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, October 31, 2022

Onboard Credits and How to Use Them

For any cruise passenger, onboard credits (or OBCs) are wonderful things. In simplest terms, they are currency you can use to pay for a variety of goods and services onboard. How can you get OBCs? There are several ways, which include:

Cruise promotions. Some cruise lines offer OBCs instead of, or along with, fare discounts. And, cruise lines often give professional travel advisors onboard credits to pass on to their clients.

Loyalty and referrals. A cruise line you’ve sailed with before may offer OBCs as an incentive for a future cruise, or as a reward when a friend books a cruise on your recommendation.

Credit cards. You may receive OBCs when you sign up for your favorite cruise line’s branded credit card.

Shareholder benefits. If you own enough shares of a cruise line’s stock, you may receive OBCs whenever you take a cruise on that line.

Complaint compensation. It’s not a very fun way to get OBCs, but if you have a complaint, OBCs may be part of any compensation the cruise line may offer to you.

Once you have onboard credits, there are lots of ways to use them:

Beverage and dining packages. If you’ve cruised before, you know that most beverages are not included in your cruise fare; but, you can use OBCs to purchase beverage packages that provide discounts on soda, cocktails, beer, wine, specialty coffees, and other drinks. If your ship has specialty restaurants with cover charges, you can also pay for them with OBCs.

Shore excursions. A few luxury cruise lines include shore excursions in their fares, but on many cruises, onshore activities come with fees you can pay for with OBCs.

Spa treatments. In onboard spas, treatments can start at $100 or more. If you’d like a massage or some other pampering, it’s a delightful use of OBCs.

Wi-Fi access. While many cruise ships now make Wi-Fi available, they often charge hourly or daily rates. If you need to stay in touch while sailing, this is another good use of OBCs.

Fun and helpful extras. You can use OBCs to buy things in onboard shops and boutiques, or for extras like laundry services. Some cruise lines allow passengers to use OBCs as gratuities for the crew, but a few specifically disallow this.

OBCs are usually non-transferable and non-refundable, so when you have some, be sure to use them before they expire. For more tips about onboard credits, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Ports Off the Usual Cruise Routes

Any cruise can be a wonderful and carefree vacation, but not all cruises are alike. There’s a wide variety of cruise experiences available to you; and, much of what you experience on a cruise depends on the size of the ship.

Today’s largest cruise ships have lots of incredible features. Along with room for thousands of passengers, they have space for an amazing variety of dining and entertainment venues. Plus, they sail to some of the world’s most popular ports.

Butthere are advantages to cruising on a smaller ship – say, up to 1,500 passengers – as well. One is the ability to visit smaller ports that are a little off the usual cruise routes because they can’t accommodate larger ships. Here are a few examples.

Quepos, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is a stop for some smaller cruise ships that pass through the Panama Canal. It’s near Manuel Antonio National Park, which is known for wildlife –iguanas, capuchin, and howler monkeys, and two types of sloth – and beautiful beaches. Here, you can also take a surf lesson, go deep-sea fishing, or zipline through the forest canopy.

Nafplion is a charming Greek town on the Aegean Sea that was a busy trading center in the Middle Ages, so it’s steeped in history. Stroll the Arvantia Promenade, visit the Archaeological Museum, or climb the steps to Palamidi Castle to enjoy the stunning view. There are markets full of handmade crafts and a lovely beach, too.

Molde, nestled along Norway’s Romsdal Fjord, offers beautiful Nordic scenery; a flightseeing tour over the mountains and glaciers is a breathtaking experience. There are some surprises here, too, including rose gardens that flourish in the summer and Moldejazz – one of Europe’s oldest jazz festivals – every July.

Kaikoura, a coastal village on the South Island of New Zealand, has a gorgeous backdrop of snow-capped mountains. This part of the coast is known for marine life, and you could spot whales, seals, dolphins, and sea birds from the Peninsula Walkway or a tour boat. You can also see the Ohau Waterfall or tour the Fyffe House to learn about Māori heritage and the region’s whaling history.

In addition to fascinating ports, there are other delightful reasons to cruise on smaller ships. For example, many smaller ships belong to luxury cruise lines, so you can expect a high level of comfort and service. For more information about small ship cruising, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 17, 2022

What to Know Now About Cruise Line COVID Rules

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters, the U.S. doesn’t have any federal requirements for cruise passenger vaccination, testing or masking. But, that doesn’t mean that all such requirements have disappeared. Because COVID and its variants can spread between people in close quarters, including cruise ships, cruise lines have their own requirements and protocols, which continue to evolve.

So, what does this mean for you the next time you cruise?

First, keep in mind that cruise lines’ COVID-related requirements for vaccination, testing, and masking can change at any time in response to COVID developments. And, the CDC still provides COVID management guidance and recommendations to cruise lines.

Regarding vaccination, some cruise lines continue to require all passengers to be fully vaccinated (although some of them make exceptions for children). Some cruise lines accept a limited number of unvaccinated passengers, often with the requirement of a negative COVID test completed shortly before boarding. Others have begun to eliminate vaccination requirements for passengers, except where vaccination is required by ports of call.

As for testing, some cruise lines no longer require pre-cruise COVID test requirements for fully vaccinated passengers, though testing may still be required in order to disembark at certain ports on the itinerary. Some lines now require pre-cruise COVID tests only for longer cruises (often defined as two weeks or more). But most cruise lines still have onboard testing requirements for guests who are exposed to people who have symptoms or test positive for COVID during a cruise.

Many cruise lines have made masks optional for passengers, though they may still encourage masking in indoor common areas. For now, you can expect to see crew members wearing masks as they do their jobs. Cruise lines also continue to follow heightened cleaning and sanitation protocols to help prevent any spread of illness among guests and crew.

Any time you make plans to cruise, it’s important to consider your personal health, especially if you have a higher risk of developing serious illness if you catch COVID or any other virus. Before you make your reservations, check in with your doctor’s office. They can help you ensure you’re prepared to sail and advise on any precautions that you should take while cruising.

Finally, stay connected with Anita, your professional travel advisor, for the latest updates on COVID vaccination, testing, and masking requirements for your favorite cruise lines.

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Monday, October 10, 2022

Why Use a Travel Advisor

  1. Relationships with suppliers – you know when you’re visiting your neighborhood restaurant where the servers are familiar and give you a new dessert to try with your meal sometimes? Companies and people love to reward loyalty and the same is true about travel providers. Travel advisors have relationships with these companies and their staff and want to keep that relationship mutually beneficial! The suppliers know that if they can keep their travel advisors’ clients happy, they’ll be more likely to send more people their way. Sometimes this can translate into extra attention, free upgrades, or even things like chocolate-covered strawberries in your room!
  2. Knowledge about products – what’s the best travel insurance and should you get it? If something were to go wrong or there were any last-minute changes, which suppliers have the best cancellation policies? Ask your advisor! They treat knowledge about travel like it’s their job (because it is!)
  3. Better rates / added benefits – you won’t always get better rates booking with an advisor, but you’ll often get more value added. In the age of online booking, it’s easier than ever to find “deals” online, but when you go through a massive online booking company, oftentimes, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Is that hotel room so cheap because it’s on the side of the building next to train tracks and faces a brick wall? With an advisor, you know exactly what you’re getting and what added benefits are coming along with it. Travel advisors also stay updated on what kind of sales are happening. If they know you’re looking for a river cruise to Europe and a big sale starts, they’ll know to pass that information along to you!
  4. Translating dreams to reality – How do you take your vague notion about a dream vacation and turn it into reality? Ask your travel advisor! They’re able to translate your wants into real locations and help you identify what pieces of your trip will matter the most.
  5. Travel logistics – How much time do you need for a layover? Would it make the most sense to rent a car, hire a driver, or something else altogether? If even starting down that train of thought is giving you sweaty palms, take a deep breath and call your travel advisor.
  6. Peace of mind – In the unfortunate event that something does go wrong, having someone on your side to help you through it and advocate for you is invaluable. Instead of being stuck internationally frantically trying to track down all of the people you need to call, you can make one call to your travel advisor and trust them to figure out the best plan for you.
  7. They get to know you – The more you use a travel advisor, the more valuable they are. With each trip you take through them, the more feedback you’re able to give them on what worked for you and what you’d skip next time, making each subsequent trip even further beyond perfect.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Must-Try Foods in Paris

Paris is known for many things, like the Eiffel Tower, romance, and cafes. But it’s also known for its food. Here are a few bites you shouldn’t pass up on your trip to Paris.


Macarons (also called French macaroons, not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a convection created with meringue cookies that sandwich a flavored filling. These cookie sandwiches showed up in Paris in the 1830s from Parisian confectioners and were made popular by Laduree, a famous French bakery. It wasn’t long until the macaron became famous world-wide. It even has its very own day to celebrate! But even though these tasty treats are accessible just about everywhere these days, there’s something about trying them in the country they originated.


These are a staple in Paris. They are convenient, easy to eat on the go, and can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, including on their own or as part of a sandwich. The croissant became popular in France because of Marie Antoinette. The story is that she wanted the baker to replicate her favorite bakery treat from her hometown in Austria. Over time, this treat became lighter and fluffier into what we know the croissant as now.

Some say that you know if a croissant is good if you don’t need to any anything to it. However, French people like to indulge at their weekend brunch and add jam or chocolate to their croissants.


Another staple in Paris is the baguette. In the 1920s, laws were in place that prohibited bakers from starting to bake until after 4:00 in the morning. These laws prevented them from having fresh bread in the mornings. The bakers had to be creative to find ways to have bread freshly baked for the mornings and wound up changing the bread’s shape into the baguette we know today. This allowed the bread to bake faster and made it possible for the dough to receive the maximum amount of exposed heat, which gives it that thick crust.

The baguette has been an iconic symbol of France ever since. Like the croissant, it’s a great grab-and-go snack and versatile in the ways you can enjoy it. One way people will enjoy a baguette is to cut it in half with butter and jam. It also pairs wonderfully with chocolat chaud, which is similar to a hot chocolate.


This is a unique one, but the butter in Paris is a must-try, specifically the Le Beurre Bordier. Here is how this butter is different from the rest:

They only use milk from local farmers who demonstrate the best farming practices. They also take their time when making the butter. Bordier waits 72 hours to use the milk once they get it from the cows, where milk used to make a typical brick of butter is only left to sit 6 hours. This extra time allows the cream to develop its flavor. They even knead the butter at a much slower speed.

It’s also unique because the butter is slightly different based on what season it is. The cows’ diet vastly alters how the butter comes out. When the cows graze on fresh grass in the summer, the butter is much more yellow, smoother, and tastes more savory. In the winter, the butter tends to be lighter in color due to the grass. It’s also more brittle and tastes sweeter.

They also only make the butter on-demand, so you know you’ll be getting the freshest butter!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a comforting soup that has become widely popular. There are no definitive stories on the origin of the French Onion Soup, but many that in the 1800s, low-income workers would use the leftover onions that they were selling to make soup to keep them warm. The soup started as just the broth, which uses caramelized onions and beef broth.

In the 1900s, people started seeing this dish in restaurants. The recipe had expanded with the addition of baked bread with a layer of cheese crumbled on top. They then bake the soup until the cheese layer gets crispy and golden brown.

When the soup started being served in restaurants, it became more acceptable amongst all the people to enjoy, not just the working and low-income families, and it's now a staple in French cuisine!

These were only a few must-try dishes to try in Paris, but it's safe to say that there are many more to discover!