Question: Some cruise ships operating here are registered in Panama or Liberia. Does this reduce their safety and sanitation?
Answer: Registering under flags of convenience can save union crew costs. Safety is enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard and through international agreement; U.S. officials again are making rigid health inspections of all vessels.
Q: Which of the principal national parks are best for bird watching?
A: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Olympic, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountain, Shenandoah and Rocky Mountain parks, the latter with regularly scheduled birding tours. Each park may have 100 to 200 species.
Q: Are synagogues and kosher restaurants easily accessible in Eastern Europe?
A: All countries, including the Soviet Union, have synagogues, although in some Russian communities they are not open to tourists. Contact local tourist offices for locations for kosher dining. For worldwide information see also the Jewish Travel Guide, 1265 46th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11219 ($10.50).
Q.: With our dollar worth less, must we tip more in Europe?
A.: If service charges are not included in your restaurant bill, 15% is still the rule and you should use local currency.
Q.: Is there cruise service on the Yukon River this year?
A.: Air/land one- and two-day trips from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Tok, Alaska, to Eagle, Alaska, or Dawson City, Canada, are scheduled from June 1 to Sept. 8. Contact your travel agent or Yukon River Cruises, P.O. Box 100034, Anchorage, Alaska 99910; (800) 544-0529.
Q: Is there a food served in Japan that can cause illness?
A: According to the International League of Travelers, a Japanese delicacy called fugu (globefish) contains a potentially dangerous chemical in its liver. It must be carefully prepared before eating.
Q: Do Australia and New Zealand have youth hostels and what are locations and rates?
A: Both have hosteling facilities. For details contact Los Angeles Council of the American Hostel Assn., P.O. Box A, Harbor City 90710; (213) 831-8846.
Q: Have you details about an artists' colony in the Caribbean?
A: Altos de Chavon, near Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, is a village for those interested in art, music and other crafts. Free accommodations are provided to those meeting talent qualifications. Apply Altos de Chavon, Gulf and Western Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10023. Attn.: Steve Kaplan.
Q.: I would like to take at least a week's bicycle tour in England. Is there any kind of group I could join?
A.: East Anglia Cycling Holidays is offering one-week group packages to the countryside, seaside resorts and towns of Suffolk. The $120 price includes bed and breakfast and bike rental with August and September departures. Contact E.A.C.H., Tempo House, 15-17 Falcon Road, London SW11, England.
Q.: Where can I get information about French country inns, including their location and prices?
A.: The National Federation of Hotels and Inns of France has about 5,000 small and medium-size hotels outside main cities. For information call (800) 621-3252, or your travel agent, or write to Federation Nationale, 25 Rue Jean Mermoz, 75008, Paris, France.