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, August 24, 2015

Cruising the Upper Amazon Basin

The mighty Amazon River – portions of it so broad and deep that it’s more of a slim inland ocean that a river – is most closely associated with Brazil. However, the world’s largest river originates high in the Peruvian Andes, and takes the name “Amazon” at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali Rivers in Peru.

The incredible biodiversity of the Amazon region can be enjoyed on a cruise of its Upper Basin. You’ll start by flying from Lima to the remote city of Iquitos, Peru; then, you’ll travel by bus to Natua, where you’ll board a comfortable river boat equipped to tour the intricate web of waterways, bordered by thick jungle, that flow into the storied river.

Most of the cruise will be within the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, 8,000 square miles of protected, flooded rainforest bursting with animal and plant life. Each day, you’ll hike or ride a skiff on a jungle safari. Monkeys, macaws, caiman, heron, butterflies, iguanas, enormous lily pads, towering ceiba trees, piranhas and pink river dolphins are just a few of the amazing inhabitants. Many cruises also provide opportunities to visit native villages and learn how the people live.

The tastes of the Amazon are wonderful, too. You’ll be able to try fruits and vegetables you may never have seen before, such as aguaje and chayote, along with more familiar passionfruit, yucca, plantains, corn, rice and grilled fish, often flavored with ginger and chili peppers.

There’s a lot to know about Amazon cruising, starting with when to go. The flood season is December through April, and the (relatively) dry season is May through November. There are advantages to cruising in either season: in flood season, water levels are higher and more tributaries are navigable; in the dry season, water levels are lower and more jungle paths are available for hiking. Whichever season you choose, be prepared for rain at any time! Temperatures don’t change much: the dry season’s average daily temperatures are in the mid-80s, the flood season in the mid-90s.

Preparation is important. You’ll need vaccinations or preventive medication for malaria, typhoid, yellow fever and dehydration; strong insect repellent; the right clothes (long sleeves and pants in light, breathable materials); and sturdy shoes that can stand up to mud. You’ll be well-equipped for the cruise of a lifetime!

For more information and options for Amazon cruising, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Cruising Europe with the Kids

A European cruise is an adventure for families who want to experience a different part of the world, explore centuries worth of art and architecture, and check out the latest trends in European cuisine and fashion. Family-friendly options for European cruises have increased in recent years, with popular cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line positioning more ships there, especially in summer. The family-oriented Disney Cruise Line sails Europe, too.

A wonderful thing about cruising Europe with the kids is that both ship and shore hold so much interest. At every stop, there are wonderful things to see: Gothic castles, medieval city walls, museums and galleries, street markets, and so much more. If the kids get tired of sightseeing, you can go back to the ship, get a bite to eat, and let the kids play. On a European cruise you’re likely to meet families from around the world, giving your kids a new, international set of friends.

Some cruise lines run their kids’ programs all day even while the ship is in port, meaning that you can tour or shop to your heart’s content while the kids are safe, entertained and happy on board. Don’t worry that they’ll miss too much on shore; you’re still planting a seed of interest in exploring the world.

On top of all that, you’ll move from one port to another with no effort at all. Seeing Europe with the family could mean complex arrangements for travel by train, bus or car; hotel reservations in different countries with different currencies; and daily foraging for food that everyone will agree to eat. When you cruise, you can get on board, unpack and request room service 24 hours a day.

As you plan, involve your kids in picking a cruise line, ship and itinerary. But, be aware that three of Europe’s most spectacular cities – London, Paris and Rome – all lie a bit inland, an hour or two away from the port. The scenery and companionship can make these drives a lot of fun, but let the kids know they won’t be able to step off the ship right into the Tower of London, the Louvre or the Coliseum.
To reserve your family’s European cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Plan Now to Cruise Through School Breaks

The kids are heading back to school and you have their schedules for the academic year – why not plan a family cruise during one of their breaks? It’s a wonderful way to spend time together and share the adventure of visiting new places, with the assurance that everyone will find an activity (or several) to enjoy on the ship.

The first thing to do is decide where to go and when, so you can book your cruise as soon as possible. Book as early as you can to have the best chance of reserving a stateroom or suite that can accommodate the entire family.

Your destination options depend on when you’ll be sailing. The Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas are open for cruising all year long, and there’s a fantastic variety of itineraries that depart from the East, Gulf and West Coasts. Kids from toddlers to teens love the beaches, making the region a perfect choice for Christmas, New Year’s and Spring Break getaways.

Hawaii is another beautiful, year-round destination. But, if you’re departing from the West Coast rather than flying to the islands, remember that it takes some time to sail there and back (usually two or three days each way). However you get there, an advantage of seeing Hawaii via cruise is that you get to visit multiple islands with ease.

If the kids have a fall break, consider a cruise along the coast of New England and Maritime Canada. Ports can include historic cities like Boston, Quebec City and Halifax, as well as iconic summer resorts like Newport and Bar Harbor, all set against a backdrop of colorful autumn leaves. This is also a great choice if you’re planning to cruise next summer – it’s beautiful when the leaves are green, too.

Another option for spring, summer or fall is Europe, especially if your kids are old enough to have an appreciation for history and antiquities. Spring and fall are especially good times to cruise the Mediterranean, before the heat and crowds of summer arrive. The Baltic, ringed by beautiful capital cities, is a summer destination.

Once the question of where to cruise is answered, you’ll also need to select a cruise line, ship and itinerary (some are more suited to families than others). Count on Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to guide you!

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Music-Filled Theme Cruises

If you love music and you love cruising, there may be a music-themed cruise just made for you. All year long, ships sail with special musical guests from a wide array of genres, from old-school country to electronica.

A music-themed cruise lets you immerse yourself in your favorite sounds while enjoying all the features of the ship and visiting great ports, too. Here are a few that are coming up soon – some are currently sold out, but it can’t hurt to join the waiting list – plus some that you can book now for 2016.

The mellow sounds of Crosby, Stills & Nash will float from Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 Sept. 4-11 on a cruise from Southampton to New York. In addition to concerts, guests can attend autograph and Q&A sessions with the folk rock icons.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl will be very busy this fall with a series of four-day, music-themed cruises. The ship will rock to the sounds of KISS on an Oct. 30-Nov. 3 cruise from Miami to Jamaica: that includes the Halloween weekend, a perfect time to enjoy the band known for elaborate stage makeup and costumes.

The Norwegian Pearl will host popular country band Florida Georgia Line Nov. 7-11, departing from Miami and cruising to Cozumel. In addition to three Florida Georgia Line performances, you can expect a few other country artists to pop up on board.

Club music and EDM stars Alison Wonderland, Dillon Francis and Diplo will have everyone dancing on the Norwegian Pearl’s Nov. 11-15 cruise from Miami to Cozumel. There will be six stages on board, plus an excursion to Cozumel’s Playa Mia Grand Beach and Water Park.

If smooth jazz is your style, Holland America Line offers two sailings of The Jazz Cruise, departing Jan. 10 and Feb. 21 from Ft. Lauderdale and sailing to the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Bahamas. More than 100 jazz musicians will perform.

And, if you love Rock & Roll oldies, sign on for Royal Caribbean’s cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, Feb. 28-March 5. Artists like Phil Dirt & the Dozers and McGuffey Lane will take you back to prom night as you sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti.

There are themed cruises for lots of other interests, too, from food and wine to quilting, ghost hunting and tattoo art. To learn more, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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