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May 22, 1999

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A Caribbean cruise at the last minute for less

If you can hit the seas on short notice, you may be able to pick up a deal with Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. Which is perfect if you happen to have the Caribbean on your mind. Windjammer is a laid-back cruise company whose tall ships carry between 64 and 128 passengers in the Caribbean. You can leave the black tie and cocktail dresses at home, Windjammer prides itself on being informal with lots of stops at beaches for meals. And, no, you don't have to help raise the sails.

Just as airlines have turned to the Internet to advertise last-minute fare deals, Windjammer has started what it calls a Cyber Sailor program. Every Friday you can visit windjammer.com and see if there are any bargains for sailings ten days in the future. Or you can register at the site to be automatically notified of the short-notice deals. The company promises Cyber Sailers savings of up to 50 percent. The offer is for new bookings only. That means you can't book a trip months in advance and then get the cheaper price if you happen to notice your cruise has some discounted berths at the last moment. If you're sailing alone, you'll probably share a cabin with another single traveler or find yourself in a dormitory-style cabin with up to five additional passengers. You can book right up to the sailing, but airfare is not included in the Cyber Sailor prices. Check out the rules at windjammer.com.

A Caribbean cruise at the last minute for less--that's my Deal of the Week!

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That Sinking Feeling...
On Friday, terrified passengers watched from life boats as their luxury cruise ship, Sun Vista, sank off the coast of Malaysia. Passengers were ordered to evacuate when crew members were unable to put out a fire in the main engine room. All passengers and crew members survived. They waited in the life boats until they were whisked to safety by navy vessels and ferries.

Travelers' Bill of Rights
A Georgia congressman wants to guarantee basic rights for travelers arriving from foreign airports. Representative John Lewis says he's drafting legislation based on the testimony of two women suspected of carrying illegal drugs. One of them, a Colombian-born U.S. citizen said she was stripped-searched and forced to take laxatives. No drugs were found on either of the women. Lewis says his legislation would require that travelers be given access to an attorney within 24 hours of being detained. It would also require racial sensitivity training for all inspectors. Customs officials say that nearly three thousand pounds of heroin seized in the U-S last year was taken from airline passengers, including 640 pounds concealed inside bodies.

Discrimination in Daytona?
Five black vacationers who went to Daytona Beach over spring break are suing the Adam's Mark Hotel, claiming they were singled out as security risks. The group was there for Black College Reunion, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The suit alleges the men and women were overcharged, made to wear orange wristbands, and were given rooms without phones or housekeeping. The plaintiffs, mostly professionals in their 20s, are being represented by the NAACP. The hotel isn't commenting on the lawsuit.

Disneyland Removes Violent Games
Disneyland is pulling the plug on violent video games. The company says about 30 machines will be removed from park arcades and Disney-owned hotels. The announcement came in response to the Columbine High School shootings.

Tourist Tax in Mexico
If you want to visit Mexico this summer for more than 72 hours, plan on kicking in an extra 15 bucks. There's an exemption for a couple of spots just south of the California border. Mexico says, hey, they're just following the lead of other countries that tax tourists, including the US, which by the way, charges Mexicans 45 dollars for tourist visas.

Ride the (Eu)Rail for Less
So baby boomers, do you remember the thrill of your first Eurail Pass? Now there's a chance to recapture those days of wine, bread, and maybe a little less cheese now that you're older. Eurail is offering a 40 percent discount in honor of its own 40th Birthday, to any traveler born in 1959.

Change of Address for Grand Canyon?
One hundred million new stamps were mistakenly printed up with a picture of the canyon and a caption reading: "Grand Canyon, Colorado." The Grand Canyon, when reached in its actual home state of Arizona and asked to comment, merely yawned in a wide, wide chasm...

With other news you should know before traveling, here's Cheryl Glaser with this week's Travel Advisory.

Travel Advisory
by Chery Glaser

Instability in Uganda
Last week we reported how Uganda declared Bwindi National Park safe once again for tourists. But now the rebel National Army for The Liberation of Uganda is threatening to attack Westerners. So this week, U.S. Peace Corps operations over there have been suspended.

Bummer at the Beach
Finally, after two weeks of holding their noses, divers repaired a broken sewage pipeline off the shores of Rio de Janeiro. Tons of the raw stuff have been flooding two of Rios' most famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema. Authorities warn it's still not safe to go swimming.

Texan Twist
And for a twist on our weekly warnings: Mexican officials may issue a travel advisory about the dangers of visiting Houston, Texas. Three Mexican citizens have been killed by Houston police officers in the last two years.


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