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 3, 2022

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!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Travel Solo - Know Before You Go

Traveling solo can be a thrilling experience that pushes the boundaries of your comfort zone. However, you want to make sure you prepare before venturing off! Here are some “know before you go” on solo travel.

Leave Your Contact Info with Someone at Home

When traveling, especially overseas where communication might be trickier, it’s important to let someone know your travel plans. Let them know where you’re going, where you’ll be staying, and the travel dates. This will keep your loved ones at home in the loop just in case they need to get ahold of you.

Keep Copies of Important Documents

Always keep copies of your important documents, such as your passport, social security card, and other necessary paperwork. These copies can come in handy in case you misplace one during your travels!

Network

Talk to your contacts about where you’ll be traveling to, they may have connections in those places and could connect you with other people in their network. This is great for solo traveling because it can help give you more insight from locals into where you’re going and, if you feel so inclined, you can meet up!

Bring a Book and a Journal

You may face some long travel days, and since you’ll be traveling solo, having a book to read can help entertain you. Journaling is another excellent way to keep yourself entertained; it’s also great to have so you can document your journey! Trust us on this! It’s fun and special to find your travel journals and read back and recall those travel moments later in life.

Learn How to be Alone

Traveling solo means spending time alone. Depending on your personality, this might be the most challenging part of traveling solo. Being with yourself alone in another country is a big deal but learning to slow down can create a lot of growth, and you can learn more about who you are.

You May Never Feel 100% Ready

This one speaks for itself. It’s hard to find the time and energy to commit to traveling internationally with our busy lives. But is there ever really a “perfect” time to go? You might also be thinking that you aren’t ready to travel solo yet, but again, is there really going to be a “perfect” time? If you’re considering traveling alone, take the leap!

Things Will Go Wrong... That's Okay

No matter if you’re traveling alone or with others, something will go wrong. If you’re traveling solo and something goes wrong, it might be stressful in the moment, but it’s going to make great stores to tell and will help you learn to be more flexible. Roll with it!

Keep Emergency Contact Info on You

It’s crucial that you give someone at home your information on where you’ll be traveling, but it's also essential to keep their information on you as well. Ideally, it’s great to keep this information in multiple places, such as your mobile device and your journal. This is important just in case your phone is out of battery or misplaced and you need to call home.

Understand The Cultures You’re Entering

When entering new countries, we highly recommend learning more about the local cultures before visiting. This can help prepare you for anything you might face, such as clothing restrictions or norms and understanding mannerisms.

Stay Someplace Where You’ll Meet Others

One of the coolest parts about traveling solo is the people you meet. Staying at a place like a hostel, situates you perfectly to meet like-minded individuals who might be traveling solo as well. And who knows, the people you meet on your solo adventure might turn into life-long friends!

Know Where You’re Going

It’s always a good idea to create some kind of plan before your travels. This will help give you an idea of any transportation you might need to take and how to visit each place on your list effectively.

Ask Locals for Recommendations

Talking to locals is a wonderful way to learn about the place you’re visiting. They can tell you the best places to visit that you might miss if you’re just going to the tourist attractions, and as an added bonus, they’re likely to be much less busy!

Try Not to Overpack

When traveling solo, you’re in charge of all your bags. Make sure you’re able to carry all your items before you leave and have room left for any souvenirs you might be bringing back with you.

Try to Act Confidently in Public

Acting confident is key, especially if you’re not sure where you are or where you’re going. When you show confidence, it’s less likely someone will try and take advantage of you. We’d like to believe that most people you meet wouldn’t do this, but you can never be too cautious.

Traveling solo is truly an adventure of a lifetime, and we believe it can add so much value to your life. It can be a scary one, but well worth it!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Impressive Stage Shows at Sea

Engaging entertainment abounds on cruise ships. The exact mix of entertainment varies by cruise line and ship, but you may find anything from parties and games to first-run movies, magic shows, musical revues, intimate cabarets, cooking demonstrations, comedy workshops, and dancing to live music. Some ships also stage big-time shows in state-of-the-art theaters, with production values and talent that rival New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. 

 Cruise lines do change their entertainment offerings over time, sometimes with little notice; but, here are some of the biggest, best-known stage productions you can enjoy at sea now. 

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss features “Jersey Boys,” a musical that tells the behind-the-scenes story of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. It’s full of real-life joy and drama, not to mention hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry” and “Working My Way Back to You.” On the Norwegian Encore, you can catch “Kinky Boots” (based on the 2005 film), with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper. Or, if you like some Tudor history mixed with your musical entertainment, you’ll love “Six” – a modern take on the stories of the six wives of King Henry VIII – on the Norwegian Bliss or Norwegian Breakaway

 Royal Caribbean’s Broadway at Sea program includes a fabulous production of “Mamma Mia!” on the Allure of the Seas. You’ll want to dance and sing along to the catchy ABBA tunes like “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “The Winner Takes it All.” Other Royal Caribbean ships offer more Broadway classics, including the timeless “Cats” (Oasis of the Seas); the ‘50s fun of “Grease” (this version, on Harmony of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, was created just for Royal Caribbean); and the ’60 dance-show groove of “Hairspray” (Symphony of the Seas). 

The ships of Disney Cruise Line feature gorgeous stage shows based on some of Disney’s most popular and beloved animated features, including “The Little Mermaid” (on the brand-new Disney Wish), “Tangled, The Musical” (Disney Magic), “Beauty and the Beast” (Disney Dream) and “Frozen” (Disney Wonder and Disney Fantasy). All of these productions include enchanting special effects, along with wonderful costumes and sets – just what you would expect from Disney. 

 If you choose a ship by the entertainment that’s on board, be sure to check with Anita, your professional travel advisor, on exactly what you can expect to see on your next cruise. 

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Cruising to “The Ice”

Cruises can take you to just about any place on the planet that’s accessible by water, and that includes Antarctica, sometimes known simply as “The Ice.” This vast continent, home to the South Pole and almost completely covered by ice and snow is remote and harsh, fascinating and beautiful. 

 If you want to cruise to Antarctica, you need to ask yourself an important question: do you want to see the White Continent only from the comfort of the ship, or do you want to set foot on it? The answer will guide your selection of a ship and itinerary. 

 There are “viewing only” cruises that sail close to the Antarctic Peninsula, the part of Antarctica closest to the southern tip of South America. On this type of cruise, you can marvel at the spectacular scenery, including glacier-draped peaks and ice floes that glow blue and green. You may also see wildlife in and over the water – whales, seals, penguins, albatross, and more. 

 There are also cruises that sail right up to the peninsula and use inflatable Zodiac craft to take you from ship to shore. Only 100 visitors are allowed to land in the same spot at one time, so it’s a very special experience. If weather conditions are good, you may be able to hike among cold-weather creatures; visit a penguin rookery; go kayaking, climbing, or diving; or even camp onshore overnight. But, you need to be in good shape: the crew will be there to help, but climbing in and out of Zodiac craft and walking icy paths requires strength and balance. 

 Both types of Antarctic cruises use ships that are built to navigate through ice and the often-choppy waters of the Drake Passage. Most are small but quite luxurious, with high-end cuisine and excellent service. Onboard guides and naturalists will help you understand all that you’ll see and do. 

 Antarctic cruises are available from late September through early March: you may be surprised by how many cruise lines, ships and itineraries there are to choose from. However, Antarctic cruises are very popular and can fill quickly. Fortunately, Anita, your professional travel advisor, can help you reserve a spot. They can also provide information on what to expect, what to take with you, how to extend your vacation with a land stay in Ushuaia or Buenos Aires, and how important it is to have travel insurance for this cruise of a lifetime. 

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

Monday, September 5, 2022

Living on Cruise Ships

For some people, cruising is more than a wonderful way to vacation; it’s a wonderful way to live. Living aboard a cruise ship is a chance to explore more of the world while enjoying a high level of service. 

 There are a couple of ways to live on a cruise ship, and one option is to purchase an apartment on a residential ship. Currently, The World is the only residential cruise ship afloat, but more are being planned and built. At least three companies – Blue World Voyages, Storylines, and Somnio – plan to launch residential cruise ships in the next year or two. Depending on the ship, starting prices for apartments range from about $700,000 to $15 million. Terms of ownership vary, too; some are for the life of the ship, for the life of the owner, or for a certain span of years. 

 Another other option is to sail on back-to-back cruises that keep you at sea most of the time. With some careful planning, it’s possible to spend just a few nights a year on land. You can stick with a favorite ship or change things up by sailing on a variety of ships with different itineraries.  

 Before embarking on a lifestyle of continuous cruising, here are some things to consider. 

Try it out by taking a long cruise. Book a grand voyage or world cruise to see if long-term sailing agrees with you. Select an itinerary that includes at least one stretch of several days at sea. 

Talk with a financial planner to make sure living by cruising is within your means, and to get advice about managing your financial commitments, such as paying taxes and bills. 

 Talk with a doctor about your health and the best way to manage it at sea. Cruise ships are equipped with medical personnel and facilities, but they may not be able to meet all your needs. You may also need to purchase special health insurance that covers you while you’re sailing. 

Talk with your loved ones so they understand what you’re planning to do. If you intend to sell your current home, you may need their help to sort through belongings, establish a new address on land, re-home pets, and more. 

 Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, who can provide more information and advice about living at sea; the ships and itineraries you may enjoy most; and how to qualify for frequent cruiser discounts. 

 

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Monday, August 29, 2022

Getting to the Ship On Time

When you fly to the port to board a cruise ship, a flight delay or cancellation is always possible. But right now, a combination of factors – high demand for flights, some airline and airport staff shortages, plus the perpetual unpredictability of weather – is increasing the chances of a flight delay or cancellation. 

 As you know, cruise ships wait for no one; if you don’t get to the ship on time, it will sail without you. So, here are some tips to help ensure you arrive at your ship on time and ready to cruise. 

Plan to arrive in port at least two days before your cruise begins. For years, travel professionals have advised arriving a day early for your peace of mind; right now, a two-day cushion provides greater comfort. If all goes well, you’ll have time to enjoy the port city and buy anything you forgot to pack. 

 Pick the earliest flight of the day to your port. If it’s canceled, you may have a better chance of catching a later flight the same day. 

Fly to the port as directly as possible. The more flight segments you have, the greater the chance that at least one will be delayed. If you must make a connection or two, allow at least two hours between connecting flights. And if you can, don’t check any baggage; edit down your cruise wardrobe and pack it all into a carry-on bag to keep with you. 

 Expect long lines for airport check-in and security screening, so get there early and be prepared. For years, we have been advised to arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight; right now, it’s wise to increase that amount of time. Dress comfortably, be patient and bring a mobile device loaded with reading and games to help pass the time. 

 Consider a different way of getting to your ship. If a car, bus, or train can get you to the port in a day or two, it may be a good way to go. Road and rail trips can be quite scenic and relaxing, especially if they take away the stress of worrying that a flight might be canceled. 

 Finally, keep your professional travel advisor’s contact information handy. If it looks like you might not get to your ship on time, get in touch for good advice on what to do next. 

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Monday, August 22, 2022

Really Relax in a Cruise Ship Spa

If relaxation is your reason for taking a cruise, raise that relaxation to a new level by planning a visit to the onboard spa. 

 Most cruise ships have a spa, and they rival the very best on land. The treatment menus are extensive, with massages, facials, body wraps, and scrubs that can revive and refresh you. Many onboard spas also offer facilities like steam rooms, therapeutic pools, snow and salt grottos, aromatherapy zones, and solariums; cosmetic treatments like Botox and teeth whitening; and salon services like hair styling, waxing, manicures, and pedicures.  

 

Here are some tips to help you plan your cruise ship spa experience: 

 

If you aren’t sure what type of treatment you’ll like, visit the spa on embarkation day, when you may be able to take a quick tour and ask questions. Some spas offer special treatments and discounts only on embarkation day; discounts may be available on days in port, too. 

 

If you haven’t visited a spa before, you might be surprised by the cost. The most basic massage on the menu may be $100 or more, and the more elaborate the treatment, the higher the price. Remember that cruise ship spas provide high-quality services using top-of-the-line products, and the prices are usually comparable to similar spas on land. So treat yourself, but make sure to select a treatment you’ll enjoy. 

 

Onboard spas are very popular, and reservations can fill quickly. But, different cruise lines have different policies for advance reservations. Some let you make reservations as soon as you book your cruise, some make reservations available two or three months in advance, and a few don’t offer any way to make reservations until you’re on board. Ask your professional travel advisor about the best way to make spa reservations for your next cruise. 

 

Expect the spa staff to recommend some products for you to purchase after your treatment. Don’t let this ruin your post-treatment calm; you are not required to purchase any products, and if you don’t want to, just say so. 

 

Finally, if you’d like to make your next cruise all about the spa, find out about “spa class” cabins. For example, Celebrity Cruises’ AquaClass cabins are equipped with spa-quality amenities and come with access to a spa concierge and a spa cuisine restaurant, complimentary passes for fitness classes, and the spa’s thermal suite, and special rates for spa treatment packages. Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about these and other spa class cabins. 

 

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