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, August 8, 2022

Take a Short Cruise for a Relaxing Break

 If you dream of a quick break that will really take you away from it all, take a look at short cruises. Two or three days on a cruise ship isn’t a lot of time, but it can provide lots of fun and relaxation. Plus, a short cruise is a great option if you have a small vacation budget, limited vacation time, or you haven’t cruised before and want to find out how much you like it. You can also combine a short cruise with some extra time in a port city, giving you two vacation experiences in one. 

 

Several cruise lines offer two- or three-day cruises from a variety of ports. Let’s look at some of the places you can go. 

 

From Florida ports like Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, you can board a ship for a short cruise to Key West; Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas; or, a visit to a cruise line’s private island (there are several in The Bahamas). A day on a cruise line’s private island is delightful and much like a visit to an exclusive beach club: there are no crowds, just sand, sun, shaded loungers, beachy fun, and delicious food. 

 

From Los Angeles or San Diego, you can take a short cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Tour the historic city, go wine tasting in the Valle de Guadalupe, visit the La Bufadora marine geyser, or paddle a kayak near adorable sea lions. 

 

Some short cruises sail along the scenic West Coast between Seattle and San Francisco or Vancouver. All three cities are full of wonderful attractions, such as Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Some short itineraries to Vancouver also call on Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia. 

 

When you choose a quick but refreshing cruise, be aware that cruise lines tend to assign smaller, older ships to these routes. The ships are still lovely and comfortable, but if you’re looking for the latest onboard entertainment and dining options, you may not find them on a two- or three-day cruise. 

 

Also, short cruises tend to attract younger passengers, including families with kids, who appreciate the affordability. This often creates a fun and lively atmosphere onboard; but if you tire of the party, you can always find a quiet corner or relax in your cabin for a while. 

 

For more ideas and details about short cruises, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Cruising With Baby

Can you bring your baby on a cruise? Yes, parents do it all the time, but there are some things to understand and think through. 

 First, there’s an age requirement for babies at sea. Many cruises welcome babies who are at least six months old, though some longer itineraries have a 12-month minimum age. But a few cruise lines don’t accept any passengers under age 18, including babies. 

 

Some cruise lines offer discounted fares for babies (and other children) who share your cabin; you should also ask your professional travel advisor to alert you to “kids sail free” promotions. Still, you may have to pay a regular fare for your baby.  

 

When you plan to bring a baby on board, it’s important to request a crib when you make your cruise reservation. And, as very few cabins have a bathtub or a sink large enough for bathing a baby, you may want to bring a small inflatable bathtub with you. 

 

Bring all the food and supplies (diapers, wipes, rash cream, changing pad, fold-up stroller, pacifiers, a favorite toy, and more) your baby will need. Some ships have small supplies of baby care essentials or offer a pre-embarkation delivery service, but these can be pricey. To make travel to the ship easier, arrive in port early enough to go to a store and buy baby supplies to bring on board. 

 

If your baby drinks formula, bring enough for the duration of the cruise; if they drink milk, find out if your ship carries the kind they like. On some cruise lines, the galley will mash or puree food for babies, but others expect you to bring jars of baby food. Fortunately, most onboard dining rooms and restaurants have highchairs; if you don’t see one, just ask. 

 

Note that babies and toddlers must be toilet-trained before they can use cruise ship pools, but a few ships have “splash zones” where babies in swim diapers are welcome. 

 

Babysitting services also vary by cruise line. Some don’t offer them, but others provide services at hourly rates; helpful when you want to take a baby-free shore excursion or have dinner on your own.  

 

Ultimately, you’re the best judge of whether or not to take your baby on a cruise, because you know how your baby reacts to new people, places, and routines. Contact Anita, your professional travel advisor, to talk about ships and itineraries that can provide a great cruise experience for you and your baby. 

 

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Monday, July 25, 2022

Open-Air Spaces to Enjoy on a Cruise

When choosing a ship for your next cruise, look for spaces where you can enjoy open sky and fresh air as you sail across the water. Some ships have especially appealing outdoor spaces; here are a few that we really like. 

 Celebrity Cruises Edge Class ships – the Edge, Apex and Beyond – have an incredible outdoor space called The Garden, decorated with beautiful live plants, metal sculptures, and comfortable seating. These ships also feature the Magic Carpet, a large, open-air platform off one side of the ship that moves up and down to serve different al fresco purposes. It can be a specialty restaurant, a music venue, an extension of the pool area or even an elegant way to disembark. 

 

Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships, first introduced in 2008, have an outdoor space that’s still unique in the cruise world. On the top deck, there’s a half-acre of real, growing grass, called the Lawn Club. Guests are welcome to remove their shoes, walk across the soft grass, and relax in a hammock, Adirondack chair or cabana. 

 

Onboard pools are often a good place to catch some fresh air and sun, but they don’t all have sea views. Holland America’s Sea View Pools, located at the rear (aft) of the ship, pools have a lovely view over the water. 

 

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships feature Central Park, a lush garden that’s located in the middle of the ship, but open to the sky. Each park has thousands of full-size trees, shrubs and flowers, with winding pathways, benches, shops, and restaurants. With a little help from technology, the parks are also filled with the soothing sounds of chirping crickets and singing birds (real birds sometimes find their way to these green spaces, too). 

 

On Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera, the spa’s thalassotherapy pool, along with hot tubs and chaise lounges, are on the open-air Aquamar Spa Terrace. Here, you can combine some soothing spa treatments with an inspiring sea view. 

 

Since it was introduced in 2004, Movies Under the Stars has become a signature feature on the ships of Princess Cruises. Passengers gather in these open-air, poolside amphitheaters to watch current films, sports events, and more. Programming runs all day, but in the evening the crew adds pillows and blankets to the poolside lounge chairs, then serves popcorn and special beverages. 

 

To find out more about fresh-air spaces on any cruise ship, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, July 18, 2022

Fabulous Suites at Sea

On a cruise, you sail away from your daily routine to a very different kind of experience. Every passenger – even those who stay in the smallest inside cabins – can enjoy a high level of service, comfort, and cuisine. 

 Of course, if you’d like a little more space, you can book a suite; and on some ships, you can book a really extravagant suite. The most luxurious suites at sea may not fit within your budget, at least not yet…but we can all dream. Let’s take a quick look at a few suites to aspire to. 

 

The Garden Villa Suite on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Star Class and Jewel Class ships is enormous: nearly 7,000 square feet, or about three times the size of the average U.S. home. There are three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and a spacious living room with a baby grand piano. Walls of windows overlook outdoor spaces that offer amenities like a private hot tub, sun deck, and dining area. This suite is part of The Haven ship-within-a-ship complex, so it comes with extras like butler service and unlimited beverages. 

 

If you’re sailing with kids, it’s hard to beat the Ultimate Family Suite on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, Spectrum of the Seas, and Wonder of the Seas. This spacious two-story suite has a large balcony and private jetted tub, but what really sets it apart are the toys and games. There’s an in-suite slide, air hockey, and ping-pong tables, a giant Connect 4 game, a LEGO wall, and an 85-inch TV equipped with popular video games. A Royal Genie (butler), unlimited beverages, and specialty dining are all included. 

 

The Regent Suite on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Splendor, Explorer and Grandeur are one of the most opulent at sea; its 4,000+ square feet is filled with unique furnishings and rare works of art. There are two spacious bedrooms (featuring high-end, hand-made mattresses) and a living room equipped with a grand piano. There are views in three directions, an in-suite sauna and steam room, walk-in closets, and a private solarium. You and your companions will also be the only passengers who can reserve The Study, a luxe private dining room where you and up to 12 guests will dine off gorgeous French porcelain. 

 

These and other top-tier suites at sea are pricey, but also extremely popular and always booked well in advance. For more information, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, July 11, 2022

Cruising the Hawaiian Islands

A cruise is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the islands of Hawaii, the 50th state. Each of these stunning volcanic islands has its own distinct character, and a cruise gives you the chance to visit more than one. 

 Basically, there are three ways to cruise Hawaii: 

 

Hawaii-only cruises. Norwegian Cruise Line is the only major cruise line that offers regular, Hawaii-only cruises. Why? To comply with U.S. passenger shipping laws, cruise ships registered outside the U.S. (most of them are) must call on at least one international port during each cruise; this is why cruises to Hawaii that depart from the West Coast often call on Ensenada, Mexico. But, U.S.-flagged ships are exempt from this rule. Norwegian Cruise Line has one U.S.-flagged ship – the Pride of America – and it sails seven-day cruises of the islands, roundtrip from Honolulu.  

 

One-way or round-trip cruises from the West Coast. Several cruise lines offer cruises to Hawaii from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego. These cruises combine relaxing days at sea with stops at multiple Hawaiian Islands. These cruises can be lengthy; even one-way cruises are usually 10 days or more. If you have time for an even longer cruise, some itineraries that include Hawaii sail to other islands in the South Pacific. 

 

Repositioning cruises. Some ships that are moving from the West Coast to Asia or Australia, from Alaska to the Mexican Riviera, or from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the Panama Canal call on one or more of the Hawaiian Islands. These one-way, extended cruises are great fun for people who love to sail and have the time to take a longer voyage. 

 

After you decide which type of Hawaiian cruise is best for you, pick an itinerary. Here are some of the gorgeous places you can visit: 

 

·         Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is the busy urban center of the islands and home to Waikiki Beach and historic Pearl Harbor. 

·         On the island named Hawai’i, also known as the “Big Island,” Volcanoes National Park is a must-see, along with the black sands of Kona and the orchid gardens of Hilo. 

·         The laid-back island of Maui is great for snorkeling, seasonal whale-watching, beachcombing, and hiking in the rainforest. 

·         Kaua’i is a stunning island where you can take in the beauty of Waimea Canyon, the Fern Grotto, and the Napali Coast. 

·         Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor about all of your options for cruising the islands of Hawaii. 

 

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Monday, July 4, 2022

Elevate Your Cruise Experience

Should your next cruise experience deliver the luxury and intimacy of a small, elegant ship; or, the non-stop activities and amenities of a modern mega-ship? We have good news: There’s a way to enjoy both types of experiences on the same cruise. Popular “ship within a ship” programs deliver all the dining and entertainment choices of a big ship, with the option to retreat to a more private, opulent enclave whenever you like. 

 Some Norwegian Cruise Line ships feature The Haven, one of the first ship-within-a-ship concepts at sea. The Haven is a collection of suites that come with access to special onboard areas that vary by ship, but usually include a private pool deck, lounge, restaurant, and library. Guests of The Haven enjoy unlimited beverages, a specialty dining package, shore excursion credits, concierge services and some complimentary WiFi access. A third and a fourth guest can also share your suite at no extra charge.  

 

The amenities of MSC Cruises’ Yacht Club are available to passengers who book specific accommodations – ranging from inside cabins to suites – on designated sailings. The Yacht Club provides extras like luxury bedding and 24-hour butler service, plus access to a private pool deck, a lounge with panoramic views, and an upscale restaurant. Yacht Club guests receive unlimited beverage service and a complimentary session in the onboard spa’s thermal suite. If your cruise calls on MSC’s private island in The Bahamas, you’ll have access to exclusive areas of the island, too. 

 

Some Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships offer the Royal Suite program, which has three levels of extra amenities. These can include access to exclusive dining spots, service from butlers called Royal Genies, complimentary WiFi, priority boarding and tender access, and complimentary beverages. If you want extra perks without booking a suite, many Royal Caribbean itineraries offer another option: The Key, an extra-fee program that provides a VIP experience. The Key gives you priority boarding, special access hours for onboard attractions, preferential seating at shows, and other advantages. 

 

Guests who book certain suites on some of the Celebrity ships have access to The Retreat, which the cruise line compares to a high-end resort. It includes a private gourmet restaurant called Luminae at the Retreat, an exclusive pool deck, and lounge, concierge services, a Personal Retreat Host, complimentary beverages, and WiFi. A bottle of sparkling wine will be waiting in your suite, too. 

 

For more information on these and other ways to elevate your cruise experience, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, June 27, 2022

Cruise Ship Spaces Just for Teens

Existing in the transition between childhood and adulthood isn’t always easy, and the teenagers in your life may not be quite as excited as you are about getting on a cruise ship together. The good news is that many cruise ships have dedicated spaces where teens can go to relax and be with other teens. And cruise lines have put a lot of effort into making these spaces truly welcoming, comfortable, and fun for teens.

Norwegian Cruise Line has Entourage, where teens aged 13 to 17 can play video games, watch movies, make art, or join in a game of basketball, soccer, or dodgeball. In the evening, Entourage hosts themed parties where teens can dance, sing, and show off their style.

Several ships in the Princess Cruises fleet have The Beach House, a lounge for teens aged 13 to 17, but the Royal Princess and Regal Princess take it a step further. They have teen clubs called Remix that include outdoor lounges with wading pools and space for open-sky parties. The indoor section of Remix offers a DJ booth, games, dance classes, and more.

Disney Cruise Line’s ships have Vibe, a space exclusively for teens aged 14 to 17. Vibe’s location and amenities vary a bit from ship to ship. On the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, Vibe is in the forward funnel and is styled like an urban loft, with activities like games, dance parties, karaoke contests, and more. On the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, Vibe has the style of a downtown club, with the added attraction of an attached sun deck.

Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Ocean has separate, dedicated lounges and activities for younger teens (age 12 to 14) and older teens (age 15 to 17). Activities for both groups are similar – including movie nights, themed dinners, video games, karaoke contests, pool parties, and dances – but the two age groups can help some teens feel more comfortable as they meet new people.

Of course, whatever cruise line you sail on, your teen will want to explore the whole ship and enjoy some of the amenities, dining options, and entertainment that are available to everyone. Still, it’s good to have an exclusive onboard space where teens can take a break from parents and younger siblings and simply be with other teens for a while. It’s a fun experience that may help your teen enjoy the entire cruise that much more.

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