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, November 24, 2014

Cruising the Adriatic

Traversed by sailors since ancient times, the Adriatic Sea sparkles between the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas. Today, the Adriatic welcomes cruise ships and passengers who appreciate this relaxed, scenic part of the world.

A northern arm of the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic has something of a split personality. The western shore – essentially, the long eastern coast of Italy – is known for gentle water and sandy beaches. The eastern shore, shared by Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania, has dramatic, with rocky islands and cliffs that rise from the water, backed by inland mountains covered with deep green forest.

Many cruises of the Adriatic begin or end in Venice, the dreamy city that occupies a series of islands in the delta of the River Po. Ornate bridges and romantic canals link the islands and the landmarks they hold, such as the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and its imposing cathedral. Venice is full of historic buildings that appear to float on the surface of the water: some are now museums, art galleries, artisan workshops, and pleasant cafes where you can sip caffè macchiato and watch life go by.

Croatia claims about half of the eastern shore of the Adriatic, and the gorgeous scenery includes more than 1,000 coastal islands. Some cruise ships drop anchor at the island of Hvar, known for its lavender fields, pretty beaches, and delicious red and white wines. On the mainland, the city of Dubrovnik, “Pearl of the Adriatic,” has become a mainstay of Adriatic cruises. Stroll among the red-roofed buildings in the walled Old City, or take the somewhat rigorous 1.5-mile walk along the top of the walls for wonderful views.

You’ll want to be awake and on deck during your ship’s approach to Kotor, Montenegro: the ship will sail up the Bay of Kotor, with stunning mountains on either side of the narrow waterway. Like Dubrovnik, Kotor has a well-preserved Old Town, dotted with lovely churches and peaceful squares. If you walk these city walls, you’ll eventually come to a long staircase up to a citadel built on the site of an ancient fortress.

Some cruises of the Adriatic also sail to the islands of Greece, or around the “boot” of the Italian Peninsula to Naples and Rome. To plan a cruise to this part of the Mediterranean, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

To Visit Rome, Sail into Civitavecchia

Rome, Italy, sits on the banks of the Tiber River but depends on Civitavecchia, a small city 50 miles to the northwest, to serve as its port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean. Civitavecchia, a commercial port since the second century, boasts a massive fort – part of it was designed by Michelangelo. Still, you won’t want to spend too much time there when all of Rome is waiting for you.

It’s a 20-minute walk from the port into Civitavecchia, but most cruise lines will have shuttles waiting to take you into town. There, you can board a bus or hire a taxi to get to Rome; the ride will take 90 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. There is also train service, which is a bit faster, delivering you to Rome in just over an hour. A knowledgeable travel consultant will also be able to assist with private transportation options.

There’s a lot to see in Rome, and there are a variety of shore excursions to help you make the most of your time there. If you’d like to see as much of the city as possible, choose a tour that will take you to several iconic sites, such as the Colosseum, the Forum and Vatican City.

If you’d like to focus on just a few of Rome’s many treasures, you can choose an excursion that focuses on the Colosseum and its incredible history; Rome’s beautiful churches, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore; or the Appian Way and the Catacombs of Domitilla, to name just a few possibilities.

You can forgo an official shore excursion and explore on your own, but remember that your cruise ship will not wait for you if you lose track of time while touring the Eternal City (it’s easy to do).

Excursions in Rome may include a significant amount of walking over cobblestones and up steps; choose one that offers the right pace and level of activity for you. Also, dress appropriately if you will visit religious sites: bare shoulders, shorts and skirts above the knee are not appropriate. Finally, if you see the beautiful Trevi Fountain, toss in a coin, which is said to ensure your return to Rome.

For more information about cruises that call on Civitavecchia/Rome, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Ebola: What Travelers Should Know

Travelers who are concerned that simply being on a plane or cruise ship with someone who has been exposed to the Ebola virus could lead to infection should be reassured by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, who reports that, Ebola is not highly contagious; and, the virus does not travel through the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the Ebola virus spreads only through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person who is actively displaying the symptoms of the disease.

Ebola virus disease is a certainly a serious health concern, especially in West Africa, where the largest outbreak ever continues to claim victims. In an abundance of caution, the travel industry is taking steps to further reduce the extremely low risk of contracting Ebola from a fellow traveler.

For example, the Cruise Lines International Association worked with public health authorities to develop guidelines for its member cruise lines. These include denial of boarding to anyone:

  • Arriving from a country with a Level 3 health warning (at this writing, this includes Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).
  • Who traveled to, in or through those countries within 21 days before embarkation.
  • Who had physical contract with or helped care for a person with Ebola virus disease within 21 days before embarkation.

The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security have also implemented enhanced screening at the five U.S. airports that receive more than 94% of travelers from West Africa.

Cruise Holidays’ travel experts can provide the latest Ebola outbreak information to help clients make informed decisions about travel to Africa. Much of this vast continent lies far from the outbreak. For example, the safari parks of South Africa are roughly 6,000 miles from Ebola’s epicenter in West Africa – a bit more than the distance between Los Angeles and Madrid, Spain. 

If you’ll be traveling in the near future and are concerned about Ebola, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays travel expert, about purchasing travel insurance, which can offer an additional layer of protection and assistance in any type of medical or travel emergency. Your travel expert will also be available to you during your trip and can make alternate travel arrangements as needed; that’s good for your peace of mind!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Los Cabos Update

Los Cabos, the delightful Mexican resort area and cruise ship port at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, is rebounding quickly from the effects of Hurricane Odile. The storm came ashore September 14, 2014, as a powerful category 3 hurricane; it was the strongest storm to make landfall on the peninsula in more than 45 years.

While Odile temporarily left nearly the entire state of Baja California Sur without power or water, cleanup in Los Cabos began immediately. The small Cabo San Lucas airport had no damage to its runways and was back in operation as soon as the storm passed; the larger San Jose del Cabo International Airport reopened to domestic and international flights on October 3. Most year-round flights from U.S. airports have resumed, and seasonal service from the U.S. is expected to operate as usual beginning this month.

Essential services, including power, water, phone, Internet, sanitation and public transportation have all been restored in Los Cabos. Some hotels and resorts had only minor storm damage: with some fresh paint and carefully cleaned beaches, they are now welcoming visitors. About a dozen resorts with significant structural damage are busy making repairs and have scheduled re-opening dates from December 2014 through April 2015.

Cruise ships retuned to the port of Cabo San Lucas in early October, with shore excursion operators, water taxis, restaurants and souvenir stands ready to welcome and serve the passengers.

Perhaps best of all, the natural wonders of Los Cabos were not damaged by powerful Hurricane Odile. The famous rock formations of Land’s End still rise above the water where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez; the small, rocky islands are still dotted by sea lions basking in the sun. Diving, snorkeling and surfing in and around Los Cabos is as wonderful as ever, and the area’s world-class sport fishing seems to be unaffected by the storm.

If you already have plans to visit Los Cabos this winter, check with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal travel expert, to make sure that your resort is ready to welcome you or that your cruise line hasn’t changed the itinerary. If you’d like to make plans to visit, be assured that fun-loving Los Cabos is ready to welcome you, better than ever.

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