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, February 24, 2020

Sailing With a Disability

A cruise offers vacation convenience for everyone: you can unpack just once; see multiple destinations without having to make transportation arrangements; and never worry about where to find breakfast, lunch or dinner. In addition, the ship’s crew is always ready to help with your questions or special requests.

All of that and more – including newer accessibility features on many ships – makes cruising a superb choice for people who have disabilities. With some advanced planning and the help of your professional travel advisor, you can enjoy a smooth and exciting cruise experience.

First, be sure to choose the best cruise ship for you. You don’t need to limit your choices to newer ships – many older ships have been through major refurbishments that include added features for passengers with disabilities.

Whether your choice is a new or seasoned ship, ask your professional travel advisor to help you determine if it really has what you need, whether that’s extra-wide or automatic doors; roll-in showers; accessible restrooms in public areas; menus in Braille; onboard sign language interpreters; or other features. What you need might not be standard on your ship, but might be arranged if your cruise line is notified in advance: your travel advisor can help you clearly communicate your needs to the cruise line.

Also, choose your cruise itinerary just as carefully as your ship. For example, if mobility is an issue for you, find out if the ship sails right up to a dock in each port of call, or if it will anchor in the harbor and transfer passengers to shore via small tender boats. Tenders may not be able to accommodate passengers with mobility issues, so you may want to avoid itineraries that have a lot of tender ports.

When you choose an itinerary, take a closer look at each port of call. Charming cobblestoned streets, steep stairways or a lack of sidewalks can pose challenges. To overcome these, some cruise lines offer specialized shore excursions for people with disabilities. Or, ensure your comfort onshore by working with your travel advisor to arrange for the type of transportation or assistance you need before you leave home.

One more tip: Find out if there are any cruise groups organized by an organization that serves people who have the same disability as you. Sailing with people who understand your disability (and may have great solutions to access issues) can take your cruise experience to a new level.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

LGBT Cruises for 2020

If you’re looking for your perfect LGBT cruise, consider these two basic types: an all-gay charter cruise, or a standard cruise that includes an organized gay group. We don’t want to imply that cruises in general are not gay-friendly; in fact, many major cruise lines work to make sure they are welcoming to LGBT communities. Still, knowing that you’ll sail with an LGBT group can enhance your cruise experience.

The first all-gay cruise – in which a tour operator hosts the cruise on a chartered ship – took place in the mid-1980s, and they’ve been growing in popularity ever since. On this type of cruise, most of the passengers are gay, which creates a high level of comfort for anyone worried about experiencing homophobia while on vacation. The tour operator will arrange entertainment and shore excursions that are gay-friendly, too.

Another option is joining a gay group on a standard cruise. In this case, the tour operator doesn’t take over the whole ship, but brings together a gay group that can range from just a few to hundreds of passengers. The tour operator will make special arrangements – such as parties, dinners, and shore excursions – exclusively for your group, which can be important when visiting cultures that are not always friendly to LGBT communities.

So, where can LGBT cruisers sail during 2020? Here’s just a small sample of all-gay cruise itineraries:

Southern Caribbean, March 21-28, Celebrity Summit. The Summit will take a weeklong, port-intensive cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico, calling on St. Kitts, Aruba, CuraƧao and Bonaire and spending two days at sea.

Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, Oct. 17-24, Azamara Pursuit. The Pursuit will take a roundtrip cruise from Athens, calling on Santorini, Cyprus, and Jerusalem. You’ll have the option to extend your vacation with a pre- or post-cruise land tour, too.

European Christmas Markets River Cruise, Dec. 5-12 or Dec. 12-19, Emerald Star. You have a choice of two routes – Amsterdam to Nuremberg or Nuremberg to Budapest – and whichever you pick, you’ll visit some of the delightful Christmas Markets along Europe’s Danube River.

Iceland Cruise, Aug. 30-Sept. 6, Ponant Le Jacques Cartier. This small and very luxurious ship will circumnavigate the fascinating island nation, sailing roundtrip from Reykjavik to see glaciers, fjords, geysers and wildlife (from adorable puffins to majestic whales).

Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor soon to book your gay-friendly cruise for 2020.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Seeing Alaska, Cruise-Style

Alaska is a unique treasure, brimming with natural beauty, expansive wilderness and Arctic wildlife. It is a rugged destination, but you can experience the stunning coastal scenery of its southeastern panhandle via the comforts of a cruise ship.

Most major cruise lines offer wonderful cruises to Alaska, giving you a wide variety of ships, itineraries and staterooms to choose from. You’re sure to find one that accommodates your budget, too.

Plus, keep in mind that there can be a lot of variation in Alaska’s weather, even during the relatively brief cruise season (mid-April through mid-September). For the warmest cruise conditions, look at July sailings. Still, low temperatures can be in the 40s even during the peak of summer. Dress warmly to stroll the deck in the early mornings, and dress in layers so you can easily adapt when the temperature rises – it can reach the 70s or even the low 80s on a sunny midsummer day.

Most seven-day roundtrip cruises from Seattle or Vancouver sail through Alaska’s beautiful Inside Passage. This waterway, carved long ago by glacial ice, is a maze of channels and inlets tucked in between majestic coastal mountains and forested islands. The views are simply breathtaking, and you might be able to spot whales and sea lions in the water; bears and Dall sheep on the land; and eagles in the sky.

Some of the popular ports of call along the Inside Passage are Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.
Ketchikan is the place to learn about indigenous Tlingit culture, including traditional totem poles. This is also the gateway to Misty Fjords National Monument, which is as beautiful as its name implies.

The mountain-backed city of Juneau is the state capital and home to Mendenhall Glacier. Here, you can ride up the Mount Roberts Tramway to enjoy the incredible views, go trekking on the glacier, take a fishing expedition or get a lesson in dogsledding.

Steeped in Gold Rush history, Skagway was the starting point for fortune-seekers headed to the mining districts of the Klondike and the Yukon. To see the path they followed, ride the train up to White Pass. You can take a snowshoe expedition or test your prospecting skills by panning for a bit of gold.

There are other options for cruising Alaska, including itineraries that venture farther north, to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula; and, some that combine a cruise with an inland adventure. Explore the options with guidance from Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Cruise the Rivers of the World

As much as we love the expansive feeling of cruising on a wide-open ocean, we highly recommend the close-to-shore experience of a river cruise, too. There’s so much to see along the interior waterways of the world: major cities, quaint villages, castles and temples, mountains and valleys, and amazing cultural treats.

Where can you take a river cruise? There are lots of possibilities.

In Europe, the Danube is a popular choice for cruising. It flows along or through 10 different countries, so you can visit wonderful destinations from Germany to the Black Sea on a single itinerary (though most cruises focus on just one of the river’s three sections: upper, middle or lower). Vienna and Budapest are two of the most popular ports on the Danube.

The Rhine is another historic European river, flowing from the Swiss Alps through Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea. The river goes through areas of outstanding natural beauty, with castles, churches and vineyards perched on the hills above. Also, ask your professional travel advisor about cruises of the Rhone (France), Douro (Portugal), Po (Northern Italy) or Elbe (Czech Republic) Rivers.

You can also explore the beauty and history of Asia on a river cruise. China’s mighty Yangtze River was one of the first river cruise options in Asia, and it’s still a great choice. The river flows from the Tibetan Plateau to the East China Sea, but most cruises focus on the dramatic scenery of the Three Gorges region.

Or, consider the Mekong River, where cruises often begin or end with a visit to Cambodia’s remote and spectacular Angkor Wat temple complex. In addition to gilded Buddhist temples and floating markets, you’ll see some of Southeast Asia’s biggest cities.

River cruises are also available in exotic destinations like India, where you can sail a portion of the Ganges, and Egypt, along the storied River Nile. There are more options than ever before for cruises of South America’s 4,000-mile-long Amazon River and its tributaries, with starting points in Brazil, Ecuador or Peru.

Africa will be the next continent to develop river cruises, and you can already book a short cruise on the Chobe River in Botswana, where elephants and other animals come to the river to drink.

Remember, there are close-to-home options, too, such as cruises of the Columbia, Mississippi or St. Lawrence Rivers. To get started planning your river cruise experience, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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