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, October 25, 2021

Shipboard Fun with Shuffleboard

Cruising is a wonderful way to visit new places, meet new friends, try food you never heard of before, and play a time-honored yet trendy game called shuffleboard. 

That’s right; shuffleboard is trendy. For decades, most people thought of shuffleboard (if they thought of it at all) as a game for older people, as it doesn’t require a lot of physical activity. But, shuffleboard has recently become more popular with younger generations, and you can find shuffleboard tables, courts pick-up games and leagues at bars and clubs from New York to Seattle. 


On cruise ships, shuffleboard has been a mainstay since the 1840s, when an employee of the Peninsular and Oriental Line (known today as P&O Cruises) adapted an old tavern game called shoveboard. Who exactly created shoveboard and when is information lost to time, but the game’s history in Europe goes back at least 500 years. Aristocrats played this tabletop game, also called shovegroat or shovelpenny, with coins or other metal weights. Using their hands, they “shoved” the metal markers to a scoring area on the opposite side of the table.


If you’ve cruised before, you probably saw shuffleboard courts painted on cruise ship promenade decks or top decks. Playing the game is a fine way to spend some time in the open air, enjoying the sea breeze and views combined with friendly competition. Shuffleboard is a game that almost anyone can play, though it takes time and practice to become a really skilled player. 


A cruise ship shuffleboard court includes two large triangles, about 12 feet apart. Each triangle points toward the center of the court and is marked with zones of different point values. The game is played either one-on-one or in teams of two. The players use long-handled cues to push discs, also called pucks or hammers, over to the triangle on the other side of the court. Everyone aims for the sections of the triangle that are marked with the highest point values, and the first side to reach 75 points wins. 


Be sure to give shuffleboard a try on your next cruise. If you don’t have shuffleboard experience but have played games like bocce, curling, croquet or billiards, you’ll notice some similarities to shuffleboard. 


And if you’re very lucky, your cruise ship may feature another time-honored deck game: quoits, which involves tossing a ring, often made of rope, toward a target. It’s another fun way to spend time on deck, relaxing and enjoying the fresh air. 


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Monday, October 18, 2021

Slow Cruising

Life can move quickly, but there’s a growing appreciation for enjoying the things that are important to us – including travel – more slowly and mindfully. If you’re interested in the “slow travel” trend, you should consider cruising; and, river cruising may be especially well suited to your slow travel dreams. 


Slow travel grew out of the “slow food” movement, which started in the 1980s and celebrates locally produced, traditionally prepared food. Translated to travel, slow movement is all about reducing the pace. Instead of a whirlwind of activities that may leave you feeling like you need another vacation, slow travel provides time to make deeper, more memorable connections with different places, people, and cultures. 


There are several reasons why river cruising fits the slow travel trend so well. First, most river cruise ships are small, which serves a practical purpose – their low, narrow profiles let them glide smoothly under old bridges and into small, city-center docks. But, the size of river cruise ships makes them slow-travel-worthy, too, because most are not equipped with a huge variety of activity and entertainment options. That can be an advantage when you want a cruise experience that’s focused on the places and experiences waiting to be discovered onshore. And, on a river cruise, the onboard activities are often designed to help you get to know the region you’re sailing through. 


While many ocean-going cruises feature one or more days entirely at sea, river cruises usually dock in a new place each day, maximizing your opportunity to explore onshore. With a small number of passengers on board – likely less than 200, compared to 1,000 or more on many ocean-going ships – you can disembark quickly and begin soaking in the local sights, sounds, and tastes. An itinerary with overnight stays or opportunities to venture farther inland can deliver an even more immersive experience. And, even when your ship is in motion, you’re likely to remain in sight of local life on the shore. 


Many river ships also make an effort to reflect local culture in their dining rooms. Staying close to shore makes it possible to bring on fresh ingredients by day and feature them in regional specialties that evening.  


There are lots of rivers that you can cruise in Europe, Asia, India, South America and North America, too. To help you choose a river cruise that will deliver on the joys of slow travel, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 


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Monday, October 11, 2021

Amazing Experiences on a Cruise Ship

Cruises are filled with fun activities, from enjoying the pools and hot tubs to art classes or cooking lessons. But some cruise activities are truly spectacular – you might even find yourself doing something on a cruise ship that you wouldn’t do on land. 

For example, you can go skydiving – or at least have a simulated experience that feels like the real thing. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships have skydiving simulators, glassed-in wind tunnels that deliver the adrenaline rush of skydiving without having to leap out of a plane. Another way to get a sky-high view on a Quantum-class ship is to ride the North Star. This glass-walled capsule rises high above the ship for fantastic, 360-degree views; sunrise and sunset are especially popular times. 

Princess Cruises uses glass to provide a different type of thrill along the SeaWalk, a 60-foot walkway that extends over the side of the ship and is glassed on all sides – including the floor. Find it on the Royal Princess and Regal Princess. 

Another amazing experience for those who aren’t bothered by heights is “walking the plank” on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-class ships. High above the water, you can walk out on the eight-foot-long, six-inch-wide plank if you dare (don’t worry, you’ll be wearing a safety harness). 

MSC Cruises gets hearts pumping with a Formula One race car simulator. Climb into the single-seat Ferrari and get the feel of driving one of the fastest cars in the world. If you “drive” well – and that’s not easy – you’ll get the checkered flag for the win. 

If you want to do something unusual but more relaxing than an adrenaline rush, visit the Ice Bar on the Norwegian Breakaway, Epic or Escape. Warm coats and gloves are provided, and you’ll need them inside the sparkling, 17-degree Fahrenheit bar where everything – including your cocktail glass – is made of ice.  

For a unique onboard experience that’s even a bit educational, visit the only planetarium at sea on Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2. Sit back, explore the galaxies, and be amazed by the universe. 

When you sail on Celebrity Cruises’ Flora – the first cruise ship specifically built to visit the Galapagos Islands – you can go glamping (glamorous camping) on the top deck. After a gourmet dinner, you’ll sleep under the stars in a specially designed cabana. The crew will deliver a sunrise breakfast, too. 

To find out how you can treat yourself to these and other amazing onboard experiences, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

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Monday, October 4, 2021

Tips for a Smooth Embarkation

Embarkation day is the first day of your cruise when you arrive at the cruise terminal and board the ship. It’s a great day because your wonderful cruise vacation is all ahead of you. Still, there are some things you can do to ensure that embarkation day goes as smoothly as possible – look at our tips. 

Complete your pre-cruise check-in. Most cruise lines have an online, pre-cruise check-in process that you should complete well before embarkation day. This helps ensure the cruise line has the information they need to serve you well. Enter your information carefully; for example, make sure the name on your reservation is exactly as shown on the identification you’ll bring with you (more on that in the next tip). 

Print and bring all the documents you’ll need. Most cruise lines provide online access to some important documents to print at home and bring with you, such as boarding passes and luggage tags. You’ll also need to bring the identification documents your cruise line requires, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or passports. If you’re not sure what documents you’ll need to bring, check with your professional travel advisor. 

Consider pre-cruise purchases. You may be able to conveniently purchase certain extras – such as beverage packages or shore excursions – before you leave home (but you can purchase them after you board the ship, too). 

Pack a small carry-on bag with essentials like medications and small toiletries; keep this bag with you and give the rest to porters at the cruise terminal (they’ll be delivered to your stateroom). Some activities will be available as soon as you board the ship, so you may want to pack a swimming suit and athletic attire in your carry-on, too. 

Arrive on time
. Many cruise lines assign specific boarding times to help avoid big crowds in the cruise terminal. You’ll have the smoothest experience if you arrive promptly. 

Get ready for your close-up
. Most cruise lines will take a photo of you and your companions as you board the ship (you can purchase it later). 

Explore the ship. Once onboard, take a look around: find your stateroom, check out the fitness center, sign up for tournaments and kids’ clubs, or stretch out on a lounge by the pool until it’s time for the sail away party. And if you’re in the mood for a little pampering, check on embarkation-day specials at the spa for a relaxing start to a fabulous cruise. 

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