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Bus Tours, Insurance : Bus Operators and Insurance Rules

March 15, 1987|ERIC FRIEDHEIM | Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: We'd like to take some bus tours but wonder if the operators provide sufficient insurance for passengers.

Answer: Federal regulations require interstate bus operators to carry at least $5 million liability insurance on full-size vehicles of 43 passengers or more. All states demand varying amounts of coverage for bus lines operating locally. It's wise to supplement this with your own accident coverage.

Q: What cruises are available within Florida this season?

A: Short day sightseeing and evening dinner cruises operate from various ports. There also are three-day cruises between Fort Myers and West Palm Beach via Lake Okeechobee aboard the 35-passenger Viking Explorer. American Cruise Lines has Savannah/Fort Myers sailings via the lake and other points.

Q: Is the new cave discovery in Puerto Rico open to tourists?

A: The caves of Camuy River Park, about two hours' drive from San Juan, are a new attraction. The river is one of the world's longest underground waterways. Tourist facilities at the site are nearly complete.

Q: On a recent cruise the purser refused to accept my credit card or personal check; isn't that unusual?

A: Only a few ships accept either. Major credit cards, however, are usually acceptable ashore so it's wise to carry traveler's checks and some cash.

Q: I'm interested in visiting Luxembourg. Is it expensive and how does one get around economically?

A: The tiny country has many tourist attractions, including a casino, and accommodations in country inns averaging $30 a day. Unlimited local bus and rail transport costs $5 a day, $14 for five days. Contact the Luxembourg National Tourist Office, 801 2nd Ave., New York 10017.

Q: I've heard that taxis from Tokyo's Narita Airport to downtown cost more than $100. Aren't there cheaper ways to go?

A: The Airport Limousine Bus Service goes directly to hotels for under $20, based on most recent currency exchange rates.

Q: Do our embassies have facilities for photos used in passports and visas?

A: U.S. consulates and embassies will replace lost passports but generally you must supply photos. Always carry some spares.

Q: Where is the American Victorian Museum and what's to see?

A: The museum, in Nevada City, Calif., is a complex of 19th-Century houses listed in the National Register of Historic Buildings. Contact the museum at P.O. Box 328, Nevada City, Calif. 95959; (916) 265-5804.

Q: We've seen many tours advertised. Is it best to book directly with the operator or through a travel agent?

A: Reliable agents can advise you about the reputation and performance of various tour companies. They also risk a lawsuit if they books you on a tour operated by someone they haven't checked.

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