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, July 25, 2016

Cruising Tips and Tricks

Like many things in life, there are tips and tricks to making the most of a cruise vacation. You could figure them out on your own, but it’s much quicker and easier to ask your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to share some of his or her in-depth knowledge. To get you started, here are a few of our favorite insider tips:

Specialty Restaurants. On the first night of a cruise, most passengers are still getting familiar with the ship, and most choose to eat in the main dining room; so, it’s a good time to try a specialty restaurant that you may have trouble getting in to on other nights. Some cruise lines even offer specialty dining discounts or complimentary wine on the first night.

Spa. As with specialty restaurants, the first day is a great time to visit the spa and perhaps score a discount. Plus, you’ll begin your cruise with a more relaxed outlook!

Wine. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but would rather pay per-bottle than per-glass prices, go ahead and purchase a bottle of your favorite. The waiter can mark the bottle with your cabin number and store it for the next evening (even if you dine in a different spot onboard).

Green Apples. If you find yourself feeling unexpectedly queasy, you may just need a little time to adjust to the motion of the ship. Call room service and ask for green apples (a cure recommended by many experienced crew members and passengers). That may be all you need, but if not, other seasickness remedies are usually available at the purser’s desk at no charge.

Mattress Toppers. Cruise ship beds are generally very comfortable, but if yours is too firm for your taste, some ships can provide an “egg crate” foam topper, or different varieties of pillows. Just ask your cabin steward.

Dining. Cruise ship chefs are accustomed to accommodating special requests, so go ahead and ask if an entrée can be prepared in a different way, if you can have two appetizers instead of an entrée, or if you can have an appetizer-sized portion of an entrée, which can be a great way to try new foods.

For more tips like these, ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert; and, chat with some of the experienced cruisers you’ll meet on board!

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Cruising Out of Vancouver

If you’re taking a cruise to Alaska, Hawaii or down the West Coast from Vancouver, British Columbia, it’s a fantastic opportunity to spend some extra time in this beautiful city before your cruise. Vancouver’s unique character begins with the natural beauty of its setting, nestled between the Strait of Georgia and the North Shore Mountains.

Vancouver has grown into a multicultural and sophisticated city, but it began a modest saloon opened in 1867 by a gentleman named “Gassy Jack” Deighton (so nicknamed for his talkative nature, they say). There’s a statue of him in Maple Leaf Square in Gastown, near where he once served whiskey to sawmill workers. Gastown’s residents have fought hard through the years to preserve the neighborhood’s historic architecture and cobblestone streets. It’s a great place to stroll and visit hip boutiques, restaurants and galleries by day, and theaters and nightclubs by night.

Right next to Gastown is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America. Enter through the Millennium Gate and enjoy traditional Chinese restaurants, tea rooms, open-air markets and shops along streets lit by red lamps adorned with golden dragons. Don’t miss the Sam Kee building, 8 West Pender Street, one of the skinniest commercial buildings in the world (just under 5 feet wide on the ground floor).

In addition to Gastown and Chinatown, neighborhoods worth exploring include Granville and its famous public market; trendy Yaletown; and Kitsilano, which includes Vanier Park and some fine museums.

An absolute must-see in Vancouver is Stanley Park, a huge (1,001-acre) public park that’s nearly an island, surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbor and English Bay. It’s not far from the cruise ship dock at Canada Place. This isn’t a manicured park, but a beautiful urban forest that’s largely been allowed to evolve on its own. There are man-made attractions, too, including the seawall where residents and visitors love to stroll, jog and bike. There’s also a swimming pool and water spray park, an aquarium, forest trails, play areas and a miniature railway.

The neighborhoods, park, museums and restaurants of Vancouver are more than enough to fill a few days before your cruise. But, you can also go across the strait to visit Victoria Island, or venture in to the mountainous interior of British Columbia.

For more and ideas about what to see and where to stay in Vancouver, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Cruising to the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic, on the eastern half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, has rightly earned its reputation as a beautiful beach resort destination. It’s also a wonderful place to visit on a cruise, with ships docking at the new, purpose-built cruise terminal at Amber Cove or in the capital of Santo Domingo.

There are lovely stretches of beach all around, but for a special beach day, skim over the water on a catamaran to the small island of Saona. Relax in the powdery sand, play in the water or doze in a hammock under the coconut palms.

If you’re looking for some adrenaline-pumping fun, swing up into the saddle for a horseback ride through the countryside, then soar through the treetops on a zipline (don’t forget to admire the amazing views!)

On the north coast (also called the Amber Coast), learn the history of the translucent stone at the Amber Museum in the city of Puerto Plata. Then, visit the Fortress San Felipe, which once protected the city from pirates and other raiders; it was later used as a jail and is now a museum.

You can spend hours touring the capital city of Santo Domingo, founded in 1496 by the brother of explorer Christopher Columbus. In the sprawling Park Mirador del Este, visit Los Tres Ojos (the three eyes), beautiful turquoise lagoons set in open-air limestone caves. Across the Ozama River lies the Zona Colonial, where you can tour the Alcazar de Colon, a mansion and museum built in 1510 by Columbus’ son, Diego. Also worth a visit is the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, one of the oldest churches in the Americas.

There’s still more to do on a port call in the Dominican Republic, such as snorkeling, diving, swimming with dolphins, and visiting coffee and cocoa plantations.

If you’re interested in voluntourism, Fathom, a small cruise line that exclusively offers voluntourism cruises, sails from Miami to the Dominican Republic. You can immerse yourself in Dominican culture while working alongside residents and your fellow passengers on projects intended to serve the needs of communities in and around Puerto Plata.

To pick a cruise ship and itinerary that will take you to the Dominican Republic and other wonderful destinations in the Caribbean, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Spending Time in Bermuda

The famous pink sand beaches of Bermuda look magical against the deep blue water that surrounds this lovely group of islands in the North Atlantic. The opportunity to play on a pink beach is a very good reason to cruise to Bermuda, but there are many more.

Cruises to Bermuda, which is about 665 miles east and slightly south of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, depart from East Coast ports like Boston, New York City, Cape Liberty, Baltimore and Miami. Bermuda is the sole destination on some itineraries, with relaxing days at sea on either side of a two- or three-night stay. Other itineraries combine Bermuda with New England and Maritime Canada, the Bahamas, or a transatlantic crossing.

Depending on your cruise line and ship, you could dock at King’s Wharf, the capital city of Hamilton, or historic St. George’s, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Keep in mind that Bermuda’s eight main islands together are just 22 miles long and about two miles across, so you can see everything no matter where you dock.

King’s Wharf is next to the Royal Naval Dockyard, where the Bermuda Maritime Museum has treasures recovered from hundreds of shipwrecks along the coral reef (which is kinder to snorkelers and divers than to ships). You can also climb up a historic lighthouse, or browse the work of Bermudan artists at the Arts Centre.

It’s easy to reach all parts of Bermuda via ferry or scooter; or, take a sightseeing tour that will acquaint you with the winding roads, beautiful sea views, and pastel cottages.  To learn about the marine life that’s so important to Bermuda, take a glass-bottom boat cruise or visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo.

In Hamilton, enjoy the cafes and high-end shops along Front Street, where you can enjoy high tea and buy some Bermuda shorts. In St. George’s, stroll the cobblestone streets to soak in the colonial flavor. You can also take an excursion to Crystal Cave, where amber-colored stalactites and stalagmites are reflected in underground lakes.

Bermuda is heaven on earth for golfers, with more courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. What could be better than playing golf with a stunning ocean view?

You can cruise to Bermuda from April through early November; talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about getting on a Bermuda-bound ship.

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