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, November 29, 2021

Some Destinations Are Best Seen Via Cruise Ship

You can cruise to most parts of the world that are accessible by water, but some destinations are truly best seen via cruise ship. Why? Sometimes, the scenery is most breathtaking from the sea; along some rugged coastlines, travel on the water is easier than travel on land; and, cruise ships may offer more comfortable or affordable accommodations than you can find on land. 


Here are some destinations where we think cruising is the best way to go: 


Galapagos Islands. The islands are 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, so you must fly or sail to reach them. A few islands offer hotels and campsites, but a cruise ship will move you effortlessly to multiple islands, so you’ll see more of this pristine archipelago and its biologically diverse wildlife. Knowledgeable guides will sail along with you. 


Amazon River. The Amazon is also famous for biological diversity, and the best way to see it is to sail this incredible river. The Amazon region may test your tolerance for heat, humidity, and insects; a comfortable cruise ship can do a lot to improve that tolerance. Onboard guides will help you spot gorgeous plant life and amazing animals, from sloths and jaguars to river dolphins and piranhas.


Alaska. Alaska is a vast state of beautiful landscapes and intriguing wildlife. On a cruise of the Inside Passage, part of the state’s southeastern panhandle, you can appreciate the immense natural beauty without having to cover as many miles as you would by land. You’ll sail among misty forests, majestic mountains, calving glaciers, and fantastic sea life like otters, seals, and whales. 


Norway. Like Alaska, Norway is a destination with rugged coastal beauty best seen from the water. Your ship will sail right into deep fjords, with views of snow-capped peaks and cascading waterfalls. Port calls will provide a chance to try some local flavors, like roasted elk and reindeer, fresh fish, cloudberries, and brown goat’s milk cheese. 


Antarctica. Cruising is really the only way to visit Antarctica, which has no accommodations on land (except those occupied by scientists who work there). There are a variety of itineraries but review them carefully; some take you close to the White Continent but don’t actually give you the opportunity to set foot there. A “viewing only” cruise will still deliver unforgettable scenery and take you close to penguins, seals, and more. 


Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, for more information about these and other special destinations best seen via cruise. 


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Monday, November 22, 2021

Cruise Ship Crew Members to Know

There are many people who work hard to provide you with a great cruise experience; each cruise ship has hundreds or thousands of crew members who perform their duties with skill and dedication. Some interact with passengers every day, while others work behind the scenes to provide a high standard of service to guests. 


So, who are the most important crew members to know during your cruise? Here are our picks: 


Cabin Stewards. Cabin stewards make sure that your cabin is clean and fresh. They are happy to answer questions about your cabin and the ship. They can also fulfill many special requests, from shining your shoes before dinner to finding an extra pillow, and sometimes do these things even before you ask. 


Servers. Table and buffet servers are very knowledgeable about the dishes they serve, and they can answer your questions about ingredients and preparation. They will also relay any specific dietary needs and other special requests to the chefs in the galley. If you have the same servers for multiple meals, they are likely to remember your preferences. 


Bartenders. Cruise ship bartenders are trained to make your favorite drinks just the way you like them. As with food servers, bartenders who serve you more than once will often remember your favorites. 


Cruise Director. The cruise director is an officer of the ship and has a major responsibility: to organize and manage all activities and entertainment for the guests. The cruise director is often the most visible member of the crew, making announcements, introducing entertainers, and ensuring that passengers are enjoying themselves. Large ships usually have several deputy cruise directors you can speak with if you have questions or want recommendations about onboard activities or shore excursions. When you cruise on your own, a cruise director can help you meet other passengers. 


Guest Services Staff. The guest services desk, which is a lot like the front desk of a hotel, is managed by the purser, who is the chief financial officer for the ship. The guest services staff can answer questions about your shipboard account and provide other helpful services, like resetting your cabin entry code or exchanging currency. 


Medical Staff. No one wants to need medical services during a cruise, but it does happen. That’s why every cruise ship has an onboard medical facility staffed by professionals. They can help you with anything from a mild case of seasickness to a medical emergency, including transfer to an onshore facility when needed. 


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Monday, November 15, 2021

Planning Your Holiday Season Cruise

The festive season will arrive soon, and you may be thinking about how to celebrate with family and friends. A cruise is a wonderful way to bring everyone together for the holidays; in fact, a cruise can be a fabulous holiday gift to yourself and those you love. Just imagine relaxing on deck with a refreshing drink, enjoying delicious meals complete with traditional holiday favorites, and joining in holiday-themed parties and games. Best of all, you won’t have to cook or clean up! 


While a holiday cruise is wonderfully carefree, it’s good to do some advance planning. Here are a few things to think about: 


Select a ship and itinerary that will let you celebrate the holidays as you choose. This is especially important if your cruise includes Christmas Day when many onshore attractions are closed. In some ports, you might be able to participate in local holiday observances, but options for activities may be very limited. Some ships spend Christmas Day at sea, with onboard Christmas services and lots of activities. Ask your professional travel advisor to help you select an itinerary that will provide the holiday experience you seek. 


Make your reservations as soon as you can. The holiday season is a very busy time of year for cruising and booking earlier will give you a better choice of ships, itineraries, and cabins. Be sure to make your flight reservations to and from the ship as early as possible, too. 


Most public spaces on your ship will be beautifully decorated for the season, and you may want to bring a few decorations to make your cabin festive, too. Remember to abide by your cruise line’s rules: most don’t allow lit candles, strings of lights, or door decorations that extend into the hallway. Some flat decorations for your door, battery-operated tealight candles, and miniature Christmas trees, menorahs or other symbols of the season will add holiday warmth and cheer to your cabin. 


If you want to bring some small gifts to exchange with your cruise companions, please do. However, if you’ll take a flight to meet your ship, don’t wrap the gifts before you leave home – airport security might undo your good work to inspect the packages. Instead, pack a little wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape to make your gifts pretty after you get on board. 


For more holiday cruise ideas and planning tips, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.  


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Monday, November 8, 2021

Accessing the Concierge Lounge

“Concierge” became a profession in the Middle Ages, when these trusted attendants worked to ensure the comfort of the French royal family. By the late 1800s, concierges were at work in the finest European hotels, helping guests with restaurant reservations, shopping recommendations, theater tickets, and much more. 


Today, many cruise ships sail with concierges who assist guests with onboard restaurant and spa reservations, shore excursion arrangements, and other requests. These highly trained crew members often work in a comfortable “concierge lounge.” However, these lounges – and the services of the concierge staff – are available only to certain passengers. How can you be one of them? 


It varies by cruise line, but concierge lounges are usually accessible to a cruise line’s most loyal repeat guests and to passengers in top-tier suites. So, it is worth it to show that type of loyalty to a cruise line, or to reserve a suite that comes with concierge lounge access? 


The answer depends on how much you value the services provided by the concierge staff, the amenities of the concierge lounge, and any additional perks that come with that level of access. These perks vary by cruise line, but may include anything from priority check-in to exclusive shore excursions, continental breakfasts and afternoon cocktails, private sun decks and restaurants, and even complimentary spa treatments. 


Concierge lounge amenities vary a bit by cruise line, but they all offer convenient, fun, and luxurious extras. Here are a few examples: 

·         Celebrity Cruises’ Retreat Lounge has complimentary gourmet bites and drinks all day, as well as a private restaurant, sundeck, pool and hot tub. 

·         Norwegian Cruise Line’s Haven Lounge is located in the “ship-within-a-ship” Haven complex. The lounge offers refreshments all day, access to the Haven restaurant, and a private courtyard with a pool, sauna and sun deck. 

·         The Concierge Club on Royal Caribbean ships features a self-service bar during happy hour, plus hors d’oeuvres and petit fours. There’s also a huge collection of CDs and DVDs to borrow. 

·         In addition to snacks and a private sun deck, Disney Cruises’ Concierge Lounge offers a major perk: a private meet-and-greet session with Disney characters. 

It’s important to note that some very high-end cruise lines don’t offer concierge lounges because all passengers receive a high level of personal service (essentially, the entire ship is a concierge lounge). 


To select a cruise line, ship, and/or suite that comes with access to concierge services and amenities, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 


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Monday, November 1, 2021

When to Sail

A cruise is a wonderful way to vacation at any time, but some cruise destinations are available for only part of each year; and, some year-round destinations are at their best in certain seasons. Here’s a quick guide to where to sail when. 
Spring is a nice time to sail to Bermuda; the beaches are less crowded than in summer. And if you find the beaches just a bit chilly, there are golf courses, spas, shops and historical attractions. 
Spring is also a good time to cruise the Mediterranean before the crowds of summer arrive. Both are beautiful, but the Eastern Mediterranean tends to be a bit warmer than the Western Mediterranean in the spring. 
Summer brings Alaska’s brief cruise season, from May through September. Alaska’s cruise ports are busiest in June, July, and August, so look at May or September for lower prices. 
Summer is also the time to cruise Northern Europe; you can sail to the cities that ring the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, visit the fjords of Norway, and even cross the Arctic Circle. Or, choose to cruise one of Europe’s mighty rivers. 

Many cruise fans are surprised to hear that summer is the best time to cruise the South Pacific. May through October is the dry season there; it will still be warm and lush, but with less rain and humidity than the winter months. 
Cruises of New England and Maritime Canada sail from May through October, but September and October sailings include spectacular displays of color-changing leaves along the shore.  
As in the spring, the Mediterranean is lovely in the fall, with smaller crowds at attractions and cooler temperatures than in the summer months. 
Winter in the northern hemisphere is prime time for cruising many southern hemisphere destinations, including New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America.  
If cruising Antarctica is on your travel wish list, winter is the only time to go: passenger cruises visit the White Continent from November to March. 
While the Caribbean is a year-round cruise destination, why not enjoy it as an escape from the chill of winter? There are lots of itineraries to choose from; ask your professional travel advisor about the many itineraries available in different regions of the Caribbean. 

 Finally, if you don’t mind a little seasonal chill, December is a beautiful time to cruise some European  rivers lined with festive Christmas markets.

To select a cruise for any season, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 


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