Disney, cruises top vacation lists


Local travel agents saw no surprises in this summer's most popular travel destinations, with Disney vacations once again battling cruises for top honors.

"This business is not trendy at all," said Renee Brink, owner of Uniglobe Chambersburg Travel, who has been fielding requests for the animation empire's theme parks and Caribbean cruises for years.

Disney World's new Animal Kingdom, which is partially open, has added to Disney's already powerful appeal.

Chris Franklin, general manager of CW Travel Inc. in Hagerstown, recommended families wait to take trips to Animal Kingdom until winter, when more of it has opened and the park is less crowded.

Cruises rival Disney in popularity, according to a number of local travel agents.

Franklin attributed the steadfast demand for cruises to their ease and affordability.

"They never diminish in popularity because they're all-inclusive," he said. "For one price, you get everything but alcohol and gambling."

According to Franklin, a seven-day Caribbean cruise costs less than a week's vacation in Ocean City, Md.


Brink heard the movie "Titanic" contributed to the increase, a theory that Cruise Lines International Association supports. But the umbrella group, which represents about 30 cruise lines, also reported an 8.6 percent gain in 1997, before the movie had an impact.

Disney vacations and cruises are not the only old standbys making a strong showing this summer.

Without hesitating, Wesley Yates labeled Alaska and Bermuda as the hottest tickets out of his West Virginia travel agency this summer.

Both popular destinations have tourist seasons limited by climate, prompting a rush on summer vacation packages each year.

"You've only got a certain window with Alaska," said Yates, the manager of Richards World Travel in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Betty Rinn, a consultant with Travel Plans Inc., said a number of her clients are heading to the Pacific Northwest and Canada's Pacific coast.

"There are people that can't take warm weather," she said.

For those looking to escape the heat, she recommends Vancouver, calling it a "spectacular destination."

Las Vegas, Mexico and Europe have also been common requests at travel agencies.

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