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 27, 2020

Some Tips When Booking Your First Cruise

Congratulations on deciding to take your first cruise! Assuming you’ve decided where to sail, when, and on which cruise line, here are some additional considerations to think through as you make your very first cruise reservation.

Decide what type of stateroom you need. Spacious suites with balconies are very appealing, but what type of accommodation do you really need? An interior stateroom is economical and will have comfortable beds and furnishings, plus a well-appointed bathroom. Some interior staterooms even have virtual windows (screens that show a camera-eye view of what’s going on outside). Chances are you’ll spend most of your time elsewhere on ship or shore, so an interior stateroom may meet your needs very well and leave you more of your vacation budget for adventures onshore and extras onboard. However, if you want to start out with a balcony-equipped suite, by all means, treat yourself!

Think about what you want to do onboard. There’s often so much happening on a ship that your time onboard can benefit from a little planning. Which performances and shows do you want to see? Specialty restaurants may require advance reservations – which do you want to try? Spa treatments require reservations, too. You may want to create a simple schedule of “must-do’s” while on board and ask your professional travel advisor for tips on making reservations.

Think about what you want to do onshore. Enjoying the ship is a big part of a cruise, but your time onshore is just as worthy of advance planning. Do some research into your ports of call and what you would like to see and do. All cruise ships offer organized shore excursions, which are a great, safe way to explore. (Note that you’re welcome to stay on the ship while it’s in port, but you don’t want to miss out on a great shoreside experience.)

Study the deck plans available on the cruise line’s website. No matter the size of your ship, navigating multiple decks among hundreds (if not thousands) of other passengers can be intimidating. Use deck plans to locate your stateroom, pools and activity areas, dining spots, the gym and spa, and the passenger service desk. Take note of deck numbers and fore/aft (front or back) and starboard/port (right or left side when facing fore) locations, and you’ll have a better idea of where to find things when you get on board. Many cruise lines even offer an app that you can download prior to the cruise and use onboard without incurring any data charges. These apps will typically contain the ship’s deck plans along with activity schedules and a variety of other features.

Finally, after you’ve done your cruise homework, stay open to the possibilities. The experienced cruisers you’ll meet onboard may have helpful recommendations and the crew will be ready to help you, too. Bon voyage!

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Monday, January 20, 2020

A Day on Grand Cayman

At Grand Cayman, the largest of the Caribbean’s Cayman Islands, cruise ships anchor in the harbor and tender you to shore, just steps away from downtown Georgetown. This is a great place to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping. You’ll have a choice of restaurants that serve savory island fare – steamed fish, conch fritters and curried goat – with beautiful views of the water.

The collection of shops in Georgetown is eclectic, but there’s an emphasis on jewelry, especially diamonds. You can also browse for antiques, salvaged coins, and all the usual duty-free goods, too.
If you’re looking for fresh air and exercise, Grand Cayman is also a great place for outdoor fun. Many visitors head to Seven Mile Beach, a truly lovely (and long) stretch of sand. It can be busy at times, but if you keep walking along the shore you’re sure to find a quiet spot to enjoy the sun and water.

If you’re up for snorkeling, head to Stingray City. This area inside the barrier reef is home to dozens of southern stingrays that you can pet and feed by hand. There’s also a deeper area where you can scuba dive with the rays.

In fact, divers have an abundance of dive sites to choose from around Grand Cayman. One of the most popular is the USS Kittiwake, a former submarine rescue vessel sunk to serve as an artificial reef. It lies about 60 feet down in unbelievably clear water.

Grand Cayman is also great for exploring by bicycle. Rent a two-wheeler and ride to one of several beaches or to the Mastic Trail, where you can hike through unspoiled, old-growth forest. You’ll see rare trees, parrots, woodpeckers, butterflies, lizards, snakes and other native creatures.

The island’s West Bay Loop has an excellent bike trail with stunning ocean views. You can also visit Hell, a small and fascinating formation of rough, blackened limestone. The gift shop and other businesses with “Hell” in their names provide great photo opportunities. A visit to the East End can include a breeding facility for the endangered blue iguana, interesting caves, and dramatic blowholes that spout water high in the air.

A port call in Grand Cayman is usually part of a longer Caribbean cruise that may include Key West, Jamaica, Cozumel and Costa Maya and even Roatan. To schedule a cruise that will take you there, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

The Bahamas Are Waiting for You

Hurricane Dorian brought heartbreaking destruction to the Bahamas in late August and many travelers have wondered how they can help support recovery efforts. Tourism is a huge driver of the Bahamian economy and officials there say one of the best things you can do to help is to travel there. And, what better way to go than on a cruise ship?

Grand Bahama Island and its neighboring islands to the north experienced the worst of the record-breaking hurricane, but the vast majority of the Bahamas had no meaningful damage. For example, the port of Nassau on New Providence Island and its neighbor Paradise Island reopened quickly after the storm.

Now, all of the Bahamian cruise ports affected by the storm – including Freeport on Grand Bahama Island – have reopened and are eager to welcome you. Major cruise lines have resumed their regular schedule of Bahamas cruises, too. Because almost half the Bahamian workforce is employed by the tourism sector, your cruise vacation will help shore up the economy of the islands.

Several private islands owned by cruise lines are located in the Bahamas and they are also back in operation, including Disney’s Castaway Cay, Holland America’s Half Moon Cay and Princess Cruise Line’s Princess Cays. Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay – needed some structural repairs but were able to reopen in September.

Nearly all of the popular, premium and luxury cruise lines sail to the Bahamas from a variety of East Coast homeports. You can sail from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Charleston, Baltimore, New York City or Cape Liberty in New Jersey. And, you can choose from a wonderful variety of cruise lengths and itineraries. Enjoy a quick, two-day getaway from Miami to Nassau and back; take four or five days for a leisurely sail to more than one island; or take a longer voyage that may also visit the U.S. or British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or other Eastern Caribbean islands.

It’s good to know that many cruise lines contributed millions of dollars to humanitarian aid after Hurricane Dorian. Some used their ships to deliver food, water, generators, cleaning materials and other relief supplies. Now, the ships are back to serving their main purpose: providing memorable cruises to the beautiful Bahamas. To choose one, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

Cruising Europe

There’s a challenge that comes with planning a European cruise, but it’s a fun one. With such a big variety of itineraries, it can take some time to figure out which one is your top choice.
To begin, consider which region you would most like to explore:

Eastern Mediterranean cruises often focus on the timeless beauty of the Greek Isles and ports along the Adriatic Sea, such as Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. The Eastern Med is rich in ancient archaeological sites; delicious, rustic cuisine; and stunningly beautiful beaches.

Western Mediterranean cruises focus on the coastal cities of Spain, France, and Western Italy – think Barcelona, Marseilles, Nice, and Rome. Here, you’ll find historic architecture, modern sophistication, fine art and some of the very best food and wine on the planet.

Western European cruises often include the British Isles and ports on the North Sea, such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges. You can explore cobblestoned city centers, centuries of history, and sample the region’s delicious beer and chocolate. Some of these cruises include the gorgeous fjords of Norway’s western coast.
Northern European cruises take you to Baltic Sea capitals like Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. The weather here is often warmer and sunnier than you may think, and you can enjoy the region’s cafĂ© culture, historic sites and wonderful museums.

All these regions are very popular destinations for cruisers and other travelers, and in summer months the ports can be quite busy. If you’re looking for a quieter onshore experience, look for itineraries that include emerging and less-frequented ports. Examples include:

·         Valetta – The capital of the Mediterranean island of Malta has spectacular medieval architecture and ancient megalithic temples.
·         Cephalonia – the largest of the Greek Isles in the Ionian Sea has an irregular coastline of secluded coves and white sand beaches; find one to make your own.
·         Olden – Norway’s Oldeelva river carved out the Oldedalen, a river valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains with the town of Olden at its mouth. The scenery is absolutely stunning, and you can hike on a glacier.
·         Cobh – The port for the city of Cork, Ireland and the famous Blarney Castle, Cobh has its own charms, including colorful houses and a graceful cathedral. It’s also steeped in history. This was the last port of call for the Titanic and the port of emigration for millions of Irish people.

For help deciding which part of Europe you’ll cruise to, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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