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, June 26, 2023

Healthy Eating on a Cruise

For some cruise fans, one of the most relaxing aspects of a cruise is the delicious food that’s always available – with no prep, cooking, or clean-up required on your part. But some wonder if the abundance of food will challenge their commitment to healthy eating. Fear not: it’s possible to eat well and healthfully throughout a cruise. Here are some simple strategies.

Don’t skip breakfast. Start each day with a meal that satisfies your hunger and gives you energy for an active day. Choices like a made-to-order omelet loaded with veggies, oatmeal with fruit, a tall green smoothie, or an acai bowl with granola can give you a tasty, nutritious start to the day.

At lunch or dinner, control portion size by ordering an appetizer in place of an entree. Choosing an appetizer or two as a main course is also a fun way to try some new tastes; avoidance of oversized entrees is just a side benefit. You can also ask for a half-portion of an entrée; cruise ship culinary staff are typically happy to accommodate such requests.

At any meal, ask your server for a side of steamed or roasted vegetables. They’ll help fill you up and provide plenty of nutrients.

Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Delicious sauces can be high in fat or salt; when served on the side, you can add just a little to your dish.

If you visit the ship’s buffet, start with a big, leafy salad. The buffet is a quick and convenient dining option, but is often laden with foods – like pizzas, pasta, and desserts – you may want to avoid. If you’re still hungry post-salad, treat yourself to a taste of whatever dish tempts you most.

Drink lots of water. Staying well-hydrated while you cruise is good for you in many ways and can help you feel full enough to resist a stop at the ship’s ice cream parlor.

Limit alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks can be as full of sugar and calories as a dessert. When you do choose to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, ask the bartender to recommend a lighter option – perhaps a hard seltzer, white wine, or vodka with club soda and lime.

Finally, remember that you’re on a wonderful cruise! Be sure to relax and eat slowly, savoring each bite and sip.

To learn more about dining options on today’s cruise ships – including spa restaurants – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, June 19, 2023

Cruising Rivers All Around Europe

If you’ve thought about taking a European river cruise, you may know that the Danube and the Rhine are two of the most popular rivers to cruise not only in Europe but in the world. Both flow through or along the borders of multiple countries, with opportunities to visit castles, vineyards, historic cities, and charming villages. But there are several more European rivers where you can cruise in style while enjoying the beautiful scenery and cultural treasures, as well as terrific local food and wine. Here’s a quick look at just a few.

The Rhone and Saone rivers meet at Lyon, France, the starting point for river cruises that wind through the Provence region to Avignon, Arles, or Marseille. The scenery includes olive groves, orange groves, and fields of lavender dotted with wineries, Roman bridges, monasteries, and palaces. It’s easy to see how Provence provided inspiration to artists like Cezanne and Van Gogh.

Portugal’s Douro River flows through a green valley lined with hillside vineyards. This region is famous for producing sweet Port wines, but dry reds and whites are made here, too. While the Douro Valley is tranquil, at each end you can spend time in a fascinating city that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Spain’s Salamanca and Portugal’s Porto.

The Elbe is a major river that rises in the Czech Republic and flows through Germany to the North Sea. Cruises of the Elbe often begin in Prague, the lovely capital of the Czech Republic, and call on historic ports like Dresden, Meissen, and Wittenberg, as well as the spa town of Bad Schandau. Sights along the way include castles and gardens, cathedrals, medieval city centers, pottery works, and more. Note that the Elbe sometimes has low water levels, especially at the height of summer.

The legendary river Po flows across Northern Italy, joining the Adriatic Sea just south of Venice. But beautiful Venice, built on more than 100 islands linked by canals and bridges, isn’t the only star of a Po river cruise. Popular stops include the historic walled city of Padua, as well as Bologna, where you can visit medieval monuments and enjoy the city’s rich culinary tradition. The Po is another river that can be affected by low water, so spring and fall may be better times to cruise.

For more information on these and other European rivers, you might like to cruise, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, June 12, 2023

Saying I Do at Sea

A cruise ship can be a beautiful, exciting venue for a wedding. Everything you need – from airy spaces to amazing food and drinks – is on board. Many cruise lines offer complete wedding packages and will be happy to work with you to arrange a personalized and memorable ceremony.

Options for shipboard weddings include having a ceremony:

On the ship before it sails. This means guests can come on board for the ceremony but don’t have to cruise along with you. It’s a nice option if you want the cruise to be a honeymoon for two, without your entire wedding party coming along.

On the ship while at sea. With this choice, the people you want to have at your wedding can sail along with you. While an on-deck ceremony can produce stunning photos, be sure to select an indoor backup in case it gets a bit windy.

In a port of call. Saying “I do” on a tropical island or in a historic park can be wonderful. Just know that you may not have much control over the surroundings; if you’re on a public beach or in a town square, people may stop to watch.

Do you want to be married by a ship’s captain? That’s possible on some cruise lines, although the ship may have to be in international waters at the time of the ceremony. Also, not all captains perform wedding ceremonies. For the ceremony to be legally binding, the captain must also be a justice of the peace, minister, notary, or judge. Don’t worry: if the captain can’t perform your ceremony, the cruise line will arrange for another officiant.

Here are some additional tips for getting married on a cruise:

Make your cruise and wedding package reservations early. Some cruise lines ask for at least two or three months of advance notice if you want an onboard or onshore wedding.

You may need to limit the number of guests. Many cruise wedding packages specify a maximum number of guests; no problem if you want a smaller, more intimate wedding.

Some choices may be limited to what’s on board. You may not have as wide a choice of cakes, music, or flowers as you would on land. However, a streamlined set of choices can also remove some of the usual wedding stressors.

To learn more about weddings at sea or to get started planning yours, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, June 5, 2023

When Cruise Itineraries Change

Cruise lines do all they can to ensure the cruise you reserve is the cruise you experience. But itineraries can’t be guaranteed, and sometimes changes are necessary, usually to protect the safety of passengers.

Severe weather is often the main reason for an itinerary change. Rough seas can slow a ship down enough that it can’t reach port on time. Bad weather can also make it too dangerous for the ship to dock or to send passengers to shore in tender boats. Other possible reasons for itinerary changes include civil unrest, damage from a natural disaster, or an outbreak of illness on the ship or in port. Remember, cruise lines have the right to change an itinerary whenever the captain or the cruise line thinks it’s necessary.

When an itinerary has to be changed in advance, the cruise line will notify you so you can decide whether to change your cruise plans. But, as in the case of sudden severe weather, some changes can’t be made until the day of a scheduled port call. When possible, the captain will arrange for a substitute port. If that’s not possible, you’ll have an extra day at sea.

It can be disappointing to miss a port, but complaining to the crew won’t help. Instead, enjoy some onboard activities and amenities you might not have the opportunity to try otherwise. An extra day at sea is a great time to relax by the pool with a good book, visit the fitness center, enter a card tournament, audition for a talent show, catch a movie in the theater, or take a cooking class, to name just a few possibilities. To help keep everyone entertained, the ship may offer even more onboard activities than usual. The spa, shops, and specialty restaurants might offer tempting discounts, too.

But, one thing you should not expect is a refund or credit to compensate for a missed port. In extreme cases – such as when multiple port calls must be canceled – the cruise line may offer some type of compensation, but those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

While you can’t eliminate the possibility of itinerary changes, you can minimize them by making cruise reservations outside of hurricane season. Also, look for itineraries in which the ship docks at piers, so you won’t have to use the ship’s tenders to reach shore. Anita, your professional travel advisor, can offer additional advice and assistance.

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