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, October 29, 2018

Adjusting Tips on a Cruise

During the past few years, cruise lines have changed the practice of tipping the crew. Tipping used to a manual process: on the last day of the cruise, passengers would put cash tips in small envelopes and hand them out as thanks for the service they had received. This could be a problem when passengers found they didn’t have enough cash, or the right denominations, or couldn’t find the crew members they wanted to tip, or simply forgot.

Now, most cruise lines automatically add these gratuities to the onboard account you settle at the end of the cruise. The cruise line takes care of distributing tips among the crew. This is easy and convenient for you, and ensures that tips reach members of the crew, like kitchen staff, who provide behind-the-scenes service.

But, what if you would like to make changes to your automatic gratuities, or keep with the traditional practice of presenting cash tips?

·         If you think the automatic gratuities are fine but would like to give additional tips to certain crew members, you can simply present those individuals with some cash in an envelope or card.
·         If you want your gratuities to remain automatic, but want to increase or decrease the amount, visit the ship’s service desk and ask to adjust your gratuities. If the amount can’t be adjusted, see the next option.
·         Ask for automatic gratuities to be removed from your account. This leaves you with the ability to present your own tips, in cash, to the crew members you choose.

If you decide to hand out your own cash tips, remember that it’s traditional to tip the cabin stewards, butlers, waiters, sommeliers and maĆ®tre d’s who provide service to you. It’s certainly acceptable to tip other members of the crew, such as kids’ club staff or fitness trainers. You may want to give a favorite bartender or masseuse a small tip, but note that gratuities of 15% or so are usually added to onboard bar bills and spa services.

There’s more to know about cruise ship tipping; for example, some luxury lines include gratuities in your fare, so they are paid up front. For more information about the specific tipping practices on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, October 22, 2018

Cruising Canada’s Inside Passage

There’s dramatic scenery all along the Inside Passage, the waterway that stretches from Puget Sound to the Gulf of Alaska. With coastal mountains and fjords on one side and a long chain of protective islands on the other, the water is usually quite calm. That’s why the Inside Passage is a prized route for ships of all kinds, including cruise ships.

The Inside Passage stretches for more than 1,000 miles, but numerous fjords, bays, and coves give it many more miles of shoreline; for example, the section that borders Canada’s British Columbia has more than 25,000 miles of shoreline. Here’s what to watch for as you cruise through.

The Georgia Straight, part of the Salish Sea, lies between Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver) and the mainland of British Columbia. At least 15 miles wide at all points, the strait has the feeling of an inland sea. Depending on when you cruise, you might spot great blue herons; bull kelp, which has amazingly long stalks that can grow up to two feet per day; or black oystercatcher birds with bright orange bills.

At the north end of Georgia Straight, ships sail into Discovery Passage and on to the Johnstone Strait, a narrower strait that threads between the eastern edge of Vancouver Island and the coastal islands of British Columbia. Be sure to watch for a pod of about 150 orca whales that live in the strait during the summer.

North of Johnstone Strait, your ship will sail through Queen Charlotte Strait, which is more open to the Pacific, and into Queen Charlotte Sound. If you’re on a smaller ship, you might explore FitzHugh Sound and part of the beautiful Dean Channel.

Then, it’s on to Hecate Sound, which lies between the mainland and Haida Gwaii (islands of the Haida People, formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands). The islands have been the heart of the Haida Nation for more than 17,000 years, with rich traditions of sailing, weaving, carving and jewelry making.

At the Dixon Entrance, you’ll say goodbye to the Canadian portion of the Inside Passage and continue into the Alaskan portion, sailing toward Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau and Glacier Bay.

To explore itineraries that will sail you through the Inside Passage, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Top four reasons to take a December cruise

Winter is coming and the warmth of the sun is calling you from the Caribbean and the Southern Hemisphere. If you need more reasons than that to plan a December cruise, we’ve got them:

1. You need to use your vacation days.
 The end of 2018 is coming fast, which means it’s time to check your cache of vacation days. If you have some you need to use before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, consider a December cruise to take a real (and really fun) escape from the stresses of work and the routines of daily life.

2. Make winter shorter.
 December usually brings the beginning of true winter weather. If you live where the snow falls, the desire to avoid the start of the cold weather goes without saying. But even if you live in the southern U.S., December can bring chilly and/or rainy weather. Fortunately, December is warm and wonderful in the Caribbean and in the Southern Hemisphere, where December is the beginning of summer. Just imagine discovering South America, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand by cruise, and bringing home some unique holiday gifts.

3. Hurricane season ends in November.
 It has been an active hurricane season in the Atlantic and the Pacific, but things usually settle down by November, and November 30 is the official end of the season. In fact, December through April are the driest months in the Caribbean so you may not see any rain at all during your cruise.

4. Enjoy the calm before schools break for the holidays.
 Cruising in early or mid-December provides some great advantages. Ships tend to be not as full as they are during the peak summer months, the winter holidays or spring break. So, you may have an easier time finding a prime deck chair, a table in an alternative restaurant or a great seat at the evening show. There tend to be fewer children on board, too, which can make things quieter in general (especially around the buffets and pools). You’re also likely to encounter fewer visitors in the ports of call, making it easier for you to see and experience more.
For more information on cruising in December, contact Anita,  your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Cruising to Anguilla

The island of Anguilla, a British territory, is a little off the usual cruise path, which is part of its charm. Most cruise itineraries bypass this northernmost island in the Leeward chain to call on its neighbors, including St. Martin and St. Barts. Still, some cruise lines – especially those with smaller, yacht-style ships – bring guests to this peaceful coral island.

With little in the way of industry, agriculture or shopping, Anguilla is all about the water. Boat racing is the national sport, but you should board a slower day cruise to get to know the island and perhaps call on one of the pretty outer cays.

If you like to be active on the water, you can board a fishing charter; the waters around Anguilla are full of swordfish, marlin, tuna and more. You can also go waterskiing, tubing, kiteboarding or windsurfing over the turquoise-hued water.

Explore the underwater life of Anguilla with a snorkeling excursion to one of the warm, calm bays. The island is also a paradise for scuba divers: seven marine parks offer a variety of dive experiences, including wall dives, ledge dives, wreck dives and dramatic underwater rock formations at Scrub Island.

For a relaxing day on the sand, choose from the more than 30 beaches of white, powdery sand. Stroll the shoreline at Rendezvous Bay, enjoy one of the colorful beach bars at Shoal Bay, or lie beneath the coral cliffs at Crocus Bay.

You can explore the interior of the island by walking, biking or hopping on a guided tour. Experience bird-watching at the island’s salt ponds, take a garden or gallery tour, or visit the old salt factory and Anguilla’s only remaining plantation house.

Lunch on Anguilla is a treat, whether you choose a casual beach barbecue or a gourmet seafood restaurant. In fact, the island is known for high-end cuisine that combines Caribbean, African, Spanish and French influences.

A cruise that calls on Anguilla may also include beautiful destinations like the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia. Discover all of your options for cruising to Anguilla by talking with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert. 

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Monday, October 1, 2018

A Day on Martinique

Exotic Martinique, part of the Republic of France, blends the French and Caribbean cultures in its food, lifestyle, and celebrations. This sprawling and mountainous island, located between Dominica to the North and St. Lucia to the south, has a lot to see when your ship docks in Fort de France.

In the capital city, don’t miss La Savane, 12 acres of park fringed by trees and flowers. There’s a fascinating statue of Josephine de Beauharnais, Martinique native and wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Years ago, the statue’s head was broken off and the remainder splashed with red paint, presumably by islanders who blame her for urging Napoleon to re-establish slavery there.

For wonderful views of the sea, stroll up the hill to Fort Saint Louis. It’s a historic site, but also an active French naval base; take care where you wander, as not all areas are open to the public. In the highlands north of the fort, there’s a botanical treasure, the Balata Gardens, where colorful flowers live among the palms and mahogany trees. Walk through the tree canopy on a series of wooden bridges to enjoy a birds-eye view.

Across from La Savane park is the Bibliotheque Schoelcher, a Byzantine-style library built for the Paris Exposition of 1889, then shipped to Martinique and reassembled. Also of historical interest is the beautiful Gothic-style Cathedral Saint-Louis, standing strong since 1895 after six previous churches on the site were destroyed by fire, earthquake or hurricane.

Venture to the island’s northwest coast to visit Saint-Pierre, the island’s original settlement and capital. Saint-Pierre flourished until volcanic Mt. Pelee erupted in 1902; of the city’s 30,000 residents, the only survivor was the lone occupant of the jail. Today, the rebuilt town has a lovely waterfront; sip a drink at one of the cafes or stroll along beaches of black volcanic sand, backed by lush rainforest.

Sugar came still grows on Martinique, some of which is transformed into excellent rhum (rum). Sample some in the tasting room at Habitation Clement, a distillery that also features local art on the walls of its historic structures.

Note that this island is truly French – outside the main tourist areas, it’s difficult to find someone who is fluent in English. That’s part of the charm of Martinique. To visit the island on your next Caribbean cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.


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