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, December 26, 2016

Options for Australia Cruising

Australia’s major cruise ship port, Sydney, is included in many a world cruise and South Pacific itinerary. But if you really want to explore Australia, take a look at the coastal cruises that visit multiple ports around this vast island. These itineraries provide excellent opportunities for you to enjoy excursions to Australia’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, national parks, historic communities, wineries, beaches, and many other attractions. 

Cruises of coastal Australia often focus on a certain portion of continent. For example, some will take you to the sunny, beach-strewn shores of Queensland in northeastern Australia, also known as the Sunshine Coast. Port calls may include Newcastle, Brisbane, Cairns, and Moreton Island, as well as emerging destinations like Mooloolaba, the Whitsunday Islands, and Port Douglas, adjacent to the Daintree Rainforest. 

Cairns is a base for excursions to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest and most spectacular coral reef. If you would like to spend more than a day or two exploring this natural wonder, there are seven-day cruises of the reef that offer a more immersive experience. These cruises offer multiple opportunities to take guided snorkel or glass-bottom boat tours along the reef, and to visit some of the beautiful nearby islands. 

Cruises of Southern Australia begin in Sydney, Melbourne, or occasionally in the western capital of Perth. Popular ports along the southern coast include Adelaide and Port Margaret, which are both gateways to Australian wine regions and aboriginal culture sites. There’s also Kangaroo Island, which is occupied by lots of kangaroos, koalas and other wildlife, as well as artists, artisans and winemakers.  

Another choice for Australian cruising is a voyage that focuses on Tasmania, where you can tour historic Port Arthur, formerly an infamous penal colony; and explore the historic waterfront of Hobart. Your best opportunity to see the endangered Tasmanian devil may be an excursion to the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, a conservation park where the marsupials – which are very cute, but known for aggressive behavior – live in safety. 

For the ultimate Australian cruise, you can also circumnavigate the continent.Circumnavigation cruises are very popular with both visitors and Australians, so they tend to sell out well in advance. 

To explore all of your options for a cruise around part of all of Australia, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal travel expert. 

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Monday, December 19, 2016

New Ships in 2017

Some exciting new ships will enter the cruise scene in 2017. Whether you cruise regularly or haven’t hit the waves for a while, one of these ships may tempt you to organize your next cruise vacation right now. 

The Viking Sun will be the third ocean-going ship for Viking Cruises, previously best known for river cruises. This 930-passenger ship will debut in an impressive way, launching December 15 from Miami to sail a 141-day world cruise, Viking’s first. 

The Silver Muse will be the new flagship for Silversea’s luxury fleet, accommodating up to 596 guests. The ship will launch in April for a 13-day cruise from Monte Carlo to Nice, followed by cruises throughout Europe, Canada, North and South American and the Caribbean. 

The Majestic Princess from Princess Cruises will launch April 4 in Rome, with a capacity of 3,560 guests. The ship will sail some Mediterranean itineraries before being deployed to China to help meet the high demand for cruise vacations there. One of the most innovative features will be a glass-bottom walkway that extends beyond the edge of the ship. 

The Norwegian Joy is also being developed specifically for the Asian market by Norwegian Cruise Line. The 3,900-passenger ship will launch next summer, and its two-level go-cart racetrack will be a “first at sea” feature. 

The MSC Meraviglia is set to launch in June: it’s a big ship (up to 5,700 passengers) with “smart” features, including virtual reality experiences. A massive dome will display LED light shows, and Cirque du Soleil will provide onboard entertainment as this MSC Cruises ship sails the Mediterranean. 

In addition to these ocean-going ships, several new ships will launch on the rivers of the world in 2017.  

The Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler from Crystal River Cruises will sail Europe’s Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers with something special: king-sized beds in every stateroom. The Bach will launch in June and the Mahler in August. 

The AmaKristina from AmaWaterways will feature staterooms with “twin” balconies: a Juliet balcony and a full exterior balcony. The new ship will begin sailing the Rhine between Amsterdam and Basel in April. 

And, coming in 2018: new ships from Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Seabourn. 

To find out how you can sail on one of the new ships of 2017, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert. 

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Cruising to Barbados

Barbados is the easternmost of Caribbean Islands; in fact, it’s technically in the Atlantic. The ocean crashes against the rugged eastern shore, most dramatically against the scenic cliffs at the island’s northern tip. The interior is beautiful, too, with fields of sugar cane and splendid plantation houses. The protected western and southern shores are lined with white sand beaches. 

It’s delightful to spend a day on Barbados basking on a sunny beach, but there are lots of other choices for an excursion. To explore the island’s interior, take a 4x4 vehicle excursion to places like Joe’s River Forest, filled with lush, towering trees; the Scotland District, which reminded early settlers of the highlands of Scotland; and Rock Hall Village, the first island community founded by emancipated slaves. 

If the turquoise water around the island call to you, hop on a catamaran and sail to Turtle Bay, where the beach is a nesting spot for wild sea turtles. You can swim in the bay alongside some of these sociable creatures. Then, sail on to Payne’s Bay, which offers excellent swimming in calm water and is surrounded by a colorful neighborhood. You can take a guided snorkel tour along the coral reef, too. 

To learn about the island’s historic sugar industry, take an excursion to Sunbury Plantation House, built in 1650. You can see every room of the beautifully restored house, filled with antiques that were part of everyday life in the plantation era. The staff will teach you how to make classic Bajan rum punch and delicious cod fish cakes, too. 

Here are two things you should know before visiting Barbados: 

One, manchineel trees grow along the beaches and in the parks of Barbados. They are pretty and leafy, and it’s tempting to enjoy their shade – however, the leaves and fruit are toxic. Simply standing under a manchineel during a rain shower will cause a serious rash on your skin. Most manchineel trees in public areas are marked with a warning sign or painted with a red X. 

Two, you’ll hear lots of honking horns from cars and buses in traffic, but they are not warnings. Honking is a way that Bajuns say hello to other drivers – just part of the friendly nature of the island. 

To explore the variety of Caribbean itineraries that include Barbados, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert. 

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Tips for Cruise Packing

There’s a lot of advice on packing for a cruise out there, and it’s all good – but, what are the most essential tips and tricks? Here are three that we think are absolute musts: 

Put some thought into what to pack (and start well in advance of your cruise). Look at the length of your cruise, the expected weather, and your ship’s dress code before you decide what to pack. Remember, clothes storage space will be limited, so you need to be selective with your wardrobe. And, all cruise ships have laundry services: some are self-service, others will do your laundry for a fee. 

Put some thought into how to pack. Look at your luggage: Can it hold everything you need, or do you need to invest in something new? If you’ll fly to your ship and back, check the luggage weight and size restrictions for your airline, as well as fees for extra or overweight bags. That may help you pack less! 

Put essential items in your carry-on bag. After you check your bags at the dock, it may be several hours before they are delivered to you. Think about what you’ll want to do during that time – change to lighter clothing, jump in the hot tub, take photos, stretch out in a lounge chair and read – and put what you’ll need into your carry-on bag, along with essential medications and documents. 

Now that you know the most essential packing tips, here are some fun ones that will enhance your comfort onboard: 

If you love coffee, bring your own mug. Cruise ships tend to serve coffee in small cups. But, you can bring your own – and a non-breakable travel mug with a top will help prevent spillage while you’re strolling the deck, too. 

Get organized. Bring a lightweight organizer that can hang on a door – the kind with plastic pockets. This packs easily, and you can use it to keep track of sunscreen, hairbrushes and accessories, toothbrushes and much more. 

Bring a few hangers. Cruise ship staterooms don’t have as many hangers as you might like. Get some inexpensive, space-saving hangers, which will take up little room in your bag. And, if you need a little extra space on the way home, you can just leave them behind. 

Anita, Your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, is sure to have more packing tips and tricks – be sure to ask! 

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