By Jeremy Wise, Army Flier StaffFebruary 10, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With area schools' spring breaks approaching and summer just a few months away, people can find ideas for their next vacation at Leisure Travel Services.
Leisure Travel, a division of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, offers discounted travel, hotel and event rates to places and events all around the world, said Kristen Hartwell, Leisure Travel program manager.
Anyone holding a military identification card can take advantage of these deals. Military ID holders also have the option to sponsor those who do not have one for most of the deals offered, Hartwell said.
Leisure Travel offices exist at each installation and the staff specializes in local deals. At Fort Rucker, the local clerks specialize in events in Tennessee and Georgia and cruises, Hartwell said.
In fact, the local organization placed in the top-two sellers of cruises in the entire military last year.
"We're so close to the ports. We have four ports within a six-hour drive," said Jen Bartlett, a Cruise Lines International Association-licensed travel agent. "It's very easy to fly to Miami and Fort Lauderdale."
Fort Rucker's location also allows easy planning for both western and eastern Caribbean cruises, she added.
Easy access to ports like Mobile, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay is not the only reason for cruising. Bartlett said customers enjoy knowing how much their vacations will really cost since "about 85 percent of the vacation is paid up front."
"All the food (and) all the entertainment is included. The majority of the time, you don't pay for airfare because it's included," she said. "The only other costs are tips (and) shore excursions."
Depending on the season, Bartlett has booked cruises for two for as little as $600.
Even though the Fort Rucker branch of Leisure Travel sells quite a few cruises, they offer many other trips and values. Walt Disney World offers four-day tickets with park-hopping ability for $138 to Soldiers, active or retired, and their spouses.
Soldiers can also save up to 40 percent on rooms at Walt Disney World, as well. Unlike most of the contracted rates Leisure Travel obtains, limited availability exists with the Walt Disney World deal, Hartwell said.
Soldiers can also receive up to four free tickets at any SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park and Sesame Place in a "Here's to the Heroes" salute. Those interested can register online at www.herosalute.com or call Leisure Travel at 255-2997 or 255-9517.
Those are just a few of the deals community members find can through Leisure Travel. A complete list of updated negotiated rates, many of which save customers about 20 percent, can be found online at www.ftruckermwr.com, Hartwell said.