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, April 29, 2019

Theme Cruises Amp Up the Fun

Theme cruises offer an unbeatable combination: the fun, adventure and relaxation of a cruise with a chance to immerse yourself in a favorite hobby or interest. Sound like fun? Read on.

First, it’s important to know that theme cruises can be either full-ship or partial-ship. A full-ship theme cruise means everyone on board shares the same interest. On a partial-ship theme cruise, a sizable group of people interested in the theme will be on board. Some of the venues may be devoted to the group, but many passengers will not be involved in themed activities (though they may want to learn about your group).

Some of the most popular cruise themes revolve around food, wine and craft beer, but that’s just a slice of a very large theme-cruise pie. There’s an amazing variety of theme cruises. Here are a few that are coming up soon.

Runaway to Paradise with Jon Bon Jovi. Norwegian Cruise Lines’ partnership with Sixthman delivers theme cruises focused on music, including a four-day Mediterranean journey starring Jon Bon Jovi. The Norwegian Pearl will sail from Barcelona on August 20, meeting up with Jon at Palma, Majorca. He’ll come aboard for some Q&A and a memorable concert and there will other music throughout the cruise, too, from musicians like Johnny Rzeznik and Grace Potter.

Grand Prix and Cannes. This cruise takes in two events that will get your heart pumping: the Cannes Film Festival in France and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix auto race in Monaco. You’ll enjoy overnight stays in both Cannes and Monte Carlo, soaking up the star-studded atmosphere. This 11-day cruise on the Azamara Journey begins in Rome on May 18 and will take you to Sorrento, Corsica and Barcelona, too.

Cooking with Jacques Pepin. Oceania Cruises presents an opportunity to sail and refine your kitchen skills with master chef Jacques Pepin, Oceania’s executive culinary director. Enjoy special menus, lectures, culinary demonstrations and more on this annual cruise. This year, the Oceania Marina will depart on September 17 from Amsterdam, visiting castles and vineyards before sailing into Lisbon 12 days later.

Anita, professional travel advisor can help you find theme cruises for just about any interest – crafting, dancing, investing, wellness, LBGTQ lifestyles, nature photography, history, games, and so much more.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

The Latest Cruise Trends

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) keeps a keen eye on the state of the cruise industry, and recently shared what they see as the top trends in cruising for 2019. Here’s what cruise fans can look forward to.

1.      Instagrammable Cruise Travel: With greater ability to instantly post to social media sites from a cruise ship, more of the 350 million-plus daily posts with the #travel tag will be from the deck of a cruise ship or the middle of a shore excursion.
2.      Total Restoration: Cruise lines are doing more to meet travelers’ interests in wellness through restorative spa experiences, onboard oxygen bars, healthy menu choices, and the latest fitness equipment and techniques.
3.      Achievement Over Experience: Vacationers want immersive cultural experiences beyond sightseeing, and cruise lines deliver. Shore excursions provide bucket-list experiences like exploring Machu Picchu or cooking alongside Le Cordon Bleu chefs.
4.      On-Board with Smart Tech: More cruise lines are adopting wearable digital technology such as bracelets and other devices that serve as convenient room keys, onboard credit cards and more.
5.      Conscious Travel: Cruise lines are working more closely with local communities to preserve their heritage and decrease the imprint of cruise travel while providing the benefits of tourism to local economies.
6.      Access is the New Luxury: Cruising is one of the best ways to visit certain remote destinations, such as Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands or Greenland.
7.      Gen Z at Sea: The desire to travel and a preference for authentic experiences is expected to attract the young adults of Generation Z to cruising.
8.      Off-Peak Adventures: Winter in the northern hemisphere is becoming a more popular time to cruise, whether to escape the cold in a tropical place or embrace the chill while sailing toward the Northern Lights, a penguin colony, or the Christmas Markets of Europe.
9.      Working Nomads: Some professionals find it difficult to disconnect from work for the entire length of a cruise and need to mix a little work time with their leisure. These “digital nomads” can work remotely from ships equipped with Wi-Fi, desks and work-friendly cafes.
10.  Female-Centered Cruising: Tourism and travel companies are catering to the interests of women travelers, presenting opportunities to connect and create female empowerment communities at sea.
11.  Going Solo: There are more Google searches for “solo travel” and “traveling alone” than ever before, and cruising is a great option. It provides the security of traveling in a group with the option of privacy, too.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Great Mediterranean Cruise Options

Europe’s Mediterranean Basin overflows with diverse natural beauty and an abundance of historic ports perched at the edge of sea. It’s too much to see on a single cruise, so most itineraries focus on part of this this legendary region. So, what are some options for a week-long Mediterranean cruise?

Greek Isles. The classic choice is a voyage among the Greek Isles in the Aegean portion of the Mediterranean. It has been a bucket list item for generations. A cruise is the best way to see the islands, ringed by deep blue water, edged with sunny beaches and adorned with whitewashed cottages. Favorite port calls on a cruise from Athens include the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Some visit Crete, as well, where there’s an amazing variety of excursions to enjoy, from snorkeling to the high, windmill-studded Lasithi Plateau.

Adriatic Sea. This arm of the Mediterranean sparkles between the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas. Many cruises begin in Venice, perfect for a pre- or post-cruise stay. Where else can you see so many beautiful medieval buildings via gondola? As you sail along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, port calls may include Split and Dubrovnik. You might also call on Kotor, Montenegro, a dramatic mix of medieval city walls, Venetian-style palaces, museums and churches. Some cruises then sail west to end in Naples or Rome, and others continue east to call on Athens.

French Riviera. The southern coast of France, lined with glamorous ports, is all about the finer things in life: vineyards, golden beaches, and flavorful cuisine. Port calls may include Marseille, with its multicultural vibe (take an excursion to the Chateau d’If of The Count of Monte Cristo fame); the seaside resort of Sant-Tropez; luxurious Cannes; and Monte Carlo. Some cruises include a stop in Corsica, known as the birthplace of Napoleon and appreciated for its spectacular mountain scenery.

Western Mediterranean. Many Western Mediterranean cruises provide the chance to spend a few extra days in the city of Barcelona, where there’s so much to see in the famous Gothic Quarter and beyond. Cruises from Barcelona often call on Cannes or Marseilles on the French Riviera; Livorno, Italy, a port city that gives you a choice of excursions to Florence or Pisa; the Eternal City of Rome; and perhaps Naples, backed by brooding Mount Vesuvius. It’s a treat if your itinerary includes Palma on the lovely island of Mallorca, rich in historic sites.

Talk with your professional travel advisor about the part of the Mediterranean that you would most like to cruise.


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Monday, April 8, 2019

Spending Time in San Juan

It’s been 18 months since Hurricane Maria devastated the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, and while there are people and places that are still recovering, the port city of San Juan has rebounded. It’s the starting and ending point for many cruises of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, and a fantastic place for a pre- or post-cruise stay.

One of the best things to do in San Juan is see the Old San Juan neighborhood, the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. It rests on its own narrow island, linked to the city by bridges. There’s a lot of well-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture here, including the Catedral Metropolitana Basilica de San Juan Bautista; one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas, it contains the tomb of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. In the park outside, are whimsical animal sculptures, including a charming cat with the neck of a giraffe.

Another imposing sight is the Castillo de san Cristobal, where the first shot of the Spanish-American War was fired in 1898. There’s also La Fortaleza, which began life as a fortress and has now housed more than 170 governors of Puerto Rico.

By day, the La Placita market in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood is a traditional open-air market filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other produce, and surrounded by delightful restaurants and bars. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the market becomes the center of a lively block party, with music and dancing into the night. Be sure to fortify yourself with classic Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo (seasoned mashed plantains) and arroz con dulce (sticky rice cooked with spices, coconut milk, raisins, and rum). Santurce is also a center of the arts in San Juan, so there are lots of galleries to browse.

San Juan may be your starting point for a cruise to the beaches of the Caribbean, but some of the best are right in San Juan – made of soft white sand, lapped by turquoise water, and lined with palm trees. Some popular beaches are Escambron Beach, Condado Beach, and Ocean Park Beach.

There’s also a lot to see within an hour’s drive of San Juan, including El Yunque National Forest and the bioluminescent bay at Laguna Grande.

Ask your professional travel advisor about a great cruise from San Juan and where to stay for a few days to enjoy this historical and lovely city.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

What’s New in River Cruising

River cruises are getting more popular, and it’s easy to understand why. River cruise ships sail the inland waterways of North America, Europe, Asia and other spots around the globe, treating passengers to constantly changing scenery, immersive experiences on shore, and an intimate onboard environment. If you haven’t been on a river cruise yet, ask someone who has – we think they’ll recommend it. If you’re already a river cruise fan, what will be new and different in 2019? Here are some of the biggest trends in river cruising:

Special Interest Cruises. Voyages that appeal to specific interests aren’t just for ocean cruising. There are river cruises that focus on food or wine (think sailing through a winemaking region, with plenty of tours and tastings on the way), including beer-themed cruises for the brew masters among us. Others focus on art, World War history, Jewish heritage, gardens, golf and more. Some of the most popular special interest voyages focus on the charming, sparkling Christmas markets of Europe (a wonderful option for a holiday season cruise).

Multigenerational Cruises. This is important if you’re looking for a family cruise vacation. Some river cruise lines welcome children, while others are limited to adults. So, as you browse itineraries, make sure all the members of your family – including any tots, tweens and teens – will be able to get on board (your professional travel advisor can help you with this). If you plan to roll on the river with kids, check out the next trend, too – active cruises.

Active Cruises. Passengers who consider daily exercise a must want to work out on board, so river cruise lines are creating larger fitness centers with a greater variety of equipment and, in some cases, professional fitness instructors. As for being active on shore, river cruises call on a new town nearly every day, and you can explore them on walking tours of various intensities. Some port calls also give you the chance to explore via bike or kayak, or to swim at local beaches, too.

Eco-Sensitivity. River cruise ship lighting systems, heating and cooling, water treatment systems and windows are getting more energy-efficient all the time. During the next few years, watch for ships with higher-performing engines that have the potential to reduce fuel consumption. Some lines are also reducing the use of plastic products (straws, for example). After all, it’s essential for river cruise lines to protect the ecology and beauty of the rivers they sail upon.

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