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, April 24, 2023

Business Meetings at Sea

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a temporary halt to many in-person business meetings and company gatherings, but these are becoming common once again. If your employer is planning a meeting of colleagues (and maybe clients, too), suggest an incredible venue for the event: a cruise ship.

There are lots of advantages to holding business meetings at sea. A big one is that the meeting can take place at any time of year; there are always ships sailing in warm and beautiful places.

Cruise ships can accommodate meetings of many types. Lots of ships have meeting space that can flex to suit groups of various sizes, from intimate conference rooms to theaters with a thousand seats or more. These spaces, both indoor and outdoor, often have sophisticated audiovisual capabilities.

A high level of customer service is standard on cruise ships. Your meeting attendees will enjoy having their cabins cleaned and refreshed daily by crew members who are trained to ensure passengers are comfortable. The common spaces on a cruise ship are also kept sparkling clean, and many ships recently updated their cleaning technologies and ventilation systems to help keep everyone on board healthy and safe.

Cruises are famous for plentiful and delicious food, and the culinary staff is accustomed to accommodating special requests. You can arrange group breakfasts, lunches and dinners, or let your attendees choose from the dining options on board. And, colleagues who need some quiet time can always relax in their cabins with room service and an in-room movie.

When the business of the day is done, cruise ships offer a terrific array of entertainment options. There are pools and whirlpools, fitness centers and sports decks, lounges with live music and dancing, and shows that rival those you can see on Broadway. The cruise line staff can also work with you to arrange exclusive performances, product displays, shore excursions, and other activities just for your group.

When you hold a business meeting on a cruise ship, you may be able to arrange some special touches. These can range from customized cabin and meeting room d├ęcor to customized menus and beverages, small gifts to be placed in attendees’ cabins, and much more. It’s even possible to charter an entire ship so that your colleagues and clients will be the only passengers on board.

To further explore the world of business meetings at sea, start by talking with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 17, 2023

Private Island Paradise

If you would love to spend time on a private tropical island, achieving that travel goal is quite simple; just book a cruise that calls on the cruise line’s private island. These islands are brimming with opportunities to relax, enjoy fun activities and eat delicious food – all told, a magical day in paradise. It’s easy to see why private islands are among the favorite port calls of experienced cruise passengers.

Cruise lines that have private islands include Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Let’s take a quick look at a few of these lovely getaways.

Like its ships, Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay in The Bahamas focuses on family fun. Everyone can go snorkeling, enjoy the water play areas or visit with some stingrays. There’s a fun 5k run for families who like to exercise together. Then, you can relax in the chairs, hammocks, and cabanas along Castaway Family Beach. Adults can also spend some quiet time at Serenity Bay Beach.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye is one of the few cruise line private islands that’s not in The Bahamas or the Eastern Caribbean. This island, just off the coast of Belize, is adjacent to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the world’s send-largest reef complex. In addition to a pool and a white sand beach, Harvest Caye has a wildlife sanctuary, as well as delightful restaurants and shops owned and operated by Belizeans.

MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay, an old sand extraction site, is now a reserve for corals and other endangered marine life, including sea turtles and rays. There are multiple white-sand beaches, a hiking trail, kayak tours, and more. Ships remain at the island until late in the evening, so you can watch the sunset and do some stargazing in the clear Bahamian sky.

Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas promises thrills and chills: over-the-water cabanas are perfect for chilling, and giant waterslides help provide the thrills. You can take in the view from a helium balloon or go zorbing in a transparent plastic bubble. There are lots of dining options, including upscale Mediterranean cuisine at Coco Beach Club.

Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about sailing to these or other private islands, including Princess Cruises’ Princess Cays, Holland America’s Half Moon Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay or Royal Caribbean’s Labadee on the north coast of Haiti.

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Monday, April 10, 2023

An All-Inclusive Vacation by Land or by Sea?

One of the many wonderful things about a cruise vacation is that it’s all-inclusive: your cabin, dining, and lots of onboard activities and amenities are included in your fare. But some land-based resorts also offer vacationers an all-inclusive experience. Which is best for you?

A cruise and an all-inclusive resort have some similarities, but there’s a major difference: the number of places you’ll see.

At an all-inclusive resort, activities may include local tours, but you’ll stay in one place. This can be great if you’re simply looking to relax or to really get to know the area.

In contrast, a cruise ship visits multiple destinations. The ship sails as you sleep, so you can wake up in a different port each day. This is a terrific way to become familiar with a region of the world, such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the coast of Alaska, the Mexican Riviera or the South Pacific, to name just a few options. As the ship takes you from port to port, your home base will be your own comfortable cabin.

Of course, some cruise fans consider the ship itself to be their main destination. Like a land-based resort, cruise ships – especially the larger ones – have abundant options for dining and entertainment. You can work out, take a cooking lesson, see a show, join a card tournament or improve your golf swing without setting foot on land. Some ships have truly amazing features like sky-diving simulators, zip lines, and submarines for underwater exploration. Even if you want to spend most of your time relaxing in a deck chair, the scenery around you will change with each new port.

As you think about which type of all-inclusive experience you would enjoy, know that “all-inclusive” can mean different things for different cruise and resort operators. Check on exactly what’s included in your base cruise fare or daily resort rate. It may or may not include things like beverages, spa treatments, and specialty restaurant charges. To compare the expected total cost of a cruise to a land-based resort vacation, be sure to consider the cost of any extras you know you’ll want. Also, think about the cost of travel to a cruise ship dock versus a resort; one may give you the option to drive rather than fly.

For more information and considerations about all-inclusive cruise and resort vacations, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, April 3, 2023

Our Trip to Antarctica

Elephant Island

In March, we returned from a 14-day cruise to Antarctica, round-trip Buenos Aires. Prior to booking our trip, we needed to decide on a “walk on the land” or a “cruise by” trip. After much consideration, we decided on the easier trip aboard the Celebrity Infinity.

We considered:

• Cost
• Embarkation/disembarkation port

• Large ship versus expedition (small) ship

• Zodiac raft to the shore

• Cold weather gear

• Drake Passage

• Cold weather and amount of time spent in Antarctica


The cost of the trip was a big driver in our decision, but I wasn’t that keen on spending several days going between the ship and the land in a Zodiac raft.  I wanted to see the penguins, but not spend a week with them.

 We were in Paradise Bay with one of the expedition ships and saw their passengers go ashore in Zodiac rafts. It didn’t look like fun to me.  Around Antarctica and the islands, the sea was fairly calm, but the weather was cold.


We had a wonderful time, but I don’t plan to return… The scenery was magnificent, but the weather was miserable. Going through the Drake Passage was a little rough, but it was manageable.  On many of our trips, we say, “we need to go back.” Not here, one and done. It was cold and the seas were rough.  Our Captain told the passengers that “we had an average trip: not the best and not the worst time going through the passage.”

 Would I recommend a cruise to Antarctica?  Yes!  You decide if you want an expedition ship for the cruise of a lifetime.

 Our next trip is to someplace warm: Africa.


Cruising Through the World’s Canals

It’s delightful to cruise the world’s oceans and rivers, but you can also cruise some canals; they are marvels of engineering that are fun and interesting to sail through. These human-made waterways usually link two larger bodies of water. Because they often cut through solid rock, they can be quite narrow, which can make for an exciting passage.

One of the narrowest canals a cruise ship can pass through is the Corinth Canal in Greece. Four miles long, with steep limestone cliffs on each side, it cuts through the Isthmus of Corinth to connect the Ionian and Aegean Seas. Attempts to build the canal began more than 2,000 years ago, but they were unsuccessful until the 1890s. With a depth of 26 feet and a maximum width of just 81 feet, the canal can accommodate some smaller cruise ships. In 2019, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 642-foot-long MS Braemar became the longest ship known to pass through the canal.

The Suez Canal has linked the Mediterranean and Red Seas since 1869. Sea-level water flows freely through this 120-mile-long canal, which passes through Egypt. You can see many landmarks along the way, including the Suez Canal Bridge at El-Qantara; the El Ferdan Railway Bridge, the world’s longest swing bridge, near Ismailia; and Great Bitter Lake, which was a dry salt basin before the canal was built.

The Panama Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Panama between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It takes a cruise ship about 12 hours to navigate the canal. It’s just 51 miles long, but it includes multiple locks that raise ships to the level of Gatun Lake, then lower them back to sea level. The ships have to be able to fit into the locks and to pass under the Bridge of the Americas on the Pacific side. The scenery along the canal is lovely; passengers often spot monkeys, toucans, iguanas, capybaras, crocodiles, and other wildlife.

Ocean and river cruise lines sail through other canals, including the North Sea Canal in the Netherlands, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal of Central Europe, and the Soo Locks that connect Lake Superior with the Lower Great Lakes. And, you’ll soon have an opportunity to cruise through a tunnel. The Stad Ship Canal, which will be the world’s first large-scale ship tunnel, is under construction on the coast of Norway.

For more information about cruising through one of the world’s canals, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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