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, September 26, 2016

Cruising with the Grandkids

One of the joys of being a grandparent is spending time with your grandchildren and seeing the world through their fresh eyes. And, you can help them discover a little more of the world on a cruise. A grandparent-grandchild cruise can be a wonderful bonding experience, but it takes some preparation. Here are some tips:

First, talk with your grandchildren’s parents to find out if they think their children are ready for an extended vacation without them. If they don’t think the kids are ready, they’re right: wait another year or two. If the kids are ready, decide together how you’ll propose the idea to them.

Also, make sure you understand the kids’ eating and sleeping schedules and what they like to do during playtime. It’s important to stick to their regular schedules as much as possible; and to know what interests them so that you can avoid boredom and the crankiness that can come with it.

Also, if you have one grandchild, talk with the parents about possibly taking a friend along. Unless you and your grandchild want to spend every minute of your cruise together, he or she may enjoy having a friend to swim and play with.

Get the kids involved in choosing a cruise. Talk with them about the ships and itineraries you’re considering. Let their preferences help you make a decision, say, between two Alaska itineraries or a five-day versus seven-day Caribbean cruise.

After you decide on a destination and ship, talk with your grandchildren about exactly what they can expect from the cruise. Look at a map and the route your car or plane will take to the ship, and the ship’s route to the ports of call. Look up information about the ports and plan what you’d like to see.

Be sure to talk about what the rules will be, too: for example, no wandering the ship alone, or checking in with you every 20 minutes when playing with other kids around the pool.

Finally, be sure to get proper documentation for taking your grandchildren out of the country, including a notarized letter in which the parents authorize you to make any necessary medical decisions for the child while on the cruise.

For more tips about cruising with grandchildren and help with booking a memorable cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Cruising to Beautiful, Beachy Antigua

If you want to cruise to some beautiful beaches, look for itineraries that include a call on Antigua. This island in the Eastern Caribbean is said to have 365 beaches along its 54 miles of coastline – one for each day of the year.

Amazingly, the beaches of Antigua are quite diverse. Calm, sparkling water and soft white sand make Valley Church Beach and nearby Darkwood Beach among the most beautiful on the island. Some visitors prefer the more developed and lively Dickinson Bay Beach, which offers lots of watersports and is lined with restaurants and bars. To watch wind surfers in action – or take a lesson yourself – make your way to lovely Jabberwock Beach. You can also hop on the ferry to Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, to enjoy 17 Mile Beach, all of it covered with gorgeous pink sand.

And, there’s more to Antigua than its beaches. Cruise ships dock in the capital of St. John’s, where you can tour the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. Exhibits explain the history of the islands, which has been shaped by Arawaks, Caribs, and English colonists, among others.

One of the most popular excursions for cruise ship passengers is Nelson’s Dockyard, the only continuously working Georgian-era dockyard in the world. It was first built in the early 18th century as a repair port for the British Royal Navy, and you can still see architectural remnants of the original dockyard. Today, beautiful sailboats and yachts dock there, and many of the historic buildings have been restored as restaurants, shops and galleries.

For a spectacular view of the beauty all around you, venture up to Shirley Heights, the remnants of a former lookout fort. There’s a breathtaking view of two harbors and the hills that rise around them. If your cruise ship schedule allows, go up just before sunset – it’s a memorable experience to watch the sun go down and the twinkling lights around the harbor come on.

For a look at the sugar industry that once ruled the island, visit Betty’s Hope, a partially restored plantation. Some of the sugar mills are still there, and you can see archeological digs that are uncovering slave quarters and a rum distillery.

To discover Antigua for yourself, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about itineraries that will take you there.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Cruising Through the Holidays

Lots of people love their holiday traditions: to spend time with friends and family, share traditional meals, admire decorations and open gifts. Still, those traditions can take a lot of preparation: shopping, cooking, cleaning, organizing, wrapping, and more.

If your holiday traditions are beginning to seem more like work than joy, consider an alternative: book yourself (and as many family members as you like) on a holiday season cruise.

Cruise ships really get into the spirit of the season, celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year with decorations, traditional foods, special performances and lots of seasonal activities, from caroling to on-board religious services. And, you can expect to find your ship beautifully decorated from one end to the other.

Here are some tips for loving the holidays at sea:

Book soon. As always, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you find the cruise line, ship and itinerary that’s right for you. Talk with your expert as soon as possible, so that you’ll be able to get your first choices for ship, itinerary and stateroom.

The mainstream, family-oriented cruise lines are great choices if you’ll sail with multi-generational group; if it’s just you and your partner, one of the premium or luxury cruise lines will provide a quieter, more adult-oriented holiday celebration.

As for destination, the holidays are a great time to visit the Caribbean or the Mexican Riviera, but you could also venture to South America, Hawaii, or the South Pacific.  Another option is a European River cruise that visits some of Europe’s beautiful Christmas markets.

Leave Gifts at Home. You don’t want to take up luggage or cabin space with gifts for those who cruise with you, so leave them at home (and, if the cruise is your gift to other family members, there’s probably no need for more!). If you can’t imagine going without gifts, plan to pick up a special small gift for each family member in the ports you visit.

Bring a Decoration. Cruise lines don’t decorate staterooms, so you could make yours a bit festive with a tiny Christmas tree or glittery ornament. No strings of lights, though – cruise lines consider them to be fire hazards.

A treat for the crew. Your crew will be away from their homes for the holidays, and working hard, too. Make their holidays more special with a seasonal card of thanks or some sweets.

For more tips and assistance with your holiday cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Plan Your Spring Break Cruise Now

Now that the kids are back in school and you know their spring break schedules, waste no time planning and booking a spring break cruise. It’s one of the most popular times of year for families to cruise, because everyone will be ready for a break from school, work and winter.

If you’re tempted to wait until after the winter holidays to book a spring break cruise, don’t! Your top choices for cruise dates, itineraries, accommodations and flight schedules are likely to be gone by then. Reserve now to secure your top choices, based on the ages and interests of your kids and the type of cruise experience you’re looking for.

Here are some things to consider:

If you have elementary school kids who like to play and socialize with other kids, look at cruise lines with strong “kid’s club” programs. These programs, supervised by trained counselors, keep kids active and happy – which gives you some time to relax on your own, too. Disney Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line are among the lines that you should look at.

If you have tweens and teenagers, look at ships that offer special teen-only spaces, such as lounges where they can hang out, play games, listen to music and dance. In addition to the cruise lines mentioned above, some Princess Cruise Line ships have both indoor and outdoor spaces dedicated to teens. (One more note: given teens’ love of social media, it may be important to pick a cruise line with good Wi-Fi access.)

If your children prefer to spend time with the family, kid’s clubs and activities may be less important to you. You could consider additional cruise lines that offer plenty of activities for families to enjoy together, including Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises.

Remember, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert has the in-depth knowledge that can help you find the best cruise line, ship, itinerary and accommodations for your family. And after you book, your cruise expert can help you pre-book as many activities as possible. Ships tend to sail full during spring break season, and reservations for shore excursions, spa treatments, and specialty restaurants tend to fill up quickly. The activities you can book in advance vary by cruise line and ship, so let Anita, your personal cruise expert, guide you.

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