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, June 24, 2019

A Day in Aruba

Just off the northeast coast of South America, the ABC Islands of the Southern Caribbean – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – are beautiful cruise destinations. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the islands have spectacular weather all year long. They also lie south of the paths of most Atlantic hurricane systems, so they’re a great choice for summer and early fall cruises.

Aruba, the most-visited of the three, isn’t your average tropical island. The climate is drier than you might expect, and the island is dotted with forests of cacti. If you explore them, you could see some animals found nowhere else, including the Aruban Whiptail – a blue-hued, long-tailed lizard – a brown-throated parakeet, or the endangered Aruba rattlesnake (don’t get too close).

The glittering casinos in the port of Oranjestad are an attraction, but many visitors choose Aruba due to its wonderful beaches. The southern and western shores are mostly sheltered from strong ocean currents, with stretches of soft white sand. One of the most popular is Eagle Beach – long, wide and often included on lists of the world’s best beaches. If you’re there during sea turtle nesting season (March through September), red-and-white markers will alert you to the protected nests. You might even see some tiny hatchlings make their way to the ocean.

If you have young children with you and want the calmest water, take an excursion to Baby Beach. Lovely Palm Beach, backed by resort hotels, is a good place for watersports. If you’re really feeling adventurous, Hadicurari Beach on the north shore offers strong waves and breezes for experienced swimmers and kite surfers.

The wreck of the SS Pedernales, a World War II tanker sunk by a German U-boat, is a relatively shallow but interesting snorkel site. Experienced divers can take a catamaran tour out to the wreck of the Antilla, a German freighter.

To see Aruba’s interior, choose from ATV, horseback, Jeep and bike tours. You can visit Arikok National Park to see wildlife, caves, sand dunes and limestone cliffs. Around the island, there’s also an ostrich farm, a butterfly farm, a lighthouse, and a donkey sanctuary that cares for the descendants of donkeys that were once the island’s main form of transportation.

Cruise itineraries that call on Aruba are usually seven days or more, departing from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or San Juan. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you select a cruise that will bring you to this one-of-a-kind island.


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Cruising: The Best Way to Explore Hawaii


Cruising: The Best Way to Explore Hawaii

There’s more than one way to see Hawaii, and we would pick a cruise every time. Here’s why:

While they’re all stunning, each Hawaiian Island has its own unique landscape and special character, from the volcanoes of the Big Island to the towering waterfalls of Kauai. You’ll want to see more than one island, and a cruise makes that easy. You board your ship, unpack and relax, with no worries about having to repack to catch a flight each time you change islands.

A cruise is cost-efficient, too: Taking flights between islands gets expensive. Also, meals on shore can be pricey. As a cruise passenger, you’ll have the option of returning to the ship for delicious meals that are included in your cruise fare.

A cruise also guarantees some spectacular over-the-water views of the islands from the ship’s decks, if not from your very own stateroom. That’s something you don’t necessarily get from a hotel or resort, even if it’s on the water.

When you choose to cruise Hawaii, you have a choice of two basic cruise options. One is to fly to Honolulu and board a ship that cruises only among the islands. This will maximize your vacation time in Hawaii. Another option is to sail from a west coast port like San Diego, Los Angeles or Vancouver. This will give you time to enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail across the Pacific.

However you get there, what can you plan to see on a Hawaiian cruise? Popular ports include Honolulu on the island of Oahu, with the iconic peak of Diamondhead and Waikiki Beach. A visit to the lovely and solemn USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a must, too.

Some people say Kauai is the most beautiful of the islands. Popular shore excursions include lush Waimea Canyon or a visit to the island’s breathtaking Napali coast.

Maui is known for its laid-back, artsy ambiance, with fantastic beaches and Haleakala National Park, which offers some adventurous excursions.

The Big Island of Hawaii has plantations that produce world-famous Kona coffee, plus, the stark beauty of Volcanoes National Park.

Some cruises visit the tranquil, less-developed islands of Lanai and Molokai, too. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, soon to make your plans for cruising the Hawaiian Islands.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Eight Thrilling Cruise Ship Attractions for Kids

The best cruise ships for families are equipped to keep kids entertained, especially while at sea. Many cruise ships offer great child- and family-friendly activities, but some offer truly heart-pumping attractions to thrill the kids. We find that Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships offer quite a few activities that fall into the “thrilling” category. (Parents, note that many of these thrills can be enjoyed by the whole family.)

Racetracks. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Joy and Bliss are the first ships at sea to offer two-level racetracks designed for competitive racing. Kids can zoom along at up to 30 mph.

Escape Rooms. Several Norwegian ships have escape rooms with a carnival theme. When a carnival act goes wrong, the kids must solve puzzles to “Escape the Big Top” before time runs out.

Ziplines. On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, kids can zip from deck 16 to 15, high above the Boardwalk neighborhood. Norwegian also features ziplines on the Getaway and Breakaway as part of a multi-level ropes course.

The Plank. Norwegian Cruise Line’s ropes courses also feature The Plank: eight feet long and just six inches wide, it extends over the ocean to give kids the experience of walking the plank, just like a pirate. (Parents, don’t worry – there’s a secure safety harness involved.)

Trapeze School. The Sea Plex on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships offers several heart-pumping experiences for kids, including Trapeze School. Kids six years of age and older can take lessons on the flying trapeze (with safety equipment).

Skydiving. The same Royal Caribbean ships offer RipCord skydiving simulators. In this glass-enclosed wind tunnel, kids can experience the feeling of free-fall skydiving.

The North Star. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class also has the North Star, an enclosed glass capsule that rises 300 feet up and extends out over the water for fabulous, 360-degree views.

Waterslides. Norwegian’s Breakaway class ships have no less than five multistory waterslides, including one that drops a pair of kids nearly straight down for several stories before spinning them through loops. Kids on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas get a warning that the Ultimate Abyss is one of the cruise world’s most thrilling waterslides. They start the 10-story drop by stepping into the mouth of a monster-like fish.

If you’re looking for a cruise ship that offers fun and thrills for your kids, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor about where these ships can take you, too.


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Monday, June 10, 2019

Wildlife on an Alaskan Cruise

The stunning scenery is a huge draw, but some people cruise Alaska for a different reason: to see the wildlife that abounds there. What animals can you expect to see – at least through binoculars, and perhaps close-up – on a cruise of southeast Alaska?

On Land
The most commonly sighted Alaskan bear may be the “rock bear,” which turns out to be a boulder on the shoreline. However, it’s common to spot brown or black bears while sailing near shore or even while hiking: some shore excursions will take you to salmon streams where bears (and eagles) love to feed on fresh fish.

Mountain goats can be spotted throughout southeast Alaska. When you sail close to craggy mountains or cliffs, watch for the shaggy, surefooted creatures on high ledges.

So that you won’t be disappointed, know that one Alaskan animal you’re unlikely to see while cruising is the moose. There’s always a chance, but they usually stay farther inland.

In the Water
Alaska’s Inside Passage is a good place to spot adorable sea otters; they swim on their backs, the better to show their cute, whiskered faces. You’re also likely to see harbor seals and colonies of sea lions – the males can weigh up to a ton.

The nutrient-rich waters of Southeast Alaska attract humpback whales, and more than 500 spend the summer in the Inside Passage. These massive creatures love to “breach,” rising out of the water and dramatically splashing down on their backs. Also present, but harder to spot, are black-and-white orcas, or “killer” whales (which are actually part of the dolphin family).

Many cruises offer whale-watching excursions (via boat or kayak), which usually include sightings of other sea life, too. If your cruise calls on Seward, take an excursion to the Alaska SeaLife Center, an excellent aquarium that offers behind-the-scenes animal encounters.

In the Air
Puffins are actually better at swimming and diving than flying; watch for their distinctive orange beaks on the water or among the rocks. The oystercatcher’s bill is orange, too, though longer and slimmer than a puffin’s; they’re most often seen wading and feeding along shorelines.

Alaska also has a large population of bald eagles. You’ll spot them soaring overhead, plucking fish from the water or resting on nests high in the trees. You can take an excursion to the Alaska Raptor Center in Ketchikan, a rehabilitation center for injured eagles, owls and other birds.

To select an Alaskan cruise for the wildlife lover in you, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.


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Monday, June 3, 2019

The Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is perched on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and not far from Venice. Dubrovnik has become a mainstay of Eastern Mediterranean cruise itineraries that also include Venice, Athens, and the Greek Isles. When you visit, you may find that Dubrovnik is one of your all-time favorite port calls.

Larger ships often dock in suburban Dubrovnik, where you can hop a bus or take a taxi to the historic Old Town. Some smaller ships are able to dock right in the midst of this medieval treasure, which is best experienced by walking tour. Under the terracotta roofs, you’ll find centuries-old monasteries, churches, synagogues and even one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe.

Get your bearings by first walking atop the Old Town city walls. About 80 feet high, the walls provide a birds-eye view of the historic heart of the city, the sparkling Adriatic, and the brooding mountains to the east.

Come down from the walls to walk along the narrow, cobblestoned streets (there’s no vehicle traffic in the Old Town). Take a selfie beside a fountain, such as the “big” and “small” Onofrio’s Fountains at either end of Stradun, a limestone-paved street that connects the east and west entrances to the Old Town. Look at the Renaissance-era structures that survived the massive earthquake of 1667, such as the Rector’s Palace and Sponza Palace. Browse the quirky shops, then claim a table at an open-air cafĂ© and enjoy a little fresh seafood or a rozata, Dubrovnik’s signature dessert.

If you’re a fan of the popular TV show Game of Thrones, you can take a walking tour of locations used for the show. Dubrovnik is the real-life location of King’s Landing, the capital of the realm’s seven kingdoms. You can see where Ayra Stark hid from the Lannisters, the city walls attacked by the Baratheons and Lovrijenac Fortress, featured in the Battle of Blackwater.

It’s easy to spend an entire day in the Old Town. There’s a lot to see, and the people-watching is top-notch. But, there are also wonderful beaches near Old Town harbor, where you can enjoy the view and soak up the sun. Or, take a boat excursion to a nearby island. The forested island of Mljet is considered to be one of the most beautiful along the Dalmatian Coast. If you’d like an active shore excursion, try a bike tour (some include a bit of wine-tasting, too).

To find a cruise that will take you to wonderful Dubrovnik, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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