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, August 29, 2022

Getting to the Ship On Time

When you fly to the port to board a cruise ship, a flight delay or cancellation is always possible. But right now, a combination of factors – high demand for flights, some airline and airport staff shortages, plus the perpetual unpredictability of weather – is increasing the chances of a flight delay or cancellation. 

 As you know, cruise ships wait for no one; if you don’t get to the ship on time, it will sail without you. So, here are some tips to help ensure you arrive at your ship on time and ready to cruise. 

Plan to arrive in port at least two days before your cruise begins. For years, travel professionals have advised arriving a day early for your peace of mind; right now, a two-day cushion provides greater comfort. If all goes well, you’ll have time to enjoy the port city and buy anything you forgot to pack. 

 Pick the earliest flight of the day to your port. If it’s canceled, you may have a better chance of catching a later flight the same day. 

Fly to the port as directly as possible. The more flight segments you have, the greater the chance that at least one will be delayed. If you must make a connection or two, allow at least two hours between connecting flights. And if you can, don’t check any baggage; edit down your cruise wardrobe and pack it all into a carry-on bag to keep with you. 

 Expect long lines for airport check-in and security screening, so get there early and be prepared. For years, we have been advised to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight; right now, it’s wise to increase that amount of time. Dress comfortably, be patient and bring a mobile device loaded with reading and games to help pass the time. 

 Consider a different way of getting to your ship. If a car, bus, or train can get you to the port in a day or two, it may be a good way to go. Road and rail trips can be quite scenic and relaxing, especially if they take away the stress of worrying that a flight might be canceled. 

 Finally, keep your professional travel advisor’s contact information handy. If it looks like you might not get to your ship on time, get in touch for good advice on what to do next. 

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Monday, August 22, 2022

Really Relax in a Cruise Ship Spa

If relaxation is your reason for taking a cruise, raise that relaxation to a new level by planning a visit to the onboard spa. 

 Most cruise ships have a spa, and they rival the very best on land. The treatment menus are extensive, with massages, facials, body wraps, and scrubs that can revive and refresh you. Many onboard spas also offer facilities like steam rooms, therapeutic pools, snow and salt grottos, aromatherapy zones, and solariums; cosmetic treatments like Botox and teeth whitening; and salon services like hair styling, waxing, manicures, and pedicures.  


Here are some tips to help you plan your cruise ship spa experience: 


If you aren’t sure what type of treatment you’ll like, visit the spa on embarkation day, when you may be able to take a quick tour and ask questions. Some spas offer special treatments and discounts only on embarkation day; discounts may be available on days in port, too. 


If you haven’t visited a spa before, you might be surprised by the cost. The most basic massage on the menu may be $100 or more, and the more elaborate the treatment, the higher the price. Remember that cruise ship spas provide high-quality services using top-of-the-line products, and the prices are usually comparable to similar spas on land. So treat yourself, but make sure to select a treatment you’ll enjoy. 


Onboard spas are very popular, and reservations can fill quickly. But, different cruise lines have different policies for advance reservations. Some let you make reservations as soon as you book your cruise, some make reservations available two or three months in advance, and a few don’t offer any way to make reservations until you’re on board. Ask your professional travel advisor about the best way to make spa reservations for your next cruise. 


Expect the spa staff to recommend some products for you to purchase after your treatment. Don’t let this ruin your post-treatment calm; you are not required to purchase any products, and if you don’t want to, just say so. 


Finally, if you’d like to make your next cruise all about the spa, find out about “spa class” cabins. For example, Celebrity Cruises’ AquaClass cabins are equipped with spa-quality amenities and come with access to a spa concierge and a spa cuisine restaurant, complimentary passes for fitness classes, and the spa’s thermal suite, and special rates for spa treatment packages. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about these and other spa class cabins. 


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Monday, August 15, 2022

When to Book the Best Cruise Fares

  How far in advance should you book your next cruise to get the lowest fare? Sadly, there’s no magic formula for snagging the best price every time. But, we do have some advice for you to consider: book early or book late. 

 Many cruise fans like to book as soon as a sailing opens for reservations, which can be as long as 18 months before embarkation (your professional travel advisor can alert you). At that time, fares may be the lowest they will ever be because they tend to rise as the ship fills. 


There are some other significant advantages to booking a cruise as early as possible. You’ll have access to the best choice of cabins and you might receive early booking incentives, such as discounted airfare or onboard credits. Early booking also gives you plenty of time to look forward to your cruise and plan what you want to do on board and on shore. 


Still, keep in mind that a lot can happen in 18 months. Cruise lines have the right to change itineraries due to travel warnings, port conditions, and other factors, so the cruise you purchase may be a little different than the cruise you actually take. And – although this doesn’t happen often – you can be “bumped” from a cruise for a variety of reasons, such as the ship needing some maintenance work or being chartered. In these situations, the cruise line usually provides as much advance notice as possible, a full refund or rebooking, and perhaps some extras like future cruise credits. 


If it’s not possible for you to commit to a cruise many months in advance, booking late can also deliver a good deal. Late booking bargains usually emerge two to four months before the sail date, when passengers with reservations have their last chance to cancel without paying a penalty. Other low-fare opportunities may come up when passengers have to cancel at the last minute. And, some slow-selling cruises may still have space available just a few weeks or days before the cruise begins. 


If you look for a late booking deal, be flexible about your destination, as well as cabin type and location; you’ll have to choose from what’s available. And, understand that some cruises simply sell out early and stay sold out, with no options for late booking. 


To try booking your next cruise early or late, reach out to Anita, your professional travel advisor, for the best assistance and advice. 


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Monday, August 8, 2022

Take a Short Cruise for a Relaxing Break

 If you dream of a quick break that will really take you away from it all, take a look at short cruises. Two or three days on a cruise ship isn’t a lot of time, but it can provide lots of fun and relaxation. Plus, a short cruise is a great option if you have a small vacation budget, limited vacation time, or you haven’t cruised before and want to find out how much you like it. You can also combine a short cruise with some extra time in a port city, giving you two vacation experiences in one. 


Several cruise lines offer two- or three-day cruises from a variety of ports. Let’s look at some of the places you can go. 


From Florida ports like Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, you can board a ship for a short cruise to Key West; Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas; or, a visit to a cruise line’s private island (there are several in The Bahamas). A day on a cruise line’s private island is delightful and much like a visit to an exclusive beach club: there are no crowds, just sand, sun, shaded loungers, beachy fun, and delicious food. 


From Los Angeles or San Diego, you can take a short cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Tour the historic city, go wine tasting in the Valle de Guadalupe, visit the La Bufadora marine geyser, or paddle a kayak near adorable sea lions. 


Some short cruises sail along the scenic West Coast between Seattle and San Francisco or Vancouver. All three cities are full of wonderful attractions, such as Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Some short itineraries to Vancouver also call on Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia. 


When you choose a quick but refreshing cruise, be aware that cruise lines tend to assign smaller, older ships to these routes. The ships are still lovely and comfortable, but if you’re looking for the latest onboard entertainment and dining options, you may not find them on a two- or three-day cruise. 


Also, short cruises tend to attract younger passengers, including families with kids, who appreciate the affordability. This often creates a fun and lively atmosphere onboard; but if you tire of the party, you can always find a quiet corner or relax in your cabin for a while. 


For more ideas and details about short cruises, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 


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Monday, August 1, 2022

Cruising With Baby

Can you bring your baby on a cruise? Yes, parents do it all the time, but there are some things to understand and think through. 

 First, there’s an age requirement for babies at sea. Many cruises welcome babies who are at least six months old, though some longer itineraries have a 12-month minimum age. But a few cruise lines don’t accept any passengers under age 18, including babies. 


Some cruise lines offer discounted fares for babies (and other children) who share your cabin; you should also ask your professional travel advisor to alert you to “kids sail free” promotions. Still, you may have to pay a regular fare for your baby.  


When you plan to bring a baby on board, it’s important to request a crib when you make your cruise reservation. And, as very few cabins have a bathtub or a sink large enough for bathing a baby, you may want to bring a small inflatable bathtub with you. 


Bring all the food and supplies (diapers, wipes, rash cream, changing pad, fold-up stroller, pacifiers, a favorite toy, and more) your baby will need. Some ships have small supplies of baby care essentials or offer a pre-embarkation delivery service, but these can be pricey. To make travel to the ship easier, arrive in port early enough to go to a store and buy baby supplies to bring on board. 


If your baby drinks formula, bring enough for the duration of the cruise; if they drink milk, find out if your ship carries the kind they like. On some cruise lines, the galley will mash or puree food for babies, but others expect you to bring jars of baby food. Fortunately, most onboard dining rooms and restaurants have highchairs; if you don’t see one, just ask. 


Note that babies and toddlers must be toilet-trained before they can use cruise ship pools, but a few ships have “splash zones” where babies in swim diapers are welcome. 


Babysitting services also vary by cruise line. Some don’t offer them, but others provide services at hourly rates; helpful when you want to take a baby-free shore excursion or have dinner on your own.  


Ultimately, you’re the best judge of whether or not to take your baby on a cruise, because you know how your baby reacts to new people, places, and routines. Contact Anita, your professional travel advisor, to talk about ships and itineraries that can provide a great cruise experience for you and your baby. 


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