Many of us have iconic memories of the Thanksgiving holiday. I still sing “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go,” because we actually did that as kids. Way back when on Thanksgiving Day, our family would pile into our car and drive from our home across the Willamette River in Portland. From there, my dad traced a path to a small community near Oregon City where my grandmother was preparing the turkey.
These days, we’re barely done with the pumpkin pie before the retail mayhem of Black Friday kicks in. Travel companies are piling on to get their share of holiday spending, and travelers who plan ahead can get good deals on cruises, flights and adventures.
Alaska Airlines is having a sale that ends Sunday night. But if you received the airline’s email promoting the sale, you’d be wise to double-check the website because chances are the fares have gone down again.
For example, Alaska Airlines is advertising flights from Anchorage to Portland for $128 one-way for a Saver, or basic economy, fare. But if you check the website, you’ll find one-way fares have dropped to $89-$108 one-way. You have to complete travel by Feb. 23.
It’s a similar story for travel to Seattle, which Alaska Airlines is advertising for $98 one-way. But if you check their website, the lowest fares to Seattle are $67 one-way. Delta also is selling $67 tickets.
For $109 one-way, you can fly from Anchorage to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boise or Spokane on Alaska Airlines between Jan. 7 and Feb. 28. For $158 one-way, you can fly on Alaska’s nonstop to Honolulu or Maui.
The cheapest rates are not available on every flight. You might have to move your dates a little bit to get the best rate. Tickets must be purchased no later than 11 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 28. That said, Alaska Airlines usually offers a separate Cyber Monday special, too.
Closer to home, Phillips Cruises is offering a $50 Cyber Monday discount on its signature “26 Glacier Cruise” on the Klondike Express in Whittier. The Klondike Express sails 160 miles into Prince William Sound and College Fjord. If you drive through the tunnel to meet the boat in Whittier, the discounted cost comes out to $148.95 per adult.
The company also is offering $50 off its combo bus-cruise and train-cruise packages. Cruise packages purchased by 11:59 p.m. on Monday are valid throughout the 2022 season (May-September), but not on Fridays, Saturdays or holidays.
Down the road in Seward, Kenai Fjords Tours is offering a Cyber Monday special: 40% off cruises for 2022.
The special is available on all six of its cruises, including the “National Park Tour with Dinner,” which features a meal at Fox Island. The regular price is $199 per person. But with the CYBER40 discount code, the total comes down to $120 per adult, not including taxes and fees of $11.35.
The cruising season starts early in Seward, on March 10. That’s when the “Gray Whale Watch” cruises start. Usually, those cruises are $99 for four hours in Resurrection Bay. With the sale, it’s $54 per adult, plus taxes and fees.
Kenai Fjords Tours also offers a stand-alone six-hour “National Park Tour,” which includes a light meal (fresh chicken wrap) for $102 per person plus taxes and fees.
To go deep into the park, choose the “Northwestern Fjord Tour.” It’s a seven-hour cruise but offers an up-close look at a remote, rapidly changing environment. The glaciers are retreating rapidly and vegetation is springing up after the ice is gone. The sale price is $120 per adult.
If you’re in the mood for adventure cruising but want the feel of a small ship, consider UnCruise Adventures. The company operates several small ships in the Inside Passage during the spring and summer. The company’s Cyber Monday deal is $1,000 off per person on cruises of 12 days or longer. That includes their repositioning cruises and combo cruise packages.
All passengers and crew on UnCruise Adventures departures must be fully vaccinated.
Hurtigruten Cruises bills its sailings as “expeditions.” Select departures are reduced by up to 50% for its Black Friday sale.
Hurtigruten offers expeditions in Alaska, in Antarctica, in Greenland, Iceland and South America. There’s a 40% sale on the “Antarctica and Falklands Expedition” and a 50% discount on a “Norwegian Fjords Expedition.” Most of the other cruises are 35% off.
Back on dry land, Get Lost Travel Vans is offering a Black Friday special of $50 off per night if you make your reservations before 9 p.m. Alaska time on Monday. Get Lost has a fleet of Dodge Caravan conversion vans. All units are fitted with a kitchen and a rooftop sleeping bunk.
Singapore Air, a mileage partner of Alaska Airlines, is offering some Cyber Monday specials. But the carrier has not yet resumed its Seattle-Singapore nonstops. So I found some good deals out of Los Angeles.
From Los Angeles to Bangkok, the cost is $649 round-trip. Vaccinated travelers can avoid a lengthy quarantine but still must spend one night at a government-approved hotel for one night while waiting for COVID-19 test results.
Other destinations with great fares included Taipei and Tokyo, but even fully vaccinated travelers have to quarantine.
Still, the best Black Friday plans may yield to a new COVID-19 strain dubbed omicron. Flights are being canceled from eight southern African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
This new strain — and the resulting flight cancellations — are a stark reminder that although we may be done with the virus, the virus is not yet done with us.