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YOUTH BEAT

Wrapping Up Some Cruise Packages

September 10, 1989|LUCY IZON | Izon is a Canadian travel journalist covering youth budget routes.

Want to cruise the Mediterranean with a gang your own age? Contiki Holidays, a company that specializes in tours for 18- to 35-year-olds, is introducing 7- and 11-day packages for next summer.

Contiki has arranged three- to five-day cruises for participants on 30-day-or-longer European tours. The new packages will be available to any traveler in that age group, whether they take a European tour or not.

Advantages are that you get to meet an international mix of travelers close to your own age, and you don't have to worry about being charged a single supplement because roommates are arranged.

Don't expect everyone on the ship to be that age, though. The Contiki groups average 30 to 50 people, and are booked on ships that carry 200 to 300 passengers.

The seven-day packages will cost from $495 in multishare accommodations (up to four people), $615 in twin rooms (air fare extra). You don't cruise the whole time; the first three days are spent in Athens, and the cruise route includes stops at Mykonos and Rhodes.

The 11-day packages start at $925 for multishare rooms, $1,200 per person for twin lodgings. Again, several days are spent in Athens at the beginning, and the route for this trip includes stops at Crete and Istanbul.

The package fee covers most meals in Athens and all meals aboard ship. It also includes port taxes and ship tips, extras that could otherwise put a hefty dent in your spending budget.

You can get more details through a travel agent.

If you want to cruise the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera, or take a short trip from Florida to the Bahamas while keeping your costs down as much as possible, Carnival Cruise Lines is offering singles a special opportunity.

On its three- to seven-day sailings Carnival sets aside several four-berth cabins at a reduced rate. Carnival arranges roommates of the same sex, and offers a package rate for prepaying stateroom and dining-room tips.

Although Carnival cruises are not specifically for young travelers, they do attract a youthful, energetic crowd. You can get more details from a travel agent or by calling South Florida Cruises toll-free at (800) 327-7447.

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A representative of Britain's youth hostel association reports that young travelers going through London have been hit with some very high commissions at currency exchange units on London streets.

As a result, the group has begun offering currency exchange services at rates competitive with banks. The services are available at all official London youth hostels. A flat commission of 1.50 (about $2.50 U.S.) is charged per transaction.

This will be especially helpful to those who arrive at late hours, because the service will be available as long as the reception areas remain open, which is until about 10:30 p.m.

This fall, youth hostels will be in London at 38 Bolton Gardens at Earl's Court; 4 Wellgarth Road in Hamstead Heath; 84 Highgate, West Hill, and Holland House, Holland Walk, Kensington.

There is also a hostel at 36 Carter Lane, in what was originally the home of the choirboys of St. Paul's Cathedral. That hostel will close during the winter for extensive renovations.

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