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 27, 2023

Tips for Selecting Shore Excursions

Shore excursions – tours and activities in the ports of call – are a highlight of any cruise. Shore excursions are just as varied as cruise itineraries. For example, you can go flightseeing in Alaska, tour the great art galleries of Florence, or go snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef.

If you’re not sailing on a luxury line that includes excursions in your cruise fare, you’ll pay a per-person fee for each shore excursion. So, it’s important to choose excursions you’ll love. Here are a few tips for selecting the best shore excursions for you.

Do some research on the ports of call and the excursions that are available in each. Being well-informed about the places you’ll visit is the first step toward making good shore excursion choices. Then, look at the excursion options in each port; you’ll find descriptions on your cruise line’s website.

Read the shore excursion descriptions carefully. Each description explains how long the excursion will last, how much physical activity it involves, the type of transportation used, whether or not snacks and beverages are provided, and much more. Read this information thoroughly so you won’t be surprised.

Be realistic about activity levels – and attention spans. Selecting an excursion that’s beyond your physical abilities is a recipe for frustration. If an excursion requires a certain level of physical ability – such as climbing stairs or walking over uneven ground – the description will say so. Pay attention to excursion length, as well. If you think that you or one of your companions might grow tired or bored on a long excursion, look for a shorter option.

If you have a must-do shore excursion in mind, book it early. It’s often possible to book shore excursions in advance of your cruise. Popular excursions may be completely booked even before the ship sails, especially if capacity is limited. Early booking will help you avoid disappointment.

Finally, remember that shore excursions are not mandatory. You can stay on the ship while it’s in port: in fact, you might enjoy a break from touring. Spending a day on board while most passengers are onshore provides a chance to explore the ship and its amenities. A port day is often a good time to have a spa treatment, read a book by the pool, work out with a trainer, or enjoy lunch in an alternative restaurant.

For more shore excursion information and tips, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, November 20, 2023

Get Ready for the Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is introducing its newest and largest cruise ship yet: the Icon of the Seas. While everyone will be welcome aboard, the ship is expected to have a special appeal for multigenerational groups: it will have onboard spaces designed for the enjoyment of everyone from babies to seniors, as well as spaces where all ages can have a wonderful time together.

Icon of the Seas’ first cruise, departing from Miami on January 27, 2024, sold out in hours nearly a year ago. But, the Icon will sail seven-night cruises in the Caribbean all year long, and with a passenger capacity of up to 7,600, there will be lots of opportunities to sail on this incredible ship.

The Icon will feature eight “neighborhoods,” Royal Caribbean’s name for onboard areas designed for specific activities. Three neighborhoods – Royal Promenade, Central Park, and the Suite Neighborhood – will be familiar to passengers who’ve sailed on the cruise line’s Oasis Class ships.

New neighborhoods on Icon of the Seas will include Surfside, where passengers of all ages can relax and play. Thrill Island will attract older kids and adults; six heart-pumping slides will include Pressure Drop, cruising’s first open free-fall slide. Chill Island will be made for relaxing among four pools with ocean views, while the Hideaway will have a beach party vibe.

The eighth neighborhood will be a twist on the popular open-air AquaTheater found on Oasis Class ships. The steel-and-glass AquaDome will put acrobatic water and diving shows undercover to enable more lighting and other special effects, including a shape-shifting waterfall.

Royal Caribbean says the Icon will have more than 40 places to dine, drink, and be entertained. Restaurants will serve everything from kid-pleasing quick bites to all-day brunch and eight-course dinners.

As for staterooms, the ship will have 28 different categories of staterooms and suites. These will include new layouts designed to accommodate families, including a three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse.

In addition to Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will introduce Utopia of the Seas – the sixth and final ship in the Oasis Class – in 2024. Utopia will sail three- and four-night itineraries from Port Canaveral to The Bahamas, beginning next July. And, a sister ship for Icon of the Seas, already under construction, is expected to debut in 2025.

To make your plans to sail on one of these amazing new Royal Caribbean ships, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, November 13, 2023

Onboard Extras That are Worth the Cost

When you cruise, your accommodations, meals and snacks, and lots of onboard entertainment are all included in your fare – not to mention transportation to all the ports on the itinerary. But, most cruise lines charge extra for at least some optional items. Which extras are worth your money? The answer depends on what’s important to you, but here’s a quick look at some extras you might want to include in your cruise budget.

Shore excursions. You’re cruising not only to enjoy the ship but to enjoy what’s on shore. Ship-sponsored shore excursions are designed to give you memorable experiences in port. Be sure to read the descriptions carefully and purchase excursions you’ll truly enjoy.

Specialty dining. You can dine very well in the onboard restaurants included in your fare. But if you’re celebrating a special occasion or would like an elevated dining experience, the upcharge for a specialty restaurant can be well worth it.

Beverage packages. On many ships, water, tea, coffee, and juice are included in the cruise fare; other beverages are available for an extra cost. If you enjoy flavored water, soda, specialty tea or coffee drinks, beer, wine, cocktails, or spirits, the cost of these can add up quickly. A pre-paid beverage package may save you quite a bit compared to paying for each individual drink.

Photo packages. You can certainly take your own photos on the ship, but photos taken by a professional photographer can be a wonderful cruise keepsake. If you’re traveling with friends or family, group photos can be treasured for years to come.

Wi-Fi access. If you want to get away from emails, texts, and social media during your cruise, onboard Wi-Fi access may not be important to you. But if you know you’ll need to connect to the internet while sailing, the purchase of a Wi-Fi access package is worth considering.

Spa treatments. Cruise ship spas rival the finest spas on land, and their treatments are priced accordingly. Still, pampering yourself with a detoxifying wrap, relaxing massage or rejuvenating facial can be a highlight of your time on board.

Laundry. Purchasing a laundry and dry cleaning package can help you pack lighter, which is especially helpful if you’re taking a longer cruise. Onboard laundry services might be more affordable than airline fees for extra or overweight luggage.

For more details about onboard extras, you may find worth the price, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, November 6, 2023

Going Cruising? Make a Preparation Checklist

When you’re looking forward to a cruise, vacation anticipation can make it easy to forget some important things you should do before you leave home. Here are some items for your cruise preparation checklist; completing them will help you enjoy your voyage to the fullest.

Check in online. You may be able to check-in for your cruise as early as 90 days before you sail. Visit your cruise line’s website to complete the check-in process. You may need to enter your passport information; you can also provide credit card details to make it easy to purchase items on board. When you check-in, you may also be able to make reservations for shore excursions, spa treatments, and specialty restaurants.

Download the cruise line’s app. This is a convenient way to access cruise information on your mobile device. You may be able to use the app to check in or to complete a virtual muster drill (a required safety drill). Once on board, you can use the app to view daily schedules and more.

Arrange for the care and security of your home. This may include pet and plant care. If you have a home alarm service, let them know when you’ll be away. Let your credit card provider know, too, to help avoid any payment denials when you want to make purchases while cruising. And just before you leave, give away any perishable food that’s in your kitchen.

Make a packing list. Try on all the clothes on your list to make sure they fit well, especially if you haven’t worn them recently. Be sure to include prescription medications and must-have toiletries on your packing list.

Check that you have all necessary documentation. Ask your professional travel advisor if you need to take your passport or birth certificate with you – different cruise lines and destinations have different requirements. You should also bring along the luggage tags and boarding passes provided by the cruise line (they may be mailed to you, or you may need to print them from an email).

Plan your transfers. If ground transfers aren’t included in your cruise package, think about how you’ll get to your flights, to your pre-cruise hotel (if you’ll arrive the day before embarkation), and to the ship itself. Taxis and rideshare services may be readily available, but some advance planning can help avoid last-minute panic.

For more cruise preparation tips, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Travel Tips to Help You Travel Better

As professional travel advisors, it’s our job to stay up to date and keep you informed about the ever-changing world of travel. We will send you travel tips like these throughout the year to help you travel better. Please read on and, if you have an additional question regarding these topics or others, we’re only a phone call, email or text away.


Everyone wishes to make the most of their vacation time. It’s one of the main reasons travelers turn to professionals like ourselves: Travel advisors can streamline your vacation, so you spend less time waiting and more time enjoying. Here are a few of our favorite ways that you can save valuable time on your next getaway.

Subscribe to a Pre-Screening Service
The first bottleneck many vacationers face is waiting in the long security checkpoint line that seemingly snakes for miles through the airport. To bypass this holdup, join a pre-screening service that accelerates the security process.

TSA PreCheck gives you a faster screening experience at domestic airports that is often less obtrusive.

Global Entry
expedites entry via air, land and sea into the U.S. and includes TSA PreCheck
CLEAR uses your eyes and fingertips to verify your identity and get you moving through security. All three programs cost money to join, but several travel credit cards waive the fees.

Choose Priority Boarding
Start your cruise off on the right, faster foot with priority boarding which allows you to use a dedicated security and check-in lane. This lets you skip the usual long lines at registration, and typically your accommodations will be ready before others. Priority boarding is often an included perk for suite passengers and cruise line loyalty members, but many cruise lines allow any passenger to pay for this worthwhile privilege.

Schedule Transfers
After a long flight to your destination, the last thing you want to do is queue up in a long taxi line or try to figure out where exactly your Uber driver might be. Have a professional transportation service booked and ready to whisk you away as soon as your luggage is secured. These services can either meet you inside the airport or can be easily accessed near the taxi area.

Buy Advanced Tickets
Most main attractions and museums require a ticket to enter. And for anyone who’s seen the early-morning line at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence meander down and around the Piazza della Signoria, you know how long those ticket-purchasing lines can be. Skip this line by buying tickets online before you go. Most sights have a limited number of spaces each day, so if you buy your tickets way in advance, you can guarantee your place.

Use a Travel Advisor
When a travel advisor plans your vacation, these tips and more are usually baked into the entire experience. We excel at making your travels as smooth and stress-free as possible, so you never have to worry about a thing. How to get to your hotel? Tickets to the museum? Details on shore excursions? Relax … we have it all under control.


Have you ever needed a vacation after your vacation? Did you spend so much time and energy trying to jam in all the attractions and activities during your vacation that you returned home exhausted and in need of more rest? It doesn’t have to be that way. Extending your vacation by a few days gives you the time and space to achieve your to-do list while also taking a few moments off to relax. Here are some additional benefits.

More Time to Get into Vacation Mode
Vacation mode is not a myth. It takes time to shake off the daily routine and mentally accept that you’re far away from the hustle and bustle of home life. When you give your vacation the proper space it deserves, you put yourself in a better position to de-stress and embrace the numerous benefits vacations should provide. These include a better mental state, greater physical health and a boost in overall happiness.

More Time to Explore
If you’re traveling far for your vacation, it makes sense to explore as much of that region as you can. Extending your vacation gives you the time to properly explore your vacation destination, take a day trip to a lesser-known area or even dip into a neighboring country for the day. For cruisers, a longer vacation lets you book a pre- or post-cruise experience. These are packages booked through our agency that allow you to tour the city your cruise embarks from or arrives at.

More Time to Stay Updated
In the modern world, many people are finding it possible to work from home without missing a beat. If you are able to do this, then bringing your laptop to another destination and putting in a few hours of work is worth it if it means extending your vacation. Plus, work tends to be easier to enjoy when you’re typing away from a tropical resort, hearing the call of macaws and smelling gardenias.


There isn’t much you need to know about a hotel room before you book it, besides the size of the bed, whether it’s a garden or sea view and how close it is to the ice machine. But choosing the best cabin on your next cruise entails a bit more knowledge. While cabins once were simply classified as inside, outside, veranda or suite, some ships now have more than 20 categories. Choosing one based on price alone is not wise. If you don’t like your cabin, you won’t be so thrilled with your cruise, and we don’t want that to happen. With that in mind, here are some helpful insights into picking the cabin that’s best for you.

Main Cabin Types
  • Inside Cabins: roughly 120-180 square feet, with no porthole or window
  • Outside Cabins: typically mirror images of interior cabins but with ocean views via a porthole or window
  • Balconies or Verandas: slightly larger cabins with sliding glass doors, giving you access to a small balcony large enough for a couple of chairs and a small table
  • Suites: expanded balcony rooms with either a small sitting area or separate bedrooms. They can be massive with multiple rooms, a grand piano or even a private whirlpool on your balcony.

Location, Location, Location
Usually, the least expensive, lower-deck cabins are best for those who feel the effects of motion discomfort the most, for they provide a smoother ride in rough seas. The downside is proximity, for they are the farthest from, well, everything you’d want to do on a ship. Cabins on the higher decks usually cost more, but they are close to all the fun stuff, making it immensely easier to run back to your cabin after lunch to grab your novel before hitting the pool deck. Midship cabins offer a good compromise when it comes to cost, proximity and motion control. Some staterooms are located in a private part of the ship with an exclusive restaurant and sun deck. Location matters.

Time Spent in the Cabin
Today’s ships are packed with enough activities to keep you on your toes (or on a rock-climbing wall) 24/7. But don’t assume you’ll never step foot inside your cabin. With so many things to do on board, you’ll need a good place to chill between activities. Or maybe you’ll just need a quiet sanctuary to relax, watch a movie or have a private dinner on the balcony. Every passenger spends different amounts of time in their cabin, but you’re likely to spend more time in there than you originally think.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge
Cabins range from compact to grandiose, with price tags to match. The least-expensive cabin on every ship is an interior one with limited space. Spend a little more, and you get an outside cabin with a window, and oh what a difference that window makes. Spend a little more and you get a balcony, where you can enjoy fresh air as you watch the next destination slide into view. Spend a little more and you’re in a suite, a luxurious home base for your family to reconnect after a day of adventuring. A splurge to a higher cabin category goes a long way, in our professional opinion. No one has ever complained about booking a suite, but we understand that budgets vary.

Your Cabin Is Ready
Each ship is unique, and new ships are launching yearly. How is it possible for you to keep track of all the different cabin types? Easy — ask us! Travel advisors make it their business to sail on or tour as many cruise ships as we can, so we have seen many of the cabins first-hand. Feel free to pick our brains about your next cabin selection anytime.


For those who avoid traveling in the summer to evade the higher temps, you’re missing out. A little heat isn’t so bad, especially when you’re walking down cobblestone alleyways and exploring ancient temples. Plus, there are a few major advantages to traveling during the height of summer, several of which are outlined below. The key to enjoying your time is to not sweat the small stuff, even if you’re sweating through everything else.

Some Things Simply Taste Better in the Heat
Locals in the countries you visit have a long history of surviving the off-season heat, which led them to create many of the cultural treats and beverages that are now internationally enjoyed, such as gelato and other frozen confections, as well as national beers. Experiencing these treats in their country of origin on a wonderfully warm day is an experience you never forget.

Maximizing Your Day with Naps
We often push ourselves too hard during vacations, trying to see every major site in a 50-mile radius of the resort. While this is a perfectly acceptable strategy, you often return home drained and in need of another, more-relaxing vacation. Traveling during a heated summer solves this dilemma. You typically wake up early in the morning, leisurely enjoy one or two crowd-free attractions before the sun rises too high in the sky, and then return to your luxurious hotel for a swim and a nap. You awaken late afternoon, as the sun and the temperature descend, feeling refreshed and ready to relish the local nightlife.

Take Your Time in Museums
Summer is the best time to deliberately dawdle in some of the world’s greatest museums, when you can take your time appreciating masterpieces without fighting the crowds. Plus, during summer travel, museums become chilled sanctuaries from the heat since they must keep the halls properly air conditioned to protect the art.

The Beauty of Off-Season

Two major advantages of traveling in the off-season, when rumored heat waves keep less-adventurous tourists away, are smaller crowds and lower prices. It’s only natural for travelers to plan their holidays around the weather, aiming for sunny, 68-degree days so they can enjoy standing in line with millions of other tourists who craved similar forecasts. During summer, those lines melt away in tropical destinations, making it much easier to enjoy major attractions.

Talk to Us, Your Travel & Weather Advisors
Contact us at any time to talk about the best places to visit during the summer. Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico, Las Vegas … all these fabulous destinations have off-seasons you can take advantage of.

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