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, September 24, 2018

Underrated Cruise Ports

Some cruise ports are better known than others, and when looking at itineraries, we might focus on favorite destinations like Cozumel, Rome, or Copenhagen. However, lesser-known ports deserve your attention, too; often, they are so much more than just a convenient stop between bigger and more famous ports. Here are a few examples.

Kralendijk, Bonaire. Among the ABC Islands of Southern Caribbean, Aruba and Curacao get the most attention, but Bonaire is just as lovely. It’s also one of the best snorkel and dive locations in the Caribbean, with easy access to surrounding reefs. Watch for colorful flamingos that live in a preserve (one of only four areas in the world where flamingos breed), or feed some carrots to the gentle donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary.

Progreso, Mexico. This small port city 30 miles from the Yucatan capital of Merida is often seen only as a starting point for excursions to Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza or Uxmal; but, Progreso itself offers wonderful experiences. You’ll love the white sand beaches, and when you’ve had enough sun, you can stroll the amazing 4.3-mile wharf or visit El Chorchito, a beautiful ecological preserve.

Livorno, Italy. It’s the starting point for excursions to Florence or Pisa, but it’s a shame to miss the charms of the lovely city just beyond the busy docks. There are ancient city walls and the remains of impressive fortresses, a network of canals known as Little Venice, and a waterfront promenade near restaurants that serve fresh pasta and seafood.

Kotor, Montenegro. This small town at the edge of the Adriatic Sea is incredibly scenic. The Gulf of Kotor lies slightly inland, and your ship will travel through gorgeous mountains and fjords to reach the town. There, you can explore the medieval fortifications, cobblestone streets, a cathedral that dates from 1166, and more.

Kirkenes, Norway. In far, far northeastern Norway, close to the borders of Finland and Russia, Kirkenes delivers unparalleled views of the Northern Lights. The lights are at their glowing peak between October and March, which is also when you can enjoy an overnight at the Kirkenes Snowhotel (which is exactly what its name implies). You can learn about some WWII history here, as well as the culture of the Sami people.

Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about itineraries that include one of these (or dozens of other) underrated ports, and enjoy your discovery!

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Monday, September 17, 2018

American River Cruise Options

For an enchanting and close-to-home cruise, consider sailing one of the mighty rivers of North America. There are historic paddleboats that cruise the Mississippi River, small ships that bring you so close to Alaskan glaciers and wildlife, leaf-peeping cruises on the St. Lawrence River along the U.S./Canadian border, and more.

Most of these river cruises feature a combination of port days and river days, giving you time to both explore on shore and enjoy the ever-changing scenery as the ship moves. Here are just a few of many options:

The Mississippi. From its headwaters in northern Minnesota to its delta in the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River has inspired countless stories and songs. It’s the major river between the Rockies and the Appalachians, ranking among the world’s longest and largest rivers.

You can cruise the Upper Mississippi between St. Paul, Minn., and St. Louis, Mo., on a paddlewheel riverboat. It’s especially lovely during the fall color season when the woodlands along the river turn shades of red, orange and gold.

For a taste of the Antebellum South, cruise the lower Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans, La. These voyages provide a look back at plantation life, the lessons of the American Civil War, and the diverse cultures of the region.

Southeast Alaska. A cruise in this region is always a spectacular experience; still, a small boat that will take you places larger ships can’t. Sail into the Clarence Strait and Frederick Sound, visiting off-the-beaten-path wilderness areas and ports like Petersburg and Kake.

The Saint Lawrence River. The Thousand Islands archipelago is at the head of head of the river, where it exits Lake Ontario. Your captain will steer your ship expertly among the beautiful, rocky islands, some of which feature stunning residences, great blue herons, museums and more.

The Columbia River. Paddleboat cruises aren’t limited to the Mississippi; you can sail a paddleboat on the scenic Columbia, on the border between Washington and Oregon. This is part of the route taken by explorers Lewis & Clark in 1805 as they surveyed unknown territories and found a way to the Pacific.

Just like ocean cruises, river cruise operators offer pre- and post-cruise land tours and hotel stays. Talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about all the options for cruising North America’s most scenic rivers.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

The Ins and Outs of Choosing a Cruise Ship Cabin

Smaller than your favorite hotel room but very well equipped, your stateroom is your home base during your time on a cruise ship. When you make your cruise reservation, you choose the stateroom you want: here’s what you need to consider.

Most ships offer several different categories of staterooms, and the larger the ship, the more categories there are. Still, there are really just four basic types of staterooms:

· Inside: usually the smallest, with no window (though some new ships have “virtual” windows)

· Outside/Oceanview: located on an exterior wall, with a porthole or window; often a little larger than inside staterooms

· Balcony: an outside stateroom that opens to a private balcony

· Suite: a larger outside stateroom that may have separate sleeping areas, plus extra amenities and perks

After you decide which of the four basic types you want, you can pick exactly which stateroom you want (as long as no one else picked it first). Your choice should be guided by what you need and want in terms of location and amenities.

To start, ask your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert to help you review the ship’s deck plans. Are you a sound sleeper? If so, it may be OK to locate closer to an elevator, which is convenient for getting around the ship. If not, you should probably choose a location away from the elevators and public spaces (including those that may be right above or below your stateroom).

To minimize how much you feel the ship’s movement while in your stateroom, choose one as low and as near the middle of the ship as possible. If you’d like to be close to a certain part of the ship – such as the pool deck, the spa, the dining spots – consider that in your choice, too.

All staterooms have nice amenities – a cabin steward who tidies up, toiletries, individual climate control and more. But, ask about extras for some stateroom categories: for example, suites often come with a complimentary mini-bar, fresh flowers, butler and concierge services, access to exclusive lounges and more.

If you’re traveling with family or on your own, some ships offer family suites or solo staterooms, too. Be sure to talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert about all the options.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Best Things to do in Curaçao

The ABC chain of islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – offer the best of the Southern Caribbean to cruise passengers, and each has unique charms. Curaçao’s many painted houses provide a colorful welcome to this beautiful island, which lies just 40 miles north of Venezuela but is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Cruise ships dock in the capital of Willemstad, a vibrant and walkable city with tempting waterfront shops and cafes. The historic downtown, divided into two districts by Saint Anna Bay, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cross the bay on a water taxi or by walking across the floating Queen Emma Bridge. Highlights of Willemstad include the much-photographed Penha building; the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the Western Hemisphere; Fort Amsterdam; and Wilhelmina Park.

On the North side of the island, the Hato Caves were once used by native Arawaks, and then by escaped slaves, for shelter. A tour will give you more of the caves’ history, and you can admire the limestone formations that have been carved by nature through the years.

Of Curaçao’s many beaches, Blue Bay may be the most popular. It has a children’s play area, shady spots, restaurants, and bars, but the real attractions are the coral reefs – perfect for snorkeling and diving – not far off the beach. Beautiful Playa Porto Mari has fewer facilities, but features excursions to a unique double coral reef.

The north side of the island is home to two national parks, Shete Boka and Christoffel. Shete Boka means “seven inlets,” and the most popular is Boka Tabla inlet, where you can walk down rock-carved steps to get closer to the magnificent waves crash on the rocky shore. Christoffel has hiking trails and views of Mt. Christoffel, the island’s highest point.

When in Curaçao, it’s natural to sample the island’s signature liqueur, famously blue and flavored with the peel of the laraha orange (other popular flavors include coffee and chocolate). Tour the production facility on the Landhuis Chobolobo estate, then enjoy some cocktails and dishes inspired by the flavors of Curaçao in the café.

There’s much more to Curaçao, including museums, art galleries, golf courses, an excellent sea aquarium and an ostrich farm. To pick out a Southern Caribbean cruise that calls on Curaçao, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.

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