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Deluxe Cruising Vessel Being Built in Finland

December 23, 1990| Compiled from Times staff and wire service reports

A ship of the future is taking shape at the Rauma shipyards in Finland. Twin-hulled like a catamaran--and the largest such vessel ever built--the $125-million Radisson Diamond is scheduled for completion in May, 1992, and is certain to draw crowds at her ports of call.

Described by developers as "the most revolutionary deluxe cruising vessel ever built," the 18,400-ton ship will be 410 feet long and 105 feet wide. According to the designers, the use of twin hulls will increase stability, reduce vibration and virtually eliminate engine and propeller noise.

The ship's owner, Diamond Cruise of Helsinki, plans on the vessel spending summers in the Mediterranean and winters in the Caribbean, most likely based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She will carry 354 passengers and a crew of 170. Many of the 177 cabins will feature private balconies overlooking the ocean.

The projected cost of traveling aboard the new ship is as futuristic as the design: an estimated $600 per passenger per day.

Travel Quiz: What man-made object can be seen with the naked eye from the moon?

All the News That's Fit to Fly: Air Canada has devised a novel way of keeping its business travelers up to date on news from home while they're abroad.

Working in conjunction with Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper, the airline compiles a four-page news summary of the next day's paper that is faxed each evening to Air Canada's overseas stations. There, it is photocopied and distributed to executive and first-class passengers boarding flights to Canada and the United States.

The service is being tested on a trial basis. If the reaction is positive, it could become a regular feature on Air Canada flights inbound from Europe and Asia, an airline spokesman said.

Quick Fact: The average height of all the land above sea level is 2,756 feet.

Wall of Fortune: A German foundation that has been selling pieces of the Berlin Wall and using the proceeds to help save historic buildings has earned $1.5 million from the project so far, according Germany's ADN news agency.

The foundation, created to fund various rehabilitation projects in what was East Germany, already has spent $1 million of the money on renovating 15 historic buildings. Eleven hospitals and institutions for the handicapped also have received funds from the sale of wall memorabilia.

Painted pieces of the 100-mile wall that used to surround West Berlin are sold with a certificate authenticating each piece, pictures of both sides of the Wall and a plan showing where each particular segment was located.

No Empty Seats Allowed: Lufthansa is offering a free companion ticket to travelers who buy a full-fare round-trip business or first-class ticket from Los Angeles to Dusseldorf, Frankfurt or Munich.

Among several restrictions is this unusual note: The airline insists that passengers cannot use the companion ticket to keep the seat alongside them empty.

He'll Probably Decline the Award: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been called one of 1990's "25 most influential executives in the business travel industry" by Business Travel News.

Hussein's August invasion of Kuwait sent fuel prices, and subsequently air travel costs, spiraling in the last third of the year, with no end yet in sight. Editors at Business Travel News base their selections on the impact those named had on business travel trends and travel management strategies.

Because of Hussein's actions, BTN said in its Dec. 17 edition, scores of corporations are talking seriously about reducing travel until costs decline.

They'll Drink to This: Koreans think so highly of a traditional liquor called munbaeju that the drink has been designated "an intangible cultural treasure."

Originally brewed only in the Pyongyang area of North Korea, the golden-brown drink with a pear blossom taste and alcohol content of 40%, is available once again in South Korea after a 35-year absence caused by a shortage of rice and other grains used to produce it.

High Numbers: According to the Partnership for Improved Air Travel, more than 23 million people in the United Sates are expected to fly during the 17-day holiday period between Dec. 19 and Jan. 4.

Peak travel days, the organization said, will be Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21-22, with more than 1.6 million passengers traveling each day, and Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 1-2, when about 1.5 million daily passengers are expected.

Quick Fact: At 19,342 feet, Cotopaxi in Ecuador is the world's highest active volcano.

Nothing to Sniff At: Stale-smelling rooms is the No. 1 complaint that business travelers have about their hotel accommodations, according to a survey conducted by Wyndham Hotels.

The survey, based on the responses of 159 travelers who had taken 5 or more trips of more than 100 miles in the previous year, also revealed these dozen gripes, in order of frequency mentioned:

Inefficient and unfriendly front-desk people; late or missed wake-up calls; showers with weak pressure; unfriendly or inefficient service personnel; inability to get an outside telephone line; room keys that don't work; "cheap, uncomfortable pillows"; the amount of time it takes to check out; thin or cheap towels; inflexible checkout times, and the amount of time it takes to check in.

Quiz Answer: The Great Wall of China

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