Our cruise log: RCL's Radiance of the Seas PDF Print E-mail

NCL's Radiance of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas approaches Ensenada harbor

We recently returned from a five-day Royal Caribben Line Mexican Riviera cruise out of San Diego, including port stops at Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. In the days before the cruise, we considered cancellation because of a big tropical storm with 120+ mph winds heading straight for Cabo, and due to hit on our arrival day.

When we called our travel agent, we were assured that the ship’s captain would never sail within 100 miles of any storm, and the route would be changed if there were any possibility of danger. With some misgivings, we boarded the ship in San Diego. We could have left our worries at home. The storm suddenly veered far south of Cabo, and the cruise was absolutely smooth and a total pleasure.

Airport security: nightmare or blessing? PDF Print E-mail

Security eyes

Actually, airport security is both. What you need to know about the all-pervasive watchfulness and cameras is one simple fact. No matter where you are and what you're doing in most air terminals, you can assume at least one camera and/or human eyeball is observing you.

On a recent arrival to check in for a flight, we stopped just inside the terminal to get our bearings. As we were assembling the necessary documents, we noticed a stack of three or four suitcases just a few feet away. At that instant, two airport cops and a big German Shepherd dog came rushing over. At first we thought they were after us, but instead they swooped up the unattended bags, and dashed up the nearby escalator.

For airline and hotel prices, what you see ain't what you get PDF Print E-mail

As if passengers don’t have enough troubles, airlines are trying to pad their fares with even more obnoxious charges. True, they’re struggling as thieving U.S. oil companies and their Middle East partners-in-crime once again are hiking prices. However, some of the add-ons are just ridiculous.
The travel industry is already overloaded with charges that take air fares and hotel fees far higher than advertised prices. For instance, we booked a recent flight with our favorite, always-on-time, low-priced Southwest Airline. The big promotion quoted bargain prices of $99 each way. Good deal? Not really.

Dreamy vacations from my secret daydreams PDF Print E-mail

Just suppose I had to choose the best vacation destination for this year, and were allowed to go back in time to enjoy it absolutely free while someone else foots the bill. Sorry, but I couldn't settle on just one. Therefore, here are my five choices, and not necessarily in rank order:

1. I'd take my golf clubs to Pebble Beach, California, and participate in a 72-hole golf tournament against Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam.

I'd win by ten strokes, and with TV cameras rolling, Tiger would hand me a check for a million bucks, and Annika would plant a big kiss on my cheek and present me with a huge silver trophy full of California champagne. We'd then find a shady tree, sit down and drink the champagne together.

Southwest is usually cheapest, but try a Virgin PDF Print E-mail

Since retiring, we've lived in the desert and on the West Coast, and fly at least once a month, mostly domestic, and almost exclusively on Southwest Airlines. We've been happy flyers with SW for nearly 20 years and have rarely had a complaint of any kind. It is a bare-bones outfit, so we don't expect luxury, but we do expect to get where we're going on time. SW has done that for us about 95 percent of the time. But, for the best price, always shop around.

We recently had to fly from San Diego to San Francisco, and to our surprise, discovered that the Virgin America price was far lower than the best we could get from SW. The basic Virgin ticket price was $77 each way per person. The best for the same we could get from SW was $167. With taxes and all the other add ons, we could fly round trip on Virgin for less than $200 each, while the SW fare was almost double.


Page 7 of 13
Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.