If you are thinking of a vacation that would require transatlantic air, think again. You may decide to spend time on this side of the pond instead this summer. Airfares have gone up as much as 22 percent over the same time last year. The Olympics will be in London between July 27 to August 12 and some transatlantic fares have already jumped to $3,000 during this time.
The reason airfares have jumped for summer is the high fuel prices airlines must pay to keep their planes in the air coupled with a two and three percent reduction in scheduled flights. Most flights to almost anywhere are running quite full.
The other day I called U.S. Airways to obtain what airfares would be for July this year. From Phoenix, the roundtrip coach fare to London is $1,350. To Paris is $1,728, to Rome $1,672.50 and to Barcelona the fare in July is $1,602.30. Lately I am beginning to receive mailings and e-mails telling of reduced cruise fares by several cruise lines for Mediterranean cruises this summer. Now, I am beginning to understand why. The public doesn’t want to pay the high airfares to and from the ships departing from Europe.
Personally, I don’t think we will be seeing much of a reduction in airfares this summer to Europe, but you never know for sure. If the airlines are not filling seats, they lower prices.
Now, let’s talk about some vacations you may be interested in exploring. For several years I have been hearing good things about Celebrity Cruises, a division of Royal Caribbean International. Celebrity is a more deluxe product than RCI, with a fleet of ships that seem to please millions that vacation on their ships.
I understand their Solstice class ships, of which there are five, are wowing travelers every day. They have large, well-appointed staterooms offering many balconies on each ship, along with large deluxe public rooms and food that pleases most everyone. The itineraries offered by Celebrity are also entertaining. You’ll find their ships in most areas frequented by the major cruise lines.
One itinerary you may wish to consider is the Celebrity Eclipse’s 14-night cruise departing Ft. Lauderdale Nov. 17 and Dec. 1, 2012 visiting St. Thomas, (great for holiday shopping), St. Maarten, Antigua, and St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba before returning to Florida. You can obtain more information by calling Celebrity at 1-800-852-7239 or online at CelebrityCruises.com or from your travel agent.
Here is a vacation that for me stands out above most - taking a Tauck River Cruise through nine countries, sailing from Amsterdam and ending three weeks later at Constanta in Romania on the Black Sea. The 21-day riverboat cruise is simply an extraordinary cruise. You visit historical cities and towns along the rivers, including Koblenz, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Passau, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Cernavoda. In addition to the rivers, you cruise the main Danube Canal and along the Black Sea Coast. You go from Western to Eastern Europe in one boat. Each and every day will have excitement. Of course, all meals and shore excursions are included in the fare. It’s not inexpensive, but, what a trip.
You may contact Tauck Tours by calling 1-800-468-2825.
I often mention that one of my favorite North American vacations is a visit to the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Tauck also have a good itinerary that begins in Vancouver, B.C, then ferrys over to Victoria, which is steeped in charm. In Victoria you visit nearby Butchart Gardens and enjoy afternoon tea in the lobby of the famed Fairmont Empress Hotel overlooking the bay. If you have never had the opportunity of partaking in a real English tea, this is your chance. It’s wonderful, believe me. The next day you will enjoy flightseeing over the Gulf Islands of Vancouver, then late this afternoon board VIA Rails deluxe train, the Canadian, for the ride to Jasper National
Park. You will occupy private rooms on the train. The meals will be very enjoyable as the train continues its journey and you can sit in the Vista Dome car at the end of the train. You will be given a complete tour of Jasper National Park, explore the Icefields, visit Yoho National Park and Banff with a stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Later, a coach trip through the Bow River area and enjoy a raft trip on the river. Your tour ends in Calgary, Alberta for you flight home. This will be a trip you will never forget and come home with many great photos to remember it by. Your travel agent or Tauck Tours will give you more information.
If you are the kind of traveler that doesn’t wish to go to a foreign country that speaks a different language, you might consider a wonderful tour offered by Cosmos Tours of England, Scotland, and Wales. This is a 13-day trip from London to London. It includes visits to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, Coventry, Hadrian’s Wall, Jedburgh, Edinburgh Castle, tickets to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, St. Andrews, Braemar, Cullonden Moor, Inverness, Fort William, Gretna Green, Grasmere, Liverpool, Caernarvon, Ludlow, Bath, Blastonbury, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Plymouth, Salisbury, a drive in Cardiff with walking tours in York and Chester. You will visit Northumberland National Park, Loch Ness, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond, Lake District National Park, Lake Windermere, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons National Park, Dartmoore National Park, Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain. When the tour ends you will have very complete knowledge of this part of the United Kingdom. Your tour will also include the high points of London and the surrounding area. Your travel agent will have brochures for you to study.
Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line will again be offering cruises and tours to Alaska this summer, as will several other cruise lines. They are offering cruises to the very popular inside passage of Alaska, plus a selection of land and rail tours into the hinterland. Check out their brochure and see what they offer. One inland tour offers a 7-night package that visits Anchorage, Denali, Talkeetna and Alyeska. Included are a Denali History Tour, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and Mt. Alyeska Tram Ride. This tour is offered as a pre-cruise package. Royal Caribbean offers the traveler fine ships and a good experience with plenty of action at sea. This is a good product for the first time cruiser and young people.
There are zillions of vacation, tour and cruise packages available through your travel agent. They are supplied by the travel companies and have good supplies of brochures and other pieces of information they will give you. They also have the latest information concerning countries and areas and can discuss the safety factors involved.