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, March 26, 2018

Enhance Your Well-Being on a River Cruise

As river cruising becomes more popular, river cruise lines are enhancing their ships and itineraries to provide more of what their passengers are asking for. That includes more opportunities to maintain or improve fitness and wellness, both on board and on shore.

River cruises are active vacations in general; daily port calls mean there’s an opportunity each day to get off the ship and walk to see the sights on shore. And, many river cruise ships have small but well-equipped fitness centers, plus spas where you can get relaxing, rejuvenating massages and other treatments. Some ships have walking tracks and swimming pools for more gentle exercise. Still, many passengers are looking for more so that they can match – or even step up – the intensity of their regular exercise routines.

Some river cruise lines offer shore excursions with tiered activity levels to suit all tastes. For example, passengers on Tauck’s “Danube Reflections” cruise can enjoy an easy walking tour of the village of Durnstein, Austria, or get a more intense workout by hiking up to the ruins of a medieval castle, perched 719 feet above the river. Tauck also offers onboard yoga classes, so you can gently stretch and warm up before you walk or hike.

The Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offers TRX suspension training, which uses gravity and your body weight to deliver a whole-body workout. If you haven’t used a TRX suspension system before, a personal trainer is available to guide you through it.

AmaWaterways offers a series of wellness-focused cruises that include guided biking and hiking tours that visit scenic and historic sites. Sometimes, there’s a stop along the way at a local winery or pub where you can enjoy local tastes and refuel your body.

Avalon Waterways offers a series of “active discovery” river cruises, which include selected sailings on the Danube and the Rhine. Along the way, there are opportunities to step up your level of activity. For example, at Germany’s Xanten Archeological Park – the remains of a historic Roman settlement –take part in authentic Roman games and try your hand at being a gladiator. Or, experience Amsterdam in a unique way via a running tour.

To explore river cruise lines, cruise ships and itineraries that will meet your need to take a wonderful vacation and improve your well-being, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Cruising the Cook Islands

When the Cook Islands began to form in the South Pacific about 65 million years ago, the island now known as Rarotonga was a large and very active volcano. Time has transformed the island into an idyllic tropical retreat, but you can still see the intensity of the volcano in Rarotonga’s dramatically jagged central peaks. Now, they are covered with deep green jungle instead of lava flows.

Ringed with narrow, sandy beaches, Rarotonga is surrounded by a blue lagoon and a coral reef, making it a wonderful destination for swimming, snorkeling and diving. It’s a hiker’s paradise, too: there are no snakes, wild animals or poisonous insects (though there are a few mosquitoes) to interfere with your enjoyment of the trails.

So, what can you look forward to on the 26 square miles of Rarotonga?

Muri Beach is considered to be the island’s most beautiful, and is a favorite of visiting water lovers. The underwater life just off the beach is spectacular, too: take a tour of Muri Lagoon on a glass-bottomed boat to see the colorful fish and coral. Many visitors love to snorkel here, in part because the sea life is quite accustomed to human companionship and won’t scurry away.

You can also explore the valleys and villages of the island’s interior. Climb aboard a sturdy off-road vehicle to enjoy the scenery and visit communities where you can learn about the daily lives, customs and traditions of Cook Islanders. Along the way, you might spot a rare Rarotonga flycatcher, a bird found only in the Cook Islands.

At Muri and other locations around the island, browse through the shops selling black pearls (actually, they are available in a variety of colors). There are loose pearls to look through, as well as designed jewelry pieces; take your time and select a treasure to take home. Items created by local woodcarvers are popular souvenirs, too, as are the Cook Islands’ unusual and highly collectable banknotes, coins and stamps.

Rarotonga is a day’s sail away from the islands of French Polynesia; a sea day before and another after your Rarotonga visit can make a nice break from island-hopping. However, the water around Rarotonga can be a bit choppy, so have some remedies ready if you’re prone to motion sickness.

For more information about Rarotonga and South Pacific cruise itineraries that can take you there, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

New Cruise Ships for 2018

Cruise lines love to impress both first-time and returning passengers. When they order new cruise ships, they try to up their game every time, whether that means new-to-cruising features or simply more of what their passengers love. Here’s a look at some ships that are scheduled to debut in 2018.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge - Celebrity Cruises’ new ship will sail the Eastern and Western Caribbean out of Port Everglades beginning in December. The ship will have several new-to-cruising features, including the Magic Carpet, a movable deck that glides up and down between decks 2 and 16. The bifold doors of Infinite Verandah cabins will bring the outdoors in, as will a solarium with 3D wall art that represents the colors and movement of the ocean. To sail in high style, check out the 5,000-square foot Iconic Suite or the two-level Edge Villa.

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam – The sister ship to the Koningsdam, this second Pinnacle Class ship will launch in December. A wrap-around LED screen in the World Stage theater will allow designers to transform to venue into anything they can image. Passengers who enjoy music will love the Music Walk, featuring Billboard Onboard, Lincoln Center Stage, and B.B. King’s Blues Club; wine lovers can discover new tastes at Blend, a wine-mixing venue. The Nieuw Statendam will sail Caribbean itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss – Norwegian is building this ship specifically for week-long cruises to Alaska, departing from Seattle: the ship will sail the Caribbean out of Miami in the off-season. It will launch in June with features that will get your heart pumping, including the largest competitive racetrack at sea, an open-air laser tag course and two multi-story waterslides. The Bliss will have ocean views from almost every venue, especially the Observation Lounge, a perfect spot to relax and watch bald eagles soar Alaskan forests or dolphins splash in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas - When it sets sail in April, this will be the largest cruise ship afloat, with capacity for more than 6,000 guests. The ship will continue the Oasis Class “neighborhoods” concept: passengers can visit the Boardwalk, Central Park, Royal Promenade, and more. Features first seen on Harmony of the Seas, as well as some of Royal Caribbean’s signature amenities, are all expected to be on board: a 10-story slide, robot bartenders, an ice skating rink and an aqua theater, plus more than 20 restaurants. After spending spring and summer in the Mediterranean, Symphony of the Seas will sail the Caribbean from Miami.

To sail one – or all – of these new ships, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Top Five Things to Pack for a Cruise

Everyone warns you that storage space is limited in a cruise ship cabin, and it’s true. It’s important to pack thoughtfully so that you’ll have the things that you really need with you. Aside from clothing that’s appropriate for the ship and the destination, what are the most important things to bring along? Here’s our list.

Sun protection. This is true wherever you sail, even if it’s not a tropical location. Out at sea, the sun can be strong even when the temperature is cool. You’ll want sunglasses, some sunscreen and lip balm, a comfortable hat to shade your scalp, and some post-sun lotion just in case you do pick up a burn. To save space in your luggage, buy small or travel-sized containers of lotion; as with any liquids you pack, seal them in a plastic bag to prevent spillage.

First-aid kit. Bring a kit that contains small quantities of bandages, gauze, cotton balls and swabs, antibiotic ointment, and over-the-counter pain reliever, cold symptom reliever, and seasickness remedy (just in case). All of these items will be available on board, too, but at a higher price than you’ll pay at home. And, don’t forget to pack a supply of any prescription medications you take: those medications may not be easily or quickly available if you don’t bring them along.

Laundry alternatives. Because you’re packing lightly, you won’t have many extra clothes, but some laundry alternatives to keep your cruise wardrobe looking fresh. Pack travel-size containers of stain remover, fabric odor remover and hand-washing detergent (you can always do a little laundry in your bathroom sink). Wrinkle release spray can be helpful, too.

Reusable water bottle. It’s important to stay hydrated while traveling, and you can fill and refill your own water bottle at dining spots around the ship. You can fill it and take it on shore excursions, too, which is especially important in locations where you shouldn’t drink the local water.

Creative storage. To bring more storage space with you, get a plastic over-the-door shoe holder that folds up small for packing. Hang it on the closet or bathroom door and use all the little pockets for organizing your shoes, jewelry and other small items. To create hanging space for wet towels or swimsuits, bring some hooks that attach to shower walls with a suction cup.

Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert for more ideas on cruise essentials.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Sailing from Seattle

Where can you cruise from the city of Seattle? Most people think of it as a starting point for cruises of Alaska’s coastline, and that’s certainly true. Seattle is a busy port of embarkation for one- or two-week cruises of Alaska’s Inside Passage and the charming towns along the majestic Southeastern Coast. Longer cruises can venture as far north as Anchorage, pausing to view glaciers and wildlife along the way. From Seattle, you can sail to Alaska on a mainstream, family oriented cruise ship; on a luxury ship; or, on an expedition ship that can maneuver into small, scenic bays and sail closer to the shore.

But, that’s not the extent of cruises out of Seattle. In fact, you may be surprised by how diverse your choices are.

For a quick getaway into the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest, cruise from Seattle to Victoria, on the southern tip of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. It’s a like a little slice of Europe transported to Western Canada. Sail on to the city of Vancouver, a sophisticated urban melting pot that started as little more than a rough frontier tavern.

For a change of scene, Seattle also offers round-trip cruises of the West Coast. Astoria, Oregon, was the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific coast. Ride the Riverfront Trolley and climb the winding stairs inside the Astoria Column for breathtaking views. Sail on to San Francisco, California, where there’s an endless variety of things to see and do: Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, towering sequoia trees in Muir Woods, and much more.

From Seattle, you can sail to a very different part of the world: the South Pacific. Depart from Seattle and take a leisurely cruise to Hawaii, calling on islands like Oahu and Maui before continuing south. Some cruises to as far as Australia, visiting idyllic islands along the way.

Seattle’s cruise port operates from the end of April through mid-October, which is also the best time of year to explore the city itself. Seattle has a reputation for rain, but many days are sunny and mild. There’s a lot to enjoy in the city, which loves its seafood fresh and its coffee strong.

For details on cruise options from Seattle, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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