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, October 25, 2021

Shipboard Fun with Shuffleboard

Cruising is a wonderful way to visit new places, meet new friends, try food you never heard of before, and play a time-honored yet trendy game called shuffleboard. 


That’s right; shuffleboard is trendy. For decades, most people thought of shuffleboard (if they thought of it at all) as a game for older people, as it doesn’t require a lot of physical activity. But, shuffleboard has recently become more popular with younger generations, and you can find shuffleboard tables, courts pick-up games and leagues at bars and clubs from New York to Seattle. 

 

On cruise ships, shuffleboard has been a mainstay since the 1840s, when an employee of the Peninsular and Oriental Line (known today as P&O Cruises) adapted an old tavern game called shoveboard. Who exactly created shoveboard and when is information lost to time, but the game’s history in Europe goes back at least 500 years. Aristocrats played this tabletop game, also called shovegroat or shovelpenny, with coins or other metal weights. Using their hands, they “shoved” the metal markers to a scoring area on the opposite side of the table.

 

If you’ve cruised before, you probably saw shuffleboard courts painted on cruise ship promenade decks or top decks. Playing the game is a fine way to spend some time in the open air, enjoying the sea breeze and views combined with friendly competition. Shuffleboard is a game that almost anyone can play, though it takes time and practice to become a really skilled player. 

 

A cruise ship shuffleboard court includes two large triangles, about 12 feet apart. Each triangle points toward the center of the court and is marked with zones of different point values. The game is played either one-on-one or in teams of two. The players use long-handled cues to push discs, also called pucks or hammers, over to the triangle on the other side of the court. Everyone aims for the sections of the triangle that are marked with the highest point values, and the first side to reach 75 points wins. 

 

Be sure to give shuffleboard a try on your next cruise. If you don’t have shuffleboard experience but have played games like bocce, curling, croquet or billiards, you’ll notice some similarities to shuffleboard. 

 

And if you’re very lucky, your cruise ship may feature another time-honored deck game: quoits, which involves tossing a ring, often made of rope, toward a target. It’s another fun way to spend time on deck, relaxing and enjoying the fresh air. 

 

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel

Monday, October 18, 2021

Slow Cruising


Life can move quickly, but there’s a growing appreciation for enjoying the things that are important to us – including travel – more slowly and mindfully. If you’re interested in the “slow travel” trend, you should consider cruising; and, river cruising may be especially well suited to your slow travel dreams. 

 

Slow travel grew out of the “slow food” movement, which started in the 1980s and celebrates locally produced, traditionally prepared food. Translated to travel, slow movement is all about reducing the pace. Instead of a whirlwind of activities that may leave you feeling like you need another vacation, slow travel provides time to make deeper, more memorable connections with different places, people, and cultures. 

 

There are several reasons why river cruising fits the slow travel trend so well. First, most river cruise ships are small, which serves a practical purpose – their low, narrow profiles let them glide smoothly under old bridges and into small, city-center docks. But, the size of river cruise ships makes them slow-travel-worthy, too, because most are not equipped with a huge variety of activity and entertainment options. That can be an advantage when you want a cruise experience that’s focused on the places and experiences waiting to be discovered onshore. And, on a river cruise, the onboard activities are often designed to help you get to know the region you’re sailing through. 

 

While many ocean-going cruises feature one or more days entirely at sea, river cruises usually dock in a new place each day, maximizing your opportunity to explore onshore. With a small number of passengers on board – likely less than 200, compared to 1,000 or more on many ocean-going ships – you can disembark quickly and begin soaking in the local sights, sounds, and tastes. An itinerary with overnight stays or opportunities to venture farther inland can deliver an even more immersive experience. And, even when your ship is in motion, you’re likely to remain in sight of local life on the shore. 

 

Many river ships also make an effort to reflect local culture in their dining rooms. Staying close to shore makes it possible to bring on fresh ingredients by day and feature them in regional specialties that evening.  

 

There are lots of rivers that you can cruise in Europe, Asia, India, South America and North America, too. To help you choose a river cruise that will deliver on the joys of slow travel, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

  Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel

Monday, October 11, 2021

Amazing Experiences on a Cruise Ship

Cruises are filled with fun activities, from enjoying the pools and hot tubs to art classes or cooking lessons. But some cruise activities are truly spectacular – you might even find yourself doing something on a cruise ship that you wouldn’t do on land. 

 
For example, you can go skydiving – or at least have a simulated experience that feels like the real thing. Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class ships have skydiving simulators, glassed-in wind tunnels that deliver the adrenaline rush of skydiving without having to leap out of a plane. Another way to get a sky-high view on a Quantum-class ship is to ride the North Star. This glass-walled capsule rises high above the ship for fantastic, 360-degree views; sunrise and sunset are especially popular times. 
 

Princess Cruises uses glass to provide a different type of thrill along the SeaWalk, a 60-foot walkway that extends over the side of the ship and is glassed on all sides – including the floor. Find it on the Royal Princess and Regal Princess. 

 
Another amazing experience for those who aren’t bothered by heights is “walking the plank” on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-class ships. High above the water, you can walk out on the eight-foot-long, six-inch-wide plank if you dare (don’t worry, you’ll be wearing a safety harness). 

 
MSC Cruises gets hearts pumping with a Formula One race car simulator. Climb into the single-seat Ferrari and get the feel of driving one of the fastest cars in the world. If you “drive” well – and that’s not easy – you’ll get the checkered flag for the win. 

 
If you want to do something unusual but more relaxing than an adrenaline rush, visit the Ice Bar on the Norwegian Breakaway, Epic or Escape. Warm coats and gloves are provided, and you’ll need them inside the sparkling, 17-degree Fahrenheit bar where everything – including your cocktail glass – is made of ice.  
 

For a unique onboard experience that’s even a bit educational, visit the only planetarium at sea on Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2. Sit back, explore the galaxies, and be amazed by the universe. 
 

When you sail on Celebrity Cruises’ Flora – the first cruise ship specifically built to visit the Galapagos Islands – you can go glamping (glamorous camping) on the top deck. After a gourmet dinner, you’ll sleep under the stars in a specially designed cabana. The crew will deliver a sunrise breakfast, too. 

 
To find out how you can treat yourself to these and other amazing onboard experiences, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 
  

 Find us on Facebook:www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel


 

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tips for a Smooth Embarkation

Embarkation day is the first day of your cruise when you arrive at the cruise terminal and board the ship. It’s a great day because your wonderful cruise vacation is all ahead of you. Still, there are some things you can do to ensure that embarkation day goes as smoothly as possible – look at our tips. 

 
Complete your pre-cruise check-in. Most cruise lines have an online, pre-cruise check-in process that you should complete well before embarkation day. This helps ensure the cruise line has the information they need to serve you well. Enter your information carefully; for example, make sure the name on your reservation is exactly as shown on the identification you’ll bring with you (more on that in the next tip). 

Print and bring all the documents you’ll need. Most cruise lines provide online access to some important documents to print at home and bring with you, such as boarding passes and luggage tags. You’ll also need to bring the identification documents your cruise line requires, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, or passports. If you’re not sure what documents you’ll need to bring, check with your professional travel advisor. 

Consider pre-cruise purchases. You may be able to conveniently purchase certain extras – such as beverage packages or shore excursions – before you leave home (but you can purchase them after you board the ship, too). 

Pack a small carry-on bag with essentials like medications and small toiletries; keep this bag with you and give the rest to porters at the cruise terminal (they’ll be delivered to your stateroom). Some activities will be available as soon as you board the ship, so you may want to pack a swimming suit and athletic attire in your carry-on, too. 

Arrive on time
. Many cruise lines assign specific boarding times to help avoid big crowds in the cruise terminal. You’ll have the smoothest experience if you arrive promptly. 


Get ready for your close-up
. Most cruise lines will take a photo of you and your companions as you board the ship (you can purchase it later). 

Explore the ship. Once onboard, take a look around: find your stateroom, check out the fitness center, sign up for tournaments and kids’ clubs, or stretch out on a lounge by the pool until it’s time for the sail away party. And if you’re in the mood for a little pampering, check on embarkation-day specials at the spa for a relaxing start to a fabulous cruise. 

 
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Cruise Ports of Portugal

 With 1,000 miles of beautiful Atlantic coastline, sunny Portugal is a fantastic cruise destination. Two Portuguese ports – Lisbon and Porto – are featured on some Mediterranean itineraries, especially those that include ports in Spain, Portugal’s neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula. Madeira, a Portuguese island is a popular stop for ships making transatlantic crossings between the Mediterranean and Florida. 

 
Lisbon is a capital city of historic boulevards, castles, monuments, and museums, as well as charming neighborhoods and parks. This is one of Europe’s oldest cities, but most of its medieval buildings were destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Still, the Lisbon Cathedral survived, along with the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, rare examples of Portugal’s Manueline architecture. And watch for distinctive black-and-white mosaic-style “Portuguese pavements” in the city’s plazas. If you’re interested in food, get to know some Lisbon favorites: caldo verde soup, bacalhau à brás (cod with potatoes and eggs), grilled sardines, Azeitão cheese, or bifana (a marinated pork sandwich). For something sweet, try pastéis de nata (egg custard tartlets), dusted with cinnamon. Or, head out of the city on an excursion to gorgeous Sintra-Cascais Nature Park. 

 
Porto is perched at the mouth of the Douro River and its port wine region. If you’re comfortable with heights, get a birds-eye view of the city by strolling the pedestrian deck atop the Dom Luís I Bridge. Visit a wine cellar in the Ribiera District to taste different varieties of port, or explore how salt is mined near the colorful town of Aveiro. You can also take an excursion to Portugal’s only national park, Peneda-Geres, for panoramic views of mountains, lakes, stone-walled fields and Roman-built roads. 

 
About 600 miles southwest of Lisbon, mountainous Madeira rises from the Atlantic. There’s a lot to see in the city of Funchal, where the parks are full of gorgeous palms and flowers. Tour the island’s rugged peaks in a 4x4, explore caves and waterfalls on the north side, visit fishing villages and sea pools along the western shore, or take a catamaran off the southern coast to look for whales. Snow is very rare here, but you can still take a toboggan ride down a steep street (using a woven basket sled, with two drivers to safely guide you). Like Porto, Madeira has a long and delicious winemaking history, too. 

 
To reserve your spot on a cruise that visits one or more of Portugal’s beautiful ports, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 
 

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel

Monday, September 20, 2021

Get Ready for a Great Solo Cruise

If you’re a solo voyager who loves to get to know unfamiliar places and people, a cruise is a terrific vacation choice. There are so many places to sail, and cruise lines are doing more to appeal to solo cruisers. 

At least a dozen cruise lines now offer cabins for one on at least some of their ships. The Norwegian Epic, with more than 100 “studio” cabins, is a great example. Studio cabin occupants also have access to the Studio Lounge, which is equipped with cozy sofas, big televisions, and beverages. It’s the perfect place to meet other solo travelers who may become companions for dinner or shore excursions. 
 
If you choose a ship that doesn’t have solo cabins, you can share a cabin with a roommate; many cruise lines offer roommate matching services. Another option is to reserve a cabin meant for two just for you, which usually requires an additional payment known as the “single supplement.” Some lines reduce this supplement for certain ships and itineraries; your professional travel advisor can help you find them. 
 
Larger cruise ships offer lots of activities and spaces where a single traveler can mingle with other passengers, but some cruise experts recommend smaller ships for those sailing on their own. With fewer passengers, you’re more likely to see the same people each day onboard and onshore, making it easier to start conversations and make new friends. 

When sailing on your own, consider taking a themed cruise, where you’re sure to meet people with a shared interest. There are lots of themed cruises to choose from, centered on music, sports, art, movies and TV shows, history, food and wine, crafts, pets, and many more fun topics. Again, your professional travel advisor is a wonderful source of information and can help you find a themed cruise you’ll enjoy. 
 
Whatever type of cruise and size of ship you decide on, getting to know your fellow passengers can start before you get on board. Look around social media to see if your cruise has a “roll call” – a private chat group just for the passengers on your cruise. It’s a fun way to meet virtually and share pre-cruise tips, knowledge about the ship and itinerary, ideas for onshore adventures, and more. 

And once you’re on board, be sure to get involved. Check the cruise line’s app for a daily schedule of activities, which may include “meet and greet” events just for solo passengers. 

Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel


 

 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Must-Try Foods in Paris

Paris is known for many things, like the Eiffel Tower, romance, and cafes. But it’s also known for its food. Here are a few bites you shouldn’t pass up on your trip to Paris.

Macarons

Macarons (also called French macaroons, not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a convection created with meringue cookies that sandwich a flavored filling. These cookie sandwiches showed up in Paris in the 1830s from Parisian confectioners and were made popular by Laduree, a famous French bakery. It wasn’t long until the macaron became famous world-wide. It even has its very own day to celebrate! But even though these tasty treats are accessible just about everywhere these days, there’s something about trying them in the country they originated.

Croissants

These are a staple in Paris. They are convenient, easy to eat on the go, and can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, including on their own or as part of a sandwich. The croissant became popular in France because of Marie Antoinette. The story is that she wanted the baker to replicate her favorite bakery treat from her hometown in Austria. Over time, this treat became lighter and fluffier into what we know the croissant as now.

Some say that you know if a croissant is good if you don’t need to any anything to it. However, French people like to indulge at their weekend brunch and add jam or chocolate to their croissants.

Baguette

Another staple in Paris is the baguette. In the 1920s, laws were in place that prohibited bakers from starting to bake until after 4:00 in the morning. These laws prevented them from having fresh bread in the mornings. The bakers had to be creative to find ways to have bread freshly baked for the mornings and wound up changing the bread’s shape into the baguette we know today. This allowed the bread to bake faster and made it possible for the dough to receive the maximum amount of exposed heat, which gives it that thick crust.

The baguette has been an iconic symbol of France ever since. Like the croissant, it’s a great grab-and-go snack and versatile in the ways you can enjoy it. One way people will enjoy a baguette is to cut it in half with butter and jam. It also pairs wonderfully with chocolat chaud, which is similar to a hot chocolate.

Butter

This is a unique one, but the butter in Paris is a must-try, specifically the Le Beurre Bordier. Here is how this butter is different from the rest:

They only use milk from local farmers who demonstrate the best farming practices. They also take their time when making the butter. Bordier waits 72 hours to use the milk once they get it from the cows, where milk used to make a typical brick of butter is only left to sit 6 hours. This extra time allows the cream to develop its flavor. They even knead the butter at a much slower speed.

It’s also unique because the butter is slightly different based on what season it is. The cows’ diet vastly alters how the butter comes out. When the cows graze on fresh grass in the summer, the butter is much more yellow, smoother, and tastes more savory. In the winter, the butter tends to be lighter in color due to the grass. It’s also more brittle and tastes sweeter.

They also only make the butter on-demand, so you know you’ll be getting the freshest butter!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a comforting soup that has become widely popular. There are no definitive stories on the origin of the French Onion Soup, but many that in the 1800s, low-income workers would use the leftover onions that they were selling to make soup to keep them warm. The soup started as just the broth, which uses caramelized onions and beef broth.

In the 1900s, people started seeing this dish in restaurants. The recipe had expanded with the addition of baked bread with a layer of cheese crumbled on top. They then bake the soup until the cheese layer gets crispy and golden brown.

When the soup started being served in restaurants, it became more acceptable amongst all the people to enjoy, not just the working and low-income families, and it's now a staple in French cuisine!

These were only a few must-try dishes to try in Paris, but it's safe to say that there are many more to discover!