Holiday Travel Suggestions

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There are many people whose families are scattered around the country and when holiday time approaches some people wonder if they want to get involved in visiting relatives or would they rather take a vacation over Christmas and perhaps New Years. If you are among those who wish to get away the later part of December here are of few ideas for vacation escape.

First, I always recommend a cruise. As I have stated so many times in this column, when you are on a cruise ship you let others do all the work. You do the relaxing and enjoying. You move into your stateroom and the ship sails you to other areas of the world. You unpack only once. No packing and unpacking to see the various countries you are going to visit. After seeing the port of call you return to the ship and your private room which becomes your home away from home. What could be nicer? I hear some men say, I wouldn’t go on a ship because there is nothing for them to do. How about casino action, golfing ashore, sightseeing, beaches, exploring, lectures onboard, entertainment at night, dancing, and relaxing with a book between ports? There are TV movies in your stateroom, along with other features played on channels. Most ships have CNN for the latest news. Where to go? Various lines offer traditional Mexican Riviera cruises of one week to 12 days in duration. The Caribbean is always popular this time of year with many ships departing Miami and Ft. Lauderdale weekly visiting a vast selection of islands. The temperatures will be in the lower 80s and perfect for some swimming and sunning on the warm sands. The towns in these islands are usually interesting to stroll through and ladies, many items available in the little stores make good Christmas gifts for those back home.

If you have never sailed through the Panama Canal a few lines are offering these cruises out of Los Angeles and Florida, which are usually two weeks in duration. Princess, Holland America Line Crystal Cruises and Celebrity are some that will be doing this over the Holidays. I remain fascinated by the Canal lock system as the ship passes from one to another.

How about Hawaii? Holland America Line offers two-week cruises from San Diego to four islands in Hawaii and return to San Diego. The Zaandam departs San Diego Dec. 21 for the Christmas and New Years cruise. This company rarely disappoints travelers.

If money is no object, why not a round the world cruise? Most depart the USA right after New Years and take from 103 to 115 days to circumnavigate the globe with usually 30 and more stops.

Closer to home it’s any easy drive to Albuquerque, N.M. Plenty of fine motels and hotels and the city is beautiful with various lighting effects including the famous luminarias in some neighborhoods. On Dec. 19 and 22 the Nutcracker Ballet will be performed at the Kimo Theatre located at 423 Central Ave. Phone 505-768-3522 for tickets. Old Town is also nicely lighted this time of year and while you are there, have a fine Mexican meal in one of the restaurants. Santa Fe is only an hour’s drive away and is special at any time of the year.

If you are looking for entertainment, try Las Vegas or Branson, Mo. Branson claims 38 theatres with shows of America. There will be Christmas themed productions including Tony Orlando and the Lennon Sisters Christmas Celebration. Tickets for all Branson shows can be obtained by calling 1-800-785-1550.

I always enjoy Santa Barbara during the holiday period. Again, there are attractive lights in the downtown areas as well in many neighborhoods including Montecito and Hope Ranch.

You might like El Tovar Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon over the holidays. Here, you might get some snow if you’re lucky and each day will be filled with fantastic views of the canyon.

I suppose the big daddy of all over the holidays in America is a visit to New York City. Here, you will want to take in the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, which has been a tradition for more than 70 years. The Rockettes will be there along with a large cast and orchestra. The Broadway shows will be available and a visit to the top of the Empire Building is always a thrill to view the city from the height of 103 floors. You can have a look at the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry and walk the streets of Manhattan to shop. The thousands of restaurants are a treat especially the kosher delis.

Have a chopped liver on rye for me. A cruise around Manhattan Island is pleasant or you might better enjoy a dinner cruise. If you have the time, stay for New Year’s Eve. The celebration is like no other.

If you want to be with the kids and grandkids during the holiday season you might try Paradisus Riviera Resort Cancun, Mexico. It is located 25 minutes south of Cancun near the town of Puerto Morelos and only 10 minutes from the Cancun Airport. They claim a family Concierge Experience. This well-thought out resort has many kid friendly touches. It has 496 suites which are quite large and perfect for family vacations. Child-size amenities include mini bathrobes, toiletries, towels, pillows, a milk-and-cookies stocked mini bar and turn down service. There is swimming, golfing and wonderful food within the walls of the resort. Mom and Dad and the kids will have great fun and relaxation. The kids are offered a beach kit with paddleball set, waffle-ball set and a beach ball. Also available is a parent-child walkie talkie for all-day communication. The resort hugs the beach which the kids will love. And, there is a large kids club for the young ones to enjoy. Baby sitting is available and arts and crafts are offered. This is a good place for the whole family.

Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa is a very family friendly vacation spot. This place knows the difference between a normal, grown-up resort and a resort where the kids are in charge. The beaches are special with shallow water coves. The Italian Village, featuring the largest pool on the island, with plenty of shallow areas to wade in, fountains for frolicking and a swim-up bar that serves fruit smoothies. When the kids get tired of this, they can move over to the Pirates Island waterpark, with slides, a lazy river pool and a simulated surfing machine. And, here is a 12 mile stretch of white sand beach with gently lapping waves.

This resort also offers a catamaran sail with Elmo and friends and onboard is the Sesame Street stage show. The young ones will enjoy the resorts kids club with various options for them to fill their hours.

There is a teen only disco, game garage, Scratch DJ Academy where teens can learn to scratch like a real disc jockey and more.

Mom and Dad can enjoy spa treatments as well as a mired of other attractions at the resort.

Then there are the great resorts in the Valley for that quick weekend getaway.

Whether you stay at home, or travel, we want you to have a wonderful and joyous holiday season.

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