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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saying “I Do” on a Cruise

If you’re thinking about a sweet honeymoon cruise, consider taking it a step further – to actually getting married while on a cruise. You can combine a beautiful ceremony and a fabulous vacation into one memorable travel experience!

There are several options for saying “I do” while on a cruise, so you’ll have some important decisions to make. And, the process can be a bit complex, which is why several cruise lines offer assistance in the form of dedicated wedding coordinators. These coordinators can also arrange special touches for you – think relaxing, pre-ceremony massages – plus flowers, photography, cake and champagne.

If you picture yourselves being married on the ship by the captain, know that you’ll be limited to just a few cruise lines and even to certain sailings on those lines, which include Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. The ability to be married on a cruise ship while at sea is a legal matter, dependent on the ship’s country of registry and the availability of marriage licenses. (However, if you’re already married, many cruise lines will accommodate your wish for a symbolic ceremony onboard.)

Another option is to marry on the ship before it embarks from its home port. You can bring your choice of clergy aboard, as well as family and friends. Check with your preferred cruise line for specific details, but you may be able to hold the ceremony before general boarding begins. That will give you and your guests time to celebrate before they have to disembark. Of course, if your guests are coming along on the cruise, they’ll simply stay onboard!

You could also be married on shore during a port call, although this can be get complicated due to the availability of marriage licenses and the legality of the marriage in your home country. This is where a cruise line wedding planner can be extremely helpful, as he or she can explain all the details and suggest a port that will be wedding-friendly.

Most cruise lines charge a fee for legal or symbolic weddings; however, you may find that the fee is far less than you would spend on a wedding and reception in your hometown. Your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you consider all the options and estimate the costs. Talk with Anita, your cruise expert soon, and happy planning!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Try a Segment of a World Cruise

Here’s one for the bucket list: a world cruise! These cruises of 100 nights or more are an ideal way to see the world in comfort. Some actually circumnavigate the globe; others don’t make a full circle, but take you to four or five continents, seeking out the most historic, cultural and exotic ports along the way.

Of course, not everyone has the time or budget to enjoy an entire world cruise from beginning to end. Fortunately, there is an option: most cruise lines offer world cruise segments as stand-alone cruises. In fact, many of the most exotic cruise itineraries available are actually segments of world cruises. Take a look at these planned world cruise segments for 2016:

Crystal Cruises
Singapore to Shanghai, 18 nights, March 13-30. This segment explores Southeast Asia, taking in Koh Samui and Bangkok, Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Hong Kong, Xiamen and Shanghai, China. Special features include two nights each in Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai, plus an overnight stay in Hong Kong.

Holland America Line
Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, 33 nights, March 28-April 30. This segment sails around the Arabian Peninsula, stopping in Muscat and Salalah, Oman; and Safaga, Egypt, before transiting the 120-mile Suez Canal. From there, the ship will sail to Israel, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Spain and Portugal before crossing the Atlantic to Florida.

Silversea Cruises
Papeete to Sydney, 13 nights, Jan. 30-Feb. 13. This segment will take you to some of the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific, beginning with Tahiti and Bora Bora in French Polynesia and continuing to the pristine Cook Islands; New Zealand and its picturesque Bay of Islands; and finally to the island continent of Australia.

Cunard Line
Southampton to Cape Town, 17 nights, Jan. 10-27. Three Cunard line ships will depart on world cruises from Southampton on Jan. 10, so the cruise line has a wide variety of segments available. One is Southampton to Cape Town on the Queen Elizabeth, with port calls in Madeira, Portugal; the Canary Islands; St. Helena; and Walvis Bay, Namibia.

If these examples of world cruise segments interest you, there are many more to consider! Be sure to talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, soon to book a world cruise segment.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Enduring Popularity of Alaska Cruises

Alaska consistently ranks among the top five premier cruise destinations, according to Cruise Holidays’ surveys of cruise booking data from its agencies across North America. From 1997 to 2008, the annual number of Alaska-bound cruise passengers doubled, from 500,000 to more than one million; while that growth has calmed a bit, the upward trend continues. What makes Alaska cruises so endearingly popular?

Multiple cruise lines visit Alaska, so there’s a terrific choice of ships, onboard amenities and onshore activities. But, Alaska’s popularity as a cruise destination really comes down to Alaska itself. The scenery is massive in scale and absolutely stunning: verdant old-growth forests, snow-capped peaks, calving glaciers that glow deep blue and green; plus, wide stretches of water and shoreline occupied by extraordinary wildlife, from deep-diving whales to soaring eagles. The ports are unique, offbeat towns that welcome visitors interested in native cultures, the frontier age and the modern Alaskan way of life.

Most cruises of Alaska focus on the scenic coastline and towns of Southeastern Alaska, and most itineraries follow one of two routes: a roundtrip loop through the Inside Passage, departing from Seattle or Vancouver; or a one-way voyage from Seattle or Vancouver to Whittier or Seward, which are the sea ports for Anchorage.

Many itineraries are seven days; for a longer vacation, you can pair your cruise with a land tour. Several cruise lines offer these combination land-and-sea packages known as “cruisetours.” Alaskan cruisetours often include a scenic rail journey toward an interior destination like Denali National Park, Wrangell-Elias National Park or the Yukon. For even more adventure, choose a tour that will take you across the Arctic Circle to Prudhoe Bay. 

This year’s Alaska cruise season began April 25 and will be over by October, so there’s no time to lose! Considering the incredible scenery in store, you may want to choose a stateroom with a larger window or balcony: Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, can guide you. Packing takes a bit of thought, too; daytime temperatures can vary from the 50s to the high 70s or low 80s. And, bring your best camera with plenty of digital storage.  You’ll need it, and our guess is that you’ll use it all.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Cruise Ships and Cruises for Foodies

Wonderful dining is a part of every cruise: delicious, plentiful food that you neither cook nor clean up. However, some cruise lines elevate the onboard dining experience to five-star levels.

Nobu Matsuhisa is an acclaimed sushi master and the creator of innovative Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. If you have trouble securing reservations at his restaurants in cities like London, New York and Hong Kong, don’t worry; you can enjoy his Silk Road restaurant and Sushi Bar on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. As a bonus, you can book your first reservation at Silk Road with no reservation fee.

Fans of Geoffrey Zakarian know him as an Iron Chef, a recurring judge on Food Network’s “Chopped,” and a New York-based restauranteur. He also oversees the elegant, seafood-focused restaurant Ocean Blue on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ships. Guests on the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway can savor Zakarian’s take on scallops, sea bass, Dover sole and more.

Matsuhisa and Zakarian sometimes make appearances on the ships that feature their restaurants, as does French chef Jacques Pepin. Oceania Cruises’ executive culinary director will be on the Oceania Riviera departing July 7 from Lisbon to Rome. He’ll lecture, demonstrate cooking techniques, and design special menus for the ship’s signature restaurants, including Jacques, a French bistro, and Red Ginger, which features Asian cuisine.

If you love the television show “Top Chef,” you’ll be interested in Celebrity Cruises’ Nov. 10 Eastern Caribbean sailing on the Celebrity Reflection, where some of the show’s “cheftestants” will be your companions. You’ll be able to watch duel-style cooking demonstrations, take private cooking classes or have dinner with the chefs, and dine on Top Chef-inspired cuisine.

Some river cruise lines are embracing the current popularity of craft beers; Avalon Waterways has created a collection of Beer River Cruises for 2015 and 2016. You can sail the rivers of Europe to historic breweries and beer halls in Germany and Central Europe, Holland and Belgium. Wine lovers will find some opportunities for tastings on these cruises, too.

AmaWaterways is also ready to please beer enthusiasts with a beer-themed cruise of European Christmas markets. The AmaPrima’s Dec. 14 cruise from Nuremberg will sail through Germany and Austria, featuring beer tastings, brewery tours, lectures on brewing techniques and a special beer pairing dinner.

For more ideas on indulging your interest in food, wine or beer on a cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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