or whales.

Two of the most important things you can do prepare for your ride are: wear closed shoes that will stay securely on your feet; and, listen carefully to all instructions, including how to stop!

Some zip line adventures are combine with rope courses to provide a fitness challenge, and some include a hike up to the starting point. Be sure that you’re in proper shape for the zip line excursion you choose: an experienced travel agent should be able to provide more information. Zip lining is not recommended for people who are uncomfortable with heights, who are pregnant, or who have back injuries. Many zip lines have height, age, and/or weight requirements as well.

To find out where you can go zip lining on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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Monday, September 1, 2014

Quantum of the Seas to Sail From Shanghai

There’s a growing demand for cruise vacations in Asia, and the first ship in Royal Caribbean’s highly anticipated new Quantum Class, the Quantum of the Seas, will make Shanghai, China, its home port beginning in summer 2015. The new ship will join two other Royal Caribbean ships in Asia, the Mariner of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. The Quantum’s 2,090 staterooms will increase the cruise line’s capacity in the region by 66 percent.
                         
Before heading to China, the new ship will make its inaugural sailing from the Cape Liberty cruise port in Bayonne, NJ, this November. Through April 2015, the Quantum of the Seas will sail a variety of itineraries to the Bahamas, including a “Holidays in The Bahamas” cruise December 20-27; and to the Caribbean, calling on islands such as Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and Barbados.

In May, the Quantum of the Seas will cross the Atlantic to Barcelona, Spain, then on to Dubai via the Suez Canal. At the end of May, the ship will reposition to Singapore before sailing on to Shanghai.

To meet the continuing demand for cruises departing from the New York City area, Royal Caribbean will move the Liberty of the Seas to Cape Liberty for the summer and fall of 2015. A second Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas, is scheduled to sail from Cape Liberty for the winter 2015-2016 cruise season.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships will boast some exciting, first-at-sea onboard experiences, including a skydiving simulator and the North Star, a glass capsule that will transport guests more than 300 feet in the air for spectacular views. New onboard venues will include SeaPlex, an indoor sports and entertainment complex with bumper cars, roller skating and more. 

Quantum-class ships will also do away with traditional dining rooms to offer a new type of dining experience called Dynamic Dining. There will be flexible dining options and 18 different restaurants, including specialty restaurants created with chefs Jamie Oliver, Devin Alexander and Michael Schwartz.

Royal Caribbean has not yet revealed where the Quantum of the Seas will go when it sails from Shanghai, but the itineraries are sure to feature some of the most desirable destinations in Asia. Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert,  to keep you informed of opportunities to sail on this exciting new ship.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Cruising into Bermuda

Lying 650 miles off the east coast of the U.S., the island nation of Bermuda is a terrific option for a relaxing cruise: the most common itinerary is five to seven nights, with Bermuda as the sole destination. The turquoise water, pink sand beaches, pastel-colored buildings and distinctly British traditions will enchant you.

The main cruise ship port is King’s Wharf, which can accommodate mid-size and larger ships. Located on Bermuda’s west end, it’s adjacent to the Royal Naval Dockyard, originally established in 1795 to keep an eye on French privateers and the United States. Now a museum, there are historical exhibits and treasures recovered from wrecked. Nearby sights include the Bermuda Arts Centre and a lighthouse that features 185 steps to a panoramic view.

When you’re ready to explore more of Bermuda – just 22 miles long and 2 miles wide – reliable bus and ferry systems can take you just about anywhere, including beaches, golf courses, and two other ports, Hamilton and St. George’s.

The mouth of the harbor and the dock facilities at Hamilton can only accommodate vessels less than 700 feet long, so if you’d like to dock there, choose a small ship. Hamilton’s central location makes it a convenient base for exploring all of Bermuda, but there’s lots to see and do right in town. The dock is steps from the retailers along Front Street – where you can buy classic Bermuda shorts and English tweeds – as well as restaurants and pubs. It’s fun to stroll among the charming buildings until it’s time for high tea.

Only the smallest cruise vessels are able to dock at St. George’s, and only when the weather and waves cooperate. But, an easy ferry ride from either King’s Wharf or Hamilton will bring you to this historic town of narrow streets and notable structures, including the Old State House, the Tucker House Museum and St. Peter’s Church. Nearby, you’ll find imposing Fort St. Catherine, great snorkeling in Tobacco Bay and amazing limestone caves.

Unlike the Caribbean, about 1,000 miles to the south, Bermuda isn’t a year-round cruise destination: the season runs from April through early November. Ships depart from Boston, New York, Cape Liberty (Bayonne), Baltimore and occasionally Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. A few itineraries that combine a stay in Bermuda with other destinations, such as New England/Maritime Canada or the Bahamas.

For more information on a cruise to Bermuda, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Crossing the Atlantic on a Cruise

If you’re looking for great value in a cruise that will sail across a wide swath of the globe, consider a trans-Atlantic cruise. And, if the description “trans-Atlantic” brings to mind ships that require a big travel budget and formal attire every night, be assured that we’re talking about different kind of experience.

Twice a year, cruise lines reposition some of their ships – including some of the newest and most sought-after – between North America and Europe. For example, in the fall, ships that have been sailing fall color itineraries in New England and Maritime Canada might reposition to the Mediterranean for the winter; ships that have been calling on the ports that ring the Baltic Sea might reposition to the Caribbean. In the spring, the trans-Atlantic pattern is reversed.

Rather than let their ships cross the Atlantic empty, cruise lines sell “repositioning” cruises to vacationers who are eager to try a different kind of cruise experience. Trans-Atlantic crossings usually take six days or more, providing a string of tranquil, relaxing days at sea. Don’t worry that you’ll be bored: in addition to all the usual onboard activities and entertainment, the cruise lines organize special-interest classes, expert speakers, card tournaments, culinary demonstrations, movies and much more.

Depending on the length of the cruise, your ship may make some interesting port calls. For example, a ship that repositions from Northern Europe to Florida might take a northerly route and call on unusual places like the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Ships on their way to the Mediterranean might call on Bermuda, the Azores, and Gibraltar.

Because they are one-way routes, trans-Atlantic repositioning cruises are often available at discounted fares. Vacationers who can drive to the port of embarkation can also save on airfare, as they only have to purchase a one-way ticket. Some cruise lines even include air travel in the fares for repositioning cruises.

Because you’ll spend lots of time on the ship, pay special attention to shipboard features, stateroom amenities, and entertainment and dining options when you select a trans-Atlantic cruise. For more information and guidance regarding trans-Atlantic cruises, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Cruising Can Be So Cool

Warm-weather cruising is terrific, especially in the depths of winter, when a cruise to the sunny Mediterranean, Caribbean or South Pacific brings welcome warmth. But, during a hot summer, it’s also nice to cruise to a destination where the days are long and pleasantly cool.

Alaska’s summer high temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, great for outdoor activities and sightseeing. After a day of salmon fishing, panning for gold, kayaking or zip-lining, snuggle up in a deck chair to watch the scenery of forests, mountain peaks and glaciers. The Alaska cruise season runs from mid-May to mid-September, which is also when the northern sky stays light well past 10 p.m.

Cruise ships call on Reykjavik, Iceland, from late spring through September, taking advantage of the long daylight hours and pleasant temperatures in the 50s. Cruise ship visitors love to tour the city’s quirky and often colorful architecture; take boat tours to islands inhabited by cute Puffin birds; and shop for the hand-knitted Icelandic wool sweaters that keep the locals warm. For a therapeutic experience, visit the Blue Lagoon, a pool of mineral-rich, geothermally heated water set in a rugged landscape of lava rock.

Tromso, Norway, is north of the Arctic Circle, but summer brings temperatures in the 50s. For much of July, there’s daylight nearly 24 hours a day. Tromso is home to the world’s northernmost university, which contributes to its lively character. The city center has a notable collection of historic wooden homes and a Gothic Revival-style cathedral. A more modern church, the Arctic Cathedral, has a sleek design of concrete, steel and glass. Take the cable car up Mt. Storsteinen for a panoramic view of mountains, water and islands.

If you don’t want to wait until next summer to take a refreshingly cool cruise, consider sailing the Chilean Fjords this winter. From October through March – the South American summer – daytime temperatures average in the 60s. Cruise ships sail along Chile’s southern coast for views of stunning fjords, ice fields and glaciers. Puerto Montt, gateway to the Lakes District, was settled by German immigrants and is like a piece of Bavaria in southern Chile. If you can tear yourself away from the pretty waterfront, enjoy the beautiful scenery while hiking, rafting, fishing or horseback riding.

To discover more destinations for cool-weather cruising, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

London Calls to Cruise Enthusiasts

While London is on one of Britain’s most important waterways, the River Thames is about 40 miles from the nearest seaport. Still, London is a feature of many ocean cruise itineraries, including cruises of the British Isles, Baltic Sea and North Sea. If you can add a few days in London to the beginning or end of a cruise, you’ll have a wonderful land and sea experience.

Only a few small (and often luxurious) ships are able to dock in or close to London, either at Tower Bridge, in the historic suburb of Greenwich, or at a small cruise terminal at Tilbury. From any of those locations, it’s a quick ride via cab, Underground or train into the city.

It’s more likely that your ship will dock at Dover or Southampton on the English Channel, or Harwich on the North Sea. All three are just an hour or two from London via train. Harwich is a quiet port, but at Dover, you may want to walk atop the famed white cliffs and tour Dover Castle. At Southampton, be sure to look around the historic waterfront: this is where the Mayflower set sail for the New World and where the Titanic began its tragic maiden voyage.

Take a twirl on the London Eye, a huge Ferris wheel on the south bank of the Thames, to get a birds-eye overview of the city. The Houses of Parliament, St. Stephen’s Tower and its clock, Big Ben, are especially stunning when viewed across the river. Stroll through a chain of beautiful parks – St. James, Green, Hyde and Kensington– stopping to admire Buckingham and Kensington Palaces.

The layout of London’s streets is baffling, but its center is very walkable, with a cozy pub, fashionable boutique, or national treasure seemingly on every block. Like many of London’s museums, the British Museum charges no admission to see priceless items such as the Rosetta Stone, suits of armor, Egyptian mummies and Greek antiquities.

In the evening, enjoy one of London’s many excellent restaurants – the city’s dining scene has become fabulously diverse – and take in a show at one of the theaters around Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus.

As fall approaches, cruise ships will begin to leave the region for winter cruising in the Mediterranean; ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about repositioning cruises that can take you from London all the way to Italy or Greece.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Win a 7-Night Cruise for Two


Social media is a great way to connect with the cruise experts at Cruise Holidays – now, it’s also a great way to win a cruise for two!

Cruise Holidays has kicked off its third annual Facebook Cruise Giveaway. Through August 31, visit www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel and enter to win a 7-night cruise for two in a balcony-equipped cabin aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. If you’re the lucky winner, your Cruise Holidays expert will help you select a ship and itinerary. They can also answer all of your questions and provide ideas for shore excursions, advice on what to pack, ideas for extending your vacation with a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay, and much more.

Norwegian Cruise Line is known for its casual and fun approach to cruising. The dress code is relaxed and flexible: many passengers enjoy dressing up in the evening, but there’s no requirement to do so. All Norwegian ships have multiple dining venues, so it’s possible to find everything from a juicy steak to sushi. Top-notch entertainment includes Broadway-caliber shows, comedy, live bands and piano bars. The onboard pools, casinos, spas and gyms are terrific, too.

Norwegian’s home ports in the U.S. and Canada include Boston, New York, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver. Its ships sail to New England, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Hawaii and Alaska. Norwegian ships sail in Europe, too.

When you enter the Cruise Holidays Facebook Cruise Giveaway, bookmark the Cruise Holidays Facebook page so that you’ll always have easy access to the latest cruise news and information. The photos, information and comments posted by the Cruise Holidays team and their cruise-loving clients can inspire you to choose a destination for your next cruise.

The page also gives you a way to connect with your Cruise Holidays team at any time: simply send them a Facebook message. They can answer your questions about destinations, ships, shore excursions, what to bring and what to expect on board.

Connecting via Facebook also gives your Cruise Holidays team the opportunity to get to know you, which helps them provide cruise ideas and information – including special fares, discounts and promotions – that perfectly match your travel interests and aspirations. In return, you’ll receive expert advice from experienced travel professionals who understand cruising – and who have traveled extensively via cruise themselves.

Don’t wait – enter the Cruise Holidays Facebook Cruise Giveaway today!


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Monday, July 21, 2014

The New Power Yachts of Windstar

Windstar Cruises, which recently renovated its three masted cruise ships, is adding to its fleet. The first of three new “power yachts” (no sails) is the Star Pride, which carries 212 guests and makes each one feel that they are on their own private yacht. Two more power yachts, Star Breeze and Star Legend, will join the fleet in May 2015. The small ships maintain the Windstar tradition of visiting secluded coves and other places that large ships can’t go.

Star Pride is an all-suite ship, and every suite has ocean views. Some have picture windows, some have French-style balconies, and some have private verandas. Each elegant suite also features Internet access, fresh flowers and fruit, and a private bath with granite countertops and a full-sized tub.

Like the accommodations, the dining choices are sumptuous. Amphora, the main restaurant, serves Continental cuisine in a relaxed, open-seating venue. Veranda combines buffet-style service with made-to-order grilled items during the day; at night, it transforms into Candles Grill, with steaks and table service under the stars.

Star Pride’s public spaces are designed with the same casual elegance as its suites. These include the Yacht Club, top-deck observation area with a coffee bar and a comfortable lounge. Compass Rose is a place to socialize, with live music every evening. The Star Bar offers casual drinks by day and a view of the stars by night.

Star Pride and its sister ships will maintain some beloved Windstar traditions, including the Open Bridge experience: guests are invited to come to the bridge while the yacht is at sea to talk with the officers and view the navigational chart. The new ships will also be equipped with Windstar’s Watersports Platform, which gives guests the opportunity to swim and enjoy other watersports right from the ship.

Star Pride was christened on May 5, 2014, in Barcelona, Spain, then set sail for Rome on a six-day inaugural voyage. Then it began sailing a special collection of 7-day and 9-day voyages, including itineraries in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Star Pride is also set to venture to ports in Arabia, India and Southeast Asia.

To find out more about where Windstar’s new Star Class power yachts can take you, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Venice

Venice, Italy, is a truly unique port of call on cruises of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Serene and elegant, with an air of genteel decay, the structures of Venice float just above the water of the Laguna Veneta. It’s a truly pedestrian city, as there are no cars: instead, water buses (vaporetti), water taxis and gondolas glide along the canals, taking visitors from one lovely sight to another.

The first stop for many visitors is the Saint Mark’s Square, a massive and gorgeous plaza surrounded by some of the most famous places in Venice, including opulent Saint Mark’s Basilica, which is beautiful inside and out. Next door is the impressive Doge’s Palace, another treasure trove of art and history: the palace’s prisons were difficult to escape, but the legendary romantic hero Casanova found a way. The plaza also has a bell tower that you can climb for a wonderful view. After touring, refresh yourself with a cappuccino at one of the plaza’s cafes, where the people-watching can be superb.

It’s easy to spend an entire day in the plaza, but there’s much more to see in and around Venice. Historic churches, museums and art galleries abound. Take a vaporetto along the curvy Grand Canal to see the famous Rialto Bridge, then browse the Rialto Market. To see the buildings along smaller canals where the vaporetti cannot go, take a romantic gondola ride.

Some of the islands in the Venice lagoon will delight you with their distinctive personalities. If you are interested in glassmaking, visit Murano and its famed glass factories. Burano is known for handmade lace. Giudecca is an island of historic homes, and Lido is the beach island of Venice.

While cruise ships of all sizes can currently sail directly into the Venice lagoon, larger cruise ships will soon take a different route. To help protect the lagoon, larger ships will be re-routed, most likely to the Contorta Sant’Angelo channel on the west side of Venice. While passengers on larger ships won’t be able to see as much of the historic part of the city as their ships approach, once docked it’s a quick water shuttle ride to Saint Mark’s Square and all the most stunning sights of Venice.

To select a cruise itinerary that will take you to the wonders of Venice, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Myanmar is Emerging as a River Cruise Destination

From north to south, the Irrawaddy River flows nearly straight through the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It’s been a vital commercial waterway for centuries; now, the mighty river is the main reason Myanmar is emerging as a river cruise destination.

Since a 50-year military dictatorship ended in 2011, Myanmar has been slowly opening up to the rest of the world. However, it’s one of the least-developed countries in Southeast Asia and lacks infrastructure for land-based tourism, which makes river cruising an excellent way to see some of the country’s incredible sights.

Most itineraries begin in the former capital of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), still the country’s largest city. There’s lovely architecture left over from British colonial days – check out the restored Strand Hotel. And, don’t miss Shwedagon Pagoda, considered the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. The gold and diamond-encrusted pagoda contains relics of four Buddhas and many colorful temples, statues and other works of art.

While it’s often the first stop on an Irrawaddy River cruise, Yangon isn’t on the river. A quick flight will take you to Pyay (if you’re sailing upstream) or Mandalay (if you’re traveling downstream).

Mandalay is Myanmar’s cultural and religious center, with Buddhist monasteries, more than 700 pagodas and a giant image of Buddha carved from a single block of marble. Mandalay Palace, home to the last kings of the Burmese monarchy, was mostly destroyed during World War II: but, a faithful replica was constructed in the 1990s.

As you sail the Irrawaddy, you might stop to visit the workshops of silversmiths, wood carvers and potters; bustling, fragrant markets; and strategically important forts. The lush scenery includes mountain ranges, steep valleys, rice paddies and forests of teak.

On the plains around the ancient city of Bagan, you’ll see the remains of more than 2,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Five times that many structures were originally raised between the 11th and 13th centuries, when the city was the capital of the Pagan Empire.

While Myanmar’s climate is tropical all year long, the May to October rainy season makes November through April prime time for river cruising.

With many miles of coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, Myanmar is poised to become a destination for ocean-going cruises, too. To make your plans to see Myanmar via cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sailing from New York

The vibrant city of New York is a capital of serious business, fine dining, top entertainment and great shopping. It’s also a major cruise port. From the cruise ship docks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Cape Liberty (New Jersey), you can sail a dozen cruise lines to destinations like the British Isles, Europe, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, New England and Maritime Canada. Some destinations, including the Bahamas and the Caribbean, are available all year.

At the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, Piers 88 and 90 accommodate some of the world’s largest cruise ships. The terminal is on the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, walking distance from Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Plaza, the Broadway theater district and Times Square. Or, head downriver to Chelsea Piers, which have been redeveloped as an entertainment complex where you can bowl, ice skate, practice your baseball swing or rent a kayak.

The Brooklyn Cruise terminal is in the historic and revitalized Red Hook neighborhood along the Buttermilk Channel, with views of Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The neighborhood features a growing number of shops and restaurants; or, if you’re there in summer, head to the Red Hook Ball Fields to sample the delicious tastes served by a collection of food trucks. It’s a quick taxi ride to attractions like Prospect Park, which features a great zoo and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal is on the site of the former Bayonne Navy Base. While there are plans to develop the area around the terminal, there isn’t much there now – but, a short taxi ride will connect you to train and ferry services that can take you to Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty or the immigration museum on Ellis Island. You can also take the light rail to nearby Hoboken to browse the shops of Washington Street or stroll along the waterfront for perfect views of Manhattan.

New York is easy to get to from just about anywhere in the U.S. and Canada; after all, there are three main airports that serve as hubs for several major airlines.

To select from all the cruise line options that New York offers – and plan a pre- or post-cruise stay – talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

A Sunny River Cruise Forecast


With Europe’s 2014 river cruising season well underway, and a record number of river cruise ships traversing the historic waterways, Cruise Holidays International is sharing data indicating Amsterdam and Budapest are now the most popular river cruise destinations its agencies have booked across Europe this year. In addition, Southeast Asia has the most booked river cruise destinations outside of Europe. The information shared by Cruise Holidays is based on actual bookings by its network of cruise travel agencies for river cruises departing in 2014.

“Amsterdam is Cruise Holidays’ top river cruise destination for 2014, thanks to its role as the hub for most ‘Tulip Time’ cruises, along with many Rhine river cruises,” stated Kevin Weisner, Senior Vice President, Cruise Holidays International. “In culling the data on our river cruise bookings for 2014, Budapest, Hungary, follows closely behind. Its prime position straddling the Danube makes it a top choice for travelers who want to visit treasured European destinations throughout Germany, Austria and Hungary.”

Here are the Top 10 destinations for 2014 river cruises, according to Cruise Holidays International, along with the itineraries and rivers most commonly associated with these cities:

Rank
Destination
1
Amsterdam, Netherlands  “Windmills & Tulips”
Rhine (7-day), Dutch waterways (if roundtrip), some Mosel, Rhine/Main/Danube (14-day)
2
Budapest, Hungary “Grand Tour”*
Danube (7-day), Rhine/Main/Danube (14-day)
3
Paris, France
Seine (7-day), Rhone (8-10 day), Seine/Rhone (14-day)
4
Basel, Switzerland “Rhine River Valley”
Rhine
5
Nuremberg, Germany
Main/Danube
6
Prague, Czech Republic
Main/Danube, some Elbe
7
Avignon, France “Provence”
Rhone (7-day), Seine/Rhone (14-day)
8
Vienna, Austria
Danube (7-day or 14-day)
9
Chalon sur Saone, France
Saone/Rhone
10
Bucharest, Romania
Danube (10-day or 14-day, including Black Sea)

*A “Grand Tour” is typically a 14-day cruise of the Rhine, Main, and Danube Rivers.

“The growth in popularity of European river cruising is astounding and shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, it should be noted that availability for 2014 European river cruises is extremely limited and September is virtually sold out, especially in the more desirable suite categories,” added Weisner. “We strongly advise travelers who intend to go to Europe this year, and have yet to book their river cruise, to be as flexible as possible. But we also advise consulting with one of our Cruise Holidays agents, who can closely monitor if a cancellation arises on a particular itinerary and act quickly to secure a reservation. On the other hand, availability for non-European destinations in 2014 is still fairly abundant.”

Destinations Outside of Europe
While the vast majority of river cruisers choose European destinations, river cruise lines are increasingly adding itineraries around the globe. “This will become even more important as travelers who get a taste of river cruising in Europe find the lifestyle so appealing that they decide to visit more exotic destinations, also via a river cruise. Our Cruise Holidays river cruise experts are shoring up their knowledge of ports around the world, including in Southeast Asia, by experiencing them firsthand so they can counsel their clients on the river cruise lines that are best suited to explore these fascinating destinations,” said Weisner.

Here are the Top Five river cruise destinations in Southeast Asia, according to Cruise Holidays International:

Rank
Destination
1
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
2
Beijing, China
3
Shanghai, China
4
Hanoi, Vietnam
5
Siem Reap, Cambodia


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