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News, Tips & Bargains : Olympics Fever, Atlanta-Style : In Vienna, Curtain's Not Going Up : The Vienna State Opera, which normally begins its fall season on Sept. 1, will not open until Dec. 14 because of renovation work at the opera house. Opening night performance will be Richard Strauss' "Elektra." The season will run through June 30, 1995. For schedule information, call 011-43-1-51444, Ext. 2960 or Ext. 2959.

August 28, 1994

If the '96 Olympics are in your future, now's the time to call a new hot line established by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG).

Callers contacting the ticket information line at (404) 224-1996 will have their names added to a mailing list. Sometime in early 1995, will receive information on how to order tickets. Ticket sales will begin next spring.

About 11 million tickets--ranging from $6 to $250 for athletic events and from $200 to $600 for opening and closing ceremonies--will be available. "You will be able to see 95% of all sessions for $75 or less, including many finals," said Lauri Olsen, an ACOG communications director. "Track and field finals will start at $45, diving finals at $60 and artistic gymnastics and tennis finals at $75."

ACOG, working with a ticket vendor, will be the ticket agent for the Games. It will also be the primary booking service for hotel accommodations through its Olympic Host Hotel Network. Many accommodations and tickets will be packaged in some way.

In an effort to forestall hotel price gouging, the Atlanta Legislature has passed a law that caps room rates throughout the state for the Games, Olsen said. A lodging cannot charge more than its published 1994 room rate (also known as a rack rate), plus two times the average annual increase in the Consumer Price Index. So, if a hotel charged $100 per night in 1994, it could charge $105.60 during the Olympics, based on an inflation rate of 2.8%. Any hotel that violates that law can be fined up to $1,000 per room per night, Olsen said.

The new law, however, applies only to hotels that will charge $100 or more a night during the Games. A hotel that charges, say, $35 for a room can demand up to $99 without breaking the law.

As the organizing committee, ACOG is required to provide "reasonably priced" housing for the press, national and international Olympics officials, team administators and staff and sponsors, among others. So of an estimated 55,000 rooms, how many will be left for spectators? The committee doesn't know yet, Olsen said. "The numbers change daily."

Latino Cruise Line Scuttles Operations

For the second time in three weeks, a specialty cruise line has announced that it is scuttling operations.

Carnival Cruise Line's FiestaMarina, the first to cater exclusively to the Latino market, will embark on its last sailing on Sept. 4. Like American Family Cruises, which announced early this month that it would close down with its last sailing on Sept. 3, the FiestaMarina was unable to generate enough business.

"It's a shame," said Bob Dickinson, president of Carnival Cruise Lines. "People who sailed aboard the FiestaMarina had a terrific time . . . . There just weren't enough of them." Dickinson said the company still believes it is a viable concept for a smaller vessel. The FiestaMarina carried 950 passengers.

Passengers booked aboard the FiestaMarina beyond the last voyage date will be offered cruises on other Carnival vessels.

Ticketless Travel on Southwest

Southwest Airlines will begin testing its new ticketless travel system on Sept. 6.

The airline began taking reservations last Monday for some of the flights between Dallas, Tex., and Little Rock, Ark.; and between Houston and Corpus Christi, Tex. If all goes as planned, the test will be extended on Sept. 12 to all flights among the four cities.

Under the system, instead of a ticket travelers get a confirmation number when they make their reservations. They then exchange that confirmation number for a boarding pass at the gate.

If they wish, travelers also may continue to opt for regular tickets.

One-Stop Booking in West Marin Here's another name to add to the growing list of accommodations reservation services. Inns of Marin (70 2nd St., P.O. Box 547, Point Reyes Station 94956; tel. 800-887-2880) represents 23 lodgings, including B&Bs, inns, cottages and motels in the West Marin region of Northern California, including Point Reyes, Inverness, Olema, Tomales and Bolinas. The service can also provide information on restaurants, day trips, outdoor activities and baby-sitters.

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