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Finding a Sale to Sail

February 07, 1988|ERIC FRIEDHEIM | Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: I've seen prices advertised for a particular cruise that are different from those in the brochure. How can I be sure of getting the best deal? Doesn't the Maritime Commission prohibit such a practice?

Answer: There is no federal regulation of cruise rates. Ship lines and travel agents establish their own. You'll have to shop around.

Q: Is it still possible to take a train from London to Hong Kong? If so, how much does it cost? What's the route?

A: Rail fare from London to Hong Kong via Berlin, Moscow, Irkutsk, Ulan Bator, Beijing and Canton is approximately $700. A 40-day rail tour, including meals, excursions, etc., costs about $5,500 one way.

Q: Where can I get a list of the top-rated U.S. hotels?

A: AAA annually selects about 40 hotels and resorts for its five-diamond category; Mobil Travel Guides award five stars to those it considers best. There also are many domestic guide books containing evaluations.

Q: Where can I get up-to-date information about sport-fishing trips and facilities in various parts in the United States and the Caribbean?

A: The outdoor magazines are a good source, and your travel agent has names of tour firms specializing in hunting and fishing packages. Also, Angling Adventures, 651 Edgewood Drive, Brainerd, Minn. 56401, provides extensive listings and reports on fishing around the world for $14 a year.

Q: Does my liability policy cover me while driving in Mexico?

A: A Mexican insurance policy is required and can easily be obtained at border crossings such as San Ysidro, near Tijuana.

Q: Are there any trips to various parts of the world for people interested in archeology, bird-watching, marine life, etc., which are tax-deductible?

A: Certain field trips for botany, zoology, wildlife conservation, geology and other nature activities are eligible for tax-deductible travel expenses. Earthwatch, Box 403N, Watertown, Mass. 02272, phone (617) 926-8200, assembles groups for research. Expedition prices vary from $1,100 for an archeological dig in Florida to $1,700 for studying tropical fish in Africa.

Q: Is the new Sovereign of the Seas really the world's biggest cruise ship, considering that the Norway is longer?

A: Sovereign qualifies as the ship with the largest passenger capacity--2,690 berths--and the heaviest tonnage--74,000--compared with the Norway's 70,202 tons and smaller capacity.

Q: Which are the resorts just opened for the season in the Caribbean?

A: Among the largest are the 429-room Sands Hotel and Casino, San Juan; the 300-room Royal Antiguan Beach Resort and Casino, Antigua; the 290-room Treasure Island Resort, Grand Cayman, and the 355-room Jaragua Resort Hotel and the 310-room Luperon, Dominican Republic.

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