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, 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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