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, May 20, 2024

Cruising the Ohio River

For a close-to-home cruise, consider sailing a US river; one option is the mighty Ohio. Cruising the Ohio River is a wonderful way to discover the region that stretches from Western Pennsylvania to the Mississippi River. The river touches six states – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois – and there’s so much to see and explore along its banks.

Depending on your ship and the time of year, your ports of call may include:

Pittsburgh, where many cruises of the Ohio start or end. The river forms in Point State Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. It’s fun to take an extra day just to enjoy the city, which has 90 unique neighborhoods and many cultural attractions, plus great shopping and dining in the Strip District.

Moundsville, West Virginia, where the centerpiece of the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is a sacred, conical burial mound built by the Adena people more than 2,000 years ago.

Marietta, Ohio, was founded in 1788 as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. There’s a complex of mounds at the Marietta Earthworks archaeological site, built by the Native American Hopewell culture.

Cincinnati, Ohio, is another major city along the river. A highlight is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a museum that celebrates the secret network that helped enslaved people escape to freedom before and during the US Civil War.

Louisville, Kentucky, where you can learn about the state’s famous bourbon distilleries, see how Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made, and visit Churchill Downs, home of the annual Kentucky Derby Thoroughbred horse race.

Henderson, Kentucky, was for a time home to John James Audubon, the naturalist and painter who produced more than 400 hand-colored bird prints for his landmark 1827 book, The Birds of America. You can visit the Audubon Museum and Nature Center, which includes some of his personal memorabilia.

Paducah, Kentucky, is the meeting point of four major rivers: the Ohio, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Mississippi. Visit the Inland Waterways Museum, where a pilothouse simulator gives you the feel of guiding a river ship; or, visit the National Quilt Museum.

Some cruises of the Ohio also include a bit of Mississippi River cruising at the western end, calling on Cape Girardeau and St. Louis, Missouri.

To find out how you can cruise the Ohio or another storied US river (like the Mississippi or Columbia), talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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

 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Tips for Cruising in Asia

Asia is a vast continent, and its long Pacific coastline offers cruise passengers wonderful places to discover. Here are some things to know if you plan to explore Asia by cruise ship.

You’ll have a choice of cruise lines. A variety of cruise lines visit Asian ports, including Celebrity, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Seabourn, Silversea, and Viking. This gives you a terrific choice of ships, itineraries, and onboard vibes.

You may want to focus on Northeast or Southeast Asia. Depending on how much time you have to cruise, you could choose to focus on either Northeast Asia (including Japan, South Korea, and China) or Southeast Asia (including Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and The Philippines). Both regions are rich in beauty, history, and culture, with everything from glittering cities to traditional villages. Of course, if you have the time to cruise it all, your professional travel advisor can help you select an itinerary that covers more of Asia’s Pacific coast.

There’s an alternative to cruising along the coast. Asia offers river cruises along some historic and scenic waterways. Options include China’s Cháng Jiāng (or Yangtze) River, which passes through the stunning Three Gorges region; and the Mekong River, which will take you to Cambodia’s most famous temple complex, Angkor Wat, and the floating markets of rural Vietnam.

Pack for the weather and be ready to cover up. Bring lightweight clothing you can layer, including some long-sleeved shirts and long pants – temples and other religious and cultural sites may require modest clothing that covers most of your skin. A light jacket or shawl is a good item to take along on shore excursions.

Be observant about local customs. In some Asian cultures, people don’t shake hands as a way to say “Hello” or “Thank you;” instead, they may bow or press their palms together in front of their hearts. Watch what the local people do, and do the same. In some places, merchants use both hands when presenting or receiving payment as a sign of respect for the transaction; you can do so, too. And, tipping practices vary; in some areas, tips are not expected, and in others they are welcome. If you’re not sure about the tipping practices on shore, ask a member of the ship’s crew.

There’s more to know about cruising in Asia – touch base with Anita, your professional travel advisor for ideas and advice.

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

 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Last-Minute Cruise? Essentials for Your Suitcase

It’s fun to plan a perfect wardrobe for an upcoming cruise, but when you grab a last-minute cruise deal there may not be much time for planning. Here’s an overview of the basic items to pack for most cruises (remember to adjust for the climate and length of your cruise).

Travel Documents. Bring tickets and other required paperwork for your cruise, reserved flights and tours. Bring the proof of identity requested by your cruise line, which may be a birth certificate or passport. Keep these documents with you rather than in a checked bag,

Medications and Toiletries. Pack enough prescription medication for the length of the cruise, and a little more. Small quantities of over-the-counter remedies for pain, allergies, and upset stomach often come in handy; they’ll be available on board but at a price. And while most ships provide toiletries like soap, shampoo, and conditioner, you may want to bring small quantities of your favorites. Sunscreen and bug repellent will be pricey on board and in port, so bring your own.

Clothes for daytime. Casual clothing is the daytime standard on most cruise ships. Warm climates call for shorts, casual shirts, and beachwear; for cooler regions, pack long pants with shirts and jackets you can layer. Bring a set of workout clothes for the onboard gym, if you like. And, it’s surprisingly easy to forget what goes underneath, so be sure to pack underwear and socks.

Clothes for nighttime. Some cruise lines have a “come as you are” attitude toward dressing for dinner and a show, while others have evening dress codes. For a casual ship, pack what you would wear on a date night; where dress codes are in effect, pack what you would wear to an elegant cocktail party. Bring your favorite pajamas for bedtime, too.

Shoes. Shoes have their own category because they can take up too much luggage space. Try to limit shoes to three pairs: comfortable walking shoes; flip-flops or sandals for the pool; and dressier shoes that go with your evening outfits.

Accessories. Pack a few favorite accessories, like belts, jewelry, ties, scarves, and a baseball hat or sun hat.

It’s best to keep your luggage as compact and light as possible; your cruise cabin will have limited storage space. Most ships have laundry and dry cleaning services, so you can plan to wear the same outfits multiple times. For more packing advice, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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

 

Monday, April 29, 2024

What to Know About Tender Ports

“Tenders” are part of cruising – but we’re not talking about the delicious chicken variety. A “tender port” is one where your ship won’t be able to pull right up to a dock, but will drop anchor off shore. The small boats that will ferry you from ship to shore and back again are called “tenders.”

Some cruises don’t include any tender ports, and some include several. Tender ports are usually indicated on the cruise itinerary. Some tender ports simply don’t have dock facilities; others do, but the dock area may be too small or the water too shallow to accommodate your ship. Some ports that require tenders are in appealingly remote destinations, but some are in popular vacation spots like Bar Harbor, Cabo San Lucas, and the Greek Isles.

Tender boat style varies from one ship to another. Some ships use their lifeboats, while others carry boats dedicated to tendering. Some cruise lines hire local tender boat operators; their boats may be basic or equipped with roofs to provide shade, cushioned seats, and bathroom facilities. All boats used for tendering have life vests and other safety gear.

One of the best things about a ride in a tender is the view. Trips between ship and shore may take about five to 15 minutes – time to admire views of the ship, the water, and the place you’re visiting.

There’s usually a rush to get on the first tender boats of the day; if you wait a bit, you can have a leisurely breakfast and avoid the rush. When you’re coming back from shore to ship, though, don’t wait too long: if you miss the last tender back, you may be left to make your own way to the ship’s next port.

Note that priority tendering is a common reward for members of cruise line loyalty programs – it’s a nice extra.

Tenders may not be able to operate in poor weather, so be aware that rough seas may give your ship’s captain no choice but to skip a tender port. And if you have limited mobility, a tender boat might not be for you; ask Anita, your professional travel advisor for advice and guidance.

If you want to avoid tender ports completely, look for itineraries that call on larger ports that have more extensive docking facilities. Or, look at sailing on a smaller ship that can dock at smaller piers that can’t accommodate bigger ships.

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

Monday, April 22, 2024

Cruising with Limited Mobility

If you use a cane, walker, wheelchair, or other equipment to support your mobility, cruising can be a good way to see the world. Cruise ships must abide by international standards for accessibility, and cruise ships that dock in U.S. ports must meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Even older cruise ships have accessible cabins, bathrooms, restaurants, and common spaces. Newer ships are designed to make even more features easily accessible to passengers who have limited mobility or other disabilities.

To help ensure an enjoyable and happy cruise, here are a few tips:

Bigger and newer may be better. Bigger, newer ships usually have more space to work with when maximizing accessibility. However, some older ships – especially those that have been renovated – may fit your needs just as well. Ask your professional travel advisor to help you look at deck plans for ships you’re interested in; it’s important to be sure that your top choice will meet your needs.

Check for tender ports. For passengers with limited mobility, the best cruise itineraries may be those where the ship can pull up to a dock in all ports of call. When a cruise ship can’t dock (usually due to its size), it anchors off the coast and uses smaller boats, called tenders, to take passengers to shore. It can be difficult for passengers who use mobility equipment to get on and off tender boats.

Book early. Even on the biggest ships, the number of accessible cabins may be limited, so make a reservation as early as possible. If you need to check on details, such as the width of cabin and bathroom doorways, your professional travel advisor or the cruise line’s staff can help.

Consider renting the equipment you need. Instead of packing your own mobility aids and other equipment that may be difficult to bring with you, look into renting what you need. Cruise passengers can rent anything from wheelchairs to hospital beds and shower chairs to commodes from suppliers that make sure everything is waiting for you when you board the ship. Ask your professional travel advisor or cruise line to recommend an equipment rental company.

Your cruise line may ask you to complete a form that will tell them more about your mobility and your needs. Be sure to provide complete and detailed information, which will help the crew to accommodate you and ensure a terrific vacation.

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

Monday, April 15, 2024

Interesting New Ports

The continuing popularity of cruising means more beautiful places at the water’s edge are becoming new ports of call or adding to their cruise ship capacity, providing new experiences even for seasoned cruisers.

Port Cabo Rojo in the Dominican Republic is the newest cruise ship port in the Caribbean. The port welcomed its very first cruise ship, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Pearl, to the dock on January 4, 2024. When development is complete, the port can accommodate up to four ships simultaneously. It’s a gateway to the Pedernales Province, the Dominican Republic’s southernmost province. There are plans to develop resorts and attractions here, but for now, there’s untouched beauty and a laid-back vibe.

Cabo Rojo is close to pristine beaches of white sand, including Bahia de las Aguilas. This gorgeous, remote beach with clear turquoise water and coral reefs that makes it lovely for swimming and snorkeling. But, you can spend an entire day just relaxing in the sun and watching for endangered hawksbill, leatherback, and green sea turtles.

Bahia de las Aguilas is inside Parque Nacional Jaragua, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It encompasses islands, caves, and at least 400 species of flora, 130 species of birds, and rare iguanas. The park’s Laguna de Oviedo is a coastal saltwater lagoon popular with birdwatchers, who can see flamingos, herons, pelicans, and other winged species.

Far north of the Dominican Republic, Stornoway Port in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides Islands has welcomed small cruise ships for some time, but a new, deepwater port that can accommodate larger ships is scheduled to open for the summer 2024 season.

Stornoway, capital of the Lewis and Harris islands, is a center of culture in the Outer Hebrides, known for their stark and unspoiled beauty. There are beaches and rocky bays along the North Atlantic; 5,000-year-old standing stones and historic castles; calm lakes and peat bogs, grassy plains studded with flowers and rugged hills.

Stornoway has a vibrant arts scene and a museum, located in a castle, that shares the islands’ history. In local mills, fleece from Cheviot and Scottish Blackface sheep is carded, spun, and woven into warm Harris Tweed fabric crafted into shirts, jackets, handbags, and more. It’s also fun to sample local delicacies like Stornoway black pudding, kippered herring, and smoked salmon.

To find out how to sail to these or other new and growing ports, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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

 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Homeports You’ll Want to Explore



When selecting a cruise, consider the homeport – the port city your ship calls home, where you’ll embark on your cruise. Many passengers plan to arrive at their ship’s homeport a day or two before the cruise begins so that if there’s any travel delay, they can still reach the ship on time; but if all goes well, they’ll have a day or two to enjoy the port city.

This isn’t a complete list, but here are some homeports that are great destinations in themselves:

Boston, for cruises of New England or the Eastern Caribbean. Stroll the Freedom Trail, which starts in Boston Common and links 16 of the city’s historic sites, including Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, and Old North Church. Visit the North End neighborhood for a delicious Italian meal before catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, home to home runs for more than 100 years.

New York, for cruises of Bermuda, New England, Maritime Canada, or the Eastern Caribbean. You can’t go wrong visiting iconic attractions like Central Park, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, and the Statue of Liberty. Explore unique retail neighborhoods like the Garment District, the Diamond District, and Times Square, where you can find discounted tickets for Broadway shows at the TKTS booth.

Miami, for cruises to The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Riviera Maya, the Panama Canal, or South America. Take a walking tour of the Art Deco District or see the Mediterranean Revival buildings along Espanola Way. Sample Latin restaurants in the Allapattah neighborhood or tour the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Miami Design District. Enjoy the beaches, visit Cape Florida Lighthouse, or take a tour of Everglades National Park.

New Orleans, for cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, The Bahamas, or the Panama Canal. The flavorful blend of Creole and Cajun cuisine alone is a reason to visit; rev up for a tour of the French Quarter, the Garden District, or Mardi Gras World with a dish of gumbo, red beans, and rice or crawfish etouffee.

Seattle, for cruises to Alaska. Ride the monorail to the Space Needle for stunning views of the bays and forests that surround the city, then see the blown-glass sculptures at the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Pike Place Market is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood and shop for artisan wares.

To plan a pre-cruise stay in your ship’s homeport, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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