Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, January 2020 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2020
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
If your email reader cannot read HTML, please go to On The Go
Publishing to view this newsletter.
Like this newsletter? Send it to a friend! Add
our newsletter email address to your `friends` or whitelist address
book so your sp*m filter won't block or bounce this newsletter. Carats
(^) and other symbols are inserted to disguise some words so they wont
trigger sp*am filters.
Happy 2020. May your travels in the coming year be safe, frequent and rewarding.
Original Big Boy with slingshot and red hair, Cincinnati, OH
1. $300 Off Tokyo Express Tour
|Friendly Planet offers a chance to see modern Tokyo on your own with a seven day tour that includes flights, hotel and city tour. The cost, including $300 instant savings, starts from $1,749 per person based on double occupancy for the Jan. 21, and Feb. 25, 2020 departures from Los Angeles. Other departure dates throughout 2020 top out at $1,899 per person. Tours must be booked by Jan. 2, 2020.
The package includes:
- Roundtrip non-stop flight from Los Angeles on Singapore Airlines including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
- Five nights accommodations
- Four buffet breakfasts
- Arrival and departures transfers via airport bus
- City tour of Tokyo with English-speaking local guide
- ¥2,500 yen pre-paid Suica transit/e-money card.
Optional excursions in Tokyo include Mount Fuji and Hakone and Nikko along with an optional Robot Restaurant show in Tokyo.
Friendly Planet Travel 800/555-5765.
2. Fuel The Fun Package at Lemon Tree Inn
|The Lemon Tree Inn, in Naples, FL, offers a Fuel The Fun package, where you can get a gas card for up to $70. The gas card comes in handy when you discover local destinations. The Fuel The Fun package is available on select dates year-round. Use the booking code FUEL.
The longer your stay, the higher the rebate. Stay one night and receive a $10 gas card, stay two nights and get a $20 gas card. Maximum card value is seven nights ($70). Use promo code FUEL when booking. The gas card is provided at the end of the stay. This offer is for direct bookings only and can not be combined with any other offer. Room rates start at $154 for a standard room.
The 34-room Lemon Tree Inn is a boutique hotel with a Caribbean spirit. Each room has unique bed styles (four poster mahogany bed to wicker sleigh beds). Continental breakfast is served poolside and lemonade is served all day. You can rent bicycles and ride to the beach or the many shops, galleries and restaurants a block from the hotel.
Lemon Tree Inn or 888/800-LEMO.
3. Resort Amenities with Reunion Resort
|Reunion Resort & Golf Club in Orlando, FL offers a collection of three to 13-bedroom vacation homes for families of all sizes to enjoy a getaway to Central Florida.
When booking direct at Reunion Resort, you receive the bonus of unlimited access to all resort amenities every day of an overnight stay, with no extra costs or restricted schedules.
The 2,300-acre resort offers a five-acre water park, full-service boutique spa and salon, six casual and fine dining options, six hydro-grid clay tennis courts, 10 community pools, and fitness center. Reunion has three golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson – all recently completed a nearly $1 million enhancement. The resort is also minutes from Walt Disney World and other area theme parks.
Reunion Resort features 360 resort-style accommodations from multi-room villas to private three to 13-bedroom vacation homes.
Reunion Resort or 833/258-0472.
4. U.S. Airlines Most Likely to Bump Passengers
|In their study, Upgraded Points explored the airlines most likely to bump passengers from flights: a process the industry calls involuntary denied boarding (IDB). Using industry data from 2018, and in light of the Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft grounding controversy.
The study looked at current data by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, looking at the year-over-year change in voluntary and involuntary denied boardings from the top U.S. airlines to see which have the highest number of bumped passengers. These numbers represent the number of IDBs per 100,000 passengers, per airline. Some results from the study are included below.
Looking at the raw number of passengers bumped is not always the most accurate way to calculate which airline is more likely to bump its passengers. Although American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have the highest number of actual bumped passengers, their volume of enplaned passengers is high altogether. This then places passengers' overall changes of being bumped by American and Southwest as statistically low.
Only 1.95 American Airlines passengers were bumped for every 100,000 who traveled in 2018. Southwest bumped only 1.5 passengers during the same time period. In contrast: Spirit Airlines had the highest number of IDBs based on raw data, but due to their higher volume of passengers, their ratio of bumped passengers is still better than other carriers, like Frontier Airlines.
The highest IDBs based on passengers bumped and overall volume of passengers is Frontier Airlines, by a significant margin. Based on the data, Frontier bumped 6.28 passengers per 100,000.
Some of the raw data analyzed for the top four worst airlines for bumping passengers is below:
- Frontier Airlines: 6.28 passengers per 100K; 1,219 total IDBs for 2018
- Spirit Airlines: 5.57 passengers per 100K; 1,529 total IDBs for 2018
- Alaska Airlines: 2.30 passengers per 100K; 743 total IDBs for 2018
- PSA Airlines: 2.29 passengers per 100K; 309 total IDBs for 2018.
Those airlines that are the least likely to inconvenience passengers with IDBs are also explored in the Upgraded Points study.
Generally speaking, getting bumped is becoming less common for airlines. Rates peaked in 2016 and early 2017, though there was a significant drop in late 2017. With the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX Aircrafts in March of 2019, there was an influx of overbooking that resulted in an almost doubled rate of bumps in the first half of 2019.
Visit the Upgraded Points complete study for this information and its effects on airlines.
5. AAT Kings Discounts
|AAT Kings is a tour operator helping people explore Australia and New Zealand.
Save 10 percent on your First Choice Guided Holidays when you book and pay in full by Jan. 31, 2020. The discount applies to only the tour portion. The offer is combinable with applicable discounts only.
Book two or more vacations at the same time and save 2.5 percent or add a day tour and save 10 percent when purchased at the same time as an AAT Kings Guided Vacation.
Save with sightseeing passes. Instead of booking individual tours, buy an AAT Kings Sightseeing Pass and have your Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park entry fee ticket included in your Pass. You can add on a day tour to Kings Canyon.
The Piti Sightseeing Pass includes the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park entry fee, valid for three consecutive days, experienced driver guides, comprehensive commentary, travel in an air-conditioned coach with two half tours in two days.
The Ochre Sightseeing Pass includes Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park entry fee valid for three consecutive days, experienced driver guides, comprehensive commentary and travel in an air-conditioned coach.
Discounts are also offered for repeat customers, last minute deals, children’s travel and group travel.
ATT Kings or 866/240-1659.
6. $300 Off Glories of Greece
|The Women's Travel Group has early bird savings for the Sep. 24, to Oct. 4, 2020 Glories of Greece trip.
Book by Jan. 15, 2020, and the price drops $300 from $4,999 to $4,699 per person, based on shared accommodations. The single supplement is $899.
The trip visits Athens, Delphi, Meteora, Crete, Corfu and the Saronics and was chosen for weather and fewer crowds.
During the trip, you stay at the following hotels:
- One night Thessaloniki Anatolia Hotel or similar
- Three nights Ioannia SAZ Hotel or similar
- One night Delphi Nafskia Palace or similar
- Three nights Heraklion Astoria Capsis or similar
- Three nights Athens Titania or similar.
The trip includes a full time tour guide who travels with the group, motor coach, flight from Athens to Heraklion and return to Athens, meals as noted in full itinerary, porterage one piece each in/out of hotels, one group transfer in and out of international airports. Group included meals have tips included.
Not included in the trip are international flights, tips to drivers, guides, meals not included, one optional trip to Corfu ($175 per person 10 minimum needed).
Women's Travel Group or 646/309-5607.
7. Fly Free with insightCuba
|insightCuba introduces free roundtrip airfare from Miami to Cuba on its small group tours, in the wake of the Trump administration banning U.S. flights to all Cuban cities except Havana.
The decision to add airfare without raising tour prices was to bring much-needed attention to the destination despite recent regulatory changes, according to insightCuba President Tom Popper.
Earlier this year, the U.S. government eliminated the People-to-People travel category. There are still 11 travel categories remaining, and almost all cruise travel by Americans. The State Department also added 26 tourist attractions to a long list of restricted sites that Americans are barred from visiting in Cuba, including hotels and shops.
Free air is available on most insightCuba tours, including the 10-day “Undiscovered Cuba,” seven-day “Classic Cuba,” four-day “Weekend in Havana,” and custom-made tours with dates until the end of 2020.
Air-inclusive packages include roundtrip air from Miami to Havana, Cuba, on scheduled service and the Cuban visa. “Undiscovered Cuba” will include roundtrip air via charter from Miami to Havana and Holguín to Miami, and will include Cuban visas.
insightCuba or 800/450-2822.
8. Divi Resorts' 30% Off Caribbean Sale
|For a limited time, Divi Resorts offer rates from $169 per night (room only) and $193 per person all-inclusive on the islands of Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire and St. Maarten for 2020 travel.
This offer applies to reservations made through Jan. 31, 2020 for 2020 travel. All-inclusive rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes and services charges are not included, except for all-inclusive packages. A three-night minimum stay is required for All-Inclusive packages.
Exclusive rates are as follows:
- Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort or Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort on Aruba – from $209 per night, room only or $237 per person, per night all-inclusive
- Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Aruba – from $275 per night room only
- Divi Southwinds Beach Resort on Barbados – from $169 per night room only
- Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire – from $165 per night room only or $193 per person, per night all-inclusive
- Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten – from $195 per night room only or $209 per person, per night all-inclusive.
Divi Resorts now offer a travel plan that lets you book now and pay over time. Travelers who book at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Southwinds Beach Resort can sign up for the Guestbook loyalty program to receive five percent cashback rewards.
Divi's all-suite accommodations are good options for couples and families since room only stays are priced per room and not per person.
In addition, Divi Resorts offers a 20 percent discount off the best available rates year-round for all military personnel, firefighters, and police, including those who are on active service, reserve, and retired, in addition to their spouses and children.
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Guided Hike and Bike Tours or 800/367-3484.
9. Seabourn 2020 Savings Event
|Seabourn cruise line encourages travelers to explore the world with its 2020 Signature Savings Event. The annual event features savings and value-added amenities on select 2020-2021 voyages aboard each of the five vessels in the Seabourn fleet.
The 2020 Signature Savings Event runs through Feb. 28, 2020. Depending on the individual voyage, event benefits may include any or all of the following:
- Free Veranda for Ocean View Suite upgrades
- Up to three category Veranda Suite upgrades
- Up to $1,000 shipboard credit per suite
- Up to $500 air credit per person
- Up to 600-minute Internet package per person
- 50 percent reduced deposit.
Only in Alaska: One free 'Ventures by Seabourn' Zodiac Shore Excursion per guest.
Book a Penthouse or Premium Suite to receive up to $2,000 shipboard credit per suite and an unlimited Internet package per suite. Penthouse and Premium suites provide more space and amenities with separate bedrooms and space to entertain in-suite.
Seabourn's Signature Savings Event applies to select worldwide cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Antarctica and Patagonia, Alaska, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Arabia & India, Canada & New England, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, South America, Pacific Coast, and transatlantic voyages.
Seabourn ships offers suites, many with verandas and all oceanfront; dining in a choice of venues; free premium spirits, fine wines and specialty coffees at all times. You receive a Welcome Champagne and free in-suite bar stocked with your preferences. Tipping is neither required, nor expected.
Air credits and other promotional amenities are available on select voyages and subject to availability.
Seabourn or 800/929-9391.
10. Holland America’s View & Verandah Offers
|Holland America Line's View & Verandah promotion is back. Book select 2020 and 2021 cruises to practically all of Holland America Line's global destinations and Alaska Land+Sea Journeys and receive a stateroom upgrade, up to $500 spending money per stateroom, free or reduced fares for kids, 50 percent reduced deposits and 10 percent off select shore excursions. View & Verandah runs through Feb. 28, 2020.
As part of the View & Verandah offer, book an ocean-view stateroom for the price of an interior and a verandah for the price of an ocean-view. Depending on the length of cruise and category of stateroom, receive onboard spending money up to $500 per stateroom. The onboard spending money is available to the first and second guests in a stateroom and can be used for specialty dining, spa services, gift shop purchases, and beverages.
Free and reduced fares for kids apply to third and fourth guests in the same stateroom. Guests who reserve select shore excursions prior to embarkation can take 10 percent off if booked by Mar. 14, 2020. A 50 percent reduced deposit makes it more affordable to plan a Holland America Line cruise.
Suite guests receive prepaid room gratuities in addition to the other perks.
Cruise destinations featured in the View & Verandah sale include Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada & New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the Pacific Coast, the Panama Canal and South America, as well as holiday sailings.
Holland America or 877/724-5425.
11. Passenger Rights Boosted by ECJ
|If you had a flight compensation claim rejected because you no longer had your boarding card, a new European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling gives passenger rights a huge boost. A recent decision confirmed that boarding passes should not be needed to file a claim. This decision makes the process of filing a claim for disrupted flight compensation much easier.
The decision is legally binding for all member nations of the EU and adhering states and reverses a previous decision from the French Supreme Court from Feb. 14, 2018. The ruling previously stipulated that passengers wishing to claim compensation for flight disruptions had to provide their boarding passes to receive compensation in France so as to prove that they were actually present at the airport on the day of departure. This worked in favor of the airlines and was used to avoid making payouts.
Under European Union Regulation (EU) No 261/2004 passengers are currently entitled to up to €600 compensation for flights delayed more than three hours, cancelled flights, or denied boarding for all flights within, to or from the EU, or with airlines registered in the EU.
The new verdict sends a clear message to the airlines that passenger’s rights should be upheld and that passengers should not be stymied in their claims by requesting unnecessary documents. A boarding pass merely confirms information that an airline already has in their system, and the demand for its production in the claim process was clearly a case of airlines trying to avoid responsibility.
The decision by the ECJ will have a positive impact on the rights of airline passengers and is binding in all European Union countries. All passengers that may have been affected by flight disruption should check if they are entitled to financial compensation regardless of being rerouted or having a return ticket. Different countries and legal jurisdictions have different time periods allowed for the claiming of flight compensation.
GIVT seeks compensation from air carriers for delayed or cancelled flights and in cases when air travelers are denied boarding. To obtain compensation for their clients, they focus on advanced technology, task automation systems, Machine Learning, and advanced Big Data. GIVT has experts with expertise in aviation, finance, modern technology, consulting, digital marketing, and legal services.
12. Travel Coupons for Foreign Tourists
|The Odakyu Group: Odakyu Electric Railway and Odakyu Travel Co., sell two types of travel coupons for foreign tourists. Each includes a ticket for a tourist facility in the Tokyo suburbs and roundtrip train and bus tickets.
Yomiuriland Travel Coupon – Yomiuriland is accessible in about 50 minutes from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. It is a amusement park with attractions and seasonal events, including illuminations in winter and swimming pools in summer. The discount coupon includes admission, a three-ride pass, an Odakyu Line roundtrip train ticket, and an Odakyu bus roundtrip ticket.
The price is 3,500 yen per adult (13 years and older) and 2,500 yen per child (six to 12 years old). Purchase the coupon here.
Kawasaki City Fujiko F. Fujio Museum Travel Coupon – The Kawasaki City Fujiko F. Fujio Museum is accessible in about 40 minutes from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. The museum exhibits original drawings related to Japan's leading cartoonist Fujiko F. Fujio. The coupon includes an admission ticket, an Odakyu Line roundtrip train ticket, and a roundtrip shuttle bus ticket to/from the museum. Coupon holders can visit the museum without advanced reservations. Coupon tickets are 2,500 yen per adult (18 years and older), 2,200 yen per junior/senior high school student (12 to 17 years old) and 1,500 yen per child (six years and older.) Purchase the coupon here.
13. SKI plus CITY Pass Stubai Innsbruck
|Innsbruck, Austria offers an urban city feel in the shadow of a mountain landscape. The new SKI plus CITY Pass Stubai Innsbruck offers the full package in one ticket. It includes 13 ski areas, 22 city experiences, three indoor pools, the use of the ski bus network and the Innsbruck Sightseer hop-on, hop-off bus tour, all with a single ticket.
The Innsbruck region has hundreds of kilometres of piste (ski run of compacted snow like a trail) in ski areas a stone's throw from the city. Ski buses take snow sports enthusiasts from their front door to the ski lift and back. After a morning ski run, you can visit the Imperial Palace, the Alpine zoo or the Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
More than 100 kilometres of slopes draw visitors to the largest glacier ski area in Austria – the Stubai glacier. Some 26 lifts quickly take you up 3,210 meters.
With the public transport or ski buses to the lift, the Innsbruck Nordkette and the Patscherkofel are accessible from the city centre and offer skiing and snowboarding for families with children and freeriders. The cable car ride to the Nordkette starts close to the city centre.
Kühtai has 46 kilometres of pistes, and a ski resort with accommodations. All the valley stations are more than 2,000 metres above sea level. A few kilometres away lies the Hochötz ski area, popular with families.
If you are travelling with your family, you will find the slopes of the Muttereralm, which lead through forest and the easier Bergbahnen Oberperfuss ski area in the Rangger Köpfl. If you want more action find freeriding in the Axamer Lizum. The Glungezer near Hall (approx. 10 km from Innsbruck) is a good alternative for skiing in nature.
In the Stubai valley, besides the Stubai glacier, there are other ski areas that can be explored with the SKI plus CITY Pass. Among them the Schlick 2000, Elferbahnen ski and toboggan area, Serlesbahnen family ski area, where winter hikes are an option. The Bergeralm ski area in Steinach am Brenner is also included in the SKI plus CITY Pass.
If you are into night skiing, the SKI plus CITY Pass offers a 25 percent discount.
SKI plus CITY Pass is valid to May 10, 2020. Tickets can be purchased at cash desks at participating lifts, Innsbruck Tourism advance ticket offices, and participating sales partners such as hotels or sports retailers.
Sample prices are: two-day pass for one adult €111, five-day pass for one adult €230.
14. Dove’s Rest Winter Special 2020
|The tourists are gone and Palo Duro Canyon State Park belongs to you.
Dove’s Rest Resort in Canyon, TX offers 25 percent off all dates in January and February 2020 when you book on their website. Use Promo Code: DRWINTER20.
All Doves Rest Cabins are a few minutes from the main (and only) entrance to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. No two cabins are alike and all offer views overlooking Palo Duro Canyon.
The cabins are 16 miles from Canyon, TX home to West Texas A & M University, and 30 miles south of Amarillo and historic Route 66.
Average temperature highs and lows are: 51° High / 23° Low in January and 54 ° High / 26° Low in February. If you experience a snow event, usually two to three inches at a time, roads are usually passable within hours. Resort staff assist with snow removal at the cabins and you get firewood for your indoor "all-day" and night burning pleasure.
The No Questions Asked inclement weather policy protects your reservation by allowing you to cancel with a full refund, or move your dates if you feel the weather is unsafe for travel.
Dove’s Rest Resort or 806/557-8998.
15. Special Offers for Scenic Eclipse
|Cruise ship Scenic Eclipse offers USA market specials. In addition to Earlybird Savings of up to $6,950 per person, based on double occupancy, and free Deposit Protection, you can receive business class flight upgrades for $1,995, a 50 percent off single supplement, or free economy air. The offers vary by itinerary and are available on select departures. Bookings on these select departures must be made by Jan. 6, 2020 and are subject to availability.
Itineraries that offer business class upgrades are: 13-day Antarctica in Depth and 20-day Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands (select departures); 12-day Great Seafaring Nations from Barcelona to Amsterdam while exploring Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium; 12-day Iceland & Greenland Explorer, with Greenland’s unspoiled wilderness and Iceland’s history. Free economy air or a $750 per person credit is offered on the 11-day Coastal Adventure, sailing between Costa Rica and Peru; and the 15-day Wild Alaska & British Columbia.
Scenic Eclipse has 114 suites across five decks, a 5,920 sq.ft spa, 10 dining experiences, butler service to every suite, a staff to guest ratio of 1:1, and two on board helicopters and a submarine offering truly discovery experiences.
Scenic cruises or 844/788-7985.
16. Cunard "Upgrades on Us" Promotion
|Cunard cruise line offers an Upgrades on Us promotion available on many 2020 and 2022 voyages on all three ships – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
The promotion is for cruises booked by Feb. 27, 2020 for transatlantic crossings, New England and Canada voyages, Alaska, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia voyages on all ships, sailing between June 2020 and January 2022. The offer is for new bookings only and does not apply to third or fourth passengers.
The Upgrades on Us promotion features:
- Free upgrade from Inside to Ocean View
- Free upgrade from Ocean View to Balcony
- Free upgrade from Club Balcony to Princess Grill Suite
- Free upgrade from Princess Grill Suite to Queen Grill Suite
- 50 percent reduced deposit on all categories
- Free gratuities on all categories
- Grill Suite bookings receive free drinks package.
Special event voyages include:
- Transatlantic Music Week on Queen Mary 2, Oct. 23 to 30, 2020
- Journey of Genealogy on Queen Mary 2, Aug. 14 to 21, 2020.
Destinations and itineraries in the promotion:
- Australia: Queen Elizabeth sails a 13-night voyage from Auckland to Sydney and a 25-night voyage roundtrip from Sydney
- Alaska: 10-night voyage on Queen Elizabeth roundtrip from Vancouver
- Southern Japan: nine-night voyage on Queen Victoria roundtrip from Tokyo
- New England & Canada: seven-night voyage on Queen Mary 2 from New York to Quebec
- Caribbean: 12-night Caribbean sailing on Queen Mary 2 roundtrip from New York.
Cunard or 800/728-6273.
17. Free Lyft Rides from Ontario Airport
|Ontario International Airport officials, in Ontario, CA, offer free Lyft rides between Ontario International Airport (ONT) and four Metrolink train stations, giving airport customers another cost-effective option to reach passenger terminals.
The pilot program is funded by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) in partnership with Omnitrans, Metrolink and Lyft, the exclusive app-based ride-hail service provider to ONT.
The program allows Lyft rides of up to $35 to or from Metrolink stations at Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario-East and is designed to increase public transportation ridership to ONT. Fares are charged by Lyft directly to SBCTA.
The Montclair, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga train stations are on Metrolink's San Bernardino Line, while the Ontario-East Station is part of Metrolink's Riverside Line.
Metrolink to Ontario International Airport has 52 trains that make stops Monday through Friday at the stations where the Lyft partnership is offered. Metrolink weekend options on the San Bernardino Line are 20 trains that stop at the stations on Saturday and 14 trains on Sunday.
Air travelers are eligible for the free Lyft ride to ONT by entering GOSBCTA into their mobile app or state the code when calling into the concierge. The origin and destination must match the parameters of the participating station and riders must be standing within a geo-fenced boundary that is limited to the station platform and designated drop-off/pick-up areas within the station.
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California.
More information about the program is available here.
18. Goway Shongololo Rail Adventures
|Goway Travel offers Africa-bound passengers discounts on upcoming departures on the Shongololo Express. Climb aboard Goway's 16-day Shongololo Good Hope itinerary, or the 13-day Shongololo Southern Cross, and save up to $1,149 per person.
Sleep in comfort in between Africa adventures, as the Shongololo Express takes in the best multiple countries have to offer, including game viewing, without the need to constantly unpack and repack. Along the way, you enjoy authentic dishes unique to the region, paired with select South African wines.
With departures in March and November, the Shongololo Good Hope is a 16-day trip through South Africa, beginning with a full day tour of Pretoria and historic Soweto. It takes the Panorama Route to Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe National Park for game drives, with a visit to Swaziland en route. Stop in Durban where you can tee off at the city's world class golf course, then continue to the Cape, finishing with a full day tour of Cape Town.
The Shongololo Southern Cross begins at Victoria Falls. After a tour of the 'Smoke That Thunders,' it's on to Hwange Game Reserve for wildlife viewing. Explore the Great Zimbabwe ruins before crossing into South Africa. Start with a morning at Kapama's Wild Dog and Cheetah Project, followed by days exploring Swaziland and Maputo in Mozambique. A Kruger National Park visit offers more game viewing before following the Panorama Route, for Pretoria and Soweto.
Goway or 800/387-8850.
19. Two Quirky Cincinnati Museums by Nicki Chodnoff
|We may love grand museums full of fine art. But many of us have a soft spot for those little, quirky museums created from a collector’s love or obsession. No matter how odd or mundane, put something in a museum and you elevate it from ordinary into extraordinary. Quirky museums expose our darkest thoughts, brilliant ideas, and the limitless creativity of the human mind.
Lucky Cat Museum in Cincinnati – Started as a passion, Micha (Michelle Robertson) collected lucky cats, or maneki-neko, those cat figures with one paw raised. According to Japanese lore, a maneki-neko is suppose to bring good fortune to those who look at it. You probably noticed lucky cat figurines in Asian restaurants, stores and businesses.
The lucky cat collection started because Robertson loves cats for their eccentricity and individuality along with their alleged luck-bearing qualities. In Japanese, maneki neko translated at Yandex Translate means “beckoning cat.” Typically depicted as a calico Japanese bobtail, if the right paw is raised, expect good fortune; if it’s the left paw, you may see monetary gain. Robertson says, cats with their left paws in the air will bring a slew of customers to your door.
When the collection, which Robertson started nearly 15 years ago outgrew her home, the more than 1,000 cats figures with their paws up and ready to wave at you became a museum in 2012. The only Lucky Cat Museum in the United States, there are several Maneki Neko museums across the globe.
The cats now reside at the first floor Essex Place studios, a former clothing factory refashioned into a working artists’ collective. Walk in the museum and glass displays stretch across the walls. The collection includes various styles, colors and sizes of the cats. Some are golden, others white with red ears, some with black fur while some are chipped. There are stuffed, ceramic and plastic cats. Pokemon cats, Hello Kitty cats, inflatable cats, wooden cats, dancing cats, and even one with his paws crossed in an apparent act of defeatism. All of them have their individual charm.
It’s not just cat statues. There are Lucky Cats in household items such as lamps and clocks, paintings, apparel, keychains, bells, books and stationery. There are pricey collectors’ items crafted by Japanese designers, a cat-themed casino game, a working bank, and a giant inflatable Maneki Neko.
Whether you love antiques, cats, kitschy collections or oddities, you’ll find something in the Lucky Cat Museum to enchant you.
The Lucky Cat Museum, Essex Studios, 2511 Essex Place #150, Cincinnati, OH 45206 - has limited hours to accommodate Robertson’s work schedule. You can visit the museum Tuesday to Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is free and donations are graciously accepted. Hours are extended during Cincinnati’s Essex ArtWalks. A tour usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes. And yes, be sure to bring a camera to take plenty of pictures.
American Sign Museum in Cincinnati - Walk in the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH and its visual sensory overload. Much like walking around a Las Vegas casino – but without the shouts, whirs, clangs and buzzes. Surprisingly, the American Sign Museum is mostly quiet. What you hear is buzzing neon and clicking blinking bulbs.
The museum is dedicated to sign preservation and restoration and covers American signage from the early 1900s to the 1950s. The tools of the early sign-making trade are displayed.
Museum founder Tod Swormstedt is a fourth-generation member of the family that publishes Signs of the Times, a magazine known as the “bible for the sign industry.” Swormstedt knows signs and respects the history of American signage. After years of working as the Signs of the Times’s editor, he wanted to create a museum to pay tribute to the craftsmanship and creativity of early American signage. In 1999, he left the magazine to start working on the museum.
The museum is set up to look like Main Street with lampposts and mock storefronts. Hundreds of vintage signs from across the county have been moved to the American Sign Museum and restored. But some remain just as they were found, complete with bullet holes. The streetscape is a rainbow of neon signs. A sign for Kona Lanes from the 1950s was created for a Polynesian Tiki-themed building in Mesa, CA, and a McDonald’s sign built in 1963 is topped with the original McDonald’s mascot, “Speedee.”
Before you get inside the museum, you know you are at the right place because the museum’s hours are displayed on a Holiday Inn sign. Advertising signs are painted on the brick wall. As you approach the entrance, you are greeted by an over-sized hammer, a marquee from the El Rancho Motel and you walk under a figure holding a welcome sign.
Who knew signage could be so fascinating and so colorful. What the museums points out are that signs are universal. Signs are part of our daily life: evolving from wood to metal, porcelain enamel, plastic-faced and glass and illuminated by gas lamps to light bulbs to neon tubes. We may not have realized that signs mirror evolving social implications. For instance, neon signs were originaly used by high-end, high-class businesses. Today neon signs have become less classy used by pawn shops, strip clubs and tattoo parlors.
Signs mirror the times. Take Big Boy, the mascot for the Frisch’s Big Boy chain, his appearance has changed with societal norms. He no longer has red hair, started with a slingshot, had it taken away and regained his slingshot in 2017, lost his potbelly and pudgy cheeks.
After the guided tour, you can roam the museum independently, checking out signs not covered on the tour.
For many, seeing old signs brings back memories. They can harken to a time when life was simpler, values were better, and things were made to last. If you’d like a jolt of nostagia and emotion in a purely unique atmosphere, visit this museum.
American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225.
20. Princess Cruises Best. Sale. Ever.
|Princess Cruises offers their Best. Sale. Ever. to take advantage of special fares to Europe, Alaska, Japan, and the Caribbean.
The Best. Sale. Ever. runs through Feb. 29, 2020, and offers fares that include drinks, wi-fi and gratuities when you book a cruise or cruisetour.
Available on sailings three days and longer, departing in April 2020 and later, the Best. Sale. Ever. includes offers valued at $95 per day, such as:
- Drinks: Premier Beverage Package - a value of $70.79 per guest, per day with tips. The package includes cocktails, wine and beer. For those under 21, or those who don't drink alcohol, enjoy fountain soda, specialty coffees and teas, in addition to bottled water, hot chocolate and smoothies
- Unlimited Wi-Fi: Stay connected to social media, email, and family and friends back home
- Daily Gratuities: Princess will pay on guests' behalf – a value of up to $16.50 per person, per day to team members who provide guests with service each day.
Sample Best. Sale. Ever. cruise fares include:
- Regal Princess 12-day British Isles with Copenhagen Overnight cruises, roundtrip London (Southampton) - $2,359 interior; $2,979 balcony
- Sky Princess 11-day Scandinavia & Russia cruises, roundtrip Copenhagen - $2,399 interior; $2,849 balcony
- Royal Princess seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruises, from Vancouver, B.C. to Anchorage (Whittier) - $899 interior; $1,539 balcony
- Grand Princess 10-night Alaska Cruisetour, from Vancouver, B.C. to Anchorage - $1,149 interior; $1,949 balcony
- Diamond Princess nine-day Japan with Gion Festival cruises, roundtrip Tokyo (Yokohama) - $1,799 interior; $2,859 balcony
- Caribbean Princess seven-day Caribbean cruises, roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale - $879 interior; $1,199 balcony.
The sale offers include bookings in all stateroom categories, subject to inventory availability. A low refundable deposit of $100 is required for guests one and two in all stateroom categories except suites, which require a $200 refundable deposit per guest. For shorter three to six day cruises, a $50 refundable deposit per guest is required.
When you book a MedallionClass™ vacation onboard any of the five MedallionClass enabled ships, it features the free OceanMedallion™ wearable device with technology that delivers personalized service through enhanced guest-crew interactions, and enables interactive entertainment.
The Best. Sale. Ever. cruise sale is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bermuda and the District of Columbia.
Princess Cruises or 800/774-6237.
|Had a good experience on a plane recently? Stumbled across the perfect place to stay, eat or
drink? Tell us about it, email us here.
PLEASE NOTE: All links
are sent as clickable links. Some email programs such as Yahoo and Gmail may change the links so that they are not clickable. If you
have problems clicking on a link, just copy and paste the link into your browser.
Free Fun San Diego -- This savings-packed FREE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. When heading to Southern California, attend concerts or visit a State
Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket.
To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click
here to send us an email.
The Travel Savings Alerts
Newsletter, P.O. Box 877, Logan OH 43138, edited by Nicki
Chodnoff, is published monthly.
Tell Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter readers about your products and
here for rates and information.