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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why Take a World Cruise?

Why take a world cruise? It’s simply a spectacular way to go. Most world cruises take a leisurely three to four months: some actually circumnavigate the globe, while others explore a significant part of it.

Most of the cruise lines that offer world cruises are premium or luxury lines. They use mid-size ships that carry about 600 to 1,500 guests, offering a nice social experience on days at sea.

Luxurious as they are, world cruises provide tremendous value: consider that a land-based around-the-world itinerary would include multiple flights, others forms of transport, and a variety of lodging. Plus, with a world cruise, you board the ship, unpack and settle in; there’s no need to repack until your cruise is finished.

Most world cruises depart in January (a wonderful way to start a new year). So, what do the cruise lines have in store for world cruises in 2017? There’s more variety than you may think! Some examples:

  • ·       Crystal Cruises has a 94-night round-trip world cruise from Miami, with an emphasis on South America. For a more in-depth experience in major cities, the ship will dock overnight in ports like Lima, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro.

  • ·       Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth will circumnavigate the globe from Southhampton, England, calling on 25 countries on a 120-night cruise. There will be overnight stays in New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Cape Town. (The line’s two other ships will sail their own world cruise itineraries, too.)

  • ·       Holland America’s 111-night cruise, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, begins with a transit of the Panama Canal. That’s followed by exploration of the South Pacific, Asia, India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

  • ·       Princess Cruises gives passengers the option of joining the ship in either Fort Lauderdale or Los Angeles for a 111-night cruise. This cruise calls on Australia and New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Croatia, Malta, Bermuda and more.

  • ·       Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers a 128-night voyage roundtrip from Miami. Highlights include stops in Fiji, Indonesia, India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

If you don’t have the time for a full world cruise, note that most itineraries can be split up into segments of about 10- to 30-days. Taking a segment cruise will give you a fantastic, exotic experience without committing to the full world cruise.

To make your plans to cruise the world, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

What to Do if You’re Cruising into Rome

When in Rome, do as the Romans do; enjoy la dolce vita (the sweet life) amid the ancient treasures that occupy the seven hills of the city. If your upcoming cruise of the Mediterranean includes a call on Rome, you are lucky indeed! (Note that Rome is located about 90 minutes inland, so most cruise ships dock in the port city of Civitavecchia, with a bus or train transfer to Rome.)

With so much to see in the Eternal City, it’s important to plan what you’ll do. Do you want to see as many of the major sights as possible, or have a more immersive experience at a single attraction? Your cruise line is sure to offer a variety of on-shore experiences, and your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you choose one. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

If you’d like to see Vatican City, home of the Catholic Church, it’s important to take an official shore excursion; visiting on your own may require you to wait for hours just to enter one of the Vatican Museums. The museums (which include the Sistine Chapel), gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica are all stunning and well worth visiting. Be aware that sleeveless tops, shorts and short skirts are not acceptable attire for a visit to St. Peter’s.

A city tour can take you to the best-known historic sights of Rome, such as the magnificent Colosseum; the Spanish Steps; the Trevi Fountain (toss in a coin over your left shoulder, using your right hand); the Pantheon, with its famous dome and oculus;  and Piazza Navona, filled with monuments and fountains.

If you’re a return visitor to Rome and have seen the major monuments of the city, you may enjoy an excursion down the Appian Way, one of the most important roads of ancient Rome. It leads you into beautiful countryside and to an underground maze of caves and tunnels known as the catacombs, where early Christians practiced their religion and buried their dead (at the time, it was illegal to bury bodies inside the city walls).

Your cruise line may offer other special experiences, such as a lesson in Italian cooking; an excursion to Lake Albano, set in the crater of an extinct volcano; or tours of the best art galleries, combined with lunch at an outdoor café.

If your cruise being or ends in Rome, you can enjoy all of this and more.  Definitely plan to spend additional time exploring this wonderful city and region. Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about everything you can see and do.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Cruising Trinidad and Tobago

Just off the northeastern coast of South America, the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is home to incredible culture, music, biodiversity and tropical beauty. Trinidad, the larger island, and the smaller Tobago are blessed with a mix of mountains, plains and palm-lined beaches. The climate is warm and tropical, but the islands are far enough south that they escape the effects of most major hurricanes.

Prior to gaining independence from Great Britain in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago changed hands among Spanish, French, Dutch and other colonial powers more than any other islands in the Caribbean. This contributed to the diverse, international flavor of the islands.

Cruise ships call on the nation’s capital, the city of Port of Spain, on the island of Trinidad. For your day in port, there are lots of wonderful excursions to choose from.

A tour of the city will feature the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, where spectacular flowers and palms flourish. The Queen’s Park Savannah, once part of a sugar plantation, has a beautiful rock garden and faces the Magnificent Seven: a group of historic colonial mansions, now in various stages of restoration. You might also venture into the Santa Cruz Valley, filled with coffee and cocoa plantations, and take in panoramic views at Maracas Lookout or Lady Young Lookout.

Trinidad and Tobago are home to more than 400 species of winged creatures, and the Asa Wright Nature Center on Trinidad is a top destination for ornithologists and more casual bird-watchers. Take a guided tour through this 270-acre preserve, where you may encounter the purple honeycreeper, the tufted coquette hummingbird and the tropical mockingbird, as well as deer, ocelots and agoutis.

Enjoy a wonderful “beach day” in Trinidad on Maracas Bay Beach – bring your camera, as the drive from the cruise ship dock is especially scenic. The sandy beach is dotted with swaying palms and surrounded by dramatic, forest-covered cliffs. It’s an ideal place to relax on the sand, play in the water, and enjoy the local delicacy called Bake and Shark: a fried flatbread (the “bake”) stuffed with marinated and fried shark meat, plus lettuce or coleslaw and sauce. Delicious!

Trinidad and Tobago also provides opportunities to snorkel and dive, tour a plantation, get thrills on a zip line and more. Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about everything you can see and do.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Adjusting Tips on a Cruise

It used to be that part of packing for a cruise was making sure you had enough cash with you to give tips to the crew. On the last day of a cruise, passengers would put cash into a series of small envelopes and personally hand them to crew members who provided good service.

That tradition has all but disappeared. Today, most cruise lines automatically add a standard amount for tips – around $12 to $16 per passenger, per day – to your onboard account, which you can settle with a credit card at the end of the cruise. The cruise line takes care of distributing the tips among the crew. It’s a convenient way to handle tipping, and ensures that tips are shared with crew members you probably never see who contribute to your cruise enjoyment, such as kitchen and laundry staff.

Still, you may prefer to make your own decisions about how much and who to tip, and you can still do so.

Tipping More
When you receive exceptional service, you can provide more than the standard automatic gratuity. Either:

  • ·       Tip the crew members who serve you well in cash. You can enclose it in an envelope or card and leave in your cabin when you disembark, but it can be nice to present extra tips in person, along with your thanks.

  • ·       Visit the service desk and ask to adjust your automatic gratuities. If you want specific crew members to be rewarded, be sure to provide their names.

Tipping Less
It’s unusual that service on a cruise ship is lacking, but if you feel you have received subpar service, you can reduce your automatic gratuities. (Keep in mind that the crew may not realize that things aren’t the way you want them; consider having a word with someone at the service desk, which may quickly solve the problem.)

If you decide to reduce your gratuities, note that some cruise lines won’t reduce the automatic amount, but will give you a refund for the entire amount. Then, you can tip crew members who provided great service in cash. It’s traditional to tip cabin stewards, butlers, waiters, sommeliers and maître d’s who provided a high level of service to you.

For more information about the specific tipping policies on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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