Travel

Post-Thanksgiving travel deals are here, plentiful but sometimes fleeting

Way back when, my friend Alan Swensen ran Morris Air in Anchorage. Morris Air billed itself as the “Low Fare Leader” and I was always bugging him to get some cheap rates to the Lower 48.

After pestering him for a while one morning, Alan turned to me and smiled. “Scott, airfare wars are like buses. One comes by every few minutes,” he said.

That was true then — and it’s true today. Not just for air fares, either. Stewart Chiron, aka “The Cruise Guy,” gets excited when he’s searching for cruise deals.

“The beauty of cruising is there always are deals to be had,” said Chiron. “You just have to be flexible with your dates.”

[With Canada dropping its vaccination requirement, the cruise industry is gearing up for a big season]

Shoppers and travelers of all stripes now check their laptops over Thanksgiving weekend, hoping to score a sweet travel deal as a wave of Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers pop up everywhere.

Some deals already came and went. Alaska Airlines had a great sale to Hawaii — but it was only available on Friday, Nov. 25, Black Friday. Check in on Sunday night to see what Cyber Monday will bring.

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Ravn Alaska is offering Black Friday specials, but you have to purchase by Sunday, Nov. 27.

Sample fares include Anchorage-Kenai for $109 one-way, Anchorage-Homer for $139 one-way and Anchorage-Dutch Harbor for $649 one-way. Travel is permitted Dec. 7-March 31.

Singapore Airlines, an Alaska Airlines partner, is offering Black Friday specials from Seattle via its nonstop Seattle-Singapore flight. Fly to Bangkok from Seattle for $699 round trip per person in economy, or $1,399 per person in “Premium Economy.” Other featured destinations include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bali — all priced for $739-$799 round trip. The price for Premium Economy is the same for all four cities: $1,499 per person, round trip. Purchase by Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Cathay Pacific, another Alaska Airlines partner, is offering some good Black Friday specials, from $679 per person ex-San Francisco. Try as I might, though, I was unable to find any flights to match the fares. Maybe, between now and Nov. 29, the cutoff date, they will offer some more seats at the lower rates.

Almost every cruise company is offering a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, including two Alaska companies.

Major Marine Tours in Seward is offering 30% off all cruises through Monday, Nov. 28. Discounted cruises include the cruises out to Aialik Glacier, to Northwestern Fjord and the shorter Resurrection Bay cruises. Use the promo code CYBER30.

Stan Stephens Cruises in Valdez is offering a 15% discount on all 2023 cruises. Purchase through Dec. 9, using the promo code SHOP23.

UnCruise Adventures specializes in small ships and off-the-beaten path itineraries. The ships sail in Southeast Alaska during the summer, but they head south in the winter.

One of UnCruise’s “BFCM” — Black Friday/Cyber Monday — sales features a free pre-cruise hotel night in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. That, along with a $100 credit at the “Gear Store,” is available when booking the “Whales and Sealife” cruise in the Sea of Cortez for 2023.

UnCruise also offers a $3,000 per cabin credit — $1,500 per person, double occupancy — if travelers book two cruises back-to-back. That includes the company’s river cruises, the San Juan Islands and Sea of Cortez.

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Nate Vallier, of Alaska and Yukon Tours, called me as he was getting on a cruise in Florida. “Honestly, I’m not too impressed with this crop of discounts,” he said. “Most cruise companies are just repackaging promotions from earlier in the year.”

Still, he sent me a few emails detailing cruise specials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

• Carnival Cruises. Choose a four-day/three-night cruise from Los Angeles around Catalina Island and down to Ensenada. Sail on Jan. 23 aboard the Carnival Radiance for as little as $118 per person double occupancy, plus $120.27 per person taxes and port expenses. This sale ends Sunday evening, Nov. 27.

Or, sail from Miami to the Caribbean for six days, for as little as $329 per person double occupancy, plus $173.27 per person for taxes and fees. That particular price on the Carnival Magic sails from Miami on Oct. 29, 2023. There are many more cruises from which to choose.

Princess Cruises. Princess is owned by Carnival, but they’re trying something different this year. Instead of advertising an inclusive price, Princess is showing the “cost per day.” There are 60 cruises for less than $60 per day. Princess claims there are “hundreds more” for less than $100 per day.” This includes Alaska cruises, sailings in Australia and New Zealand and trans-Canal cruises. Purchase cruises by Nov. 30 for the best price.

Holland America Line. There are several cruises offered for up to 40% off as part of the Black Friday promotion which ends Dec. 1. One stand-out deal is on the Nieuw Statendam, sailing from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 7, 2023. This seven-day, eastern Caribbean cruise calls in San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. Sale prices start at $499 per person.

Royal Caribbean Cruises offers up to $600 off on its cruises for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One of the featured cruises is a five-night sailing from Miami aboard the Grandeur of the Seas. The best price is on Dec. 11, 2022, just $168 per person, double. Not included: taxes and fees of $120 per person. There are many other cruises on many other dates!

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Club Med, the all-inclusive land-based resort chain, is offering up to 55% off select resorts, including Miches Pyala Esmerelda. Based in the Dominican Republic, rates are available for $108 per person, double. Purchase by Sunday, Nov. 27. Club Med’s Punta Cana resort, also in the Dominican Republic, is offering up to 60% off, too. Other resorts in Ixtapa, Cancun, Martinique and Turks and Caicos have big discounts if you book by Nov. 27.

Closer to home, the Carneros Resort in Napa, California is offering a third night free when you book by Nov. 29. Use the booking code CYBER22. Surrounded by grapevines, the stand-alone airy rooms offer a countryside vibe, each with its own fireplace and private patios. It’s fancy. Rates start at $609 per night.

The Meritage Resort in Napa is offering a 30% discount for Black Friday bookings, along with a $30 daily resort credit. Book by Nov. 30. Additionally, there’s a welcome bottle of wine for everyone. I’ll bet it’s tasty, too. Rates: from $304 per night. Book by Nov. 30.

Pay close attention to the end-dates on these packages. Some expire on Sunday evening, Nov. 27, while others are available until Monday or Tuesday.

Scott McMurren

Scott McMurren is an Anchorage-based marketing consultant, serving clients in the transportation, hospitality, media and specialty destination sectors, among others. Contact him by email at zoom907@me.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@alaskatravelGRM) and alaskatravelgram.com. For more information, visit alaskatravelgram.com/about.

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