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, November 26, 2018

Top 5 Things You Should Never Do on a Cruise

Cruises are for fun – you can leave the cares and stresses of daily life at home and simply relax for a while. Still, it’s not an “anything goes” environment. In fact, there are a few behaviors that can bring serious consequences, including being dismissed from the ship before the cruise is over. Here are five things you never, ever want to do while on a cruise ship.

Throw something overboard. Maritime law is strict on the subject of littering; trash of any kind is dangerous for marine life. Also, air currents can draw anything tossed overboard back onto the ship. The results can range from highly annoying (discarded gum might land in the hair of a passenger three decks down) to highly dangerous (a still-burning cigarette can start a fire).

Skip the muster drill. The muster drill is designed to show you where to assemble (your muster station) in case of emergency. This is vital information:  you need to know which lifeboat you’re assigned to. Plus, attendance is mandatory – there are no exceptions. Don’t try to wait out the drill in your stateroom, because the crew will find you. Plus, your absence at your muster station will be noted.

Pursue romance with a member of the crew. If you’re ready to meet someone, it’s much better to attend the meet and greet event for single passengers. Relations between crew members and passengers are forbidden on most cruise ships, even when the crew member is off-duty. Being found out would mean immediate dismissal for the crew member. If you want to look each other up after the cruise, that’s a different matter.

Do some nude sunbathing. Even if you think you’re in a private spot away from the eyes of others, you’re probably not. Nude sunbathing is simply not allowed by most major cruise lines. Of course, you can ask your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert for information about nudist cruises; there are a variety to choose from.

Get back to the ship late. Don’t be a “pier runner:” a passenger who stretches their time on shore to the absolute limit and then some, making it necessary to sprint down the pier as the gangplank is about to be raised. And, if you’re not even back in time to make the sprint, the ship will not wait. You’ll be responsible for getting yourself to the next port of call.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Unusual Shore Excursions to Try

Shore excursions are a cruise highlight, taking you off the ship and into the sights, sounds and flavors of a new place. Popular choices include walking and motorcoach tours of major sights; in warm climates, beaches, watersports, and hiking are popular, too. But some excursions are quite out of the ordinary, here are just a few ideas:

Dunn’s River Falls and Bobsled, Jamaica, from MSC Cruises. At Dunn’s River Falls, water cascades over terraced limestone before emptying into the Caribbean. Some people climb up the falls, which can be very slippery – don’t attempt it without good shoes and a guide (there’s also a set of stairs). If that doesn’t satisfy your need for a thrill, no worries – the other half of this excursion takes you to Mystic Mountain for a bobsled ride. You’ll take a chairlift up the mountain, then come down a twisting bobsled track. Don’t forget to admire the views!

Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure, Alaska, from Princess Cruises. You may not think of Alaska as a snorkeling destination, but this excursion is a fabulous opportunity to see multicolored sea stars, spiny sea urchins, leathery sea cucumbers, and other marine life in and around a forest of kelp. Your state-of-the-art wetsuit with hood, boots and gloves will keep you warm as you explore, and a hot beverage will be waiting after your adventure.

City, Cable Car, Monte and Toboggan, Madeira, from Royal Caribbean. A tour of Funchal, capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira, is capped off in an unforgettable way – with a ride on a wicker toboggan. A cable car rises from downtown to Monte parish, known for beautiful gardens. Come back down in a toboggan, or “basket car,” equipped with wooden runners and driven by two carreiros who use their rubber boots as brakes. The thrilling ride ends in the town of Livramento, and you may be ready to visit the wine lodge there.

The Kitchen Table, variety of destinations, from Viking Ocean Cruises. This is a wonderful way to learn to market-to-table cooking from a cruise line chef. It begins when you accompany the chef to a market in your port of call to select fresh, distinctive local ingredients. Ask questions and make suggestions –ingredients that interest you may find their way into the chef’s basket. Later that day, you’ll help transform the market basket into a three-course feast. Bring your food curiosity, willingness to try new flavors and questions about the food and wine pairings.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Turn Your Cruise into a Cultural Experience

Cruises are perfect for vacationers who simply want to relax and be entertained; but, a cruise can also be a chance to experience a new culture, something at the top of the wish list for a growing number of travelers. Here are a few quick tips for selecting a cruise that will satisfy your appetite for cultural travel:

Consider a Luxury Cruise Line
Most luxury cruise lines operate fleets of smaller ships that offer advantages for those interested in cultural experiences. These ships don’t have all the family-friendly features of larger ships, such as water parks, ziplines or kids clubs. Instead, they offer sophisticated comfort and a focus on what you’ll discover on shore. Smaller ships can visit many out-of-the-way places that can’t accommodate larger ships, opening new possibilities for culture-focused itineraries. In addition, these cruise lines often bring guest lecturers on board to help you prepare for what you can do and see on shore.

If you’re worried that the cost a luxury cruise might be outside your budget, be sure to look at everything that’s included in the base fare; it will probably include extras that you would pay for separately on a big-ship cruise. Also, ask your Cruise Holidays travel professional to help you find seasonal bargains or special discounts.

Look for Itineraries with Longer Port Calls
Again, smaller luxury ships have advantages when making port calls. Not only can they sail into smaller ports, but they can also often depart later than a larger ship that has more passengers to re-board. This will give you more time to explore the cultural attractions and enjoy some authentic local cuisine on shore. Also, some luxury cruise itineraries feature overnight stays in selected ports, giving you the option to travel farther inland.

Design Your Own Shore Excursion
Many shore excursions focus on sightseeing or adventure, but others focus on local culture through architectural tours, culinary experiences, museums, performances, personal tours of culturally significant sites, and more. If you find a cruise you like but it doesn’t offer the specific on-shore cultural experience you’re looking for, you have the option to design your own shore excursion. Ask your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert for help in selecting a reputable local tour operator or finding a personal driver for the day.

For more ideas about cultural cruising, including themed cruises, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Cruising to Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe’s Caribbean beauty and distinctive character will charm you. The main island is actually two, separated by only a narrow sea channel: Grande-Terre to the east and Basse-Terre to the west. Together, they feature the tallest mountains in the Caribbean (including an active volcano), rolling hills, grassy plains, white sand beaches, and deep blue-green water.

There’s lots of history and lots to see in Guadeloupe, with its blend of Afro-Caribbean and French culture. Here are some ideas for spending a day there:

Take a walking tour in Pointe-a-Pitre, where your cruise ship will dock. Guadeloupe is a French territory, and it shows in Pointe-a-Pitre’s colonial architecture and pretty wrought ironwork. Stop at the fragrant Spice Market and the Musee St. John Perse, dedicated to the poet and Nobel laureate who spent his childhood in Guadeloupe. The beautiful Musee Schoelcher features the life of French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher (slavery was abolished in France and its colonies in 1848. All over town, you’ll see lovely madras fabrics crafted into shirts, tablecloths and other items.

To experience some of the natural beauty of Guadeloupe, visit the tropical forest, waterfalls and active volcano in Guadeloupe National Park. Walk the trails to see some of the exceptional biodiversity of the island, including beautiful birds, the endangered agouti, and some rather cute indigenous raccoons.

Rum has a long and delicious history on Guadeloupe, which you can view at the Musee du Rhum  (interestingly, this museum has displays of model ships and insects, too). IN the tasting room at the distillery next door, use your new knowledge of rum to appreciate the free samples.

Of course, Guadeloupe also offers great beach excursions, including Plage de Grande Anse on the lightly inhabited islet of Terre de Bas. There’s a mile-long stretch of fine white sand lined with shady palms and backed by steep bluffs. You might see some and curious iguanas, birds and hermit crabs. If you’re looking for water sports, visit Plage de Malendure and its black sand beach.

It’s easy to find a cruise that calls on Guadeloupe; you have a wide choice of cruise lines, departure ports, and cruise durations. Be prepared to call on some of the neighboring islands, too, such as Antigua, Dominica and St. Lucia. To choose your Caribbean cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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