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, January 28, 2019

Cruise to a Wonderful Wedding

Thinking about a destination wedding? There’s a way to do it that’s fun, romantic, affordable and low-stress: marry your sweetheart on a cruise.

Cruising is already a carefree vacation, and it makes weddings carefree, too. Lots of cruise lines offer planning services and package pricing for weddings (and for symbolic ceremonies and vow renewals, too). Just step on board for a seamless wedding-to-honeymoon experience.

Here’s a look at wedding services offered by some popular cruise lines:

The captains of Celebrity Cruises’ ships can officiate legal and symbolic ceremonies: anything from an intimate shipboard ceremony for just the two of you to a shoreside ceremony with guests. You can also choose from a variety of add-ons, such as a welcome reception, a cigar-and-whiskey party or champagne and strawberries in your suite on your wedding night. Special feature: a fun “trash-the-dress”-style photo shoot.

Disney Cruise Lines’ “Fairy Tale Weddings" are especially suited to small, family-oriented ceremonies. You’ll enjoy the services of a wedding coordinator, and the ceremony will include fresh flowers, live music, a champagne toast and an elegant cake. The wedding couple even receives a $100 onboard stateroom credit and a romantic dinner in the ship’s adults-only alternative restaurant. Special feature: dress steaming to ensure the bride will look fresh and creaseless.

MSC Cruises ships that are based in North America offer a choice of onboard or shoreside wedding packages. Each provides a pre-cruise consultation, a wedding coordinator, a nondenominational officiant, music, a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, cake for two, a bottle of sparkling wine and photography. Shoreside weddings are available in a variety of Caribbean destinations; you can also marry on embarkation day in Miami or New York, which means more guests can celebrate with you before you sail away. Special feature: wedding photos on a dazzling crystal-studded staircase.

All of Princess Cruises’ ships offer "Tie the Knot" packages. You’ll have a wedding coordinator and lovely amenities, from music and flowers to cake and champagne. Do you want to be married by the captain, have rose petals scattered around you, hold a private reception for your guests, or be married on shore? Princess will work with you. Special feature: most Princess ships have dedicated wedding chapels.

For more married-at-sea ideas and options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Adventure on the Riviera Maya

Have you cruised the Mayan Riviera? Riviera Maya lies along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where a combination of mangrove forests and sandy beaches meet the turquoise water. Popular stops for cruise ships include Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Costa Maya. Here are some of the adventures you can enjoy there.

Scuba and Snorkel. In a 1960s documentary, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau declared the sleepy island of Cozumel to be one of the world’s best places to scuba dive. There’s excellent visibility in the water around Cozumel, where snorkel and dive enthusiasts can explore part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, one of the largest in the world.

Punta Sur. Seafaring Mayans made Cozumel their home, and you can still see remnants of a Mayan village at Punta Sur Ecological Park. There’s a white sand beach, a lagoon beloved by crocodiles and two lighthouses to explore, too.

Tulum. Local Mayan culture and history are the pride of the port Playa del Carmen, which is near Tulum – the only collection of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan that overlooks the blue Caribbean. Explore the remains of a magnificent Mayan city, then relax on a pristine beach.

Cenotes. These sinkholes are full of crystal-clear fresh water; if you have snorkeling or dive gear, you might see ancient stalactite and stalagmite formations under the surface.

Xcaret Eco Park. Just south of Playa del Carmen, this park gives combines outdoor adventure with a dose of culture. Swim and snorkel along an underground river, visit with turtles, manatees, birds and butterflies, and watch a dance performance or Mayan artisans at work.

Mahahual. The port of Costa Maya is just a short cab ride from Mahahual, a fishing village filled with character. The beach is pretty, with calm and shallow water perfect for paddling about. You can rent jet skis, kayaks and paddle boards at the beach clubs, too.

Fortress. To imagine life in colonial times, take an excursion to an impressive old Spanish fortress in Bacalar, built to ward off attacks by indigenous people and pirates.

There’s a lot more to see along the Riviera Maya, which is also known for great shopping; but, it may be hard to for you to tear yourself away from the sun, sand and water. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about the many choices of ships and itineraries that visit Riviera Maya.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Consider a Home Port Stay

If you’re looking forward to your next cruise and wondering if there’s a way to make the experience even better, there is. You’ll be traveling to the ship’s home port, so make the most of your vacation investment and spend an extra day or two there, either before or after the cruise. Here’s a quick overview of some popular U.S. home ports and what you can do there.

New York City needs no introduction as a great place for a pre- or post-cruise stay, but here’s another northeastern port to consider: Boston. From this charming city, you can sail to Bermuda, the Canadian Maritime Provinces (especially during fall color season), the Bahamas and the Caribbean. While in Boston, you can walk the city’s Freedom Trail to see 16 historic sites in just 2.5 miles. At one end is Boston Common, a lovely park next to the Boston Public Garden, where swan boats float around the pretty lagoon.

Miami is known for its Cuban flavor, but it is also a melting pot of Caribbean cultures. It’s a perfect place to begin a cruise to the Bahamas, the Caribbean – with some itineraries now including Cuba, Riviera Maya or the Panama Canal. From downtown Miami, head across Biscayne Bay to Miami Beach to see the Art Deco District and South Beach. Or, take a day trip to Everglades National Park to admire the sawgrass marshes and alligators.

In New Orleans, port officials estimate more than 60% of cruise passengers spend at least two days in the city. Everyone knows about the Bourbon Street party scene, but there’s so much more to see in the French Quarter which features fascinating historic architecture and world-renowned music venues. You can also view the stately homes of the Garden District. Cruises from New Orleans sail the Caribbean or Mexico’s Caribbean coast, traveling as far south as Roatan, Honduras.

Most cruises from Seattle visit Southeast Alaska, but a few sail the west coast or to Hawaii. This beautiful city’s must-sees including Pike Place Market, one of the country’s oldest and most varied farmers and seafood markets. On a clear day, visit the Space Needle for spectacular views of the city and – if you’re lucky – majestic Mount Rainier. Even on a cloudy day, you’ll love the colorful Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum at the foot of the Needle.

Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you arrange a pre- or post-cruise stay in the home port of your choice.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

New Ships, New Experiences in 2019

Ready for the exciting new features that will float out on new cruise ships during 2019? If you haven’t heard about them yet, here’s what you can look forward to.

Set to launch in April, Royal Caribbean’s fourth Quantum Class ship, Spectrum of the Seas, is being purpose-built for the Asian cruise market, sailing from Shanghai or Hong Kong with up to 4,246 passengers. Like its sister ships, the Spectrum will have bumper cars, a skydiving simulator, and a North Star viewing pod; but, it will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature a new suite area. Guests in the Silver and Golden Suites will have exclusive access to a private elevator, restaurant, and lounge, as well as The Balcony (sunbathing with beautiful views) and The Boutique (a private shopping enclave).

Details are beginning to emerge about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore, which will sail in fall 2019. The ship will carry nearly 4,000 passengers from Miami to Caribbean ports and is also scheduled to operate some seven-day cruises to Bermuda from New York. The Encore is expected to have many of the amenities found on its sister ship, the Bliss, including an electric go-cart track and The Haven, an area of luxurious suites with butler and concierge services.

November will bring the launch of Costa Cruises’ Smeralda, the first in a new class that’s expected to have a passenger capacity of 6,600, the largest at sea. Named for Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, the ship will celebrate the best of Italy. Its centerpiece, the Piazza di Spagna, will span three decks; an impressive stairway will lead to an open-air balcony with a glass floor. Other onboard piazzas will feature Italian-style bars, ice cream parlors, and musical entertainment. This will be the first ship to use LNP (liquefied natural petrol) the cleanest-burning fossil fuel, for energy needs in port and at sea.

In February, the Jupiter will become the sixth in Viking Ocean Cruises’ series of 930-passenger oceangoing ships. While nearly identical to its sister ships, the Jupiter will sail new-to-Viking itineraries in South America, as well as European voyages. You can expect complimentary shore excursions, Wi-Fi, and beer and wine served at lunch and dinner.

The new year will also bring new ships from Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, and a variety of river cruise lines. To sail on a new ship during 2019 and beyond, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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