What's the Deal?

Sunday, March 5, 2006



· Paraiso de la Bonita Resort, the only five-diamond property in Mexico's Riviera Maya , is set to reopen March 31 after extensive post-hurricane renovations and is offering one free night when you pay for five. Total cost for a six-night stay with discount through April 15 is $3,500, plus 12 percent taxes and 5 percent service charge, reducing the per-night price from $700 to $583; from April 16-30, price drops to $2,975 for six nights. Info: 866-751-9175, http://www.paraisodelabonita.com/ .

· Lease a rental car in Europe by March 31 through Renault Eurodrive for travel anytime in 2006, and receive discounts of $100 to $200 . For example, a 17-day-minimum lease on a four-passenger Megane has been reduced by $100 to $999; an Espace minivan is $1,799, $200 cheaper than usual. Taxes and insurance are included. You can pick up and drop off cars in nine countries. Info: 800-221-1052, http://www.renaultusa.com/ .

· Visiting friends in England? Britrail is offering Britain-based hosts 50 percent discounts on its rail passes. U.S. resident must buy a 1st class pass to qualify for the discount on the second pass; both must travel together. Value varies by pass. For example, savings on a four-day flexipass is about $163. Travel within six months of purchasing passes. Info: 866-BRITRAIL, http://www.britrail.com/ .


· Crystal Cruises is offering a 50 percent discount on its Nov. 12 "Trans-Canal Tropics" cruise aboard the Crystal Symphony from Miami to Caldera, Costa Rica . The 12-day cruise now starts at $2,380 per person double, plus $270 port charges and $48 fuel surcharge. Info: 866-446-6625, http://www.crystalcruises.com/ .

· Save at least $270 per person on select August departures of Riverbarge Excursions' eight-day cruises on the Ohio River. Three sailings of the "America's Junction" itinerary are now $2,215 per person double; usual fare starts at $2,485. The cruise sails between St. Louis and Cincinnati, or round trip from Cincinnati. Details: 888-GO-BARGE, http://www.riverbarge.com/ .

· Windjammer has discounted several Caribbean cruises in April . For example, a seven-day cruise of the U.S. Virgin Islands on the Legacy, departing St. Thomas April 9, 16, 23 and 30, starts at $599 per person ; usual fare starts at $1,500. Port charges are included; fuel surcharges are $25 per person. Book at 800-327-2601. Info: http://www.windjammer.com/ .


· AirTran is holding a systemwide sale for travel through Aug. 23. For example, fly nonstop round trip from Baltimore to Freeport, Bahamas, for $275, including $93 taxes. Fare on other airlines for connecting service starts at $314. Travel days are restricted based on destination, blackout dates apply and a 10-day advance purchase is required. Book by March 9. Info: 800-AIRTRAN, http://www.airtran.com/ .

· Spirit Airlines has sale fares from Reagan National to several Caribbean destinations for Tuesday and Wednesday travel through June 21. The round-trip fare to Grand Cayman, for example, is $336, including taxes; other airlines are charging about $391. Purchase by tomorrow at http://www.spiritair.com/ . Three-day advance purchase required, and blackout dates apply.


· A "Four Corners of China" tour from Experience Asia that visits Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Shanghai is now $2,270 per person double. The trip, with departures June 25, July 23 and Aug. 20, includes round-trip airfare from Washington; three intra-China flights; 10 nights' lodging; sightseeing tours with English-speaking guides; a river cruise between Guilin and Yangshuo; transfers; and breakfasts. Taxes are an extra $221. Priced separately, airfares and hotels alone would cost about $2,912 per person. Info: 877-481-2446, http://www.experienceasia.net/ .

· A vacation deal to Ireland that includes round-trip air from BWI to Shannon; five nights' bed-and-breakfast lodging with private bath; breakfasts; and a manual rental car is $499 plus $99 taxes for travel by March 31 . The package, from Brian Moore International, must be purchased by March 9; lowest prices apply to Monday-Thursday travel. Priced separately, air is about $440, lodging $405 and the car about $143, for a total savings of about $232 per couple. Info: 800-982-2299, http://www.bmit.com/ .

-- Carol Sottili

Prices were verified and available on Thursday afternoon when the Travel section went to press. However, deals sell out quickly and are not guaranteed to be available. Restrictions such as day of travel, blackout dates and advance-purchase requirements sometimes apply.

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