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, May 27, 2019

Try a Different Kind of Summer Cruise

Are you looking for an alternative to the Caribbean for a summer cruise? Look to the northeast: New England and Maritime Canada aren’t just for fall color cruises. The area’s natural beauty, rich history and love of celebrations come alive in the warmer months, making it a great choice for a summer voyage. In fact, you may find that summer is the best time to sail the region. Here are a few reasons why.

Summer is prime time to follow the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s the best way to admire the Gilded Age mansions along the shore – The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and more. Many of these were built as summer homes for the wealthiest families of the day and are at their best when the gardens are in bloom.

July and August are soft-shell lobster season in Maine. The tasty crustaceans shed their hard shells (so they can grow bigger ones), providing a seasonal treat. Soft shell lobsters are known for their sweet taste. They don’t travel well, so they are best eaten when and where they are caught (look for them on menus in Bar Harbor).

Halifax, Nova Scotia, celebrates its seafaring heritage and culture all year long, but especially in the summer. You may dock in the midst of a yacht race, an international military tattoo, a jazz festival, a celebration of indigent peoples or immigrant heritage, or even the International Busker Festival. You’ll enjoy the lively pub life of Halifax, too.

Prince Edward Island is a bucket-list destination for many fans of "Anne of Green Gables,” which is set on this island province. From mid- June through September, you can catch a musical version of the beloved book at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. It’s been the headline event of the Charlottetown Festival, a celebration of the arts, for more than 50 years.

As an added incentive, the best time to see whales off the Atlantic coast is June through September. You may spot some playful seals, too.

You can choose from a delightful variety of itineraries of various lengths for your summer cruise of New England and Canada. Depending on your cruise line, you can embark from Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Quebec or Montreal. There are round-trip cruises, as well as one-way cruises that may enable you to experience more of the region. To explore all of the options, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.


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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Suite Life at Sea

Sailing in a cruise ship suite is a wonderful treat.  While “suite” can mean different things on different ships (and many ships have a range of suite sizes and designs), suites generally have more square footage than a regular stateroom, with separate sitting and sleeping areas. Many boast larger bathrooms, sometimes with bathtubs, and almost always have a balcony or verandah. However, suites deliver more than additional space; they come with special amenities that provide great value, too.

For example, sailing in a suite can eliminate the need to purchase onboard beverage packages. Some cruise lines include a generous beverage package in the price of a suite or stock up your suite’s minibar with complimentary beverages.

As a suite passenger, you’ll find other extras included in your fare. These may include fitness classes, in-suite movies, gratuities for the crew, WiFi access, laundry, and some ship tours or shore excursions. Ask your professional travel advisor to help you explore the extras included in suite fares for a cruise you would like to take.

And, there’s more. When you book a suite, you’ll receive priority check-in, which makes the process of boarding the ship faster and easier. You may even be escorted to a comfortable lounge to await your turn to check in – much nicer than standing in a long line. Also, when the ship visits a port, you’ll be among the first to disembark or board a tender.

More cruise lines are setting aside special spaces on their ships just for suite dwellers. You may receive a key to an exclusive lounge, sun deck or pool where you can relax and enjoy complimentary snacks, cocktails, specialty coffees, and a great view. Some ships even have specialty restaurants accessible only to suite passengers. Examples include Celebrity Cruises’ Luminae, Royal Caribbean’s Coastal Kitchen and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Haven Restaurant.

Butler and concierge services are increasingly popular luxury amenities for suite passengers. Your butler will unpack your bags, bring you snacks and drinks, shine your shoes, serve dinner in your suite and more. Your concierge will make spa and specialty dining reservations, help you plan a day in port, and manage any billing questions or concerns.

Finally, to enjoy the suite life at sea, be sure to make your cruise reservation as early as possible. Suites are usually the first category of accommodations to sell out.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Cruising With a Special Diet

Cruise ships are well-known for offering delicious, plentiful food that you don’t have to shop for, prepare or clean up. What’s not as well-known is that the dining staff can accommodate all kinds of special or restricted diets – important at a time when an estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies or need food that’s free of fat, salt, nuts, meat, sugar, dairy, cholesterol, carbohydrates or gluten. Cruise lines are also accustomed to working with guests who need kosher, halal and vegan dining options.

Mealtime on a cruise ship used to be more of a challenge for passengers on medically restricted, religious or healthy lifestyle diets. But, that’s a thing of the past. Cruise lines today have expansive menu options and familiarity with different methods of cooking.

If you have special dietary needs, the key is to be diligent about communicating those needs. When you make your cruise reservation, let the cruise line know exactly what your dietary needs are (your professional travel advisor can help you with this). Many cruise lines have a special form for you to complete.

When you board the ship, make sure your dietary needs are on record. Ask to speak with the maître d’ or another member of the dining staff to review menu options and make sure your needs are understood (some cruise lines will automatically set up this meeting for you).

When you sit down for a meal, tell your server about your special dietary needs. And when your food arrives, don’t hesitate to ask your server about anything that doesn’t seem right. Your server and the chefs will do whatever is needed to give you delicious meals that stay within your dietary guidelines.

If you don’t have dietary restrictions but simply want to be able to make healthy dining choices while on your cruise, don’t worry. The lido deck is one place to look for a well-stocked buffet with fresh and healthy choices while main dining room menus virtually always feature healthy options, as well. Plus, you can always ask for a rich dish to be prepared in a different way. For example, with protein that’s broiled instead of sautéed, with less or no salt, and with sauces and dressings served on the side. Tasty!

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Cruise Line Private Islands

If you haven’t taken a Caribbean cruise that includes a day on a cruise line’s private island, you should definitely consider it. A day on a private island is about as relaxing and stress-free as a day can be and several cruise lines have been updating and upgrading their private islands.

For example, Princess Cays in The Bahamas – the private island of Princess Cruises since 1992 – has some updates, including refurbished bars and beach bungalows, new shops and landscaping, plus a big addition to the infrastructure: WiFi access. There’s a choice of activities, including a clear-bottom kayak adventure across a beautiful lagoon, and a great bicycle tour of the island. Guests can rent water sports equipment or interact with stingrays in at the Stingray Beach Encounter.

Royal Caribbean is currently updating one of its two private islands, CocoCay in The Bahamas, to provide what the cruise line promises will be a “Perfect Day.” A brand-new pier will open soon, and several new features are scheduled to open in May. These include the Thrill Waterpark, which will have some of North America’s tallest waterslides and a huge wave pool. A 1,600-foot zip line with a fun a water landing and Chill Island, with water-view cabanas and daybeds will also be introduced. More attractions will debut later this year, including South Beach, where guests can play volleyball, basketball, and soccer, or get on the water for paddle boarding or “zorbing” in an inflatable zorb ball.

MSC Cruises has been developing Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas, scheduled to open in November 2019. The cruise line says it’s focused on showcasing the island’s natural beauty and there will be seven different beaches for guests to enjoy. To help ensure beautiful underwater experiences, too, the cruise line has planted a coral nursery that will help develop new types of coral resistant to climate change. MSC also plans to let guests stay on the island until late in the evening so they can enjoy island sunsets and even movies on the beach.

While these private islands (and others) are in The Bahamas, cruise lines’ private islands can be found in other locations around the Caribbean, as well. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about cruises that will take you to one of these little pieces of paradise.

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