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, May 28, 2018

Latest Trends in Cruising

Cruise lines are always making changes – some small and subtle, some big and bold – to create new opportunities, comforts, and experiences for their guests. What are some of the current trends in the industry?

Cruising’s popularity continues to grow. Cruise lines expect a total of 27 million passengers to set sail in 2018, an increase of one million from last year. 2018 will also see the debut of 27 new ships – 17 for ocean cruising and 10 for river cruising.

The Caribbean remains a top destination. Long the most popular cruise destination for North Americans, the islands of the Caribbean are expected to continue in that role, as ports damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the fall of 2017 are open again. On some islands (Puerto Rico, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin and Dominica) you’ll still see signs of damage and rebuilding, but many attractions and businesses are ready to welcome you. Many islands with little or no damage from the storms (Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados and more) have remained open to cruise ships throughout the fall and winter.

Dress codes are becoming simpler and more casual. On most cruise ships, casual vacation attire is always acceptable before 6 p.m. For evening, many lines now rotate “smart casual” (collared shirts and long pants for men; long or capri pants and shirts or casual dresses for women) and “elegant casual” (which basically means suits for men and cocktail dresses for women). Still, some lines uphold the tradition of formal nights, featuring tuxedos and long gowns. If you love to dress up, look for a ship and itinerary with one or more formal nights.

Onboard features and activities continue to amaze. The trend in cruise ship design is toward more spaces that provide expansive views of the sea. For example, the Magic Carpet on the Celebrity Edge, which will debut in November, is a movable deck cantilevered over the side of the ship for great ocean views. The Norwegian Bliss, launching this spring, is designed for taking in views of the Alaskan coastline. There’s a 180-degree observation lounge where you can watch glaciers calve new icebergs into the water, plus a waterslide with a transparent tube that runs along the side of the ship.

Enjoy some of the latest trends in cruising for yourself; talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about making your next cruise reservation.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Tips for Packing for a Solo Cruise

Cruising is a great vacation choice for solo travelers who want to explore the world and let someone else handle the details of getting from one place to another.

Still, deciding on a cruise ship and itinerary can take some research. Cruise ships are full of accommodations designed for couples and families, but some have staterooms just for solo travelers, too. You’ll want a ship that has a variety of social spaces where you can get to know fellow travelers, and a good choice of shore excursions where you can explore with a group.

And, when you cruise on your own, you might receive spur-of-the-moment invitations to join others on ship or shore; so, you need to think through your cruise wardrobe and be ready for just about anything. How can you pack light but be ready for cocktail parties, shore excursions, deck activities, casual and formal dinners, dancing, beach time and more? Here are some tips:

First, everything you pack must coordinate with everything else you pack. You need to be able to mix and match your clothes, which means staying with one color scheme. And remember, no one will care if they see you in the same outfit more than once.

Try to limit yourself to one pair of jeans, one pair of casual non-denim pants or a skirt, one pair of shorts, three shirts, one light sweater or jacket and a swimsuit. You should have three changes of underwear and socks, one set of workout clothes and something to sleep in. Bring a small packet of laundry detergent so you can rinse things out in your bathroom sink as needed (or, use the laundry service on board).

If you need a dress or suit for formal dinners, bring one that you can make look different by changing accessories: scarves, jewelry, ties. Or, consider packing a beautiful skirt or pair of dressy pants you can wear with two or three different shirts.

Shoes must be limited to three pairs: a daytime shoe that’s comfortable and sturdy enough for shore excursions, a dressier shoe for evenings on board, and a pair of sandals or flip-flops for the pool deck or beach. That’s it (shoes take up a lot of luggage space)!

For help selecting the right ship and itinerary for your solo cruise, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, then get packing!

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Antigua is Waiting to Welcome You

While the three hurricanes of September 2017 – Irma, Jose, and Maria – were hard on some Caribbean islands, the island of Antigua came through with only minimal damage, quickly repaired. The island’s residents want travelers, including cruise fans, to know that their island has remained ready to welcome visitors.

The dozens of sand beaches on Antigua are still soft and white, and the historic Nelson’s Dockyard – once the most important colonial base of the British Royal Navy – was untouched by the storms.

A wide variety of cruise lines make Antigua part of their Eastern Caribbean itineraries of 7 to 14 nights or more. Depending on the cruise line you choose, you can depart from New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa or Puerto Rico.

It’s understandable if you want to spend your day on Antigua with your toes in the sand of one of the island’s scenic beaches; they are spectacular. A beach excursion will take you to a stretch of sand dotted by lounge chairs, with umbrellas for shade. Many beach excursions welcome you with a complimentary rum punch cocktail to get you off to a relaxing start.

To see more of Antigua from the water, take a coastal cruise on a deluxe yacht or catamaran. You might visit Bird Island, just two miles from Antigua, a small but lush paradise for many types of exotic birds: you might spot a West Indian Whistling Duck, a Red-Billed Tropicbird, or a Laughing Gull. Bird Island is a great place to snorkel, too.

Nelson’s Dockyard is a unique landmark, sheltered by the cone of a dormant volcano. Built in 1725 for the English Navy as a base for patrolling the West Indies, it’s the only surviving Georgian-era dockyard in the world and well worth a tour. Above the dockyard is the Shirley Heights Lookout, where you can take in the gorgeous, tropical views. Dow’s Hill is another spot for a great view, and you can enjoy an introduction to Antigua history at the Dow’s Hill Interpretation Center.

For families, there’s a zipline adventure that delivers thrills and a bird’s eye perspective on the tropical forest. Or, visit Stingray City in the North Sound to meet these gentle, friendly creatures.

To consider all of the Caribbean itineraries that will take you to Antigua, talk with Ania, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Cruising the British Isles

With thousands of miles of coastline, the British Isles are made for cruising. By cruise, you can see beautiful coastal areas punctuated by chalky cliffs, lovely bays and windswept headlands, backed by rolling green countryside or the mountains of Wales and Scotland.

The British Isles include Great Britain – England, Scotland and Wales – as well as Ireland and about 6,000 smaller islands: the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, the Orkney Isles, the Shetland Isles, and the Channel Islands, to name a few. With all these islands quite close to each other, most British Isles cruises are port-intensive, with someplace new to explore each day.

You can cruise the British Isles at any time of year, with distinct differences between the seasons. Spring is the time to see the countryside in full bloom, with mild weather and few crowds on shore. Summer’s long days bring the peak season and the warmest weather. In fall, the countryside glows with oranges and red foliage. Winter brings the coolest temperatures, but compensates with Christmas markets other seasonal events.

The irregular coastline lends itself to mid-size and smaller ships from mainstream and luxury cruise lines. Itineraries range from 14-night circumnavigations of the isles to quick 3-night excursions you can add to a longer European vacation. In addition to London and Southampton (home port for many ships), popular ports include:

Belfast, Ireland. Titanic Belfast is a major attraction next to the slipway where the liner was built. Or, take an excursion to the Giant's Causeway, a collection of basalt columns said to be the work of giant named Finn McCool (but more likely formed by an ancient volcano).

Edinburgh, Scotland. Filled with history and culture, Scotland’s capital is overlooked by imposing Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile extends toward Holyrood Palace, the Queen's official Scottish residence.

Orkney, Scotland. A group of islands off Scotland’s northeast coast, Orkney offers wonderful archaeological sites and abundant birdlife. The capital, Kirkwall, has a cathedral founded by the Vikings, a whiskey distillery and shops full of locally made arts and crafts.

Newcastle, England. Newcastle and Gateshead face each other across the River Tyne, linked by a series of seven dramatic bridges. Pedestrians can stroll across the Millennium Bridge to enjoy the cultural attractions on both sides.

For more ideas about cruising the British Isles, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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