ShowsBefore You GoBulletin BoardContactAboutSearch
Show and Features |
Culture Watch | Question of the Week | Letters of the Week |
Traveler's Aid | Library | Host's View
December 11, 1999

Real Audio Listen to the Deal of the Week in RealAudio.

Help Can't hear the audio? Get help.

New Year's Eve Bargains

You've probably heard that like so many other mega-events, this New Year's Eve is turning out to be a victim of over-hype. Hotels, resorts, airlines, and cruise lines that doubled and tripled prices -- thinking anything having to do with the millennium would sell -- have slashed rates because consumers said, "Fergetaboutit!"

So if you still want to go somewhere special this New Year's, you might want to take another look. Royal Caribbean is offering seven-night, millennium, Caribbean cruises for as little as $1400 a person aboard the Sovereign of the Seas and $1700 on the Majesty of the Seas. Believe me, that's a far cry from what cruise line executives hoped to get this time last year.

Hotels, too, have dropped prices dramatically in the last couple of weeks. If you paid top-dollar months ago, call and get a new price quote. If it's a lot lower than what you paid, ask for a rate adjustment. A hotel owner to whom I spoke last week -- he asked not to be named -- said any guest who paid high prices because he or she booked early will get the new, lower rate automatically.

Time to bargain for a cheaper New Year's Eve -- that's my Deal of the Week!

Real AudioListen to the Travel Update in RealAudio.

Help Can't hear the audio? Get help.

Keeping it Clean in Alaska
Okay, time for math class: On the average, every person on a cruise ship uses about 100 gallons of water every day. And each year, 600,000 people cruise Alaska's Inside Passage. The problem? What do the cruise ships do with all that waste water?

Until this week, they would just dump it. See, the law says that certain parts of the Inside Passage are international waters, even though they're surrounded by Alaskan coast. Which means cruise ships can just dump treated sewage and food waste.

Now, this makes the locals a little angry. But last week, the ships gave in. They said they'll stop dumping in the Inside Passage. The agreement should keep Alaskans, environmentalists and the cruise industry happy...and protect fishing waters, recreational areas and precious humpback whale habitat.

Yucky Yellowstone
Meanwhile, over at Yellowstone, no one is pleased. Skiers and snowmobilers are squaring off there over pollution. See, the national park's become a cold weather hotspot for snowmobiles. But those loud diesel engines have a big impact on the cross-country skiing scene.

Gierlich: "Well, the most noticeable is the blue haze that the snowmobiles create."

That's Marisa Gierlich. She writes about Yellowstone for Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Gierlich: "When you approach West Yellowstone and when you drive into town, it just sort of hangs in through the streets."

Now, the park rangers are trying to forge a compromise. They want to plow under the most popular route and cut down on the winter's 80,000 snowmobilers. But the skiers want them banned entirely from the park.

Got an opinion? Give the folks at Yellowstone a call. They're taking public comment until December 15th. The public can submit written comments on the plan by contacting the National Park Service:

Clifford Hawkes
National Park Service
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, CP 80228

The complete Draft Winter Use Plan and Environmental Impact Statement may be reviewed at http://www.nps.gov/yell/technical/planning. Printed copies of the complete document (700+ pages) or its executive summary are available by writing to Clifford Hawkes at the above-mentioned address.

Days Inn for the Disabled
Last week, hotel giant Days Inn pledged to make hundreds of their hotels more accessible to the disabled. You know, things I don't even think about, like narrow doors, or a single step in a hallway can be real barriers.

Well, Laurel Van Horn is the executive director of the Society for the Advancement of Travelers with Handicaps. She thinks about this a lot and says it's bad out there. Sometimes, hotels don't even know if their rooms can handle a wheelchair.

Van Horn: "Frankly at this point, I would not say it's getting better. It's like it's a minefield behind the guest room door for people with disabilities. Because you really do not know what you're going to find when you get into that room."

Van Horn did say that some chains, like Embassy Suites and Holiday Inn, do a good job keeping disabled travelers comfortable. But she adds to always call ahead and ask specifically about accessible rooms.

Mormons Avoid Potential Y2K Crisis
And finally, one group who won't be staying in hotels this New Year's eve are the Mormons. The Church banned travel for its 60,000 missionaries. No, not for religious reasons; they're just staying clear of Y2K.

Travel Advisory
with Cheryl Glaser

Australian Customs Crackdown
You can leave that blood sausage at home if you're going down under. Australian customs is cracking down on foreign food and plants coming into the country. They're worried bugs and microbes on the food could wreak environmental havoc. For more information:

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

Millennium Police Patrols
And if you're planning a crazy New Year's weekend, think again. Record numbers of police are mobilizing for the revels: 37,000 cops in New York -- 7,000 in Times Square alone. France is even calling up the army...they'll have 60,000 police on patrol nationwide.


American Public Media
American Public Media Home | Search | How to Listen
©2004 American Public Media |
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy