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, March 26, 2012

Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence

 Holland America Line’s 15 sophisticated ships cruise to all seven continents: everywhere from Alaska to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, Panama, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Amazon and Antarctica.

 Through its “Signature of Excellence” program, Holland America Line has invested more than 500 million dollars in enhancements to its ships and services during the past seven years. Stateroom comfort has been stepped up with plush mattresses and linens, lighted make-up mirrors, flat-screen televisions and more. On some ships, new staterooms and new stateroom categories have been added.

 Holland America Line’s As You Wish dining program has added some alternative dining venues, letting guests choose between traditional, pre-set seating and dining times and a flexible dining schedule. Delicious alternatives to the main dining room include the Italian-themed Canaletto, the Pinnacle Grill and the casual Lido restaurant.
 The Signature of Excellence also brought the one-of-a-kind Culinary Arts Center, a state-of-the-art show kitchen, to Holland America Line’s ships. This year, the cruise line will bring 60 celebrated chefs, cookbook authors and cooking show personalities on board to lead culinary demonstrations, food and wine tastings, hands-on cooking classes and Q&A sessions in the Culinary Arts Center.

 More developments for 2012 include some new Mediterranean itineraries, including a 17-day Spanish Rhapsody sailing that explores Portugal, Spain and Italy. In North America, Holland America Line ships will sail 27 cruises along the east coast of New England and Canada this year. These cruises, ranging from seven to 15 days, begin in May and run through the peak of fall foliage season in October.
 For more information about everything you can enjoy aboard a Holland America Line ship, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Perfect Timing for New River Cruise Ship

 An upscale river cruise ship, AmaWaterways’ AmaCerto, is one of the most highly anticipated ships scheduled to debut during 2012. In a poll of Cruise Holidays experts, this river cruise ship was named the 2nd most anticipated ship of 2012, ranking only behind Celebrity Cruises’ Reflection. The AmaCerto, which will accommodate 164 passengers, will have spacious staterooms of up to 350 square feet. AmaCerto offers “twin balconies” in many staterooms, an innovative design that combines a French balcony with a larger balcony that can accommodate a table and chairs. All staterooms feature complimentary Internet access, first-run Hollywood movies and a music library. Every guest will enjoy plush bedding, fluffy bathrobes, and spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads.

 The AmaCerto will also offer a number of features more common to larger ocean-going cruise ships than small river-going ships. A stunning glass elevator will serve all four decks, including a sun deck with a retractable roof, heated swimming pool, swim-up bar, whirlpool, fitness center and walking track.

There will also be five different dining venues. Options will include gourmet selections in the main dining room, a Chef’s Table restaurant with its own private chef, two Wine Bar venues and a casual open-air bistro. Each evening, local performers will come on board to provide after-dinner entertainment.  An onboard massage, beauty and hair salon will be able to provide a bit of pampering after a busy day of sightseeing.
 Because many of Europe’s rivers are lined with bike paths, the AmaCerto will carry a fleet of more than two dozen bikes and safety helmets for passengers to use while the ship is docked.

 The AmaCerto will set sail for the first time this April for a special “tulip time” cruise through Holland and Belgium. For the rest of 2012, the ship will spend most of its time on the Danube, sailing through Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Two 16-night “Magnificent Europe” cruises will also sail on the Main and Rhine rivers, traversing the continental divide via the Main-Danube Canal.
 To find out how you can sail on this elegant new ship, or other ships that glide along the rivers of Europe, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

Part 9 - End of Trip on Star Princess

It has been a real challenge getting on the internet the last few days, but got on easy this afternoon.  We are on our last two days, with tonight being a formal night and lots of St Patricks activities.  We are almost finished packing, only what we are wearing tonight and tomorrow during the day.   Should be easy to finish, but we are heading up north into a storm, so the captain is going as fast as he can, so he can slow down as we hit the high seas.  He said they could be as high as 18 feet.  This captain is GREAT, he keeps us informed every step of the way, and he's not bad looking least that’s what I think.

Enjoyed our last two stops in Mexico, since we were here about 10 years ago, things have really grown in the two stops.  Didn't do much but enjoyed our time.

This will be the last email until we get back home, hope all is well with all of you, and we will talk soon.

Bill and Penny (Carolee)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Celebrate Spring on a Cruise

 For many people, cruising in the spring means a spring break cruise to the warmth of the Caribbean or Mexico. That’s a terrific way to shake off winter’s chill, but the itineraries are available any time of year. So, consider taking a cruise that can only be taken in the spring.

 For example, spring is the only time that you can experience a river “tulip” cruise in the Netherlands. After a flight to Amsterdam, you can board a small ship built specifically for river cruising and spend a week or more on Dutch waterways, gliding past fields full of tulips in a rainbow of colors. Time on shore will include tours of some of the world’s most beautiful flower gardens, an inside look at historic Dutch windmills and time to explore charming towns and medieval city centers along the way. Tulip cruises begin in late March, with April being the peak time to see the blooms.

 Spring also brings the rare and exciting opportunity to enjoy a repositioning cruise. On these cruises, ships that spent the winter sailing in the Caribbean and South America head north for late spring, summer and early fall cruises of Hawaii, Alaska or Europe. The ships will reposition again in the fall.

 Some out-of-the-way ports of call, such as Madeira and the Azores Islands, are visited only by repositioning cruises. Some ships, especially those repositioning from South America to Alaska, transit the Panama Canal before sailing up the Pacific coast of North America.
Note that a repositioning cruise is ideal for you if you like having lots of days at sea to relax and enjoy the ship. In addition, these cruises tend to be longer than seven nights, so they are ideal for cruise fans that have plenty of time available.
 For more information about unique springtime cruises, talk with your Anita, Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Part 8 - Star Princess around Cape Horn

Our day in Costa Rica was spent driving up 4,000 feet to a coffee plantation, seeing a very  beautiful country side along the way.  Had a great tour guide who spoke very clear English.  At the plantation we were walked through the whole process of coffee, from growing the bean to  a cup of coffee.  This coffee plantation is a co-op of farmers who work together to make a living for their families.

Yesterday we arrived in the port city of San Juan del Sur,Nicaragua and this was a tender port.  What a great ride into port by a tender boat,  Bill thought we should go up on top only room for about 15 people and we were so wind blown and salt sprayed by the time we landed in port.  so I put a hat on for the rest of the day.  We drove inland about 1 1/2 hours to the 5th largest city in Nicaragua,  Granada.  We drove by and saw the large Lake Nicaragua, which is huge, and has waves, like in the sea.  Nicaragua has many volcanoes and in the distance we saw two of them.  Granada is a city founded in 1524 and has many ornate Spanish churches and colonial houses.  This is one of the poorest countries and it was hard to say "No thank you" to all the people trying to get you to buy their wears, especially the little kids.

Well our trip is coming to the end, today and tomorrow being sea day, so we are really going to be lazy and enjoy the sun.  We are on our way to Mexico for two stops and then the final 2 days being sea days.

You may hear from us  if we can get on the computer, ship has been having major signal problems, maybe as we get closer to the USA it will get stronger???

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disney Fantasy Prepares for Maiden Voyage

The new Disney Fantasy is in the final stages of preparing for its maiden voyage on March 31. The Fantasy and its sister ship, the Dream, are generating lots of excitement as the first ships to join the fleet since Disney Cruise Line debuted in 1999.

The Fantasy and the Dream, which set sail in January 2011, are significantly larger than Disney’s original ships, the Magic and the Wonder. They are two decks higher and can carry up to 4,000 passengers, compared to the Magic and Wonder’s 2,400-passenger capacity.

 Disney fans can’t wait to see the new features that will be introduced on the Fantasy. While the ship will have many of the same innovative features as the Dream, including the AquaDuck watercoaster, it will also have a number of enticing differences, especially in its entertainment lineup. There will be four new, original shows, one of which – “Wishes” – has been created especially for teens. In this musical, three teens nearing high school graduation learn life lessons from popular Disney characters such as Mulan, Pinocchio, Rapunzel and Hercules. A new water play area on the Fantasy, the AquaLab, will feature pop-up water jets, geysers and lots of imaginative apparatus, including Uncle Donald’s leaky rowboat.

Like the Dream, the Fantasy will have an adults-only entertainment district, but the venues will be different. The Fantasy’s district has a European theme, with lounges and bars modeled after a Venetian masked ball, a French boudoir and the London Underground. A new, adults-only area on the top desk, the Satellite Sun Deck, will feature a circular splash pool with a gentle, rain-like spray
The Fantasy’s home port will be Port Canaveral, FL, and the ship will alternate between seven-night cruises of the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The Eastern itinerary includes St. Maarten, St. Thomas and St. John; the Western itinerary includes Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Costa Maya. Both feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s idyllic private island.

To find out how you can enjoy the Disney experience at sea, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Part 7 - Star Princess around Cape Horn

Part 7A

Well, sorry for the delay in sending out any emails or answering any questions, but we have been without internet service, as we wait for a part to repair the service.  So which port we would get this part was an unknown!!  Got fixed, but has been very slow, so this is the first day I have been able to get on.

Well, on March 7th was another interesting day of our travels.  We were to arrive in Callao the port of Lima Peru at around 6 AM.  We had both heard fog horns all through the night, and we were forced to anchor 3 miles out of port because of heavy fog.  We were to leave on our tour around 7:30 in the morning, we had the first spot to get into port, but were unable to get in until 12:00-12:30 and got clearance around 1 PM.

We got off to go on our tour, but they finally told us the where the tour would go, because of a short time left. We got off the tour but with most of the people because it just wasn't worth the money they were going to charge us.  We should get our money back for that tour.  

to be continued

Part 7B

They had a good shopping market at the port and that is what we did and enjoyed some good entertainment from Peru, back on board the ship.  The fog didn't completely clear up until the cruise ship was leaving port.

Heard the fog horns again tonight, but woke to much clearer skies!  Today was a sea day, Bill went to the Sudoku challenge after breakfast, I went to a short lecture about our next port of call.  Then we met friends to play Pinochle.  Then there was crossing the Equator Ceremony really pretty silly but this was our 2nd crossing so not as much of a deal.

March 9th we arrived in the port city of Manta, Ecuador, we walked off the ship this morning on our own and went to the museum and the beach just walked around.  When we docked this morning they were emptying two container ships, one with flash frozen tuna, this area has one of the largest tuna processing facilities.  The other some kind of grain, it was 5 PM and they were still working on the grain.  We came back to the ship to take a tour at noon.  We went to several small towns around Manta and to a nut factory where they make some different types of things from the nut. 

Yesterday was another sea day, and today we arrived in Costa Rica, and tomorrow Nicaragua.  More later, if the computers keep working.....................

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Part 6 - Star Princess around Cape Horn

Sunday, March 4th we arrived in Coquimbo, Chile where we took a drive around the towns of Coquimbo and  LaSerena.  We saw many beaches in both of these cities.  In LaSerena we visited a museum of Archeological artifacts.  Our tour guide was very interesting and full of information about what we were seeing in the museum.  LaSerena had a 5.6 earthquake the day before we were there, but Chile has many of these, some bigger than others.  We then went to a craft market with time to do some shopping.  This was our last stop in Chile, so our last chance to buy anything from this area.

We came back to the ship, had lunch then did some sun bathing and watched a Spanish movie with sub titles, outdoors.  Good movie!   After dinner we went  to another movie, the Descendant's with George Clooney, like this also.  Fun day.............

Our first of 2 sea days was spent going to two interesting lectures this morning then enjoyed the sun, for part of the afternoon..  We are getting closer to the equator so closer to the sun, so we need to be very smart about how much time we spend in the sun, even with sun screen.  I did a load of laundry---just like home!  tonight is a formal night so these meals are just a little more special.  I don't think I have told you how much we love our dinner servers.  Always a fun time.  So tomorrow a sea day then we arrive in Callao which is the port for the city of Lima, Peru.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Part 4 & 5 - Star Princess around Cape Horn

Continuation of Cruise Log (see earlier post)

 Part 4
On Tuesday we arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, our first stop of three in Chile.  We tendered into town after breakfast.  We walked around and took pictures.  We came upon Plaza Munoz Gamero, where there is a big bronze statue of Magellan, who was the first European to disembark the shores of Chile.  The plaza was tree lined and local music filled the air.  Lots of fun shopping.  We came back to the ship ate a quick lunch then watched a movie outside in the nice warm sun. 

Today was a sea day and we are cruising the Skua Glacier, Amalia Fjord, a tidewater glacier located in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in Chile.  We will head back out into the pacific ocean tonight and cruise up the coast of Chile.  We have had just perfect weather----cool and sunny mostly in the 50"s people still sunning themselves on the protected deck with the sun beating down on them.  We never imagined how beautiful this area would be, and we are lucky we have had these two slow scenic cruise days.  We could really bore you with all the pictures we have taken.  Plus we have bought the cruise DVD also, so even more pictures.!!!!!!!!  As I am sending this we are back in the Pacific Ocean and we are getting a nice and rock and roll cruise for the next few hours, should put me to sleep easily.

Part 5
Today was a LONG DAY we were up early about 5 AM as the cruise ship arrived in the port of Valparaiso, a very large port city.  We headed out for our tour at 7 AM and didn't return until 6 PM.  We drove from Valparaiso to Santiago Chile (the capital of Chile) with many short stops with lots to view.  We had lunch way up a long hill in a huge park in Santiago with a great view of the city.  We had salmon, rice, wine and dessert.  We are having a relaxing night, today this evening.  About 1,700 people got off the cruise ship today and we have 1,700 new friends to get to know.

Hope all is well with all of you back home.   Forgot to tell you that the 80-90 degree weather has returned, so it's great!!!