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, November 28, 2016

How to Stay Healthy on a Cruise

It’s not fun when a cruise that you’ve planned and saved for is disrupted by illness, whether from a virus, a bacteria, or a bit of overindulgence. So, take these steps to stay healthy for the duration of your cruise.

Wash your hands. Think of a cruise ship like any other public space – schools, offices, stores, restaurants – and protect yourself from picking up (or spreading) germs just as you do in those places. The best thing to do is wash your hands frequently, especially before eating or drinking.

Bring a little medicine. You don’t need an entire pharmacy, but bring small supplies of things you know will help you with minor discomforts: pain reliever, seasickness preventive, allergy medicine, antacids. If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring enough for the length of the cruise, and don’t forget to take them regularly.

Eat and drink in moderation. Food and drink are plentiful, delicious and always available. Treat yourself, but do so in moderation. It’s easy: order that rich entrée, but ask for a half-portion; enjoy a dessert, but share it with a companion. And, there are always light, healthy options available in the dining rooms, restaurants and buffets. Plus, you can order dishes the way you would make them: with less butter, no sauce, dressing on the side, etc. Also, enjoy some cocktails, wines or craft beers, but know when to stop so that you can have a great night, followed by a great morning.

Be active. If you follow a fitness routine at home, you can maintain it (or something very close to it) in the ship’s fitness center. Most onboard gyms have a variety of equipment, group classes and personal trainers. There’s often a jogging track (with a great view) on the top deck, too. Of course, don’t overdo. For moderate exercise, stroll on deck, take a dance class or try some gentle yoga.

Get a good night’s sleep. Don’t let all the fun run you down. You need sleep to enjoy each day, and to keep your body healthy and able to fight off illnesses. If you’re up late, sleep in a bit the next day – you might miss a little of the fun, but you’ll feel better.

Cruise lines take many steps to keep passengers healthy, too. Ships that sail from U.S. ports must comply with the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. This protocol helps to prevent or control the introduction and spread of gastrointestinal illness on ships.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Cruising the Panama Canal


For more than 100 years, the Panama Canal has been an invaluable shipping link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s a wonder of the modern world, and worth seeing just for the magnificence of its engineering. The canal is also surrounded by the lush, tropical scenery of Panama, making it that much more attractive as a cruise destination.

There are three ways to see the Panama Canal via cruise ship: a full transit of the 50-mile canal and its three sets of massive locks; a partial transit; or a day excursion from the port of Colon, on the Atlantic end of the canal.

A day excursion (or “faux transit”) from Colon won’t take you into the canal on your cruise ship, but on a smaller excursion boat. First, you’ll take a bus to the town of Gamboa. You’ll board a boat that will take you through two sets of locks, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Then, you’ll ride a motorcoach back to your ship. If you’re on a cruise that calls on Colon, be sure to check your options for this type of excursion.

A partial transit cruise may be a good choice if you have a limited amount of time, as these cruises are usually just 7 to 10 nights. This option lets you stay on your ship as you sail into the canal and go through one or two sets of locks. Your ship may bring on a canal expert who will explain the history and engineering of the canal as you cruise.

A full transit cruise can go Atlantic to Pacific or Pacific to Atlantic. You’ll spend a full day in the canal, going through all three sets of locks. Plus, you may have the opportunity to explore Panama City, on the Pacific end of the canal, with its beautiful old town and modern skyscrapers. Note that most full transit cruises are at least 14 nights, and most are not roundtrip (unless they are quite long indeed, such as a world cruise). These cruises usually stop in other lovely Central American ports, too.

Cruise season in the Panama Canal is October through April: November brings the end of the rainy season in Panama, so that may help determine your choice of departure date. Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about more options for your cruise to Panama and its storied canal.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Special Fun for Kids on Board

Some luxury and adventure cruise lines are simply for adults, and unapologetically so. They don’t necessarily ban children: they just make it clear that their onboard experience is designed for adults.

But, some cruise lines make a special effort to attract families with children, offering programs that are specifically designed to delight toddlers, kids and teens. For example, Celebrity Cruises has Toddler Time for children under three; the Fun Factory for age three to 11; and the X Club for teens.

Cruise line activities for kids often manage to mix a little education with the fun. On Celebrity ships, teens can learn to create their own videos using high-definition, wide-angle video cameras. The top videos receive prizes at the X Club Film Festival. All kids three and older can have fun with the Xbox gameplay stations and mobile consoles located around the ship. And, if a member of your family lives with autism, take note: Celebrity Cruises has earned an Autism Friendly Certification, offering sensory-friendly films, toys and menu options.

Princess Cruises’ ships offer Discovery at Sea, an exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications and the California Science Center, which delivers interactive activities for kids age three to 12. Activities vary from one sailing to another, but they include things like whale watching, roller coaster building and fun chemistry experiments. Princess also thinks about parents: you can enjoy a “night out” on board while the kids have a dinner and movie date with their new friends.

On Royal Caribbean ships, every member of the Adventure Ocean youth program staff has a four-year degree in education, recreation or a similar field, plus extensive experience working with children. Royal Caribbean has some especially nice features for teens. In addition to teen-only spaces and activities, the spas offer just-for-teens services like Acne Attack facials and Beach Babe deep-conditioning hair treatments. Royal Caribbean has a partnership with DreamWorks, and kids of all ages love finding favorite characters like Shrek and King Fu Panda strolling the decks.

There’s much more to all the children’s programs mentioned above, and several other cruise lines offer excellent programs for young passengers, too. Let Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, help you sort through the options and select a cruise line and ship that will be awesomely fun for everyone in the family.

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Planning a Honeymoon Cruise

If you’re putting lots of time into planning your wedding, don’t forget about the honeymoon! A cruise is a perfect choice: romantic, fun, affordable. And, planning gets really easy when you work with a Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, who will save you time (and probably money) by searching out the best cruise line, destination and fare for you.

Still, you’ll need to make a few decisions about your honeymoon cruise. Here the most important questions to consider:

How busy do you want to be? If all you want to do is put on a swim suit and relax by the pool, that’s fantastic: look at cruises that spend some days at sea, rather than calling on a new port every day. Or, if you can’t wait to explore new places with your sweetie, look for a port-intensive itinerary.

What kind of stateroom do you want? A honeymoon cruise is special, and a good time to reserve the very best stateroom your budget allows. A balcony stateroom would be wonderful for a morning coffee or evening glass of wine together; a suite would be even better, because suites often come with perks. In a suite, you might receive complimentary wine and fruit, butler service, access to a lounge or pool just for suite passengers, or shipboard credits you can use to pay for some fun extras on board.

What kind of dining experience do you enjoy? Many larger ships offer an impressive variety of dining venues, including specialty restaurants that can provide a truly memorable and romantic dinner. Smaller ships may have just one or two dining spots, and they will be excellent – but, tables just for two may be scarce. On either type of ship, let the maître d’ know that you’re on your honeymoon and would love to have a quiet table to yourselves. (Room service is always an option, too.)

Would you like a couple’s massage? This is a great post-wedding treat. Most spas offer couple’s massages and other treatments; be sure to check out exactly what’s on your ship’s spa menu. Your personal cruise expert can help you make a spa reservation as early as possible – couple’s treatments sell out quickly.

Anita, your Cruise Holidays cruise expert, can provide more help and advice to make your honeymoon cruise everything you dream of: a wonderful start on a new life together.

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