Travel e-Scapes: June 8, 2018

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DESTINATION & DEAL OF THE DAY: Spain

Travel e-Scapes: 03312017

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$398 Madrid, Spain
Depart September 15-December 3
Finish trips by December 17
Valid on United via Newark
Photo: Toledo, 30-minutes by train from Madrid


TRAVEL TIPS & TIDBITS

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018

Cruise Savings
If you find a better deal on your cruise fare after booking, you may think that there’s no hope of saving the money already paid. However, according to a new analysis by leading digital cruise advisor Cruisewatch, there is still a potential to save a significant amount of money.
Recent research by Cruisewatch.com, a cruise advisor known for its innovative price prediction, has shown that prices on cruises can drop significantly as the departure date nears. “Most cruisers tend to book their trips four to six months in advance,” explains Markus Stumpe, CEO of Cruisewatch, “but it could be very beneficial for them to cancel and then rebook their cruise at fares reduced up to 71%.” This is particularly true if the chosen cruise offers less-strict fee structures.
Generally, cruise lines break down into three cancellation categories: soft, moderate, and strict.
Lines like Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Star Clippers, offer “softer” fees, and may charge only a 25% cancellation fee on average at least 30 days before departure.
Moderate lines, including Viking Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruise Line, Hurtigruten Cruise Lines, Cunard, Crystal Cruises, SeaDream, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line, offer a little more wiggle room, though they also charge about 90% for cancellations occurring within 30 days of departure. However, cancellation fees average only 15% 90 days or more before departure.
Strict lines, on the other hand, like Oceania Cruises, Ponant, Azamara Club Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea Cruises, and Seabourn tend to offer little or no refunds unless you cancel at least 120 days in advance. Within the last 60 days, you normally have to pay a 100% fee.
To illustrate the potential savings, take this possible scenario: Someone books his/her dream cruise on Celebrity Eclipse 150 days before departure and pays a total of $5,000. Forty days before departure, this person sees an offer on the same ship with a savings of 40%. At this time the cancellation fee on Celebrity is 20%, so the person opts to rebook and saves $1,000.
Cancellation fee structures for most cruise lines are often very strict and difficult to understand, and multiple factors influence each policy. The length of the cruise, how far in advance you’re able to cancel, destination, cabin type, or cruise category can all contribute to the final cancellation fee. Booking special deals may mean higher cancellation fees. In most cases, deposits paid are also non-refundable. Often you will also need to draft a formal written document in order to cancel the cruise.
If the cancellation fees are prohibitive, there may be alternatives for recouping the difference in prices. Some cruise lines offer onboard credit as reimbursement for price differences or offer significant upgrades where available.
The best way to determine whether it’s worth it to cancel and rebook your cruise is to take a closer look at your cruise line’s cancellation policy. However, if you’re still in the planning stages, you are likely still comparing prices, policies, and packages. This time-consuming process is a must for those seeking the best deals, but using innovative new online tools can help save time in the short term and money long-term.
Visit Cruise Watch to see fees and rebooking options at a glance. This cancellation calculator will help you identify the opportunities to save in 3 easy steps.

London Hotel Fire
The historic 5-star Mandarin Oriental in London’s Knightsbridge district is closed until further notice following a fire this week. Flames seem to have spread across a “vertical facade for plants and vegetation and into several floors of the hotel”, according to London Fire Brigade. The hotel had installed a new ‘green living wall’ in its the inner courtyard, as part of its root-and-branch revamp.
The fire comes after the May completion of a multi-million dollar renovation, hailed by the Mandarin hotel group as “the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history.”
Travelers booked to stay in the coming days and weeks have been advised to find a new hotel and have been offered reimbursement.


SPECIAL DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL OFFERS

Airfare offers – ones with a ticket-by date – and deals with our suggestion to HURRY! can expire at any time.  Heed Clark’s advice: Buy that great airfare deal – and then figure out a reason to go there! Eventually, you’ll see the world at a fraction of the normal price!

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$127 Providence, Rhode Island
Depart August 28-December 7
Finish trips by December 11
Valid on American via Charlotte

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$159 Hartford, Connecticut
Depart August 25-December 7
Finish trips by December 11
Valid on American via Charlotte

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$168 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Valid Tuesdays only
Depart August 14-September 18 with final travel on September 25
Or, depart October 2-30 with final travel on November 6
Valid on Frontier, nonstop

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$179 Buffalo, New York
Depart September 6-December 7
Finish trips by December 10
Valid on American via Charlotte

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$175-$182 Minneapolis-St. Paul
Depart August 14-October 3
Finish trips on or before October 30
Valid on Delta, nonstop

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$230 Portland, Maine
Depart July 10-October 3
Finish trips on or before November 1
Rates are $249-$259 on departures from November 17 with travel finished by January 5
Valid on Delta, nonstop

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta (one-way permitted):
$298-$318 Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands
Depart August 3-October 12
Finish trips on or before October 31
Valid on JetBlue via Ft. Lauderdale

HURRY! Round-trip from Atlanta:
$430 Cabo San Lucas-Los Cabos, Mexico
Depart today or through April 26
Finish trips on or before May 1
Valid on United via Chicago or Houston

How do you find these great airfare deals? Visit Clark’s Atlanta Travel Tips page for a step-by-step search and booking guide.

NOTE: Airline fees can and often do exceed the cost of your flight! Additional charges now apply to budget and sale rates on most airlines for a carry-on bag, checked baggage and advance seat assignments. The least expensive fees are charged when these options are purchased during the ticket booking process. Fees climb higher after flights are reserved and even higher when adding these options at airport check-in. Kayak offers the most up-to-date Fees Chart for all domestic and international airlines.


HOTELS, RESORTS & MORE

SW Florida for the 4th
Stay three nights and get a fourth night free over the Fourth of July at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida. Rates start at $165 per night, including a $100 resort credit and free upgrade.
Onsite amenities include a refined American restaurant and a casual seafood grill/bar, as well an outdoor pool and a hot tub. There’s also a spa and fitness center, activities for kids (fee), kayak rentals, tours and a complimentary water taxi.
This upscale waterfront resort is set in Tarpon Point Marina and near over 400 miles of navigable canals and waterways. The serene location is ideal for kayaking, paddle boarding and sunset cruises. It’s also located less than 10 miles from Sun Splash Family Waterpark with 14+ acres of waterslides, a lazy river & kids’ water play area. The resort is a 30-minute drive west of the Ft. Myers airport.

Half-Off NOLA
Stay at the top-rated InterContinental (recently been named to the list of Best Hotels in New Orleans by readers of Conde Nast Traveler), located in New Orlean’s Lafayette Square in the Central Business District. Elegant guest rooms offer sweeping city views, an outdoor rooftop pool with bar and a 15th floor restaurant – named one of the city’s best according to Oyster.com.
Rates start from $89 a night most Sundays-Thursdays through August 31 and $119 Fridays, Saturdays. Upgrade to a Balcony King for +$20 per night. These rates are refundable, so book now and cancel later if needed.
The hotel is also withing walking distance to the French Quarter, shops at the Riverwalk Marketplace and Harrah’s Casino. The St. Charles streetcar runs right in front of the hotel. The French Quarter’s jazz clubs, restaurants and bars are a couple of blocks west.
Start the booking process at Travelzoo.


Travel e-Scapes is brought to you by Clara Bosonetto, Team Clark Travel Editor. Follow Clara on Twitter.


Looking for more deals?
View all current airfare offers at Clark’s Atlanta Travel Deals page or the National Travel Deals page.

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