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, July 26, 2021

Contact-Free Technologies for Your Next Cruise 

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the cruise industry was working on new technologies to make cruising more convenient. For example, cruise line apps have made it easier for passengers to check the daily activity schedule, message each other onboard, pull up deck maps, make spa reservations, and more. But now that the whole world is more aware of the risks that come with a highly contagious virus, cruise line apps are valued for more than the convenience they deliver: they also make a cruise more contact-free. 

You can expect to see other contract-free technologies on future cruises, such as facial recognition technology. These systems scan faces to quickly recognize you as they get on or off the ship, eliminating the need for crew members to manually check your proof of identity. 

Several cruise lines now provide passengers with wristbands that store the information you need to manage many onboard tasks, from opening your stateroom door to purchasing items around the ship. These wristbands also help with contact tracing if someone on board does become ill; when the crew can quickly identify anyone who has been in contact with an infected person, they can take action to help. 

Every cruise begins with a muster drill, which prepares you to evacuate the ship safely in the unlikely event of an emergency. In traditional musters, passengers leave their staterooms and gather in groups near the ship’s lifeboats. Now, cruise lines are beginning to use technology that eliminates the need to gather at a muster station.

Instead, you’ll use your stateroom television or another device to read or listen to muster instructions. Then, you can individually report to your muster station, where crew members verify your completion of the drill. 

It’s reassuring to know there are always trained medical professionals on a cruise ship; now, telehealth technology means you may not even need to visit the sickbay to see them. Telehealth makes it possible to have a virtual exam without leaving the comfort of your stateroom. The medical staff may also be able to connect you with a specialist onshore, if needed. 

Other technologies that may not even be visible to you will help keep passengers healthy and safe. These include new ventilation and air cleaning technologies, as well as thermal scanning systems that check the temperatures of passengers and crew. 

Anita, your professional travel advisor, can help keep you up to date on new, contact-free technologies that will enhance your next cruise. 

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Make the Most of Your Time on Board


A cruise ship does much more than get passengers from one port to another; it’s a self-contained entertainment complex, too, with loads of options for fun, relaxation and education. So, how can you make the most of your time onboard? 

Our advice is to learn about your ship before you embark. The cruise line’s website has lots of information about the layout and features of the ship and the activities available during your cruise. When you know more about what’s onboard, you can make a plan. Here are a few things to consider: 

With the exception of some river cruise ships, most ships have a swimming pool – and often more than one – surrounded by lounge chairs. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon there with a good book and a refreshing drink. And, your ship may have options like an adults-only pool or a resort-style waterpark.  

Most cruise ships have fitness centers, too, that rival the best available on land. You can keep up your usual fitness routine, or try something new, like Pilates, spinning, or cardio kickboxing. Some ships also have exercise facilities on the top deck, from walking tracks to zip lines. 

Shipboard spas are very popular; check out your spa menu in advance to see if you’d like a massage, facial or body wrap. Your spa might offer even more, like thermal loungers and snow grottos for the ultimate in hot/cold skin therapy. 

You can also enjoy onboard lectures and presentations; many ships bring experts on board to give helpful previews of the ports you’ll visit, which can help you enjoy the local sights and culture. 

If you’ll cruise with kids, plan to take advantage of any onboard programs for children. These are thoughtfully designed and staffed to ensure young children, tweens, and even teens have a great time onboard. And while the kids are with their new friends, you’ll have time to enjoy your own activities. 

While onboard, check the ship’s daily schedule (available on your stateroom TV or cruise line app) for wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, galley tours, art auctions, and other events you might enjoy. And, be sure to see the onboard shows, which might make you forget you’re not in a Broadway theater. 

One potential problem: you may not have time to do everything you want to do onboard. So, select your top priorities for onboard fun, then plan to do the rest on future cruises. 

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Monday, July 12, 2021

Indulge in Your Interests on Themed Cruises

Do you have a hobby you love, or an interest you want to explore? Ask your professional travel advisor about themed cruises that can immerse you in activities you enjoy, with the added attraction of visiting an exotic port or two. There are themed cruises on topics as diverse as dance, motorcycles, scrapbooking, holistic therapies, food and wine, sports, cats – and many more. 

Lots of themed cruises focus on music. There’s a week-long Jazz Cruise on the Celebrity Summit, scheduled to depart Miami in January with more than 100 jazz musicians on board and ready to perform. The ship will call on the beautiful islands of Curacao and Aruba, too. And that’s just one example; other music-themed cruises will surround you with the sounds of rock, country, hip-hop, soul, classical, disco, and other genres. 

Some themed cruises are based on popular television shows and movies, like Star WarsTop Chef or The Golden Girls. For fans of Star Trek, the mission to explore strange new worlds will continue aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, departing in February from Port Canaveral. The cruise will include themed events, activities, and parties, with Star Trek actors and personalities onboard to join the fun. 

Cunard Line has announced a series of themed cruises for 2022 that will celebrate culture, literature, symphony music, theater and design; these include the line’s first-ever Art & Design Week voyage, launching in August on the Queen Mary 2. As the ship crosses the Atlantic from Southampton to New York, guests will enjoy master classes and onboard exhibitions that celebrate the best of design from the past, present, and future.

Bridge enthusiasts can sharpen their game aboard the elegant ships of Silversea, which has a Bridge at Sea program available on a variety of ships during 2021 and 2022. Participants can take daily lessons and play under the supervision of expert teachers certified by the American Contract Bridge League.

Before you book your themed cruise, find out if it’s a full-ship, partial ship or theme-inspired cruise. On a full-ship themed cruise, the entire ship is devoted to the theme, making it an immersive experience. On a partial-ship themed cruise, you’ll be part of a special-interest group on board, with themed spaces and activities just for your group. And, a theme-inspired cruise welcomes a small group of passengers who are interested in the theme, with special activities for you. To learn more, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.  

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Monday, July 5, 2021

Sail a Segment of a World Cruise

The next time you step aboard a cruise ship, why not take a long cruise? If you’re yearning to get out to sea and explore new destinations, you could consider an amazing world cruise that calls on multiple continents. 

And if you don’t have time for a full world cruise (usually 100 nights or longer), consider booking a segment of a world cruise. It’s a wonderful option for enjoying a long, relaxing cruise without committing to a complete world cruise. 

More good news: there are many world cruise segments to choose from. Here’s a sampling of the segments announced for world cruises set to launch in early 2022: 

The Crystal Serenity will depart from Miami for a 116-night world cruise, but you can book one of three segments, such as the 86-night voyage from Los Angeles to Monte Carlo. 

With two world cruises scheduled for 2022, Princess Cruises has a wide variety of segments, including a 66-day voyage from Ft. Lauderdale to Dubai on the Island Princess. The world cruise on the Coral Princess includes a 52-day segment from Sydney to Dover. 

On Seabourn’s 145-day world cruise, the Sojourn will sail from Los Angeles to Piraeus, the port for Athens, including a beautiful 73-day segment from Taipei to Piraeus. 

Cunard Line will have two world cruises in 2022, and each offers a choice of more than a dozen segments. On the Queen Mary, consider the 39-night sailing from New York to Singapore; or, aboard the Queen Victoria, a 51-night voyage from Hamburg to Sydney.  

You could spend a full six months aboard Oceania Cruises’ Insignia, sailing around the world beginning in Miami and ending in New York; or, choose the 29-day Los Angeles to Auckland segment, among others. 

The MSC Poesia’s roundtrip sailing from Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) has a terrific selection of segments, including a 36-night stretch from Genoa to Valparaiso. 

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Mariner will sail the world roundtrip from San Francisco in 2022; a number of tempting segments include a 35-night voyage from Hong Kong to San Francisco. 

Silversea is another line with two world cruises in 2022, including the industry’ first expedition-themed world cruise on the Silver Cloud; join it in Athens for an adventurous 44-night segment to Tromsø. Or, choose the Silver Whisper and sail a 24-day segment from Ushuaia to Cape Town. 

For more information on these world cruise segments or to explore dozens of others, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

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Monday, June 28, 2021

A Quick Guide to Cruise Ship Tipping

Tipping on a cruise ship is a good thing to understand before you set sail, and even experienced cruisers can benefit from a quick review of current tipping practices. 

 

The most important thing to understand about tipping the crew on a cruise ship is that it’s customary and expected. It’s a traditional way to show appreciation for the hard work of the crew, but it’s also an important part of the crew’s compensation. Many cruise lines pay base wages with the understanding that crew members will increase their income through tips earned by doing their jobs well. 

 

It used to be common for passengers to tip crew members with cash, but that was not very convenient – it meant bringing a bunch of cash on board, then roaming around the ship to hand it out to crew members on the final evening of the cruise. 

 

So, many cruise lines have automated the tipping process by adding a service charge – usually a set amount per person, per day – to your shipboard account. Some lines even give you the option of pre-paying this service charge when you book your cruise. This is definitely more convenient for you and helps ensure a more even distribution of tips to hard-working crew members, including those who do much of their work behind the scenes. 

 

Some luxury lines have no-tipping policies; but, that can really mean that tips for the crew have already been built into your fare. 

 

While tipping is expected on cruise ships, it’s technically not required. So, it’s possible to opt-out of automatic service charges, whether that’s because you don’t like tipping or you want to tip in cash as you see fit. Just remember that it can be difficult to personally tip all of the crew members who work to give you a great cruise experience; paying the automatic service charge ensures your tips will be fully and equitably distributed. 

 

You can also choose to tip more than the standard service charge. Simply visit the passenger services desk and ask to increase the service charge amount on your shipboard account. Or, bring along some $5, $10 and $20 bills so you can tip the old-fashioned way, by handing cash to a favorite room steward, bartender, waiter, sommelier, kids club counselor, or other crew members. 

 

Finally, remember to tip people who help you out but don’t work for the cruise line, such as the baggage handlers at the port and onshore tour operators. 

 

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Monday, June 21, 2021

Décor for Your Cabin Door

Cruise ship design creates long hallways lined on each side with identical stateroom doors; you might find the visual consistency soothing, or you may feel the urge to do a little decorating that makes your door stand out. 

 

Stateroom doors are clearly numbered and carefully keyed, so there’s little chance that you would actually step into the wrong one. Still, decorating your door is a fun chance for some self-expression. Stateroom door décor often reflects a holiday or a special occasion being celebrated by the occupants, such as a birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, or a reunion of family or friends.

 

However, before you make any door decorating plans or buy supplies, check out the guidelines for door decorations on your ship – your professional travel advisor can help. Some cruise lines ban door decorations completely, on the basis that they could pose a safety hazard or simply cause a mess. Other lines ask passengers to follow common-sense guidelines, like these: 


·         Decorations must not extend beyond the door frame into the hallway. 


·         Decorations must not damage or leave marks on the door. Don’t plan to use paint, glue, tape or gel adhesives, thumbtacks, or anything else that would leave residue, scratch the door or make a hole in it. Stateroom doors are usually made of metal, so you can often use magnets to hold decorations up (if the metal is covered with a veneer of wood or another material, you may need rather strong magnets). Easy-release adhesive strips or poster putty are sometimes acceptable, too. 


·         Decorations must be made of fire-retardant materials. 


·         Decorations cannot include string lights (which are generally not allowed in staterooms, either). 


·         Decorations must not be offensive, rude, or inappropriate in any way. 


Fun ideas for decorating include using wrapping paper and ribbon to make the whole door look like a big holiday, wedding, birthday, or graduation gift. Banners and cutout characters can let your neighbors know you’re celebrating a special event. Old family photos can be fun décor for a reunion. If you’re not celebrating a special event but simply want to dress up your door, cutouts of sea creatures or tropical flowers can help set a carefree cruise mood. 

 

Finally, be sure to completely remove your door decorations before you disembark at the end of the cruise. If you leave decorations in place or damage the door – even accidentally – you’ll make more work for your room steward and may have to pay a fine. 

 

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Monday, June 14, 2021

New Cruises to Antarctica

Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, is so remote that there’s no record of it even being seen by humans until the 1820s. Cold, windy and almost completely covered with ice, Antarctica is a beautiful and fascinating cruise destination. 

 In fact, cruising is possibly the best way to get close to this mysterious and magnificent continent. And, several cruise operators recently announced new Antarctic itineraries; some feature scenic cruising, and others give passengers the opportunity to actually set foot on the White Continent (weather permitting). 

 

Princess Cruises has announced a new, 16-day Antarctica and Cape Horn itinerary on the Diamond Princess, sailing between Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The itinerary includes Punta Arenas, Chile, on the Strait of Magellan; Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southern end of the Patagonia region; and four days of scenic cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship will also call on the Falkland Islands, which have a fascinating history and colonies of penguins, as well as Montevideo, Uruguay, where you can tour the Old City, browse the Port Market, or enjoy a vineyard tour and wine tasting. Two announced sailing dates are Dec. 19, 2021 (Santiago to Buenos Aires), and Jan. 4, 2022 (Buenos Aires to Santiago). 

 

Adventures by Disney plans to begin visiting Antarctica this December. This Disney subsidiary (separate from Disney Cruise Line) will charter ice-class vessels to sail to the Antarctic Peninsula. These 11-night vacations begin in Buenos Aires before a flight to Ushuaia, where the ship will be waiting. Adventure guides and naturalists will be on board to provide expert insights into Antarctic history, geography and wildlife. After the ship crosses the Drake Passage, passengers will have four days to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, moving from ship to shore via Zodiac crafts. This itinerary is scheduled to depart Buenos Aires on Dec. 20, 2021, and Jan. 30 and Feb. 20, 2022. 

 

Oceania Cruises has also scheduled a new itinerary that sails between Buenos Aires and Santiago, including three days of scenic cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. The 20-day Polar & Patagonian Quest voyage aboard the Marina calls on Montevideo and Punta del Este, Uruguay; Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia, Argentina; the Falkland Islands; Punta Arenas, Laguna San Rafael, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt, Chile, with two days of cruising the beautiful Chilean fjords. Departures are scheduled for Jan. 8, 2022, and Jan. 18 and Feb. 7, 2023. 

 

Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about all the options for experiencing the beauty of Antarctica via cruise ship. 

 

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Monday, June 7, 2021

Cruise to a Private Island

If you dream of a carefree day on a beautiful, beachy, and – best of all – private tropical island, you can live that dream. Simply book a cruise that includes a stop at the cruise line’s private island.

Costa, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, MSC, Princess and Royal Caribbean are among the cruise lines that operate their own private islands. Technically, some are private sections of larger islands, but that doesn’t diminish the feeling of being in an exclusive paradise.

Many cruise line private islands are in The Bahamas or the Caribbean; here’s a quick look at a few.

Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay has the same vibe as its family-friendly cruise ships; Disney characters will be there to greet you and get the dance party started. Choose from multiple beaches, including one for teens, one for adults, one for active sports, and one for families to enjoy together. Kids will love the activities at Scuttle’s Cove, as well as the floating play area with two twisting water slides and a giant bucket dump. A unique feature of this island is the Castaway Cay 5k, a friendly race that you can run or walk. Then, relax by renting a kayak, paddleboat, aqua trike or luxury cabana.

Just two years ago, Royal Caribbean transformed its private island, CocoCay, to provide a “Perfect Day at CocoCay.” Guests can enjoy an enormous wave pool, a freshwater pool, a 1,600-foot-long zip line, a (tethered) helium balloon ride and deluxe cabanas. While these activities come with an extra fee, many CocoCay features are included in your cruise fare, such as the lounge chairs and umbrellas on three lovely beaches, a water play area for children, sports courts and other beach activities. Royal Caribbean also operates Labadee, a private, resort-style beach area on the island of Haiti.

MSC Cruises recently turned an abandoned sand extraction site into a private island called Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. No longer a home for old scrap metal, Ocean Cay offers eight gorgeous beaches, a waterside spa, yoga classes, snorkeling adventures, and artisan boutiques. There’s also a coral nursery, with long-term plans to establish the island as a center for research into coral restoration. Some MSC itineraries include a late departure from or overnight stay at Ocean Cay, which provides time for stargazing, light shows, and other evening activities.

Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you select a cruise itinerary that includes a private island experience.

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Monday, May 31, 2021

Understanding the Passenger Vessel Services Act

If you love to cruise, the world is yours: 70% of the earth is covered by water, much of it navigable by cruise ship. But if you’re interested in a cruise that visits only U.S. ports, you may be surprised by how few U.S.-only itineraries are available. The reason? The Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) of 1886. 

 

The PVSA, created to help promote U.S. shipping interests, prevents foreign-flagged ships from carrying passengers from one U.S. port to another, unless they also stop at a foreign port. Today, most cruise ships are built and flagged in countries other than the U.S., which means the PVSA applies to most cruises that depart from and return to a U.S. port. 

 

You may hear or read that the Jones Act is the reason cruises that depart from and return to U.S. ports must call on a foreign port, but that’s a misconception. The Jones Act (or Merchant Marine Act) of 1920 is a similar law, but it applies to sailing with cargo rather than people; it has nothing to do with cruise ships. 

 

To meet the requirements of the PVSA, roundtrip cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port can stop at any foreign port; a call in Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico or Central America will do. But, itineraries that embark from one U.S. port and end at a different U.S. port – for example, those that go through the Panama Canal – are required to stop at a more “distant” port, such as Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, or Cartagena, Columbia. 

 

U.S.-only itineraries on ships built and flagged in the U.S. are exempt from the PVSA; examples include some U.S. river cruises, some Alaskan itineraries, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Hawaiian cruises on the Pride of America. 

 

Cruise lines carefully plan their itineraries to comply with the PVSA and avoid the fine of $798 per passenger for a violation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection can waive these fines in certain situations, such as when a ship can’t call on the foreign port due to bad weather. 

 

It’s also possible for an individual to violate the PVSA: for example, say you’re on a roundtrip cruise from Miami that calls on the foreign port of Cozumel, Mexico. If you decide to return to Miami before the ship reaches Cozumel, that’s a violation of the PVSA.  

 

For more information about the PVSA, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, May 24, 2021

The Evolution of Cruise Ship Dress Codes

Today, packing for a cruise means packing lightly – less luggage makes it easier to travel to and from the ship, and most staterooms have limited storage room for clothes. But in the early days of pleasure cruising – the early 1900s – passengers arrived at the docks with steamer trunks full of finery. 

 

Back then, many people used ship travel to emigrate from one continent to another, but pleasure cruising was something only the wealthy could afford. It was an opportunity to see more of the world, but also to show off fashionable clothing and jewelry. During the day, women wore dresses of silk, satin or damask with long, flowing skirts and tailored jackets. Men wore three-piece suits and neckties. Every evening was black tie: women dined and danced in embellished ball gowns and precious gems, while men wore formal tail coats or early versions of the tuxedo. 

 

Since then, cruise line dress codes have followed the gradual shift to more casual dress in workplaces and society in general. By the 1920s, on land and at sea, women began to throw away their corsets and raise their hemlines. Men’s fashion silhouettes became more relaxed, too, favoring blazers and loose trousers. 

 

In the 1930s, Katherine Hepburn did something truly revolutionary for women at the time; she wore trousers, a big step in the move toward more casual, comfortable clothing for daily life and travel. In the decades that followed, both fashion and cruising became more affordable, and cruise wear continued to become less formal.  

 

On most of today’s cruises, you won’t go wrong by packing some casual tops and bottoms you can mix and match. Daytime dress codes are increasingly determined by what you plan to do: shorts and t-shirts are appropriate for active shore excursions, while you might dress in a casual skirt and blouse, or slacks and a collared shirt, for a cultural tour. You should ask your professional travel advisor if you need any special clothing: for example, you might need water shoes for some active excursions, and some cultural sites require a head covering. 

 

Anita, your professional travel advisor, can also provide details about the evening dress code for your next cruise; on some cruise lines, shorts, jeans and flip-flops may not be welcome at dinner.

 

And for those who love a little glamour, black tie evenings – an echo from the early days of cruising – are still scheduled once or twice on many cruise itineraries. 

 

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Monday, May 17, 2021

All About Ship Stretching

Cruise lines are always thinking about ways to enhance their ships to ensure that passengers have a great vacation experience; sometimes, they do that by stretching a ship. 

Many cruise ships are built in blocks, with everything carefully positioned so the blocks can be seamlessly connected when the ship is assembled. This type of construction helps make it possible to separate existing blocks in order to insert additional ones. So, stretching a ship involves literally cutting it in half, gently pulling the sections apart, then inserting a new section before putting everything back together.  

 

It’s not easy – ship stretching is a major feat of planning, design and engineering. But it’s not rare; MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Silversea and Windstar are among the cruise operators that have stretched one or more ships. 

 

Cruise lines choose to stretch their ships for a number of reasons. The most common may be that stretching a ship increases capacity without the expense of building an entirely new ship. For example, in 2005, Royal Caribbean revitalized the Enchantment of the Seas by inserting a new, 73-foot section in the middle of the ship. 

 

And, stretching does more than create space for more staterooms. It also expands common spaces on the ship, including those that are most important to today’s cruise passengers, such as spas and fitness centers, alternative restaurants and innovative open-air spaces. For example, Silversea’s stretching of the Silver Spirit added 34 new suites and a larger pool deck. When MSC Cruises stretched its Lirica Class vessels, each ship received new lounges and waterparks as well as 194 more staterooms. 

 

Stretching a ship to add capacity is also much faster than building a new ship. While stretching or building a ship requires teams of engineers to do incredibly detailed work, stretching a ship usually takes just a few months; building a new ship usually takes two years or more. 

 

In addition to adding capacity and new features, stretching a ship can provide an opportunity to upgrade systems and technologies. When Windstar Cruises stretched its Star Class vessels, it replaced older engines with more efficient and environmentally friendly engines. 

 

Stretching a ship can even have aesthetic benefits, giving a ship a longer, sleeker look. And when it’s all done, there are no visible weld marks or other signs that a ship has been stretched. 

To make your plans to set sail on a cruise ship – stretched or not – talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor. 

 

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Will You Need a COVID-19 Vaccine to Cruise?

It’s been more than a year since most cruise ships have been able to sail from or to U.S. ports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cruise lines, with new cleaning equipment and safety measures in place, have already restarted operations in Europe and Asia, but U.S. cruise ship docks remain quiet. 

 

Some cruise lines are announcing that they will soon cruise from ports just outside the U.S., in the Bahamas or the Caribbean. But with the increasingly steady rollout of vaccines across the U.S., cruise fans are getting excited about the thought of being able to cruise from U.S. ports again. 

 

The question remains: will you need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before you can board a cruise ship? 

 

The answer isn’t fully clear yet, but several popular cruise lines have already announced that they will require passengers to be fully vaccinated before they come on board. “Fully vaccinated” generally means that a passenger has received a one-shot vaccine, or both doses of a two-shot vaccine. Some cruise lines are specifying that vaccination must be completed at least 14 days before boarding the ship. 

 

Cruise lines that have announced they will require COVID-19 vaccinations for some or all of their cruises include American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, UnCruise Adventures, Virgin Voyages and Windstar. Some cruise lines – like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas – have announced that they will require all crew members to be fully vaccinated before sailing, though they have not yet announced any vaccination requirements for passengers. 

 

Already, the details of vaccinations and testing requirements vary among cruise lines. For example, American Cruise Lines requires COVID vaccination and a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within four days of sailing. Avalon Waterways require proof that passengers have been fully vaccinated; or, proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 72 hours of sailing; or, proof of having recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within the previous 90 days. 

 

As for children, some cruise lines, including Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, have announced they will require guests under age 18 to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of sailing. 

As you plan your next cruise, stay in touch with Anita, your professional travel advisor, who will be able to update you on the COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for your chosen cruise line. 

 

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Monday, May 3, 2021

Relax in a Cruise Ship Spa

Cruising is a carefree vacation choice; just board your ship, unpack in your comfortable stateroom, and enjoy the wonderful onboard entertainment, dining and learning options while the captain and crew take you from one port to another. To make your time at sea even more stress-free, schedule a pampering treatment in your ship’s spa.

Most of today’s cruise ships have spa facilities that rival the best spas you can visit on land. And for some cruise fans, the style and menu of the onboard spa has a lot to do with their choice of cruise line and ship. Here’s a quick look at some of the spas at sea.

Canyon Ranch – a top name in spa resorts on land – takes an integrative approach to well-being in body, mind, and spirit in the spas it operates on cruise ships from multiple cruise lines. On Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, the Canyon Ranch spa + fitness facility features an array of treatments to pamper and rejuvenate the body, skin, and feet. One highlight is the Aqua Therapy Center, which offers saunas, aromatic steam, sensory showers , and hydrotherapeutic massage treatments.

On the ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Canyon Ranch provides a menu of Serene Spa & Wellness services created just for the cruise line. There’s a focus on natural ingredients and treatments from around the world; for example, you can enjoy a rejuvenating massage that uses Himalayan salt stones, or one that features a combination of warm basalt stones and cooled jade.

Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships include the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, which extends beyond the spa to AquaClass staterooms that are equipped with spa-style showers, aromatherapy diffusers and more. The spa offers an extensive menu of treatments and a Persian Garden, a sauna and steam room where the heated lounge chairs have ocean views.

The spas on Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships include thermal suites with heated ceramic loungers, horizontal rain showers (yes, you can take a shower while laying down), seawater hydrotherapy pools, and more. Dedicated spa staterooms with special perks offer passengers a more immersive spa experience.

The ships of Viking Ocean Cruises feature LivNordic Spas; in the Nordic tradition, they offer alternating hot and cold therapies to stimulate the circulatory system. The spas include thermal suites with unique water-vapor fireplaces, dry saunas, cold plunge pools, warmed ceramic loungers, rustic cold showers, and amazing, blue-lit grottos filled with manmade snow.

For more information about these and other incredible floating spas, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Cruising on a Superyacht

If you would love a chance to cruise on a spectacular luxury yacht, but don’t happen to know someone who owns one, take heart. Two providers of “superyacht” cruises – Atlas Ocean Voyages and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection – are preparing to launch this year. Both are expected to provide new options for those who enjoy ultraluxury, all-inclusive cruises.

Ritz-Carlton, the operator of luxury hotels and resorts, is planning to bring its high standards for style and individualized service to the sea through the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. The line’s first superyacht, the Evrima, will have 149 sumptuous suites with all-glass exterior walls. Each suite will have its own terrace as well.

The plans for the Evrima include a full-service spa and several dining venues. Passengers will be able to call on a personal concierge for help with anything from dinner and spa reservations to arranging immersive experiences onshore. And the ship’s sleek design will allow port calls that may not be accessible to larger ships – think Portofino on the Italian Riviera, the yacht-filled harbor of St. Barths in the Caribbean, or the remote Sept-Iles of Quebec.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection plans a leisurely pace for its cruises, and port calls will include some overnight stays. There are plans for two sister ships to join the Evrima in the Ritz-Carlton fleet in the future.

Atlas Ocean Voyages plans to provide guests with a unique “luxe-adventure” experience on its yacht cruises, combining luxury onboard with physically active excursions onshore. This line is intended to appeal to passengers who want to treat themselves to a high-end expedition cruise.

Planned itineraries include port calls in destinations like Ukraine and Romania on the Black Sea, or Israel and Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean. The first Atlas ship, the World Navigator, will be polar-class, so there are plans to sail to the southern tip of South America and Antarctica, too.  Some longer itineraries are expected to include inland experiences of two to five nights.

Passengers on the World Navigator and its planned sister ships can expect gourmet cuisine, premium beverages, and beautifully furnished staterooms. Each stateroom will be equipped with binoculars for enjoying the scenery, as well as personalized coffee, tea, and bar service. If you sail to Antarctica with Atlas, you’ll even find polar-class parkas waiting for you.

To learn more about these new superyacht cruise lines and how you can sail on them, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Creative Open-Air Cruise Fun

More than 100 years ago, the White Star Line introduced the Olympic, the largest passenger ship in the world at the time. The Olympic, almost 883 feet long, had nine decks and could carry 2,435 passengers. In contrast, the largest cruise ship afloat today – Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas – measures 1,188 feet long, has 18 decks, and can carry up to 6,680 passengers.

As cruise ships have become larger, much of the additional square footage has been devoted to interior spaces, including larger staterooms, restaurants and theaters. But some provide guests with amazing open-air, on-deck attractions, like these:

Since it first debuted in 2004, Movies Under the Stars has become a signature feature on the Princess Cruises fleet. Spacious pool decks include giant screens that show movies in the evening. Passengers can watch from poolside loungers equipped with extra cushions, while the crew serves popcorn, movie-themed cocktails and other beverages. While it was originally an evening-only event, Movies Under the Stars now operates during the daytime, too, showing sports, concerts and other programming on the big screens.

The top decks on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss feature thrilling, first-at-sea racetracks. Eco-friendly electric race cars reach speeds of up to 30 mph on a curvy track with great ocean views. While the cars don’t make noise, a soundtrack of revving engines and downshifting gears is transmitted into the drivers’ safety helmets to add to the experience.

When the Celebrity Edge debuted in late 2018, Celebrity Cruises unveiled its first Resort Deck as a new way to enjoy the outdoors at sea. The Resort Deck includes a whimsical Rooftop Garden adorned with nature-inspired sculptures, cozy nooks, a giant chess set, a dance floor, and lots of comfy seating for watching movies or stargazing.

Even though river cruise ships are smaller than their ocean-going cousins, they are also making the most of their outdoor spaces. Some Avalon Waterway ships feature a Sky Deck that’s equipped with chaise lounges, a whirlpool and space for outdoor games, along with a shaded area for enjoying al fresco tastes from the Sky Grill.

Upcoming cruise ships may include even more open-air entertainment and dining venues, which can play a big role in helping to prevent any sharing of viruses or other germs on board. Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about ships that offer terrific open-air spaces and how you can sail on one.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Try a Repositioning Cruise

If you loved days spent out at sea on past cruises – or if the idea of having lots of time to enjoy all the amenities of a modern cruise ship appeals to you – look into repositioning cruises.

Repositioning cruises happen when ships need to move from one part of the world to another, in line with cruise seasons. For example, some ships move from Northern Europe to the Caribbean in fall, or from Australia to the Pacific Northwest in late spring.

Crossing a vast expanse of water gives passengers plenty of time to explore everything on board, which can be hard to do on a port-intensive cruise. Repositioning cruises often provide great value, as well. Just remember that you’ll have to travel to one port to board the ship, then return home from a different port (that might be on a different continent).

Most repositioning cruises are at least 10 days long, and many are longer. And most of those days will be spent at sea, without a port in sight. So, how would you spend your time? Here are a few ideas.

·         Try all the onboard activities. When there’s a choice between exploring on shore and staying on board, most of us choose the shore. Days at sea days provide the opportunity to participate in any and all the onboard activities you like, from fitness classes to lectures, wine tastings, behind the scenes tours, and much more.

·         See all the shows. You’ll have time to enjoy all the shipboard entertainment, and perhaps see favorite performances more than once.

·         Visit the spa and enjoy a relaxing treatment; it’s truly a wonderful experience.

·         Enjoy all the dining venues; today’s biggest ships can have more than a dozen restaurants, and a repositioning cruise provides time to try them all.

·         Spend time with your fellow passengers. You’ll have time to get to know new people, which can result in lasting friendships.

Another advantage of a repositioning cruise is that any port calls are likely to be excitingly off the beaten path. For example, a North Atlantic crossing could include a call on Greenland; a ship sailing from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean might stop in the Canary Islands; and a ship bound from the South Pacific to South America might call on Easter Island. Some repositioning cruises go through the Panama Canal, which is a fascinating destination in itself.

To find a repositioning cruise that you’ll enjoy, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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