Vacationers soon will be traveling in the Soviet Union by private rail car. Trips are being arranged by Gerard Morgan-Granville (who got the Royal Scotsman rolling through Scotland) in cooperation with Alistair Ballantine, president of Abercrombie & Kent of Illinois. Rail cars that ordinarily carry Soviet ministers of state will transport passengers. Deluxe accommodations are promised: compartments, baths, a dining room. On board will be a butler, maid, chef and an Intourist guide.
One itinerary will take in towns and villages between Moscow and Leningrad, including Suzdal, Kostroma and Rojtov, where passengers will sightsee by chauffeured limousine before continuing their journey. Because this is a deluxe trip, prices are steep ($3,500 for six days, including an open bar). In the planning stage is a trans-Siberian journey using the same upscale rail cars.
Contact Alistair Ballantine, Abercrombie & Kent, 1420 Kensington Road, Oak Brook, Ill. 60521, phone toll-free (800) 323-7308.
South Pacific on $1 a Day
You can book a tourist-class hotel in Australia or New Zealand for only $1 per person a night. The offer is in conjunction with United Airlines/Air New Zealand flights. Arrangements through ATS/Tour Pacific and Jetset Tours. Accommodations with Jetset are in Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Brisbane. ATS will put you up in Sydney or Auckland. Details from Jetset at toll-free (800) 453-8738 and ATS/Tour Pacific at (800) 232-2121 (California) or (800) 423-2880 (outside California).
Meanwhile, travelers planning extended vacations in New Zealand can book "Go As You Please Passes" for accommodations in New Zealand farmhouses and country homes. The toll-free telephone numbers are (800) 351-2317 (California) and (800) 351-2323 (outside California).
England by Canal
A company in England is booking six-day canal cruises for only $485. Sounds like a bargain compared with other canal holidays. Passengers board at various stops between London and Yorkshire. Sightseeing in Chester, Worcester, Stratford-on-Avon, Oxford and other towns. These hotel boats provide single/twin cabins with washbasins, a maximum of 8/10 passengers. Meals are prepared on board. Cruises will operate into October.
Contact Wilson & Lake International, 330 York St., Ashland, Ore. 97520 phone (503) 488-3350 for information on Charter Cruising of Rugby, England.
If you're in no hurry, take the ferry from France to Ireland the next time you're in Europe. Sailing time from Cherbourg and Le Havre in France to Rosslare in Ireland (or Le Havre to Cork) is about 19 hours. One-way fares start at $88 during the summer peak season. (Eurailpass holders travel free.) There's an extra charge for cabins. These are sleek ferries. Restaurants, cafeterias, lounges, discos, movie theaters, duty-free shops. The ferries operate year-round. Discounts for students/senior citizens. Children under 4 years travel free.
Details from CIE Tours International, 122 East 42nd St., New York 10168, or call toll-free (800) 243-7687.
A Letter From Paris
Pascal Lefebvre, president of a bed and breakfast organization in Paris, writes: "If you have heard that there are no more rooms in Paris in July, we have the pleasure to inform you that we can still offer you accommodations for this period. In collaboration with the Office of Tourism in Paris, our association is providing lodging in private homes. We do our best to choose our accommodations according to the profile of our visitors, directing them to friendly hosts."
Write to Lefebvre c/o Bed and Breakfast 1, 73 Rue Notre-Dame-Des-Champs 75006, Paris, France. This same organization represents B&Bs in London, Berlin, Rio, New York. For other lodging information, contact the French Government Tourist Office in Los Angeles.
A Small Hotel
In the latest issue of his travel newsletter Entree, publisher/editor William Tomicki praises a new quality small luxury hotel in New York, The Mark. "We're crazy about it," says Tomicki. "The most elegant, understated, tasteful lobby, furnished with original oil paintings, Biedermeier furniture. Rooms of marble, Piranesi prints. Loads of spider orchids, full-length mirrors everywhere. A front desk person accompanies you to your room. One of New York's best-kept secrets. Rooms start at $200. The Mark, Madison Avenue at 77th Street, New York."
Visas for France