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, September 25, 2023

Add These Items to Your Cruise Packing List

While most who plan to take a cruise think about the clothes they’ll pack, there are some other useful items that often don’t make it to the packing list, but should. Here are some things to think about bringing along:

Magnets with hooks. Most cabin walls are magnetic, so bring some magnets with hooks to create extra hanging space for clothes, swimsuits, jewelry, and more. Just be sure the magnets are strong enough to stay up.

Snack bag (or “chip”) clips. The clips designed to seal an open bag of snacks can also fasten a towel to a lounger in a stiff sea breeze. They can work as clothes pegs on the little clothesline you may find in your cabin’s shower, too.

Battery-operated candles. Real candles aren’t allowed, but battery-operated versions make great night lights and can create a cozy or romantic feeling.

Battery-operated mini fan. You’ll want to keep it small, but a mini fan can create a little white noise for better sleep, as well as a little breeze if you’re in a windowless cabin.

Over-the-door shoe organizer. Hang one of these on the inside of your cabin door to create storage space not only for shoes but for jewelry, phone chargers, papers, makeup, and more. Choose one that folds up neatly and doesn’t need much luggage space.

Reusable water bottle. Help cut down on single-use plastics by bringing your own reusable water bottle; try one that folds or rolls up for easy packing. Fill it out and take it along on your shore excursions, too.

Small, foldable tote bag. This comes in handy for carrying sunscreen, hats, books, keycards, and other necessities to the pool or on shore.

Extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you have the bad luck to misplace or break yours, you won’t want to go without.

Sticky notes. A pad of sticky notes makes it easy to leave a question for your cabin steward.

Thank-you cards. When a crew member provides great service, a handwritten card of thanks is a nice touch.

Paper currency (in small bills). Even if you charge everything (including tips for the crew) to your cruise account, it’s helpful to have a little cash if you want to tip a tour guide, purchase a small souvenir on shore, or thank an especially helpful crew member.

Ask your professional travel advisor for more suggestions of helpful small items to pack for your next cruise.

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Monday, September 18, 2023

Working With a Cruise Travel Specialist

A cruise is a carefree vacation, but booking a cruise can be surprisingly complex and detailed. It doesn’t matter if you’ve cruised often or want to cruise for the first time: There’s a lot to know and many decisions to make. These are good reasons to work with a professional travel advisor who specializes in cruises. They can help you:

 Choose a destination. It’s fun to research cruise destinations for yourself, but a cruise travel specialist can give you personalized recommendations. Their information is often based on first-hand knowledge because cruise travel specialists tend to be experienced cruise passengers.

 Select a cruise line and ship. Different cruise lines and ships have different personalities: some are big and cheerful, some are luxurious and understated, and some are adventurous and educational. Again, a cruise travel professional can combine what they know about you with all they know about cruising to recommend ships that suit your style.

Select a cabin. Your cruise ship cabin will be your home while you’re on board, so choosing the right one is important. The array of cabin types can be bewildering, especially on a large ship. A cruise travel specialist can help you figure out which one will be most comfortable for you.

 Decide what to do on shore. Your ship will offer a variety of activities and tours in each port of call, and a cruise travel specialist’s expertise can help you make the most of your time on land.

Secure the best price. Cruise travel specialists often have access to discounts and promotions that are not available to the public. They may also be able to get you some nice onboard perks, like a welcoming bottle of wine or a complimentary spa treatment.

Getting to and from the port. A cruise travel specialist will be happy to make the airline or other travel reservations needed to get you to and from the ship.

Have peace of mind. If weather causes a delay when you’re on your way to the ship if the cruise line must change the itinerary, or if something else goes awry, don’t worry; your cruise specialist will act as your liaison with the cruise line. If there’s rebooking or refunding to be done, they will work on your behalf.

 Finally, it’s important to know that most cruise travel specialists receive their income in the form of commissions from the cruise lines – not from you.

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Monday, September 11, 2023

Why Cruise Ship Size Matters

 When thinking about cruise vacation options, you may be most interested in itineraries and ports of call. But, the size of your ship can be just as important to your decision. That’s because there are major differences in the experiences delivered by large and small ships – size determines a lot, such as how many people you’ll share the ship with, the variety of onboard activities and entertainment, and the number of dining options.

 Dividing cruise ships into “large” and “small” categories may be too simple because passenger capacity ranges from less than 100 to more than 6,000. But, we can loosely define small ships as those that carry up to 2,000 passengers and large ships as those that carry more.

 To figure out if large or small is best for you, here are a few things to consider.

Do you like to meet lots of new people, or get to know a few new friends? Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, MSC, and Costa have ships that carry more than 5,000 passengers, where you’ll see different people each day. These ships are also more likely to host families and other groups, too. On mid-size and smaller ships from lines like Oceania, Holland America, and Viking, you’re more likely to mix with the same passengers each day, with more adults and fewer children on board.

 Do you want to have lots to do on board, or do you enjoy a quieter atmosphere? Large ships have spaces for an amazing array of activities, from theaters and water parks to go-kart tracks and escape rooms. (If you need a break from the excitement, large ships often have some quiet, adult-only spaces as well). Small ships still have lovely amenities like pools, spas, and lounges, but there’s usually more emphasis on the destination than on onboard thrills.

Do you want to enjoy dinner in a different restaurant every evening, or are you happy trying different dishes from a single dinner menu? Large ships have multiple dining options, from casual to formal, featuring a variety of cuisines. Small ships may have just one or two dining venues, but menus will be varied (and delicious).

 There’s more to consider about cruise ship size, including differences in the available destinations – some ports that welcome small ships can’t accommodate large ones, and vice versa. To decide what size of a ship is right for your next cruise, talk it all through with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, September 4, 2023

A World of Beaches to Visit via Cruise Ship

 Beaches and Caribbean cruises simply go together, but there are wonderful beaches – including some in unexpected places – that you can visit via cruise ship. Let’s look at a few that might tempt you to cruise in a different part of the world.

 In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, you can visit more than one famous beach. Copacabana, a popular crescent of sand anchored at the north end by Sugar Loaf Mountain, hosts crowds of sunbathers, musicians, and volleyball players. Just south of Copacabana, Ipanema is usually a bit quieter, but just as beautiful.

 Four miles from downtown Sydney, Bondi Beach is a half-mile of silky sand and a perfect place to experience the vibe of Australian beach culture. There are surf schools and plenty of cafes and bars that overlook the beach. The town of Bondi Beach has some interesting Art Deco architecture, too. Another option is to take a half-hour ferry ride to Manly Beach, another surfing hot spot with a tree-lined promenade and beachfront cafes.

 Cruise passengers who call on Cadiz, Spain, can visit the nearly four-mile stretch of sparkling sand at Playa de la Barrosa. Rent a chair on the main beach or find some privacy in the sand dunes and pines that lie just to the south. If your ship calls on Barcelona, visit the seaside neighborhood of Barceloneta, where a manmade beach has become a highlight of the city. Be sure to take a selfie with the glittering Frank Gehry sculpture of a golden fish. On the sand, there are loungers and umbrellas for rent, and delicious fresh seafood dishes are served in the beachfront restaurants.

 Croatia isn’t a classic beach destination, but visitors to Dubrovnik can walk from the cruise port to Bellevue Beach at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. This pebbly, shady beach is surrounded by stunning cliffs. Plus, the water is clear and perfect for exploring an underwater cave before you enjoy a snack at the beach cafe.

 And while you may not think of Denmark as a beach destination either, the port of Skagen at the country’s northern tip has some lovely beaches. The light and views over the North Sea have inspired generations of artists. If it’s too cool to sunbathe, you can hike, watch birds, fly a kite, or explore the dunes.

 To find out how to visit any of these beaches via cruise ship, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, August 28, 2023

Cruise Dining News

Onboard dining is a fun and delicious aspect of any cruise, and cruise line culinary programs are always striving to reach new heights of innovation and excellence. Here are some of the tasty developments we’ve heard about in cruise ship dining.

 Fans of Crystal Cruises will be thrilled to know the brand is relaunching this summer with two refurbished, ocean-going ships and the return of a favorite onboard restaurant, UMI UMA. Created by Michelin-starred chef Nobu Matsuhisa, this specialty restaurant features his unique fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavors. Menu highlights include the chef’s signature black cod in miso as well as dishes that feature Wagyu beef and Chilean sea bass.

 To accommodate guests who follow vegan diets, Windstar Cruises will introduce a new whole-food, plant-based menu this summer on all its ships. These dishes will be minimally processed and prepared without added salt, oil, or sugar. Tempting choices include baked cauliflower croquettes with salsa verde, penne pasta with espelette pepper sauce, and tahini brownies with strawberries. Windstar ships will continue to serve dishes for vegetarians and omnivores as well.

 Oceania’s newest ship, the Vista, has a dozen dining options, and the culinary staff gives just as much attention to the onboard beverage menu. A new molecular mixology program uses naturally sourced ingredients to make reductions and syrups that add aromatic flavor to cocktails and other drinks. Specialty beverage carts like the Bubbly Bar (serving Champagne cocktails) and the Ultimate Bloody Mary Bar roam the decks. You can also make a reservation for a three-course Champagne experience that pairs bubbly from Moët & Chandon with tastes like sea bass tartare, duck foie gras terrine, and cured beef tenderloin.

 Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas won’t launch until 2024, but the cruise line has already announced that the ship will have more than 20 different dining experiences. These include Royal Caribbean’s first food hall, the Aqua Dome Market. Casual bites will include sweet and savory crepes at Crème de la Crepe; macaroni and cheese with a variety of toppings from Mac’s; pitas and bowls from Feta Mediterranean; favorites like Korean beef and broccoli at GNGR; and fresh sandwiches and salads from Toast and Garden. For an elegant dinner, visit the Empire Supper Club, where an eight-course menu will begin with caviar and proceed through expertly prepared Wagyu beef and other dishes.

 Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about experiencing these and other mouthwatering options at sea.

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Monday, August 21, 2023

Great Onboard Workouts

Most cruise ships have fitness centers where you can maintain your regular workout; many have such an excellent range of equipment and classes that you might discover a new favorite way to stay in shape. Here are a few onboard workout opportunities that may “wow” you.

Zumba classes on Celebrity Cruises use upbeat rhythms and simple choreography to deliver a total body workout. If you haven’t done Zumba before, attend the scheduled Zumba Fitness Party to learn some basic steps. Some Celebrity ships also offer Aqua Zumba for a water-supported workout in the ship’s pool, Zumbatomic classes for kids, or Zumba Gold classes for older adults.

If you like punching bag workouts, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Fight Klub incorporates punching bag work with sets of kicks for an energizing cardio session. Virgin Voyages ships have punching bags too, as well as actual boxing rings where you can spar.

Virgin offers bungee fitness classes, too. The stretchy bungee cords attached to the ceiling defy gravity, so you’ll need to engage a variety of muscle groups just to touch the floor.

Cruise ships also offer plenty of fun activities outside the walls of their fitness centers. For example, if you love water sports, check out the water sports platforms on the ships of luxury lines like Windstar and Seabourn. These onboard marinas are your launching point for paddleboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, and more.

Several Royal Caribbean ships are equipped with a surfing simulator called the FlowRider. If you haven’t tried surfing before, you may be surprised by how much strength and balance it requires. Sign up for a group lesson to be sure you get the most from your FlowRider experience, which will be a workout for your core, legs, and upper body.

Lots of ships feature a spacious sport court on an upper deck, usually equipped with facilities for basketball, volleyball, soccer, and more. Most ships also have a track or promenade where you can stroll, jog or run as much as you like. Larger ships, like those from Disney Cruise Line, have tracks that are four-tenths of a mile or longer, meaning you can complete a 5k run in less than eight laps.

Some of these and other onboard fitness activities will be included in your cruise fare, but some may carry an extra fee. For details about all of the fitness options available on your next cruise, talk with Anita,  your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, August 14, 2023

Join us on an Exceptional Trip

As we all know, cruising is an outstanding way to travel and see the world.   Did you realize there are ways that you can maximize your experience?  What if I told you, it is EASY and FREE.  The secret is to book with a Travel Leaders Network travel advisor and have them book you on a Distinctive Voyage sailing!   A Distinctive Voyage cruise costs no extra money and includes some wonderful amenities.

1.        Welcome reception:

a.       A chance to meet your Distinctive Voyage host.

b.       Gives you a chance to meet other Distinctive Voyage guests and develop friendships.

c.       Learn about other amenities offered on the cruise.     

2.       Distinctive Voyage host holds office hours each sea day where Distinctive Voyage guests can:

a.       Ask questions.

b.       Learn about upcoming ports.

c.       Just visit with the host.

3.        Free shore excursion:

a.       At one of the ports on the cruise.

b.       This is an exclusive high-quality excursion only for the DV guests.  We hosted a DV cruise around the British Isles in 2023.  Our tour was “The Beatles and Liverpool”.  It was an outstanding tour!  Several of the guests said it was the best tour they had taken and even guests that had no interest in The Beatles left talking about the exceptional tour.

These free amenities are offered because you booked your cruise with a Travel Leaders Network advisor.  So next time you book a cruise, book with a Travel Leaders Network Advisor and ask for a Distinctive Voyage Cruise.  It will take an outstanding vacation to the next level!

Join us on one of our Distinctive Voyage tours:

1.       March 26, 2024 – Celebrity Cruise Line – Eclipse (Ship) - 12 nights Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile

2.       November 20, 2024 – Holland America Cruise Line – Zaandam (Ship) – 17 nights Hawaii round trip from San Diego, Ca


We look forward to meeting you,

Rick and Linda Poole