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 15, 2024

Overnight Port Stays Allow More Time on Shore

If you’ve ever had to rush back from a shore excursion to return to your cruise ship on time, you might enjoy a cruise that features one or more overnight port stays. When a ship has permission to stay in port overnight, it’s possible to enjoy a leisurely dinner in an onshore restaurant, attend an evening sporting or cultural event, or dance the night away in a local club. Plus, some daytime activities have a different look and feel at night – think European Christmas markets or Venetian gondola rides.

Many cruise lines offer overnight port stays, including Azamara, Celebrity, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Virgin Voyages, and Windstar. Overnight stays are more likely on longer cruises that call on larger port cities. And, the cruise lines offer nighttime shore excursions that arrange special experiences for you.

These are just a few of dozens of ports where it’s possible to stay overnight on a cruise:

Reykjavik, Iceland. The sun is up for long hours during the summer months, so an overnight stay gives you plenty of time to see waterfalls, geysers, and the famous Blue Lagoon.

Copenhagen, Denmark. The rides, music stages, and restaurants of Tivoli Gardens amusement park literally sparkle at night. An evening tour of the Christianshavn neighborhood via canal is lovely, too.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Walk the Old Town at night to imagine you’re back in medieval times; take a break in a charming bar to sip a glass of rakija, a local anise-flavored spirit.

Oranjestad, Aruba. Seaside bars and clubs are fun to visit in the cooler air of the evening. You can also try your luck at a glittering oceanfront casino.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dinner at an authentic parrilla (grill restaurant) is a treat, as is a visit to Plaza Dorrego – grab a table to enjoy a beverage, listen to music, and watch tango dancers.

Kyoto, Japan. Take an evening tour of Gion, the city’s best-known geisha district. In this historic neighborhood, you can visit teahouses where geishas entertain with music and dance.

An overnight port stay also lets you enjoy the quiet early morning hours of the place you’re visiting; in fact, your ship may not depart until noon or later.

In addition to overnight stays, some cruises include late-night port departures, which also give you a chance to enjoy an evening on shore. To consider all of your options for more time in port, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, July 8, 2024

Where to Go on an Expedition Cruise

Cruise ships visit enduringly popular ports of call, with time to enjoy fabulous onboard amenities while you sail between ports. But if you have an adventurous side, a different type of cruise may have just as much appeal.

Expedition cruises sail to remote and beautiful places around the globe, including some that are difficult to visit any other way. Some are well-known “bucket list” destinations, like Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands; others, like Tristan da Cunha and Zamami, may not be as familiar to you (at least, not yet).

Tristan da Cunha, a British territory, is a small group of extremely remote, mountainous islands in the South Atlantic. The islands have no airstrip or hotel, so it’s only possible to visit by ship. In addition to natural beauty, Tristan da Cunha has amazing biodiversity and is a haven for sea birds; it’s the world’s only known breeding site for two types of petrels.

The Bissagos Islands are only 30 miles from the coast of West Africa’s Guinea-Bissau, but the islands' people have preserved their own unique customs and traditions. On these unspoiled islands, you can explore wide beaches and mangrove forests, see remnants of colonial architecture, and meet a colony of saltwater hippopotamuses.

In the North Atlantic, midway between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are a Danish territory with Viking heritage. Sunny days are rare on these windy islands, but the alpine wildflowers and puffin birds will charm you. Active pursuits include hiking to secluded waterfalls, biking, birdwatching, fishing and even surfing.

The archipelago of Japan includes more than 14,000 islands that stretch from subarctic to subtropical zones. Zamami, a subtropical island about 40 miles from Okinawa, is occupied by lush vegetation (and a few people). Narrow strips of white sand edge a series of bays with strikingly blue water. You can snorkel along coral reefs or hike up Mount Takatsuki to an observation deck with memorable views.

There are many more adventurous places to visit via expedition cruise; ask your professional travel advisor for additional recommendations. But remember that expedition cruise ships are small (it's better to visit remote places with few facilities). While they are very comfortable and even luxurious, they don’t have all the entertainment, dining options, or other features found on larger cruise ships. On an expedition cruise, the focus isn’t on the ship – it’s on the remote spots you’ll visit.

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Monday, July 1, 2024

Medical Care on a Cruise Ship

We hope this is something you won’t really need to know, but if you ever become ill while on a cruise, medical care will be available on board. All cruise ships have onboard medical facilities staffed by trained, qualified professionals. And while the scope of care they can provide varies a bit from ship to ship, most can treat and manage a range of conditions.

You should visit the onboard medical center for the same reasons you would visit your primary care physician or an urgent care center at home, such as cold or flu symptoms, muscle strains, cuts and scrapes, or abdominal discomfort. Onboard medical centers usually stock over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and seasickness remedies, as well as some prescription medications (but if you take prescription medication, remember to bring enough of your own supply for the length of your cruise).

You should also go to the medical center for conditions that would have you calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency department at home, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, severe injury, and high blood pressure or blood sugar levels. If you need diagnostics or treatment beyond what can be provided on the ship (for example, onboard medical facilities usually don’t provide invasive testing, surgery or long-term care), the medical team will work to stabilize you and arrange a transfer to a medical facility on shore.

Note that most insurance plans don’t cover medical services and treatments you receive outside the country, whether you’re on a ship or in a medical facility on shore. This is a compelling reason to consider purchasing travel insurance, which would help cover out-of-pocket costs if you need extensive medical treatment, to be evacuated from the ship, or even to return home. Your professional travel advisor can help you select a travel insurance policy.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use the services of an onboard medical center, but it’s comforting to know it’s there. While cruising, you can help protect your health by following safety guidelines, eating well, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest.

If you have a chronic medical condition or specific medical needs, ask Anita, your professional travel advisor, to help you check the capabilities of the medical facilities on cruise ships you’re interested in. And, visit your physician before you pay the final installment of your cruise fare, just to make sure you’re in good shape to sail away.

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