Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 11, 2012

Cruises inexpensive for fall travel

TAHLEQUAH — With school back in session and triple-digit temperatures waning, many area residents are looking to plan cool-weather getaways at the lower costs typically accompanying fall travel.

According to online reviews, some of the top vacation ideas and locations for autumn visits include Octoberfest in Germany; cruising the crisp Mediterranean waters through the islands offshore near Turkey; enjoying the scenic fall colors on a visit to Martha’s Vineyard; hiking in the Seattle area; whale-watching in October on Kauai Island, Hawaii; and stateside attractions like the Disney capitals in California and Orlando.

Regardless of the destination, those planning trips need to cement their arrangements as soon as possible to take advantage of benefits or low costs, said Vacations R US owner and operator Linda Spyres.

 “Book now,” she said. “I’ve been looking at cruise rates for someone, and for a five-night cruise for two people out of Galveston on Dec. 3, with a balcony, it’s $1,028.30. Divided by two, that’s $514.15 apiece, and that includes port charges, taxes and all of your food.”

It’s cheaper during that time of year, because it’s between holidays.

“It was $230 cheaper to go the first part of December rather than the first of November, because it’s based on availability,” Spyres said. “They’re trying to fill it up, so they lower the prices. And if you’re going to do a get together for the holidays, look at the group rates. On a cruise, you don’t have to eat all together or be together all the time. You can go your own way on the short trips. It’s a neat way to do a family vacation, especially if you have extended family. Nobody has to cook. Nobody has to clean. You can have all the food you want.”

Booking a vacation on a liner such as Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises or the Disney Cruise Line has become a popular way to make memories while getting the best financial value during an economy that continues to flounder, with rising prices at fueling stations, food outlets and other trip-related venues.

“You can do as little or as much as you want to on a cruise,” said Spyres. “That’s the deal. You can sit on your backside and have free 24-hour room service and never leave your room to enjoy everything the ship has to offer. For my wakeup call, I have room service delivered with coffee and croissants, and in my bathrobe, I go out and sit on the balcony with my coffee and watch the world go by. It’s just pure relaxation.”

Some people are using cruises as gifts, said Spyres.

“I have one lady who’s going on a cruise with her family before Christmas. That’s going to be their Christmas present,” she said. “You can buy presents and do the normal holiday routine, but we’ve all had presents we were excited about that we eventually forgot or weren’t as excited about over time. They’ll remember the cruise. It’s a cool way for kids to have fun and for parents to have fun. And it’s a great value for your money.”

Spyres said the Disney Cruise Line will be launching vacations out of Galveston through March, a option to the usual cruises offered by Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Other regional ports are in New Orleans and Houston.

“That might be something people aren’t aware of,” Spyres said. “They’ll be sailing from there through March. It’ll be like six months, and then they’ll probably move the ship back to Florida. The thing of it is, if you go to either coast to get on a cruise, it’s expensive to get there because you have to buy [a plane ticket] or it’s a two-day car trip. It makes it a lot easier [to board in New Orleans, Galveston or Houston]. This is the first time Disney has ships sailing out of this part of the country.”

Though taking a cruise is becoming a popular form of vacation, Spyres said vacationers are also planning trips to enjoy the holiday lighting and events at resort venues in Branson, Mo., or San Antonio, Texas.


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