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, March 27, 2023

New Restaurants at Sea

A cruise is a fantastic vacation choice for anyone who loves food because the food on a cruise is plentiful, fresh, and delicious. In addition to an elegant main dining room and casual buffet, many ships offer specialty restaurants, bistros, lounges, and cafes for a variety of dining options.

When a cruise line introduces a new ship, it’s an opportunity to give passengers some tempting new dining experiences. One example is Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Prima Class ships – the Prima debuted in the fall of 2022, and the Viva is scheduled to set sail this year. The Prima introduced new dining venues like Palomar, where seafood is prepared Mediterranean-style; Hasuki, an elevated hibachi dining experience; Nama, where sushi and sashimi are served on a marble-topped bar; and Los Lobos, which features mouthwatering Mexican cuisine. Even established passenger favorites like Cagney’s Steakhouse and The Commodore Room have updated menus and décor on Prima Class ships.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line introduced The Mason Jar on the Wonder of the Seas in spring 2022. The rustic farmhouse-style décor perfectly suits the food, which centers on Southern favorites like buttermilk biscuits, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and crab beignets. When the Icon of the Seas debuts in 2024, it will have more than 40 dining venues, 23 of them completely new to the cruise line. They will include Desserted, a milkshake bar, and The Lemon Post Bar, which will have food and drink options for both adults and kids.

When Silversea’s Silver Nova launches this summer, it will have at least eight restaurants, including the cruise line’s innovative S.A.L.T. Kitchen, where the menus are inspired by the destination. The Silver Nova will also have Silversea’s signature French restaurant, La Dame; Kaiseki, serving Asian cuisine; and The Marquee, which houses both The Grill, where passengers use hot volcanic rocks to cook food to their personal taste and Spaccanapoli, a deluxe pizzeria.

Oceania Cruises’ Vista will set sail this year with a dozen dining venues, including some brand-new culinary concepts. Aquamar will specialize in wellness-inspired dishes for breakfast and lunch, including cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, house-made granolas, and avocado toast. Ember will serve American classics, like braised short ribs on polenta, for lunch and dinner. Established passenger favorites like Toscana and Red Ginger will be on board, too.

To learn more about how you can enjoy these and other terrific dining venues on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, March 20, 2023

When Ships Go to Dry Dock

To keep cruise ships in top condition, they go into “dry dock” now and then. Going to dry dock means the ship will be out of service for a while, and there are a few things to know if you’re planning to cruise on a ship just before or just after it visits dry dock.

First, we’ll explain a little about dry docks, which are located in shipyards around the world. A dry dock starts out filled with water so that a ship can float in. Then, the water drains away, which allows the maintenance crew to clean, inspect and make repairs and adjustments to the hull and propulsion systems.

Cruise lines often use dry dock time to do tasks like reupholster furniture, repaint walls, or replace floors. Sometimes a dry-docked ship goes through major renovations, emerging with some exciting new features. A few ships even grow while in dry dock; “stretching” inserts a new section in the middle of a ship, adding to its passenger capacity.

While unexpected damage may require a ship to head to dry dock on short notice, most visits are scheduled well in advance. If you notice a break of a few weeks or months in a ship’s schedule, it may be for the purpose of going to dry dock; your professional travel advisor can check with the cruise line to find out for sure.

Some cruise travelers prefer to avoid cruising on a ship just before or just after a scheduled visit to the dry dock. A pre-dry dock cruise really shouldn’t be affected by the upcoming pause in service, but it’s possible that some sections of the ship will be closed off so they can be prepared for maintenance or remodeling.

As with a pre-dry dock cruise, the first cruise after the dry dock really shouldn’t be different than any other. But if the work done in the dry dock isn’t quite finished when the ship floats out again, passengers might hear some work-related noise, and some venues may be closed until the work is finished. If the time in dry dock included a major remodel, the crew may still be learning some new layouts and routines. On the positive side, cruising just after the dry dock can mean you’ll enjoy a freshly updated ship.

To help you decide how comfortable you are with cruising on a ship just before or after dry dock, talk it over with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, March 13, 2023

How Sweet is a Cruise Ship Suite?

When you’re planning a cruise vacation, there are lots of reasons to consider reserving an onboard suite. The most obvious is that suites are simply bigger than regular cruise ship staterooms. Whether you’re traveling on your own or sharing a suite with others, some extra square footage can make a wonderful difference. The largest suites at sea even have living rooms, dining rooms, and multiple bedrooms, plus balcony space.

Of course, extra space on a cruise ship comes at a price, and suites always cost more than regular staterooms. But if you consider the extras that come with a suite, you may find that a suite is a sweet deal. Here are some of the included extras often enjoyed by suite passengers.

Priority check-in. On embarkation day, suite passengers move through the check-in process faster. There’s usually a special (and shorter) check-in line for suite passengers or even a private lounge area where you can have a quick snack as you wait your turn. You’ll be among the first passengers to board the ship, which is fun; you can usually enjoy the pool and buffet right away. You may have priority off-boarding and re-boarding in ports of call, too.

In-suite extras. Suites often come with an array of attractive features like luxury linens, upgraded mattresses and pillows, fresh flowers, high-end toiletries, plush bathrobes, and complimentary minibars. Some even come with a butler who can unpack for you and serve meals on your balcony; or a concierge who can make reservations for onboard specialty restaurants and arrange special shore excursions.

Suite-class extras. On many ships, suite passengers have access to special onboard areas like luxury lounges and spas, private pools, sundecks, or exclusive restaurants. Suite fares may also include extras for which other passengers have to pay separately, such as beverage packages, Wi-Fi access, laundry and dry cleaning, fitness classes, in-suite movies, and specialty restaurant cover charges. Top-level suites may even come with complimentary spa treatments, shore excursions, and gratuities for the crew.

Of course, the perks of being a suite passenger vary by cruise line and ship. To find out exactly what you can expect as a suite passenger on the ship of your choice, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. Then, add up what all the extras would cost if you paid for them separately, and you may find that a cruise ship suite fits your cruise budget. How sweet it is!

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Monday, March 6, 2023

Cruising the Rivers of South America

If you’re thinking about a river cruise, take a look at South America. This beautiful continent is laced with impressive rivers, flowing through amazing ecosystems that teem with exotic plant and animal life.

Any discussion of river cruising in South America starts with the Amazon, an enormous and intricate waterway. One of the world’s largest river systems, it’s cloaked in dense rainforest and rich in biodiversity. More than a third of the world’s known species live there. Thousands of different types of fish, birds, reptiles, and butterflies thrive in the Amazon Basin, along with unusual mammals like sloth, pink river dolphins, and giant otters. There are national parks, nature preserves, and enormous swaths of deep green jungle.

Some cruises of the Amazon sail between Belém, the river’s Atlantic Ocean port, and Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Others sail on the Rio Negro, a major tributary and one of the world’s largest blackwater rivers (the water is dark due to tannins from decayed vegetation). Some itineraries feature visits to local villages for fascinating insights into their lifestyles and customs.

There are options beyond the Amazon, too. The Paraná River, South America’s second-longest, winds through vast wetlands to Iguaçu Falls, one of the most magnificent waterfall complexes in the world. Perched at the meeting point of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the waterfalls are higher than Niagara and stretch for more than a mile and a half. In the town of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, you can cross the Fraternity Bridge to Puerto Iguaçu, Argentina, and the Friendship Bridge to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

The Paraguay River courses through that country’s share of the Pantanal Region, the world’s largest and most pristine tropical wetland. The region is alive with marshland wildlife like storks and caiman; you may also spot monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, and rare marsh deer drinking from the river. You could visit a traditional farm or tour the city of Asunción and its lovely museums, parks, and monuments.

The banks of Columbia’s Magdalena River are dotted with towns founded by Spanish conquistadors; some of the colonial architecture is well-preserved. As the river flows past green jungles and low mountains, you may see iguanas, white herons, manatees, tortoises and even the descendants of hippopotamuses originally brought to Columbia by the drug lord Pablo Escobar.

For more ideas and assistance with making your South American river cruise reservations, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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