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 30, 2023

Alaska by Land and Sea

Alaska is a unique destination brimming with history, adventure, and natural beauty. Whether you’re traveling there for the first time or the tenth, consider exploring the magnificent coastline and the splendid interior – all on a single vacation. This is easier than you may think because several cruise lines – including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean – offer Alaskan “cruisetours” that combine a cruise and a land tour in one convenient, memorable vacation package.

Most cruisetours include a seven-day cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage, calling on popular ports like Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. All have interesting history and culture, gorgeous surroundings, and lots of options for fun and thrilling excursions on shore. To see icebergs being calved from glaciers of glowing blue-green ice, look for itineraries that also call on Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier. These rugged areas are generally not accessible by road, so cruising is the best way to see and appreciate them.

As for the land portion of a cruisetour, the length can range from three to 10 days or more. The focus is often on Denali National Park, one of Alaska’s scenic treasures. Stunning views of the Alaska Range include Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. The park’s pristine landscape is also home to wildlife like bears, moose, Dall sheep, caribou, snowshoe hares, and a variety of hawks, eagles, and falcons.

As an alternative or in addition to Denali, some land tours visit Wrangell-Elias National Park or the Kenai Peninsula. Some will even take you to the Canadian Rockies, including famously photogenic spots like Banff National Park and Lake Louise.

Your land travel land will use some combination of luxury rail cars and motorcoaches, always accompanied by a professional guide. Most of the accommodations are charmingly rustic lodges in serene natural settings, with simple but comfortable furnishings.

The Alaska cruisetour season begins as early as mid-April and extends into October. High season, with the warmest daytime temperatures and long hours of sunlight, is June through August. If your schedule makes it possible to enjoy a cruisetour in April or May, you can see the wonder of emerging spring in Alaska; in September or October, you can view beautiful fall colors as winter approaches.

Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, to discuss the details of Alaska cruisetours and select a cruise line and itinerary that appeal to you.

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Monday, October 23, 2023

Halloween on a Cruise

Halloween is a widely celebrated festival on land, but also at sea. Many ships celebrate Halloween on the evening of October 31, but a few decorate and celebrate for all of Halloween week – or even longer.

For example, Disney Cruise Line’s ships stage Halloween on the High Seas throughout September and October. Kids dress up for onboard trick-or-treating and can meet some of their favorite Disney characters, who are disguised in their own spooky-fun costumes. Adults can attend a costume and dance party in the ship’s adults-only entertainment district. Everyone can enjoy scary movies at the poolside theater and a magical Pumpkin Tree in the ship’s atrium (which has a twisted tale to tell).

MSC Cruises starts the Halloween party in mid-October with activities like lessons in applying creepy makeup, Halloween-themed karaoke, and spooky trivia contests. Everyone can join in the costume parades and dance parties, and kids will love the not-too-scary haunted house in the children’s area.

Holland America Line offers some shore excursions that are perfect for the Halloween season, such as Mysteries of Palermo in Italy, which includes a visit to the catacombs of the Capuchin Friars; and The Ghosts of Old Quebec, set among the cobblestoned streets and buildings of Quebec City’s Old Town. On Halloween night, a pumpkin patch appears in the ship’s atrium; there are trick-or-treating and Halloween movies; and the dining room serves pumpkin-forward cuisine.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean all encourage guests to wear costumes on Halloween and join in themed activities. On Virgin Voyages ships, which are for adults only, the cruise line’s signature Scarlet Night transforms into Fright Night, with a promise that you won’t regret missing your usual Halloween party back home.

It’s perfectly acceptable to cruise on Halloween and not dress up, but you can expect lots of your fellow passengers and even the crew to be in costume – so why not join in? To keep things easy, it may be best to bring a costume that relies on decorated clothing and creative makeup rather than wigs, hats, and other hard-to-pack pieces. For example, a pair of cutoff jeans, a bandana, and some makeup can turn you into a pirate; a white shirt, black-framed glasses, and more makeup can transform you into an evil scientist.

For more information on ships and itineraries that let you celebrate Halloween in a costumed and pumpkin-spiced style, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 16, 2023

Cruise Ship Standards of Conduct

A cruise vacation is a time to unwind and enjoy yourself, but that doesn’t mean anything goes. When you make a cruise reservation, you agree to follow the cruise line’s standards of conduct for passengers. This isn’t meant to limit your fun, but to keep you and other passengers safe and happy as you cruise.

Still, there are consequences for those who don’t follow the standards of conduct, up to and including being removed from the ship. The following isn’t a complete list, but any of these actions may result in early dismissal.

Skipping the muster drill. Whether it’s virtual or in-person, the muster drill (a lifeboat safety drill) is an absolute must for every passenger – and yes, the crew will know if you don’t attend.

Smoking outside of designated smoking areas. Most ships have a defined area that is the only place passengers can use cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or vaping devices while on board. Cigar smoking is often not allowed at all, unless the ship has a cigar lounge.

Bringing illegal drugs on board. Because cruise ships are governed by federal law, this ban includes marijuana, even if it’s legal in your state or you use it only for medicinal purposes.

Bringing a weapon on board. Any type of gun, knife or self-defense spray like mace is usually prohibited.

Purchasing alcoholic drinks for anyone who isn’t of drinking age. The onboard drinking age may depend on your port of departure; if you’re not sure what it is, be sure to ask.

Throwing something overboard. Cruise lines must be responsible stewards of the waters they sail in, so they prohibit throwing anything at all over the ship’s railings.

Behaving in a reckless or abusive manner. This covers a wide range of misbehavior, including verbal abuse, throwing a punch or a deck chair, sitting on a deck railing, entering a restricted area, impersonating a crew member, having sex on a balcony, and more.

Stealing. Taking things that you haven’t paid for from fellow passengers or onboard shops will not be tolerated.

Sneaking a pet onboard. While there are some exceptions for service animals, pets are generally not allowed on cruise ships. (Note that Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 does have a small onboard kennel facility, which is in great demand.)

If you have any questions about these or other forbidden activities on a cruise ship, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, October 9, 2023

Secluded Caribbean Ports

Lovely weather, turquoise water, soft sand beaches, and lots of fun activities have made the Caribbean one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations. But it’s so popular that some ports may host multiple cruise ships on any given day – meaning you’ll share your time on shore with lots of other visitors.

If you want to cruise the Caribbean but would like to be on the only ship in port, look for the following ports of call as you browse itineraries with your professional travel advisor. Just know that these are smaller ports that can’t accommodate really big ships. And, they may be a bit busier from December to March, but any ship that calls on the same day as yours is also likely to carry a smaller number of passengers.

Charlestown, Nevis. The smaller of two islands that form the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis has long beaches overlooked by several volcanic summits, including 3,232-foot Mount Nevis. Ride horses along Oaulie Beach, tour a former sugar plantation in a horse-drawn buggy, or visit the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.

Roseau, Dominica. With an extensive national park system and amazing wildlife, this island (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a hot spot for ecotourism. Hike in rainforest-covered mountains or go canyoning, then relax in natural hot springs. Or, snorkel among the sea life along Champagne Reef, where underwater volcanic vents produce a constant stream of bubbles.

St. George’s, Grenada. An array of aromatic spices – including nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and cacao – are grown on this mountainous island. There are dozens of beaches, but the most popular is Grand Anse Beach, which many consider to be one of the world’s best. Venture inland to see beautiful waterfalls, including Annandale Falls, Mt. Carmel Falls, and the Seven Sisters.

Port Elizabeth, Bequia. This tiny island, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is refreshingly undeveloped. Still, there’s plenty to see, including an open-air farmers market, lovely Princess Margaret Beach, a small sanctuary for hawksbill turtles, and plenty of dive sites.

Willemstad, Curacao. Larger but not as busy as neighboring Aruba, Curacao is famous for its orange-flavored liqueur and its floating market. The island is a favorite of scuba divers and historians: the center of Willemstad is a World Heritage Site filled with colorful Dutch Colonial architecture.

Ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, about ships that visit these and other secluded ports in the Caribbean.

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Monday, October 2, 2023

Ships for Multigenerational Cruising

If your extended family likes to vacation together and you want to include everyone – youngest to oldest – in your next getaway, consider a family cruise. It’s a lovely way to make special memories by exploring new places together.

Larger ships can be especially good for multigenerational groups because they have activities your whole crew can enjoy together: think pools, deck games, and live shows. They also have activities for specific age groups, like toddler play areas, special clubs for kids and teens, and casinos and nightclubs for adults.

These are a few big ships we think are terrific for multigenerational family groups:

On Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, everyone loves the special effects-laden trip down the AquaMouse water slide. The whole family can also enjoy immersive experiences in themed restaurants that are based on the Marvel cinematic universe, the glittering world of Frozen, and the Golden Age of Hollywood. There are spaces and activities for kids, tweens, and teens, but also some reserved just for adults, including the Star Wars-themed Hyperspace Lounge.

If your family loves amusement park thrills, consider Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Prima, and its three-level, 14-turn go-kart track. Anyone who is under 55” tall (or just doesn’t want to drive) can watch from the observation area at the top of the track. For even more excitement visit The Drop, a heart-pumping, 10-story-high dry slide. The family can also have fun watching live entertainment in a three-story theater, splashing at the Aqua Park, or playing virtual reality games in the Galaxy Pavilion.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships are some of the largest at sea, with seven different neighborhoods brimming with activities. Your family can explore the Royal Promenade, lined with shops, cafes, and clubs; Central Park, where quiet pathways wind among real trees and flowers; Entertainment Place, which features live theater and ice-skating performances; and the carnival-themed Boardwalk, complete with a handcrafted wooden carousel. Kids can play with new friends in the Youth Zone, while adults can head to the spa and fitness center.

If your family would rather enjoy some small-ship luxury, one option is the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Evrima. This elegant yacht has a dedicated space where kids aged 4 to 12 can play and learn, with eco-themed activities led by a youth counselor.

To learn more about these and lots of other options for multigenerational family fun at sea, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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