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, December 28, 2015

Cruise Ships are Making Better Connections

Until now, equipping ships with high-speed wireless Internet access hasn’t been a top priority for most cruise lines: after all, a cruise is an opportunity to unplug from daily life and put away your laptops, smart phones and other devices, right?

Actually, it’s not surprising that cruise travelers are demanding better Wi-Fi: some really can’t get away for a cruise without the ability to check in with work (hopefully, not too often) or with loved ones at home.

Many ships already offer some wireless Internet access, but the connections are often much slower than what you’re used to. But, some cruise lines have announced plans to meet the demand for fast, stronger Wi-Fi.

For example, Royal Caribbean has equipped its Oasis and Quantum Class ships with a high-speed Internet service that it calls Voom. The service uses satellite internet technology that provides high-speed connections, even in the middle of the ocean. Royal Caribbean doesn’t sayexactly how fast Voom is, but promises that, in addition to checking email and using the Web, guests can connect with their offices via VPN, stream music and movies, upload photos, and video chat with people back home. Voom will expand to more Royal Caribbean ships in 2016.

Be aware that, at least for now, there is often an extra fee for high-speed internet connections (satellite Internet technology is expensive). Royal Caribbean’s Voom costs $15 per day for a multi-day package; that gives you unlimited Internet access on one device, with a discount available for a second device.

Beginning in October 2016, luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer free, unlimited, high-speed Wi-Fi access to all passengers on all of its ships. Regent Seven Seas already offers Wi-Fi throughout its ships, but it’s currently free and unlimited only for occupants of top-of-the-line suites; other passengers have a limited access and need to pay for upgrades.

Upscale cruise lines Silversea Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Crystal Cruises have also announced plans to expand the availability of free, unlimited Wi-Fi. And, Viking Ocean Cruises’ new Viking Star already offers complimentary and continuous Internet access on board.

If you can’t do without high-speed Internet access on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about which ships can provide you with the access you need.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Explore the Beautiful Rhine River

The Rhine is a storied river that begins high in the Swiss Alps and travels more than 750 miles to the Netherlands and the North Sea. As one of Europe’s main waterways, it’s a hardworking river that serves historic port cities like Basel, Strasbourg, Rudesheim and Cologne; but, it’s also a fairytale river that flows below majestic castles, past charming villages, and through forests and vineyards.

Here are some highlights of the ports you can visit on a cruise of the Rhine:

Basel, Switzerland, is located on the border with France and Germany; a literal crossroads of Europe. The cathedral is beautiful, and the alleyways of the MarketPlatz are lined with quirky craft shops.

Strasbourg, France, has picture-perfect cobbled streets and timbered houses. Top sights include the cathedral, one of the tallest medieval buildings in Europe, and the Rohan Palace, which hosted Marie Antoinette and now houses multiple museums.

Rudesheim, Germany, is at the southern end of the Rhine Gorge, the part of the river with the steepest cliffs and the most castles. Stroll the Drosselgasse, Rudesheim’s most famous street, and sample some local wine and brandy.

Cologne, Germany, has a beautiful Old Town, Medieval city gates, stunning churches, and a museum of chocolate. It’s also famous for the Cologne Carnival, one of Europe’s largest street festivals, which begins November 11 lasts until Ash Wednesday.

Rhine River cruises range in length from three or four nights (not nearly long enough, in our opinion) to 21 nights or even a few more. Longer cruises will combine your sail of the Rhine with other rivers, such as the Main and Danube or the Moselle.

Summer is peak season on the Rhine, but the weather can be quite warm, so some cruise passengers prefer the cooler spring or fall. In the late summer or fall, you might be lucky enough to catch one of the “Rhine in Flames” fireworks displays, which take place during regional wine festivals. If a chill in the air doesn’t bother you, November and December cruises of the Rhine are special because they call on the region’s wonderful Christmas Markets. Cologne is especially beautiful in the Christmas season; be sure to take the 10-minute walk from the river to the Christmas Market at the Cologne Cathedral.

There’s much more to know about cruising the Rhine, so talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Cruise to Holistic Wellness

A cruise can be a time to indulge in the luxury of delicious food available 24 hours a day, sleeping in comfortable lounge chairs on deck, and tasting new wines and cocktails without a thought to your usual workout routine.

But, it’s possible to come home from a cruise feeling better and fitter than when you left. Most cruise ships have fitness facilities, and many are comparable to the finest facilities on land; so, you can indulge, but also keep up your fitness routine.

Some cruises take it a step further and make the entire experience about health and wellness, offering lectures, classes, workshops, activities and dining choices that improve your wellness as you sail. Here are just a couple of the many options available:

Vegans and others interested in the vegan lifestyle will love the seven-night “Holistic Holiday at Sea” cruise, which will depart from Miami on the MSC Divina February 27, 2016, bound for the Eastern Caribbean and wellness in body, mind and spirit. There will be classes in vegan cooking and nutrition, vegan beauty products and routines, yoga and Pilates, Zumba, Qu Gong, managing chronic disease through plant-based diets, and much more. Dining will focus on delicious vegan cuisine.

Another cruise focused on mind-body-spirit health will depart from Fort Lauderdale October 16, 2016, on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. The seven-day “Cruise Into Spirit” will offer an onboard seminar at sea featuring guest speakers, readers and healers that will you help develop your spirituality. The seminar includes yoga practice and various workshops, plus vegetarian and raw food dining options. There will also be special “Cruise Into Spirit” excursions in each port of call, including Nassau, Bahamas; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.
To explore more opportunities for cruising into improved wellness, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Visiting the Port of Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, has a long and colorful history as well as amazing natural beauty. Once an important source of tin and rubber, Phuket Island was a frequent stop for Portuguese, French, Dutch and British traders. Today, people from around the world visit the island via cruise ship.

Most of the island is covered by mountains and forest, which still produce rubber and palm oil. For a rare experience, visit Khao Phra Taew National Park, the last virgin rainforest in Thailand. You can take a guided hike through the lush jungle, watching for wildlife and stopping for photos at crystal-clear waterfalls.

The island has lovely beaches, too, especially the sandy beaches along the western coast. Some of the most popular are Patong Beach, which offers watersport rentals and seasonal surfing; Karon Beach, a wide beach with a coral reef to explore; and Kamala Beach, where you can swim, sun and shop at a local market if you are there on a Saturday.

If you’re interested in Buddhist traditions, Phuket has 29 Buddhist temples and monasteries. The largest and most ornate is Wat Chalong, where many Thais come to be blessed and receive a good luck charm.

There’s a shrine to the Hindu deity Brahma at Promthep Cape, the southernmost point of Phuket Island. Take an excursion there to see the shrine, visit a lighthouse and take in the breathtaking views.
James Bond fans will want to visit Phang Nga Bay National Park, where hundreds of stunning limestone cliffs rise over the sea. The famous final scene of the Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed here. For some adventure, you can paddle a canoe through the bay’s dramatic limestone sea caves.

Another popular excursion, especially for families, is to visit a herd of gentle elephants and ride them on a guided tour through a tropical forest. Children especially love meeting the adorable baby elephants!

Cruise itineraries that include Phuket often call on other ports in Southeast Asia, and possibly Australia, India and the Middle East, too. Phuket’s tropical climate means it’s warm and humid all year long: the driest season is December through March, although it can rain even then, so bring along a lightweight rain jacket.

To find cruise itineraries that include a call on beautiful Phuket Island, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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