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, April 27, 2015

Celebrate the Summer with a UK Cruise

It’s a busy time for the United Kingdom: William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are preparing to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary April 29 while also awaiting the birth of their second child (the baby will be fourth in line to the throne, after his or her grandfather, father and brother). In addition, Queen Elizabeth will celebrate her 89th birthday on April 21. She is on her way to becoming Britain’s longest-reigning monarch; her reign will surpass that of Queen Victoria on September 10.

With all of these happy events, the U.K. will celebrate all summer long, making it a wonderful time to cruise this part of the world. The British Isles include Great Britain – England, Scotland and Wales – and lots of offshore islands, as well as Ireland. The coastlines are beautiful, and ships can move from one port to another quickly, giving you more time to explore the ports and take day excursions to inland attractions, such as England’s Stonehenge.

A summer cruise of the British Isles means mild weather (generally in the 70s during the day) and long hours of sunlight. Spring, when the countryside is in bloom, and fall, when the leaves change color, are lovely times to cruise as well. Some cruise lines sail the British Isles through the winter months, too, when the chilly air is warmed by the lights and aromas of Britain’s Christmas markets.

Ports that you may visit include Belfast, Ireland, where Titanic Belfast is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the ill-fated ship. History buffs will also love the Orkney Islands, just off the northeast coast of Scotland, which were visited by the Vikings and have wonderful archaeological sites. In Edinburgh, Scotland, stately Edinburgh Castle watches over the city’s medieval and Georgian architecture.

London, England, lies inland on the River Thames, so your ship will probably dock at Southampton, Dover or Tilbury. Each of these ports has its own attractions, as well as being a gateway to London. To see as much of London as possible, consider a Thames river cruise, which can take you to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. If you have time, you’ll also want to visit Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and some of the fabulous museums.

To plan your ideal United Kingdom cruise – for this summer or some future time – talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

What to Wear on a Cruise

If the thought of meeting a cruise ship dress code is a little intimidating, you’re not alone; no one wants to be the only person who didn’t know that “formal night” calls for a tie, for example.

The good news is that while most cruise ships have a dress code, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert will help you interpret the code so that you’ll know what to pack. In fact, if a dress code – or the lack of one – is important to you, your cruise expert can guide you to specific cruise lines and ships that match your wish to dress up or down.

“Cruise casual” clothing is predominant on many ships – think of sportswear and what you’d wear to play golf or tennis in at a sports club. Men will be comfortable in polo shirts, sport pants or shorts; women in the same, as well as blouses, skirts and casual dresses. With this dress code, bare feet, tank tops, and very short shorts are generally not included. Shorts are fine during the day, but are usually not welcome at dinner. Jeans and t-shirts are often acceptable if they don’t have holes or tears. Also, having lunch at the Lido deck buffet in your swimsuit and cover-up is fine, but swimwear is not acceptable in restaurants or dining rooms.

There are variations on cruise casual, which include Smart Casual and Resort Casual. They are generally a step more formal that cruise casual: jackets for men and dresses for women may be required at dinner. But, dress code terminology and meaning vary between ships and cruise lines, so let your cruise expert be your guide.

Regardless of the overall dress code, formal nights mean suits and ties for men, dresses for women. However, on some luxury cruise lines, that’s the definition of informal; formal nights require tuxedos and gowns. If the very thought of formal night fills you with dread, don’t worry – there are many cruises with no formal nights.

One more bit of advice – you can’t go wrong by dressing up on a cruise. On the other hand, if you show up underdressed for the dining room, the worst that will happen is that the crew will direct you to another venue. So, check with Anita, your cruise expert, on dress code expectations, and then pack with confidence!

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Cruising in China

Cruises of China’s mighty Yangtze River have been popular for years; now, ocean-going cruise lines are offering deep-water cruise options for travelers who want to explore this massive, populous and still mysterious nation.
China is also a fast-growing market for cruising, so the demand for cruises among Chinese travelers is bringing more ships to the region, too. In fact, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas will homeport in Shanghai.

Several of China’s largest cities are located along the Pacific Coast, and here’s what you could see in a few of them:

Beijing. Tianjin is the port for Beijing, which lies about 70 miles inland; some cruises feature an overnight stay in a Beijing hotel, providing more time for you to enjoy the city. Must-see sights include Tiananmen Square, the enormous, historic square that encompasses the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the Great Hall of the People, and two massive city gates. The square is next to the Forbidden City, the sprawling former home of the Imperial Court. From Beijing, you can take an excursion to the Badaling section of the Great Wall.

Shanghai. Once a tiny village, modern Shanghai is a city of 23 million people. Its name means “city on the sea,” so it’s a natural as a cruise ship port. An ever-growing collection of skyscrapers creates an impressive skyline, but most visitors head first to the Bund: a mile-long, waterfront row of historic banks, embassies, warehouses and offices built by traders from Europe, Russia and America in the mid-19th century. Visit the Old Town section to glimpse what life was like in 16th-century Shanghai. For a contrast to Old Town, spend time on Nanjing Road, a shopper’s dream lined with Chinese department stores, upscale malls and designer shops.

Xiamen. This island city on the southeast coast is known for beautiful wooded areas, parks and beaches. Head for the ferry to Gulangyu Island, regarded as one of the most scenic spots in China, to see the diverse and lovely architecture and tree-lined beaches. Other popular sights are historic Nanputuo Temple, which dates from the Tang dynasty; the Hulishan Fortress, with a secret tunnel amid the military buildings; and the gorgeous Wanshi Botanical Garden.

Cruises that include Chinese ports often include Seoul, South Korea; Okinawa, Fukuoka or Nagasaki, Japan; and Hong Kong. To find out more about discovering China on a cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Cruise Options in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is growing as a cruise destination, with an expanding array of cruise styles and itineraries. You can see this colorful, culture-rich region on an ocean cruise departing from Singapore, Hong Kong or Australia; on a segment of a world cruise; or on a cruise along the Mekong or Irrawaddy rivers.

Many deep water cruises of Southeast Asia sail between Singapore and Hong Kong, offering an opportunity to get to know each city through pre- and post-cruise stays. A seven-day cruise can take you to exotic ports in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. Longer cruises often include overnight stays in some ports, so you can take extended excursions to historic sites that lie further inland.

River cruises take guests more directly to inland destinations, sailing rivers that have served as lifelines in Southeast Asia for centuries. From Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a combination of Mekong River cruising and land tour will take you to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the Angkor Wat temple. Or, sail the Irrawaddy River through Myanmar, stopping to tour temples and watch village artisans at work on your way to Mandalay.

Some of the Southeast Asia’s most popular ports of call include:

Bangkok, Thailand, teems with activity, giant Buddhas, palaces, temples and skyscrapers. Highlights include the markets of Chinatown; Wat Po, the oldest temple in Thailand; and delicious, fresh Thai cuisine.

Halong Bay, Vietnam, where nearly 2,000 limestone islands rise high above the emerald-green water in a unique and memorable seascape.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a stunning cityscape of temples, mosques and soaring towers. Don’t miss the Central Market, built in 1888, which has everything from designer clothing to authentic Malaysian crafts.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia, is a gateway for excursions to Ream National Park; the Silver Pagoda in the capital city of Phnom Penh; and the world-famous temples of Angkor Wat.

Yangon, Myanmar, is less modernized than other Southeastern Asia port cities: you’ll find a fascinating mix of British colonial architecture, Buddhist pagodas, and bustling markets.

Most cruise lines offer Southeast Asia cruises from November through March, which are the region’s driest and coolest months. Still, be prepared for varying weather conditions as you cruise; nights can be cool in ports further from the equator, while inland locations can be very warm and humid. Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, to help you select your ocean or river cruise of Southeast Asia.

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