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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More than Colorful Leaves: Cruises of New England and Canada

Thinking about a fall cruise? The coastline of New England, the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the banks of the Saint Lawrence River beckon, for reasons far beyond the region’s traditionally colorful fall foliage.

Montreal, Quebec, on the Saint Lawrence River, is a popular stop on many Canada/New England cruises (some passengers are surprised and pleased that an ocean liner can venture so far from the ocean). Take a tour of the city’s charming Old Town, which may feel more like Paris than anywhere else in North America. The Underground City complex offers great shopping and connections to a variety of attractions, but if the weather is fine you may prefer to visit the Atwater or Jean Talon markets to pick up gifts, mementos and sweet treats. For a beautiful view, hike to the top of Mont Royal, situated in the middle of the city.

Also on the Saint Lawrence, Quebec City is truly unique. The historic part of town is surrounded by the only remaining fortified walls north of Mexico. Look up to see the towering Chateau Frontenac, an incredibly grand hotel originally built for passengers of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Hop on the funicular railway for an excitingly steep ride and great view of the city and river; watch the changing of the guard at the Citadel, an old fort still occupied by troops; and sample poutine, a French Canadian dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds.

Charlottestown is the largest community in Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island. Stroll the city’s waterfront and parks, play a round of golf, or set sail to fish for lobster. Prince Edward Island National Park fronts the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with red sand beaches, an extensive system of sand dunes, and protected areas for endangered birds. The park also includes Green Gables, the farmhouse that inspired the beloved Anne of Green Gables novels.

Colorful leaves and bright blue skies make fall a fabulous time to cruise Canada and New England. But, if fall colors aren’t a necessity, you can cruise the region as early as mid-May and as late as the end of October. Itineraries range from four or five days to two weeks or longer. Your choice of embarkation ports is diverse, too, stretching all along the East Coast. To choose your itinerary, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Cruise with Favorite Pixar Characters

Imagine cruising the California coastline with Mr. Incredible, Remy, Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear! If you and your family are fans of animated films, you know that these are some of the most beloved characters from Pixar Animation Studios’ award-winning films. And, if you’re a fan of Disney Cruises, you’ll be interested to know that Disney will present a series of four seven-night cruises featuring this wonderful cast of characters from September 16 through October 14.

The Disney Wonder will sail round-trip from Los Angeles, calling on San Francisco, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico. While on board, guests will be able to meet, take photos and even dance with more than a dozen Pixar characters. They’ll also get an inside look at the creative process used to develop a Pixar animated feature or short film, such as the upcoming “Monsters University.”

Special events for guests of all ages will include presentations on the art of animated filmmaking by artists and filmmakers from Pixar. There will be an exhibition of Pixar storyboards, character sketches, environmental paintings and other art that is rarely seen outside of Pixar Animation Studios or a special art museum exhibit. While on board, guests will also be able to enjoy Pixar’s entire library of films. Pixar masterpieces will be playing in the Buena Vista Theater and the Walt Disney Theater; on the giant LED screen on deck; or on in-stateroom television.

As a special memento of the cruise, guests will be able to take home complimentary commemorative lithographs created by the co-director of Pixar’s theatrical release, “Brave.”

In addition to the special Pixar events, guests will have all the amenities of the Disney Wonder to explore. The three pools on Deck 9 – one for children, one for families, and one for adults – are always popular gathering spots. With lots of organized activities for kids, parents and grandparents can indulge in gourmet dining or some socializing in the clubs and lounges of the ship’s Route 66 adults-only entertainment district.

There are also lots of great family excursions to choose from while the ship is in port. In San Francisco, visit the Golden Gate Bridge or the Walt Disney Family Museum; in San Diego, passengers can head to the San Diego Zoo, Coronado Island, the Gaslamp Quarter or even the beach.

To book your family on a cruise with Mr. Incredible, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Back-to-Back Cruising

If one cruise makes a fantastic vacation, wouldn’t two cruises be better? A growing number of cruise enthusiasts are making a trend out of “back-to-back” cruising: taking two cruises, one right after the other.

Some back-to-back cruises are booked on the same ship. This works well if the ship alternates its itineraries – for example, sailing the Eastern Caribbean one week and the Western Caribbean the next. By booking two sequential cruises, you’ll see more of the gorgeous Caribbean – and, you’ll have time to more fully enjoy all of the ship’s amenities.

Another back-to-back option is booking cruises on two different ships. This provides an opportunity to enjoy two sets of cruise ship amenities, dining options and entertainment venues while extending your vacation.

Back-to-back cruises can also help maximize the value of pricey airfares to Europe. A pair of European cruises – to the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, for example – can help you experience a more complete European tour with just one round-trip air ticket.

Repositioning cruises present another option for back-to-back cruises. After a relaxing ocean voyage, you can embark on another, more port-intensive cruise.

 If you take back-to-back cruises on the same ship, the procedure for transitioning from one cruise to another will differ a bit according to the cruise line and home port. In general, you can expect to disembark (without your luggage, but bring your passport and other identification), clear customs and immigration, then reboard the ship. If there are several passengers going through this process, a member of the ship’s crew may offer to escort all of you as a group.

If you are staying in the same cabin, you can leave your belonging there. If you are changing cabins, a steward will help you move your belongings to your new accommodations.

If you are changing to a different ship for your second cruise, you can expect to go through the usual disembarkation and boarding process. Then, relax and enjoy the second half of a memorable cruise vacation! Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, to help you find back-to-back cruise opportunities.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

London is Lively This Summer

Still buzzing from the excitement of the Diamond Jubilee, which honored Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne, London is now prepared to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, July 27-August 12. Always popular with tourists – especially during the summer months – London has made improvements to its public transit systems and constructed new venues to handle the influx of spectators and tourists. Public transit systems will also extend their hours of operation, as will a variety of tourist attractions, restaurants, clubs and other hot spots.

If you’re traveling to London for reasons other than attending the Olympics, you can expect to encounter enthusiastic crowds near all of the Olympic venues. The centerpiece of the games is the new Olympic Park, near Stratford in east London, which has revitalized an old industrial area. The park includes the athletes’ village and purpose-built venues for aquatics, basketball, BMX biking, handball, field hockey and more. The south end of the park features the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

 Several popular and historic London attractions are also hosting Olympic events. These include Earls Court (volleyball), Greenwich Park (equestrian), the Horse Guards Parade ground (beach volleyball), Hyde Park (triathlon, marathon swimming), Lord’s (cricket), Wembley Stadium (soccer) and Wimbledon (tennis on the fabled grass courts).

Outside of London, you may still encounter some Olympic events, such as rowing on Lake Dorney, near Eton College; mountain biking at Hadleigh Farm in Essex; and canoe slalom events at the Lee Valley White Water Center near Waltham Cross.

Even if you’re in London for other reasons, it will be hard not to enter into the spirit of the Olympics. If you’d like to share in the excitement but don’t have tickets to any of the sold-out events, don’t worry – some events don’t require tickets. Anyone can watch road cycling, the triathlon, race walking and the Olympic marathon. In addition, some events will be shown on giant screens in Hyde Park and Victoria Park.

If you haven’t made your London travel arrangements or reserved your accommodations, ask Anita, your travel professional, to help you find the best options for this busy London summer.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cruising is a Breeze on Carnival’s New Ship

Currently sailing from Barcelona, Spain, Carnival Cruises’ new Dream Class ship, the Carnival Breeze, is the cruise line’s first ship to completely utilize the “Fun Ship 2.0” concept, a fleetwide initiative to present new food and entertainment offerings

Launched on June 3, the ship can carry up to 3,690 passengers. It has many of the favorite features of its sister ships, the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Magic, such as a WaterWorks aqua park with a corkscrew slide; an adults-only Serenity area; and Carnival’s private label beer, Thirsty Frog Red, on tap in the Red Frog Pub.

The Breeze also offers lots of new amenities, including incredible dining choices. They include Carnival’s first stand-alone sushi restaurant, Bonsai Sushi; and Guy’s Burger Joint, a product of Carnival’s partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Carnival says the joint served 1,200 beef-and-bun masterpieces on a single day during the Breeze’s inaugural cruise.

Hungry guests can also enjoy open-air dining at Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ, which serves classic barbeque favorites. On sea days, guests can visit the main dining room for the Punchliner Comedy Brunch, dreamed up by popular comedian George Lopez. The brunch combines laughs from stand-up comedy performances with a delicious, Mexican-inspired brunch.
Food is important on the Breeze, but there are also lots of ways to burn up a few extra vacation calories. For example, the Thrill Theater will have you jumping out of your seat with exciting 3-D films and special effects. Or, sing and dance along with Playlist Productions’ high-energy shows, featuring Motown classics, Latin dance hits and more.

 You could also reach for dessert after visiting the gym at the Cloud 9 Spa or taking on SkyCourse, a ropes course that provides a workout with great sea views. The SportSquare area invites everyone to join in a game of foosball, table tennis, basketball, soccer and more.

Long-time Carnival fans will notice something else that’s different about the Breeze – a new d├ęcor for Carnival that features fresh Caribbean colors and nature-inspired art.

 The Breeze is now sailing 12-day, round-trip itineraries from Barcelona, taking in Mediterranean ports like Marseilles, France; Rome, Venice and Messina, Italy; and Dubrovnik, Croatia. After a repositioning cruise in November, the ship will home port in Miami and sail a variety of six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries. To book your cruise on the Carnival Breeze, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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