Fares go higher and higher; cruise port updates

When money flies

Bon voyage, money.

According to a new report from TripAdvisor, the cost of flying today is 26 percent higher than it was last summer. Average fares, which were $480 from July through mid-August 2010, rose to $607 during the same period this year.

Analysts attribute the bump to a combination of strong demand and continued airline consolidation, meaning that there are fewer flights but more people who want to fly.

Despite the rise in fares, Jami Counter, senior director of TripAdvisor Flights, said that travelers can still nab deals, such as coast-to-coast flights for less than $300 round trip and fall flights to European destinations such as London and Dublin for less than $700 round trip. Turkish Airlines also has a new deal from Washington Dulles to Istanbul for $599 round trip. Travel Sept. 5-March 31; book by Aug. 24. Info: 800-874-8875, www.turkishairlines.com.

Ebb and flow

Due to recent political uprisings and natural disasters, cruise lines are still playing red light/green light with ports of call. The latest no-go comes from Costa Cruises, which decided to chop Tunisia and Egypt from more than 200 Mediterranean trips in 2012. It will keep its Red Sea cruises.

In Asia, the cruise line will move forward with itineraries that sail in Japan and South Korea. Royal Caribbean also returned to the area earlier this month.

Years ago, major cruise companies fled the Mississippi River for economic reasons, but two vessels plan to ply Old Man River next year: the 436-passenger American Queen, run by the Great American Steamboat Co., and the Queen of the Mississippi, a new 140-passenger stern-wheeler. The latter, which is being built for American Cruise Lines, will host Civil War-themed voyages.