Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: December 4, 2002

WORLD CLASS Vacations, Allentown, Pa., offers 12% pay on its seven-night Spring Break charter vacations to Miami Beach, which operate over selected dates between Feb. 22 to April 26. Rates from $699 per person, quad, cover roundtrip air on AirTran Airways from Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Also covered are hotel (Seville, Clevelander or Ritz Plaza are the choices), transfers and services of a local representative. For information, call (800) 222-4432.

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO will stage its eighth annual Mardi Gras at the Universal Studios theme park on Friday and Saturday nights Feb. 21 to April 11, and nightly thereafter through April 26. Added will be concerts by top rock and country bands. There is no surcharge to attend Mardi Gras, which will feature -- on all 30 nights -- a 10 block-long parade with 14 elaborately decorated floats imported from New Orleans. The 2003 theme is "Best Things in Life." For related package information, call (800) 224-3838 or check the Web site

AN ECONOMICAL activity for clients in Orlando now through Jan. 5 is the International Drive Resort Area Fantasy of Lights Holiday Celebration. The I-RIDE Trolley (75 cents per person ages 13 and older and free for accompanying younger passengers) passes the displays. Aboard are 3-D glasses disclosing the messages provided by the lights. Related events (mostly free) are listed in a brochure provided. For information, call (866) 243-7493 or check the Web site,

• USA 3000 Airlines, Newtown Square, Pa., an affiliate of Apple Vacations, this month will launch seasonal service to Fort Myers, from Baltimore-Washington, Chicago and Cleveland. Agents earn $10 or $20 per one-way segment, based on the fare level. Agents choosing net fares, take a commission at the time of sale. Flights will operate at various frequencies per week between mid-December and late April. A 168-seat Airbus 320-200 (in one-class service) is used on all routes. Depending on the departure date, one-way fares are from $69 to $169. Departure taxes are additional, but roundtrip purchase and a Saturday-night stay are not required. Bookings can be made by phone:(866) 468-7230; through the GDS or over the Web site
• Delta Connection is boosting service between Cincinnati and Florida, for the winter, with daily nonstops between Cincinnati and Melbourne, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City planned Jan. 21 to April 4. Delta Connection carrier Comair also will operate one roundtrip flight to each of the cities using a Canadair regional jet. Comair also will operate an additional daily roundtrip between Cincinnati and Tallahassee during the same time period.
• AirTran Airways introduced a sale on seven-day advance purchase one-way tickets secured by 11:59 p.m., Dec. 17. They apply to travel now through March 12. Sample one-way Florida fares are: Tallahassee-Tampa, $59; Newport News-Orlando, $69; Akron/Canton-Orlando, $89; Atlanta-Orlando and Baltimore-Tampa, both $74; Tallahassee-Miami, $75; Atlanta-West Palm Beach , Kansas City-Orlando, Philadelphia-Fort Lauderdale, and Pittsburgh-Tampa, all $79; Boston-Fort Lauderdale, Buffalo-Pensacola, Dayton-Jacksonville, Moline, Ill.-Pensacola, and West Palm Beach-New York (LaGuardia), all $94 and Flint, Mich.-Orlando, $89. For information, call (800) AIR-TRAN or check the Web site

• Ocean Point Beach Resort & Spa introduced 10% commissionable Internet rates. They start at $129 for a studio, $179 for a one-bedroom unit and $259 for a two-bedroom suite on stays completed by Dec. 25. The Web site is Package deals on phone bookings also are available, (866) 623-2678.
• Grande Lakes Orlando named Marc Hoffman vp and managing director. Most recently he was general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. The Grand Lakes complex, opening in July, includes a 1,000-room JW Marriott, a 584-room Ritz-Carlton, a 40,000 square-foot spa and an 18-hole golf course. For information, call (407) 529-2200.
• Sonesta filled two posts. Agnelo Fernandes was named director of sales and marketing for the Sonesta Hotel & Suites Coconut Grove, while Jodi Cross was appointed director of marketing for Trump Int'l Sonesta Beach Resort, Sunny Isles, opening in January. Fernandes had held a similar post for the Ocean Point Resort & Club, Sunny Isles, while Cross most recently was marketing director for the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Miami.

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