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East Coast: Tour hits the highlights via private plane and bus

March 21, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The U.S. side of Niagara Falls.
The U.S. side of Niagara Falls. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles…)

"Air cruising" sounds like something you might do in a blimp. Not so.

Mauiva AirCruise offers a six-day trip called the All-American East Experience that mixes air travel on private planes with bus tours to maximize sightseeing and minimize travel time. The trip is good for those, especially families, who want an East Coast sampler with lots to do each day. And the spring trips come with the added bonus of a 20% discount.

The deal: Florida-based Mauiva AirCruise started offering trips that combine private plane and bus travel about a year ago, and they're not as expensive as you might think. The discounted price for the All-American East Experience is $1,199 per person (usually $1,499), based on double occupancy. That breaks down to about $200 a day per person for flights, bus tours, airport transfers, stays at hotels rated 3 1/2 stars and up, breakfasts and dinners, guides and more. Children 12 and younger staying in the same room with their parents go for $799 each. (Airfare to and from New York is extra.)

This trip starts in New York City and then heads to Niagara Falls by plane with activities that include Walk on White Water, Maid of the Mist and other highlights. The following days are spent touring Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake before flying to Pennsylvania to see Hershey’s Chocolate World and Amish country, and taking off to tour Washington, D.C.

When: Trips depart from New York City on selected dates between April 8 and June 10. The 20% discount applies to reservations made through the end of April.

Tested: The air hops included in the itinerary fly on Embraer EMB-120s. I decided to check on availability for a family of four departing from New York City on April 25. With the discount, the price came to $3,996 for four staying in one room. Note that you need to bring passports for this trip for excursions to Canada.

Contact: Mauiva AirCruise, (407) 215-7204

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