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, August 27, 2018

The Cruise Line Private Island Experience

Have you dreamed of spending a day on a private island? It’s easy – just look for a cruise itinerary that includes a call on the cruise line’s private island. These enclaves are designed to provide a wonderfully relaxing day on an island that you can imagine is your very own.

Here’s a quick look at some of these idyllic islands:

Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is 1,000 acres of sun and sand in the Bahamas. Like Disney’s parks, the island has a tram that can whisk you around. There are lots of family-oriented activities on the beaches, and you can snorkel in the lagoon, try the water slides or hit the water play area.
Holland America’s island in the Bahamas, Half Moon Cay, is less developed than most, and that’s by choice: the cruise line wants you to experience the island’s natural beauty. There are pristine white beaches, private villas for rent, horseback riding, snorkeling, kayaking, bicycle tours and more.

Royal Caribbean has operated CocoCay in the Bahamas since 1990, where guests enjoy the beaches, shopping and activities like lounging, beachcombing, and nature walk. The island has a beachside spa and private waterfront cabanas, plus excursions for scuba diving, wave jet riding, and parasailing. Royal Caribbean also operates Labadee, a private beach resort on Haiti's north coast. Activities range from flying over the water on a 2,600-foot zipline to taking a great nap in a beach chair.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas has several beaches and snorkeling spots, and you can rent wave runners, parasails, paddle boards or kayaks. Norwegian recently refurbished the island, adding more sand and lounge chairs, plus an underwater sculpture garden. Norwegian also takes guests to Harvest Caye in Belize, which has a nature center, a 3,000-foot zipline, and snorkeling along the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Princess Cruises’ Princess Cays, on the southern end of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, has more than 1.5 miles of white-sand beaches, food, water sports, and shopping. This low-key paradise has non-motorized water sports and private bungalows for rent.

Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert,  to will help you select a cruise itinerary that includes a day on a beautiful private island.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Making the Most of the First Day of Your Cruise

There are a few tips and tricks to making the most of embarkation day – the day you board your ship and prepare to sail to an exciting destination. Here are some of our favorites:

Dress casually and comfortably. If your cabin is being cleaned, you may not be able to go there to change clothes right away (remember, your ship probably just returned from the previous cruise). Plus, you’ll check your bags at the dock and it might be a few hours before they are delivered to your cabin. So, unless you pack a change of clothes in a carry-on bag, you’ll be wearing your boarding outfit for a while. Dress comfortably and incorporate a layer or two so you won’t get too warm or too chilly.

Make your reservations. Boarding is a good time to order beverage packages; make reservations for shore excursions, specialty restaurants, and spa treatments; and enroll the kids in any special programs. Then, take a dip in the pool or hot tub (bring a swimsuit in your carry-on bag), hit the gym, relax in a lounge chair or just walk around to get a feel for the ship.

Enjoy lunch. When you board, some of the bars and restaurants will be open and ready to serve you. Lots of passengers will join the line at the buffet; if you’d rather avoid the crowd, ask if there are any other options for lunch. All of the restaurants and dining rooms will be open by dinnertime.

Go up on deck for the sailaway party. It’s fun to enjoy live music and celebratory drinks with your fellow passengers as your ships sails away from the port and toward adventure. Listen for the ship’s horn or an announcement that the ship is ready to leave: otherwise, you might not even notice the slight movement of the ship as you set sail.

Finally, don’t skip the muster drill. It really is mandatory. All cruise ships must hold a muster drill within 24 hours of embarkation – it’s important to your safety. You’ll hear announcements before the drill and will get specific instructions on how to participate. Don’t try to hide out in your cabin; crew members check to make sure that all cabins are empty. Plus, passengers who attempt to avoid the drill may be dismissed from the ship.

For more tips about enjoying embarkation day, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Cruising to Chile

With 2,653-miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, the South American nation of Chile is simply made for cruising. Nestled between the coast and the peaks of the Andes, blessed with diverse and stunning natural beauty, several scenic ports along the lengthy coastline give a warm welcome to cruise ships.

Several cruise lines offer voyages to Chile, which are generally 14 days or longer. Many itineraries sail around the southern tip of South America to call on Argentina, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands or Brazil, too.

In Chile, popular ports include:

Santiago. Valparaiso, the port for Santiago, and has its own attractions; funiculars travel up and down the steep hills dotted with colorful homes and colonial architecture. Still, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Santiago and its historic center, beautiful parks and spectacular views of the snow-capped Andes in the East and sparkling Pacific waves in the west. In the shops, look for jewelry made with brilliant blue lapis lazuli, Alpaca woolen sweaters, and wooden crafts created by indigenous Mapuche people. Or, take an excursion to the beautiful San Antonio Valley to visit one of the boutique wineries known for their spicy red and delicate white varietals.

Puerto Montt. This fast-growing city was settled by German immigrants, and you’ll see a Bavarian influence in the local architecture and cuisine. This is the capital of the Lake District, a spectacular area of sparkling lakes, rushing rivers, and impressive fjords. A variety of excursions can take you to see these and other natural wonders, including the magnificently brooding Osorno volcano.

Punta Arenas. The port is often cool and blustery but you’ll want to disembark to see the sculpted cypress trees and ornate mausoleums of the City Cemetery. Drive up La Cruz Hill for panoramic views of the city and the Strait of Magellan, or visit adorable penguins at one of the nearby reserves. Some cruise lines offer day excursions to scenic Torres del Paine National Park, or even to Antarctica.

You may also have the option of making a pre- or post-cruise visit to Patagonia, a region of unspoiled beauty that’s shared by Chile and Argentina.

November to March – the South American summer – is the best time to go, so talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert soon.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Cruising to Papua New Guinea

Humans arrived in Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the other half is part of Indonesia) as many as 45,000 years ago. Still, it’s one of the world’s least explored countries, thought to be home to numerous groups of uncontacted people living in the dense rainforests and rugged, mountainous terrain. It’s also one of the most culturally diverse countries, having been settled and then colonized by an array of African, European and Asian peoples.

Clearly, Papua New Guinea is a fascinating place to visit on a cruise. You can visit one or more of several ports of call:

Alotau is a gateway to some of the most remote communities and pristine offshore islands in Papua New Guinea. You can get acquainted with the area on a tour that also provides a history World War II’s Battle of Milne Bay, which changed the town. It’s fun to simply walk around and meet some of the friendly local residents (the local word for “foreigner” is dimdim, so please be aware that no one is calling you “stupid”). The local market features exquisite wood carvings and other locally-made crafts.

The port of Rabaul is a survivor – the town has been destroyed more than once, by bombs during World War II and by volcanic eruptions, most recently in 1994. Still, blessed with abundant natural beauty, Rabaul keeps rising from the ashes. You can take a tour of the area’s volcanos, including Mount Vulcan, which has twin cones, and Tavurvur, the most active volcano. A visit to the Volcanological Observatory provides awe-inspiring views of Simpson Harbor, too. For World War II historians, there are Japanese war planes, half-buried in volcanic ash, and hundreds of miles of tunnels built by Japanese soldiers to conceal ammunition, hospitals and barracks.

You might also visit one of Papua New Guinea’s offshore islands, where life remains much as it was hundreds or thousands of year ago. Enjoy a white sand beach fringed with shade trees while island residents perform traditional dances; or tour a village, where the residents will be as curious about you as you are about them.

Some cruise lines offer itineraries that focus on Papua New Guinea, departing from Australian ports; or, you can visit on a longer cruise of the South Pacific and Oceania. For the details, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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