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, November 27, 2017

Cruising to Hawaii

Every Hawaiian island is beautiful, yet each is unique, with a surprising diversity of scenery and activities. The best way to get acquainted with them is an unforgettable cruise: just get on board, settle in, and let the ship move you from one postcard-perfect island to another.

There are two basic ways to cruise Hawaii. The first is a one-way voyage between the West Coast and the islands, or the reverse. Either direction includes several days at sea and is a good choice if you want time before or after your Hawaiian adventure to enjoy the ship.

The second is a roundtrip flight to Hawaii with a roundtrip cruise of the islands from Honolulu. Currently, Norwegian Cruise Line is the only line to offer this option: cruises on the Pride of America are available year-round. NCL combines a seven-day island cruise with three or four days of land tours on the island of Oahu, giving you an immersion in Hawaiian history and culture.

Oahu has some of Hawaii’s most modern and most historic sights, from the gleaming city of Honolulu to the World War II memorials in Pearl Harbor. Spend time at Waikiki Beach, or see some of the world’s best surfing on the North Shore; the Polynesian Cultural Center is there, too. If you love pineapple, you’ll love it more at the Dole Plantation on Oahu, where the fruit is always fresh.

Amid islands of stunning natural beauty, Kauai manages to stand out as the most lush and beautiful. Don’t miss Waimea Canyon, an incredibly scenic gorge known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” You can see the equally scenic Napali Coast by hiking or sailing – it’s not even accessible by motor vehicle.

The island of Maui has lovely beaches and golf courses. You can swim in the ocean or in a pool below a cascading waterfall. Or, ride to the top of Haleakala volcano to see the massive crater and the 360-degree views. From Maui, you can also visit the laid-back island of Molokai.

The Big Island of Hawaii has two cruise ports: Kona and Hilo. Kona has black sand beaches and wonderful local coffee; Hilo is a festival of tropical flowers. Either port provides easy access to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, and the largest, Mauna Loa.

There’s so much to see and do in Hawaii, you may need help to decide on shore excursions! Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Cruise Cabin Secrets Revealed

A cruise ship stateroom is truly a wonder of design and engineering: an efficient space that’s well-equipped to serve as your personal sanctuary during a cruise. And, you don’t even need to make your own bed: your cabin steward will keep everything ship-shape.

While your stateroom provides everything you need, they are smaller than your average hotel room. But, we’ll let you in on a few secrets that can help you organize and make the most of the space.

For example, even frequent cruisers may not know that stateroom walls are magnetic – all of a ship’s structure is made of metal. Bring along a few refrigerator magnets to stick up important papers and notices where you can see them.

The majority of cruise ship staterooms are equipped with two beds that can be combined as one larger bed. If the beds aren’t configured the way you want when you board, just ask your cabin steward to make a change. Also, many stateroom designs allow the bed to be re-oriented – if you want to sleep with your head pointing a different direction, just let your steward know.

While you’re considering the bed, take a look under it. Some rest on a closed platform, but many have storage space underneath. It may be large enough for your suitcase and shoes, freeing up closet space.

Cruise ship bathrooms are also small and efficient, equipped with a toilet, sink, shower and a bit of counter space – but, probably not a ventilation fan. Bring along a scented air freshener that you can hang from the door handle – the type you hang from a car’s rearview mirror works well.

Cruise lines equip their staterooms with nice amenities – toiletries, a hairdryer, a safe, stationery and pens – so you won’t need to bring those items along. You can also request the use of a robe and slippers, if they aren’t already hanging in your stateroom closet.

Finally, ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, to help you select a cabin that offers a little something extra (there aren’t a lot of these, so it helps to book as far in advance as possible). Depending on the ship’s design, there may be cabins that offer some extra square footage, a larger balcony, multiple windows or a larger bath.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Alaska Cruise or Alaska Cruisetour?

If you’re planning to cruise to Alaska, be sure to consider the Alaskan cruisetours offered by many cruise lines. A cruisetour is a combination of a cruise along Alaska’s scenic coastline and a land tour that will take you to part of the state’s vast interior. Some people say you can’t really experience Alaska if you do only a cruise or a land tour, but doing both will give you a true Alaskan experience.

Still, a cruisetour isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re seeing Alaska via cruise because you don’t enjoy overland travel via train, bus or car, you may want to stick with a cruise only.

But if the idea of a cruisetour interests you, consider the amazing places you can see on the land tour portion. One popular destination is Denali National Park, an enormous natural treasure that includes and surrounds Denali, the highest mountain in North America. There are glaciers, forests and tundra, and impressive Alaskan wildlife, including moose, caribou, bears, wolves and Dall sheep.

Located between Anchorage and Denali, the pioneer town of Talkeetna is at the confluence of three glacial rivers, so it’s a great destination for fishing or rafting. From Talkeetna, you can also take a “flightseeing” tour to Denali, viewing the rugged peaks from above and landing on a glacier.

If you’ve already been to Denali, there’s another national park in Alaska that offers stunning mountain scenery – Wrangell St. Elias National Park, which is the largest U.S. national park. It’s home to nine of the highest peaks in the U.S. Runoff from the massive glaciers helps feed the scenic Copper River; you can also visit Kennecott, a ghost town that was once a copper mining boomtown.

There are more options for the land tour portions of your Alaskan cruisetour: talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to learn more.

Also, talk with Anita,  your cruise expert, about whether you should take the land tour portion of your cruisetour before or after the cruise portion. Some people like to tour first, absorbing Alaskan culture before enjoying the pampering amenities of the cruise ship. Others like to cruise first, releasing the stress of daily life and relaxing on the ship before venturing into the interior. Choose which is best for you, and make your plans!

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Transatlantic Cruising

For some people, sailing across a wide expanse of water, warmed by the sun and refreshed by a cool breeze, is a thrill. If you love the “days at sea” that are part of most cruise itineraries, consider an Atlantic crossing, also known as a transatlantic cruise.

There are two kinds of transatlantic cruises. One crosses the Atlantic Ocean simply for the fun of it, which is a specialty of Cunard Line: the Queen Mary 2 regularly sails between Southampton, England, and New York City. The second repositions a ship from one cruise region to another, such as from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean or Baltic. Either type will give you a string of relaxing days at sea.

Transatlantic cruises are not entirely port-free – after all, there’s at least one on each end. The western end might be Miami, Tampa or New York; the eastern end could be Copenhagen, Southampton or Barcelona. Some itineraries visit Atlantic islands like Madeira, the Canaries, the Azores or Bermuda.

It takes a cruise ship some six to eight days to get across the Atlantic; when you add in a few island calls, the length can be 11-14 days or more. These cruises often provide very good value. But, don’t forget that you’ll need fly to Europe to begin the cruise or fly home from Europe after the cruise. You can also purchase two consecutive Atlantic crossings so that you’ll have a roundtrip cruise (with no jet lag).

So, what can you do on your days at sea?

There will be lots of activities on board, such as games, spa treatments, classes, dance lessons, lectures and behind-the scenes tours. You can curl up with a few good books or indulge in hobbies like knitting or scrapbooking.

The cruise can also be a time to increase your wellness. Visit the fitness center daily, walk on deck in the fresh air, and make healthy and delicious choices in the ship’s dining venues. Consciously relax: there’s really nowhere to rush off to. You just might finish the cruise feeling better than when you started.

Finally, catch the sunrise and sunset. With just the water, sky and sun in view, you’ll see some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. On clear nights, far away from the ambient light of populated areas, the sky will be breathtaking, too.

Ask Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, to show you some itineraries for transatlantic cruises.

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