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, June 22, 2015

New Options in Cruising for 2016

Cruise lines know that cruise fans are always looking for new adventures, and they keep things fresh and exciting by regularly offering new destinations and ships. Here’s a look at some new developments for 2016:

Holland America Line will introduce its first new ship since 2010, the Koningsdam, in April. It will be the first in the line’s new Pinnacle class. During its first year, the ship will sail the Mediterranean, the Baltic, and to Iceland before relocating to Port Everglades for Caribbean cruises. The ship will have Holland America’s first purpose-built staterooms for solo travelers and for families, as well as new programming in the Culinary Arts Center.

Regent Seven Seas will introduce its latest all-suite luxury ship, the Explorer, on July 20. The ship will increase the line’s fleet capacity nearly 30 percent, but will still be exclusive, with just 750 passengers. They will enjoy six open-seating gourmet restaurants, a nine-deck atrium and a two-story theater. The ship will launch from Monte Carlo to sail the Mediterranean before repositioning to Miami.

Seabourn, another luxury line, will launch the new Encore in December. The ship’s 10-day inaugural voyage sold out in just two days, and 600 lucky guests will sail from Athens to Java, Bali and Indonesia. The Encore is expected to maintain Seabourn’s reputation for spacious staterooms and public areas, as well as highly personalized service.

Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, its third Quantum-class ship, is expected to launch in May. The $1 billion ship is highly anticipated, as is its roster of itineraries, which will include summer cruises from Shanghai. Later in the year, the Ovation will become the first brand-new ship ever to home port in Australia, offering five different itineraries from Sydney.

Several other cruise lines have also announced new itineraries and ports for 2016. Disney Cruise Line will offer new cruises from New York to the Bahamas, which will include a visit to Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort; new seven-night Caribbean voyages from Miami; and new cruises from Galveston.

Princess Cruises has new options in Europe for 2016, including first-time port calls in Galway, Ireland; Haugesund, Norway; and Ullapool, Scotland. Princess will also return to the Canary Islands, sailing 11-day voyages from Southampton, England, to four destinations in the Canaries as well as Madeira and Vigo, Spain. Norwegian Cruise Line will add San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a seasonal home port. From San Juan, the Norwegian Gem will sail seven-day Southern Caribbean itineraries from late October through mid-December.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Which to Choose: An Ocean or a River Cruise?

The world of leisure cruising has expanded in the past few years with new options for ocean and river cruising. Both will take you to interesting ports, but that’s about as far as their similarities go. Their differences are many, providing you with a choice of distinctly wonderful vacation experiences.

Ocean cruise ships vary in size, but can have as many as 18 decks and room for more than 6,000 passengers. You can expect multiple stateroom choices, expansive areas for sports and fitness, spas, lounges, theaters, swimming pools, a range of dining venues, and special features like on-board water parks and demonstration kitchens.

River cruise ships have three decks at most, accommodate about 200 passengers, and are built to glide beneath the many bridges they encounter. The atmosphere is more like that of an elegant private yacht than the “floating resort” style of an ocean cruise ship. Entertainment, activity and dining options are much more limited, but everything tends toward the luxurious and gourmet.

Facilities for docking ocean cruise ships vary, ranging from lovely waterfront developments to busy commercial docks. Sometimes, ships have to drop anchor in the harbor and ferry guests to shore on tenders. Occasionally, the dock is quite far from the city featured on the cruise itinerary, requiring train or bus travel to reach the sights.

River cruise ships can often dock in the heart of a city or town, enabling guests to immediately begin exploring or to take an excursion further inland. And, while most river cruise itineraries call on a port –  sometimes two – every day, ocean cruise itineraries often have one or more relaxing “sea days” with no port call.

Ocean cruise ships have broad appeal, and you’re likely to have a diverse mix of companions, from honeymoon couples to multi-generational family groups, “girlfriend getaways,” affinity groups, business colleagues and more. Luxury lines are an exception, as they attract an older clientele with more disposable income.
River cruises also tend to attract more mature guests who have the time and money to travel this way. River cruise guests also tend to be more interested in the ports of call than the amenities of the ship. Plus, river cruise lines don’t offer special activities for children or teens, making ocean cruises the top choice for families with children.

To decide whether ocean cruising or river cruising is the best choice for your next vacation, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Where to Cruise from Los Angeles

When planning your next cruise, don’t forget about the wonderful options available out of Los Angeles. More than a dozen cruise lines sail from the World Cruise Terminal (technically located in San Pedro) throughout the year, including Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

From Los Angeles, you have a choice of cruise destinations, lengths and styles. For example, it’s a popular port for a quick getaway cruise along the West Coast, featuring ports like the sophisticated city of San Francisco, scenic Monterrey, and relaxed and beautiful Catalina Island.

Or, board a ship that sails south to the Mexican Riviera. Popular ports along Mexico’s gorgeous Pacific coast include Puerto Vallarta and its busy beachside boardwalk; Mazatlan, where you can watch adventurous high-divers or experience the thrill of sportfishing; and Cabo San Lucas, where the Pacific mingles with the Sea of Cortez, creating stately rock formations and some terrific snorkeling.

You can sail from Los Angeles to the islands of Hawaii: imagine sunbathing on Kauai, golfing on Maui, shopping in Honolulu, and visiting Kona, Hilo and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. A roundtrip voyage from Los Angeles can be quite relaxing, as you’ll have three or four days at sea before and after visiting Hawaii.

Los Angeles is also a departure port for cruises to the Pacific Coast of South America, backed by the majestic Andes. Popular ports include historic Lima, Peru, and Valparaiso, the port for the city of Santiago, Chile. On a longer itinerary, you might also visit Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; and Cape Horn.

If you’re ready for an extended cruise adventure, you can even embark on a world cruise from Los Angeles. These two-to-three month cruises visit multiple continents and exotic ports of call, making you a true world traveler.

If you live within driving distance of Los Angeles, park at the World Cruise Center for a maximum of $16 per day, no reservations required. If you fly in, catch a shuttle from Los Angeles International. If you have some extra time before boarding, enjoy the attractions along the LA Waterfront, including the Battleship IOWA memorial, shops and restaurants in Port O’ Call Village, and Cabrillo Beach. Better yet, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, to plan an extended pre- or post-cruise stay in sunny Los Angeles.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

A Sweet Honeymoon Cruise

After you’ve planned your wedding down the smallest detail and reveled in the day itself, wouldn’t it be great to embark on a cruise? You won’t have to worry about whether the ring bearer will behave, whether the relatives at table 14 will get along or if your lactose-free guests will get the correct meal; you can just relax, enjoy being together, and visit some lovely ports of call.

One important consideration is where to cruise. It’s fun to learn about all the possible destinations, but give some serious thought to what you’d like most: spending time on a sandy beach, visiting the ancient sections of Mediterranean cities, or sledding on a glacier, for example.

Also, talk about the type of ship you want to sail on: something with lots of entertainment and nightlife, or an elegant vessel with five-star dining? In addition, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can give you insight into which ships are favored by couples, families, and older voyagers.

On top of all the regular amenities of a cruise (the no-hassle dining, sparkling pools, gyms and sport decks, etc.), many cruise lines extend good wishes to honeymooners in the form of some extra perks. There’s often an evening reception just for honeymooners, complete with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and best wishes from the officers of the ship. You may find a complimentary bottle of champagne in your stateroom as well. Most ships also offer celebration packages of additional amenities for an extra (but discounted) fee: these can include luxurious robes for your stateroom, spa treatments, caviar and petit fours, even some rose petals sprinkled on your bed.

After you choose your ship, here are just two checklist items:
  •    If you’d rather have a table to yourselves in the dining room than be seated with other passengers, be sure to request a table for two, and let the crew know it’s because you’re on your honeymoon.
  •        If you’re looking forward to a couple’s massage in the spa, reserve your time as soon as possible. Couple’s massages are very popular with honeymooners and long-time couples alike, and these appointments tend to fill quickly. 

Now, if you’d actually like to get married while on a cruise, that’s another article! To get answers to all of your cruise questions, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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