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 26, 2017

Cruising Fiji

If you’ve never been to Fiji, it may be on your list of places to go; if you’ve been there, you probably can’t wait to return. And, the best way to experience Fiji is by cruise ship.

That’s because Fiji is not one island; it’s an archipelago of about 330 islands, and hundreds more small islets. The main islands of Viti Levu and Vauna Levu have been settled since at least the second millennium BC, but Fiji was also a British colony for about 100 years. So, the culture is a wonderful mix of ancient indigenous tradition with a touch of European flavor.

Still, the main attraction of Fiji is its stunning tropical beauty.  These volcanic islands have mountain peaks of up to 4,000 feet, the slopes covered with green tropical forest. The white sand beaches, lined with coconut palms, are lapped by water of the deepest blue. And, it’s always warm – even the “cool season,” May to October, averages 72 degrees.

Your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert can help you select a cruise that will show you as much of Fiji as you like. Some major cruise lines include one or two port calls in Fiji as part of a longer cruise of the South Pacific. Other lines offer more Fiji-intensive itineraries, calling on Viti Levu and other more remote islands.

If you can tear your eyes away from the spectacular scenery of Fiji, here are some of the activities you can look forward to:

Fiji is a great place to try out a water sport you haven’t tried before. The water is warm and crystal clear, so you can go snorkeling or diving; test your balance on a surfboard; go for the big catch on a fishing excursion; or even take a sailing lesson.

As you can imagine, the flora and fauna of Fiji is amazing. Take a guided hike through the tropical forest to see rare species – such as the Kadavu parrot or the red-throated lorikeet – and perhaps some waterfalls, too. The parks and gardens in Suva, capital of Viti Levu, are absolutely lovely.

Viti Levu’s Sabeto Valley has natural geothermal features (remember, these islands are volcanic). There, you can immerse yourself from head to toe in a therapeutic mud pool, which Fijians believe has therapeutic, age-defying benefits. At the very least, it’s a fun and memorable experience!

For more information about everything you can do in Fiji, and to select the itinerary that’s right for you, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Debunking the Myth: Cruising is Expensive

The world of cruising changes all the time, as cruise lines work hard to accommodate passengers’ changing tastes and offer new experiences. As a result, some widely held beliefs about cruising become outdated and inaccurate.

One example is the belief that cruising is too expensive. In the early days of leisure cruising it was something only the wealthy could afford, but today it’s easy to find a cruise to fit just about any vacation budget. And, the fare includes much more than your stateroom – food, entertainment, top-notch service, use of the ship’s amenities and more. In sort, cruising is a terrific vacation value.

Still, cruising isn’t free, unless you’re lucky enough to receive a cruise as a gift! Here are some tips for keeping it affordable:

Select a cruise that fits your budget. The basic fare for a cruise depends on several factors, including the style and amenities of the ship, the point of embarkation, and where and how far the ship will sail.

For example, you can take a three-day cruise to the Bahamas; a four- to seven-day cruise of either the eastern or western portion of the Caribbean; or a cruise of 14 days or more that will take you all around the Caribbean. You can cruise on a ship that provides all of the basic comforts, or spend more on a luxury experience. It’s all up to you – and your budget. 

Book early. Early booking is key to securing a good price. Cruise fares tend to be lowest well in advance of the sailing date; to rise as the ship begins to fill; and then to drop again closer to the sailing date (but you may not have much choice of staterooms). 

Manage your expenses on board. Cruise fares include a lot, but not everything. Gratuities for the crew are usually separate, and you should include that in your budget. Other things that are enjoyable, but optional – shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and casino games – are often not included in the fare. Be sure you know what’s included in your fare and what else you want to budget for.

For help finding a cruise that fits your interests and your budget, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Trends in Onboard Cruise Ship Technology

Some people board cruise ships so they can power down their electronic devices and relax on an Internet-free vacation. Others won’t agree to step on a cruise ship until they know that they’ll be able to connect to the Internet while at sea. Whether they need to check in with work, with people at home, or just want to keep up their social media presence, more cruise passengers are looking for better, stronger, more reliable Wi-Fi on the waves.

Fortunately for them, ship-to-shore communications have come a long way in the past few years. Most cruise ships are now fully equipped for wireless communications, with onboard Internet cafes, Wi-Fi hot spots and cell phone service. Connecting isn’t free, but cruise lines have been working to make connectivity more affordable for passengers and provide a choice of plans so you can buy only as much access as you need.

Cruise ships are applying new technology in other ways that enhance the onboard experience. One of the most spectacular examples is the robotic arms that are the featured bartenders at the Bionic Bar on some Royal Caribbean ships. They select from 50 ingredients stored in suspended bottles to mix classic or custom cocktails to order. They don’t have human characteristics, so they won’t give you an extra-generous pour – but they are fast, mixing two cocktails per minute.

More high-tech features popping up on cruise ships include:

      Daily schedules and menus on an in-room iPad to help plan your day.

      A shipboard mobile app you can use to instant message family and friends while on board.

      RFID luggage tags let you use a mobile device to track your luggage and see when it will be delivered to your stateroom.

      Wristbands (instead of keycards) that you can use to open your stateroom door, pay for drinks and other onboard extras, or book reservations at specialty restaurants. 

      Facial recognition technology that will help you quickly find your photos in the photo gallery.

      This may be a little way off, but watch for game centers the feature the latest in virtual reality experiences.

If you would rather keep your cruise vacation unconnected, you certainly can – but it’s nice to know that new technology will keep making life onboard more convenient, easy, and fun. To book a ship that offers some of the latest advancements, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Visiting St. Kitts

Mountainous, beautiful St. Kitts (that’s actually a nickname – the island’s original name is St. Christopher) welcomes Caribbean cruise ships large and small, thanks to the modern facilities at Port Zante, just a five-minute walk from the island’s capital, Basseterre.

St. Kitts’ central spine of mountains – dormant volcanoes and all – is high and rugged, cloaked by dense rainforests. On the west side of the island are the broad fields that until recently were used to raise sugar cane. It’s only in the past 20 years that St. Kitt’s has become a popular destination for cruise ships and other tourism, so the island still has unspoiled Caribbean beauty and character.

Here are some of the things you can do on a day in St. Kitt’s: 

Basseterre is small, but worth touring. Visit the roundabout known as the Circus, a nod to London’s Picadilly Circus, and take a photo of the clock tower in the center (but watch for cars and roaming chickens). There are stately Georgian homes around Independence Square, which was once a slave market. St. George’s Cathedral has quite a history: it has repeatedly been repaired after fires, earthquakes and hurricanes. Basseterre has some interesting art galleries, too.

To explore the verdant rainforest and the mountains of St. Kitts, take an off-road four-wheel tour of the lush interior. The rainforest is full of exotic plants and animals; and, when you get high enough, you’ll have a breathtaking view from a mountain-top lookout. Then, spend the afternoon at Cockleshell Bay, enjoying expansive views across the water with a refreshing drink in your hand.

To visit St. Kitts’ sister island, Nevis, take a water taxi across the shallow channel called “The Narrows.” Nevis has some very fine historic inns and plantation homes that you can visit. Pinney Beach is a wonderful place to sip rum punch while sunbathing or swimming in the turquoise water.

If you’re sailing with children, they’ll be delighted by a ride on St. Kitts’ 18-mile historic rail line, originally built to transport sugar cane. Board the custom-made railcars, complete with onboard refreshments and music, to see all the beauty St. Kitts has to offer. Then, board a catamaran to sail along the scenic coast back to your ship.

To understand the variety of cruise lines and ships that sail to St. Kitts, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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