Your enjoyment of a relaxing, fresh-air cruise can be enhanced when the cruise has a theme that interests you. Each year, cruises lines offer selected sailings with special themes, ranging from yoga, to craft beer, to popular television shows. Some theme cruises give passengers the opportunity to meet famous musicians, authors or athletes, too. Here’s a sample of themed cruises scheduled for 2018:
Meet the Winemaker
Various dates and itineraries in 2018
Norwegian Cruise Line
Through a partnership with the Mondavi wine family, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a special "Meet the Winemaker" experience. All passengers can enjoy complimentary Q&A sessions and meet-and-greets with wine experts, or purchase passes to exclusive events like a five-course, wine-paired dinner.
Doctor Who Sci-Fi Cruise
September 21 – 28, 2018
Royal Caribbean, Explorer of the Seas
Cruise with stars from the popular, long-running Dr. Who TV show. While the full lineup and list of activities are being finalized, you can expect a variety of themed activities and opportunities to mingle with your favorite Dr. Who characters. The cruise departs from Seattle with stops in Astoria, San Francisco, and Victoria.
Packers Legends Cruise
March 10 – 15, 2018
Royal Caribbean, Independence of the Seas
Any NFL fan will enjoy the Packers Legends Cruise and the opportunity to meet legends like James Lofton, LeRoy Butler, and Lynn Dickey. If you happen to be a Green Bay fan, you’ll love the autograph sessions and the opportunity to dine with one of your Packer heroes. The ship will depart from Fort Lauderdale and visit the Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
For more theme cruise ideas, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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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, April 23, 2018
If you’re cruising for relaxation or a change of pace, your choice of destination may be secondary to your choice of ship. But, if you’re looking to experience a different culture in an authentic way, your choice of destination becomes more important. What are the best destinations for cultural experiences? Here are some ideas to consider.
Brazilian Amazon: Shore excursions from Manaus, the largest city on the Amazon River, will take you deep into the majestic rainforest. You can get close to the amazing flora and fauna of the Amazon Basin, from huge trees and giant water lilies to piranhas and pink river dolphins. Some tours visit native families who tend to manioc (cassava) or rubber plantations.
South Africa: The rich cultural mix of South Africa is reflected in the country’s 11 official languages, which include Zulu. From Durban, take a tour through the Valley of 1000 Hills, where many Zulu reside. Visit a Zulu village for a hands-on look at their daily life. If you visit in early September, you may be lucky enough to see the centuries-old Royal Zulu Reed Dance.
New Zealand: From Tauranga, take an excursion to the Tamaki Maori Village near Rotorua. In this authentic Maori village setting, you can learn the ways of Maori warriors, join in a traditional dance, and participate in a traditional hāngi feast, cooked in a pit lined with hot rocks.
Australia: The Aboriginal cultures of Australia are the oldest living cultures on earth; some of the best opportunities to learn about them are in Melbourne. Tour the Royal Botanical Gardens with an Aboriginal guide to learn about plants traditionally used as food and medicine in the bush. The award-winning Bunjilaka Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum will introduce you to more Aboriginal history and traditions.
Vanuatu, South Pacific: There’s a surprising amount of cultural diversity on this small and idyllic island; most residents live in isolated rural villages, helping to preserve their special traditions. A visit to a cultural center will introduce you to village life, including the tools that villagers use every day to harvest and prepare food, as well as traditional dances, ceremonies and kava, a drink with special qualities.
There are more cruise destinations where you can immerse yourself in native culture, including river cruise destinations in Asia and Europe. For more ideas and help making your plans, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
Monday, April 16, 2018
The Mediterranean Sea is truly an ideal place to cruise. There are so many places of beauty and historical interest that most itineraries focus on either the Eastern or Western Mediterranean (with some overlap: Italian ports are often included in both). You really can’t go wrong with your choice of eastern or western itineraries: both are port-intensive, with outstanding cultural sites.
Rome is a common starting point for week-long cruises of the Eastern or Western Mediterranean. This point of embarkation simply begs for a pre-launch stay to tour the Eternal City. You’ll board your ship in Civitavecchia, which has served as Rome’s seaport since the 13th century.
A western itinerary that begins in Rome would visit ports in western Italy, France and Spain, and perhaps touch a bit of British soil in Gibraltar. Popular port calls include:
· Livorno, Italy, a gateway to Tuscany and the cities of Florence and Pisa.
· Genoa, Italy, a bustling harbor town with a large and well-preserved city center. A nearly irresistible excursion is Cinque Terre, five seaside villages that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
· Marseille, France, where you can tour the rocky prison of Chateau d’If and the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, or venture to Aix-en-Provence or Avignon.
· Barcelona, Spain, where you can tour the Gothic Quarter and see the masterworks of Anton Gaudi.
Additional ports of call may include Toulon or Cannes, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Valencia or Malaga (for Granada), Spain; or the island of Majorca.
An eastern itinerary that begins in Rome would visit ports in southern and eastern Italy and Greece, and possibly Slovenia and Croatia, too. Popular port calls include:
· Naples, the capital of Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast, which offers excursions to Pompeii.
· Dubrovnik, Croatia, the “Pearl of the Adriatic:” walk the 13th-centural walls that enclose the Old City to admire the medieval buildings, marble streets and shimmering sea.
· Athens, the oldest city in all of Europe, where you can tour some of the world’s most influential architectural structures and archaeological finds.
· The Greek Isles, such as the beautiful and sunny islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Mykonos.
Additional ports of call may include Messina (Sicily), and Venice, Italy; the island of Malta; Zadar or Split, Croatia; Koper, Slovenia; and Corfu or Olympia, Greece.
To learn more about cruising in the Mediterranean and all its wonderful cruise itinerary options, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
Monday, April 9, 2018
Most people have heard stories, in the news or from people they know, about how illness can spread on a cruise ship. Be assured that cruise lines follow strict sanitation guidelines to guard against the spread of any bugs that come on board. And, there are simple steps you can take to help yourself stay well.
Wash Your Hands. Whether you’re at home or at sea, regular hand washing is the best way to protect yourself from illness. Also, take advantage of the hand sanitizers you’ll find strategically placed all around the ship.
Stay Hydrated. You can purchase bottled water, or use the water station at the buffet; many ships will allow you to fill your own reusable water bottle there, too. Take water with you when you go onshore and sip often, especially in hot and dry locations.
Pace Your Alcoholic Drinks. It’s delightful to relax with a refreshing cocktail or craft beer around the pool or at the piano bar. But, don’t drink to the point that you become disoriented or sick: it could put you out of commission for a day or two. A good practice is to alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.
Avoid Seasickness. Seasickness is real, but not everyone is susceptible – many people have no problem adjusting to the slight motion of today’s very stable cruise ships. If you feel a little queasy, try going up on deck in the fresh air and focusing on the horizon. Other natural remedies include eating ginger candy or green apples and crackers, or wearing an acupressure wrist band. Over-the-counter remedies include Dramamine, Bonine and Benadryl, while a scopolamine patch requires a prescription.
Wear Sunscreen. Wherever you cruise, you’re likely to spend more time in the sun than usual. Pack your favorite sunscreen (less expensive than buying it onboard) and use it often on all exposed skin.
Eat Smart. Eating too much or too richly can make you just as ill as catching a gastrointestinal bug; a little discipline will serve you well. There are also easy ways to exercise – including taking the stairs, doing laps on the promenade deck, working out in the fitness center or choosing an active shore excursion – that will give you an appetite to sample all the wonderful tastes on board.
Monday, April 2, 2018
It’s a common question from cruise travelers, ranging from first-timers to experienced passengers: When is the best time of year to cruise? The simple answer is that it’s always a good time to cruise somewhere on the globe. But, many cruise destinations have definite seasons for cruising; even year-round destinations have certain times that are better than others in terms of weather or cost.
So, here’s a roundup of the best times to sail in some popular cruise regions:
The 49th state offers its warmest and driest weather, as well as long hours of sunlight, during June and July. If you’re looking for the best deals, look to the beginning (late May) and the end (early September) of the brief Alaskan cruise season.
Australia and New Zealand
In these southern hemisphere destinations, the weather is at it’s very best – warm and dry – during December and January. Fares are usually stable from November through mid-March, although they are higher during the November and December holidays.
You can cruise the islands of the Caribbean any time of year, but the best time is winter, when it’s colder at home. The lowest prices are usually during the peak of hurricane season – late summer and early fall – but you may find discounts in January, May and September, too.
For Hawaiian cruises, prices are pretty consistent all year. So, go when the weather is best: April through October (although Hawaii is still fabulous during the rainy season, which is November through March).
The ancient port cities that surround the Mediterranean are busiest from May through August. To avoid the biggest crowds and the highest prices, cruise early (April) or late (November) in the cruise season.
The Pacific Coast of Mexico is another year-round cruise destination. For the best prices and the best weather, sail during the late fall and winter.
New England and Canada
The coastlines of New England and the maritime provinces of Canada are always lovely, but reach a peak of beauty when the leaves change color: generally, mid-September through October. The best prices, though, are often found in June and July.
Like Australia and New Zealand, South America is a great winter destination in the southern hemisphere. The most reliably nice weather is in December and January, though conditions vary depending on how far south your ship sails. The best prices are often for November and April sailings.
For more insider tips on when to cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.