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 25, 2021

Explore a Global Home Port

When thinking about the next cruise you want to take, consider embarking from a home port outside of North America. There are dozens of fabulous cities where you can catch a cruise ship and enjoy a memorable pre-cruise or post-cruise stay. To get your imagination fired up, here’s a quick sample of home ports around the globe – and where you could sail from each one.

London, England. Actually, only small ships can sail up the Thames to the city of London; ocean-going ships usually depart from Southampton. That’s just two hours away from London, so you can spend some pre-or post-cruise time soaking up history in the city’s museums, parks, galleries, and palaces. Many cruise itineraries are available from Southampton; for example, an 11-day London to Rome cruise may include port calls in Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy. Or choose a ship that sails north to the Norwegian fjords or the capital cities around the Baltic Sea.

Hong Kong. Spread over several small islands, Hong Kong’s immense skyscrapers are surrounded by stunning natural beauty. There are markets and monasteries to visit, mountain peaks to hike, museums to tour, incredible street food to sample – even the world’s longest escalator to ride. A boat tour of Victoria Harbour is one of the best ways to enjoy views of the skyline, by day or night. Among the many cruise options is a four-day itinerary that will take you to Vietnam’s beautiful Halong Bay and back.

Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is a city of amazing architecture, from the remains of a Roman temple in the Gothic Quarter to the otherworldly works of Antoni Gaudi. There are fabulous restaurants and cafes, designer boutiques, beautiful parks, and museums devoted to the works of Picasso and Miro. Before or after exploring the city, enjoy a Mediterranean cruise: a five-day itinerary can take you to Nice, Monaco, Naples, and the island of Corsica.

Cape Town, South Africa. Nestled on Africa’s southwestern coast, Cape Town offers the bustling Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Take a hike up Lion’s Head or Signal Hill or ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain to enjoy stunning views. Ships embark from Cape Town on a variety of African itineraries – popular ports of call include South Africa’s Durban and Namibia’s Walvis Bay.

There are so many more global home ports (and great cruises) to choose from; for guidance, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

An Array of Cruise Ship Dining Options

Years ago, there was really only one choice for dining on a cruise ship – the main dining room, a sit-down, banquet-style restaurant with multicourse menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner (a midnight buffet was common, too). Each passenger would have an assigned dining time and table, getting to know their tablemates throughout the cruise – the beginning of many enduring friendships.

With elegant surroundings and favorite dishes from a mix of cuisines, main dining rooms are still a popular onboard dining choice. But while the dining room endures, most ships now offer other options for any meal. This provides more choice and flexibility, but can be a little confusing when you first step on board. Here are a few pointers that can help.

As an alternative to the main dining room, most ships offer a casual buffet on the Lido Deck (where the main swimming pool is located). With a variety of main dishes, sides and desserts, the buffet is quick and convenient. And, while you should wear more than your swimsuit, you don’t need to dress up as much as you do for the dining room. (Note that the COVID-19 pandemic means cruise ship buffets will no longer be self-serve; instead, and your choices will be plated and brought to you.)

Many ships now have one or more small alternative restaurants, too. They often specialize in a specific cuisine prepared in gourmet style and are wonderful for special occasions and “date nights.” While most other dining choices are generally included in your cruise fare, alternative restaurants often have a modest cover charge and require reservations.

If you like to dine in private or need an afternoon snack, try room service. It’s usually available from early morning to late night, if not 24 hours. Menus often include Continental breakfast, snacks, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and perhaps some special entrees for a small extra fee.

On larger cruise ships, you may find pubs and coffee shops that also serve food for much of the day. Some luxury ships have restaurants that specialize in spa cuisine or are accessible only to suite passengers.

Even the main dining room is changing with the times: some now let passengers choose between an assigned dining time and table and open seating, which means you can arrive when you like and sit at a different table each time.

To choose your next cruise with the type of dining experiences you’re looking for in mind, ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for some recommendations.

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Monday, January 11, 2021

New Types of Shore Excursions

Today’s cruise ships have fabulous features to keep you entertained onboard, but many people cruise for what’s on shore as much as what’s on board. Shore excursions can be the most memorable part of a cruise, and more of them are being designed to provide active, cultural, and educational experiences. Here are some examples of new types of shore excursions being offered on a growing number of itineraries.

Food excursions. It’s fun to learn about and taste the authentic local cuisine. Look for culinary shore excursions that visit a farm, restaurant, or cooking school. Some even start with a trip to a market to select ingredients for a favorite local dish, followed by watching – or even helping – a trained chef prepare it.

Sustainability excursions. Many shore excursions emphasize the appreciation and preservation of nature and some cruise lines take care to work with local tour operators who are committed to reducing any impact on the environment. Some excursions take this a step further by offering “voluntourism” opportunities that will get you involved in community-based, eco-focused projects.

Active excursions. It’s delightful to take a bus tour to see the sights of a port city, but if you like to be active, many cruise itineraries offer heart-pumping alternatives. Look for excursions that will take you hiking, biking, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, ziplining, snorkeling or diving; if you’re sailing to Alaska or Norway, how about glacier trekking or dog sledding? (Tip: You might want to schedule a massage in the spa the day after an active excursion!)

Nighttime excursions. Instead of a sunset sail away, some cruise itineraries offer overnight stays in popular ports. They’ll offer excursions that will introduce you to the local nightlife, which might include dining, dancing, listening to music, catching a cultural performance, or going to a street festival.

Overland excursions. If a cruise port brings you close to an inland site you’re longing to see (think the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, or the Taj Mahal), find out if the ship offers an overland excursion; if the ship stays overnight in port, you may be in luck. The excursion will include transportation, dining, a hotel room, and whatever else you need to enjoy the inland attraction.

If you like the sound of one of more of these types of shore excursions, ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for help selecting a cruise that offers some of these wonderful onshore experiences.

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Monday, January 4, 2021

There are Reason Why These Destinations are Popular

As cruise lines make plans to restart operations, cruise fans are looking forward to sailing once again to their favorite destinations. If you haven’t made plans for your next cruise yet, consider one of these perennial favorites.

The Caribbean

The beautiful, blue waters of the Caribbean Sea are a year-round cruise destination. It’s close to home for many North Americans; Caribbean cruises sail from numerous ports along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. The diverse islands of the Caribbean range from flat to mountainous, and sandy white beaches, turquoise water, and coral reefs are common features. The Caribbean also has lots of history and culture – the legacies of indigenous peoples, Africans, and European colonists – that make shore excursions beyond the beaches quite interesting.


Alaska is rugged, and some of its most stunning scenery is actually best seen from a cruise ship. It’s smart to keep your camera ready to take photos at all times. There are misty forests, steep-walled fjords, majestic mountains and glaciers that glow with deep blue and green colors – not to mention the charming and colorful ports of call. You might also be lucky enough to photograph some incredible wildlife onshore, in the sea, or in the air, ranging from bald eagles and bears to orca and humpback whales. Many Alaskan cruises depart from Seattle or Vancouver.


Both of Mexico’s coastlines, along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, are popular for cruising. Gulf of Mexico cruises visit the Yucatan Peninsula and the “Riviera Maya,” where port calls in Progreso, Cozumel, or Playa del Carmen provides time to enjoy the beaches or visit Mayan cultural sites. The famous Mexican Riviera along the Pacific hums with activity; you can choose from beach time, shopping, water sports, golf, and other activities. Popular stops include Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco.

The Mediterranean

Getting to and from a Mediterranean cruise requires some longer flights, but it’s worth the trip. With thousands of miles of shoreline, this sea is touched by some of Europe’s most historic and beautiful cities, including Barcelona, Marseilles, Rome (though it’s a little inland), Naples, Venice, Dubrovnik, and Athens. The climate and food are wonderful, and the port cities are packed with historic sites, museums, galleries, and famous buildings. This is also an excellent choice for island lovers; sail the Greek Isles or choose an itinerary that includes Capri, Corsica, or Mallorca.

Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about these and other wonderful destinations for your next cruise.

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