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.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cruise Terminology Explained

Are you thinking of taking a cruise vacation, but aren’t sure you want to travel on a ship that includes something called a “poop deck”? Or, have you been on several cruises and still don’t know what the “lido deck” is? Let go of your worries: the answers to these and other perplexing cruise questions are right here.

You may be relieved to know that a “poop deck” has nothing to do with dog walking or diaper failure. The poop deck is a raised deck at the rear of the ship; often, it forms the roof of a cabin below. In the days of the Roman Empire, sailors would place sacred statues on the raised deck, perhaps so the idols could look down upon the rest of the decks and grant protection to the ship and crew. These statues were called puppis, and the raised deck was called a puppim. The French translated this term to la poupe; over time, this evolved to “poop” deck.

“Lido” is an Italian word for beach: for example, Lido di Venezia is the name of the barrier beach that protects the lagoon of Venice, Italy. Through the centuries, lido became a term referring to a place where people can swim, enjoy water sports and relax in the sun. On a cruise ship, the Lido Deck is where you’ll find the ship’s main pools (and often a terrific buffet as well). Back in the days when European steamships divided passengers by fare classes, the Lido Deck was restricted to first-class passengers only; today’s Lido Decks are enjoyed by all passengers.

Perhaps you’re not sure whether you should refer to your accommodations as a “cabin” or a “stateroom.” You can use either term, or both – they are interchangeable, though you may find that some cruise lines consistently use one or the other. The more important word may be the one that comes before cabin or stateroom – you definitely want to know whether you are booking “inside” (no window), “outside” (a window), or “balcony” (a step-out balcony, sometimes quite spacious) accommodations.

If you’re wondering where to get your “sea legs,” you’ll get them automatically after your ship sets sail. Sea legs is a term for the ability to maintain balance and walk steadily on the deck of a moving ship. Today’s cruise ships are built for stability in the water, and most passengers get their sea legs very quickly – if yours take a little time to arrive, take advantage of the hand rails you’ll find all around the ship.

If there are other cruise terms that puzzle you, turn to your best resource for all cruise information: Anita, your Cruise Holiday’s personal cruise expert.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Combine Your Cruise with a Land Tour

Many cruise vacationers know about “cruisetour” packages that add a land tour to the beginning or end of your cruise. Cruisetours are especially popular in Alaska and Europe, where the ports of call issue a strong invitation to explore what lies beyond. But, did you know that some cruisetours offer a way for you to see more of the continental U.S.?

Cruise Holidays offers special cruise and land tour packages, sometimes in unexpected combinations that enable you to explore two diverse areas.

For example, the Coasts, Canyons and Cowboys cruise and land tour will begin in the Pacific Northwest on September 22, 2012, with a one-night hotel stay in Seattle. In the morning, you’ll board a motor coach bound for beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, where you’ll board Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl. The Pearl will take you on a six-day cruise along the Pacific Coast, visiting Astoria, Ore.; San Francisco; and Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, you’ll begin a four-day motor coach tour of some of the most scenic areas of Arizona, including Sunset Crater Volcano Monument, Wupatki National Monument, the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the Verde Valley.

You can also book the unusual combination of a Caribbean cruise and a Boston-based land tour. The Carib-Beantown Rail & Sail package includes a 13-day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Dawn, departing from Tampa on April 21, 2013. The ship will visit several gorgeous islands – including Jamaica, Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten and St. Thomas – before sailing up the Atlantic Coast to Boston for a two-night hotel stay. After exploring this historic city, you’ll board a train for an overnight trip back to Tampa.

Another option is the Fall Foliage & Caribbean Rail & Sail, which begins October 27, 2013, with a train journey from Tampa to Boston. During four days in Boston, you’ll be able to explore the city and appreciate the beauty of a New England fall. On November 1, you’ll board the Norwegian Dawn and set sail for a 15-day Caribbean cruise. You’ll disembark in Tampa, refreshed from the experience of enjoying the glory of colorful autumn leaves and the warmth of the Caribbean islands – all in one memorable vacation.

For more information on these and other Cruise Holidays cruise and land tours, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Barcelona’s Architectural Treasures

For centuries, Barcelona, Spain, has been an important port on the Mediterranean Sea, attracting a series of invaders who contributed to the city’s rich cultural mix. Today, visitors arrive on ships not to invade the city, but to appreciate the incredible architecture, art, parks and atmosphere of the capital of the Catalonia region.

Many visitors head straight for the Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, the center of the old city. Many of the buildings date from the medieval era; there are even some remnants of Barcelona’s days as a Roman military camp.  Outside the Gothic Quarter, the city has many more architectural landmarks. Some of the best-known, such as the Casa Mila and the Sagrada Familia, were designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, famed for his quirky, organic style. Barcelona has walkable neighborhoods that contain lovely examples of Art Nouveau and Modernist architecture as well.

Some of the city’s beautiful works of architecture contain many more pieces of art. The National Museum of Art is noted for its Romanesque works; the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art has post-World War II works by Catalan and Spanish artists. There are also museums dedicated to the work of iconic artists like Miró and Picasso.

Barcelona has marvelous parks, including Montjuïc, the central location for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games; Park Guell, with fanciful architectural features designed by Gaudi; and Parc del Laberint, where you can find your way through a hedge maze. For some time in the sun, you can also visit one of the seven beaches located in the city.

For inspiring views, visit Montserrat and its monastery, established in 1592. This is still a working monastery, but the Benedictine monks welcome visitors and you may be lucky enough to hear the choir. The Montserrat complex includes shops and cafes, too.

If you do just one thing while in the city of Barcelona, make it a stroll along Las Ramblas, the city’s famous and fabulous promenade. Watch street performers, browse unique shops, breathe the perfume of the flower stalls and enjoy the colorful people you’ll encounter. Las Ramblas ends in the Placa de Catalunya, a wonderful place to enjoy a beverage and watch Barcelona go by.

To find out more about Mediterranean cruises that include a call in the memorable city of Barcelona, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cruise Into the Heart of Cartagena

The emerging Caribbean cruise port of Cartagena, Colombia, expects to welcome more cruise passengers during the upcoming 2012-2013 cruise season than ever before. An estimated 313,000 passengers will disembark to explore the port from 175 arriving ships, 11 more ship arrivals than last year.

While cruise passengers are just beginning to discover this port, Cartagena has long been a popular tourist destination. The city offers a variety of things to do and see, from lovely beach resorts to a historic old town.

The fortified walls of the old town enclose a World Heritage site. There’s an inner ring divided into two districts, El Centro and San Diego; and an outer ring, called Getsemani. You may be tempted to linger in Getsemani to enjoy the cafes and shops, but you’ll want to continue into to the heart of the old town to experience the atmosphere of colonial Cartagena.

The Plaza de Bolivar is a lovely square filled with fountains and a statue of Simon de Bolivar, the leader who played a key role in liberating South America from the Spanish Empire. Explore the streets around the square to admire the colonial churches, palaces and homes. There are lots of cafes where you can sip fragrant Colombian coffee.

For an echo of the Spanish Inquisition, stop at the Palacio de la Inquisicion. In addition to the rather gruesome history of the inquisition in Cartagena, the museum presents art, a map collection and intricate dioramas of the city.

To enjoy the waterfront, visit the seaside districts of Castillo Grande, El Laguito and Bocagrande. Relax in a waterfront restaurant, or jump into the water to snorkel or scuba your way through Cartagena’s underwater attractions.

If you’d like to venture outside the city, a popular shore excursion is a motorboat ride to the Rosario Islands, which are a National Nature Park.  The Isla del Sol has an aquarium full of tropical fish, sea turtles and sharks, as well as a dolphin show. After lunch, take a nap on the beach or snorkel around the coral reef.

To find cruise itineraries that include a stop in Cartagena, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holiday personal cruise expert.

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