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

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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