Cruise ship visits to Alaska's Glacier Bay will be cut back next year, and some ships already scheduled to visit this month were expected to be diverted because of a court ruling.
The ruling was issued Aug. 3 in Anchorage by U.S. District Judge James K. Singleton in response to a long-standing lawsuit by conservationists. It reduces from 139 to 107 the number of cruise ship visits to the scenic bay from June through August.
The effect on this year's visits was being determined last week. John Quinley, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Anchorage, said the Park Service was asking cruise lines to reduce their scheduled visits from a total of 38 to 29 during the rest of this month; this plan was subject to court review at the Travel section's press time. (Visits after Aug. 31 would not be affected.)
As for the 2002 season, "it's clear we're talking [a total of] 107 ships," Quinley added. About 350,000 cruise passengers visit Glacier Bay National Park each year.
In 1997 the Park Service raised the number of permitted cruise ship visits to 139. The National Parks Conservation Assn., which said the increase threatened humpback whales and the environment, filed suit that year.
United Offers Booking Through PDA Devices
In what it claims is an industry first, United Airlines last month began allowing customers to book any of its flights from personal digital assistants such as Palm Pilots.
Although some other airlines, including United (since November), offer flight information via PDAs, United is the first U.S. airline to allow booking worldwide on the devices, according to Niru Shah, director of e-commerce systems for United Networks, a subsidiary of the airline's parent company, UAL Corp.
The service is available to members of Mileage Plus, United's frequent-flier club. Membership and the service are free. Customers can join online and then download the necessary software from United's Web site, http://www.united.com. (Go to "Travel Support" and click on "Wireless/Paging.")
Car Rentals Available for Europe, Mexico Port Calls
Europcar, the largest Europe-based car rental company, is offering one-day rentals at discounted rates to cruise passengers during port calls.
Although some cruise companies arrange car rentals before and after the cruise, they are not usually offered at port calls en route, Europcar spokesmen said. Instead, cruise lines generally offer bus tours.
Under the Europcar program, new this summer, cruise passengers contact the company, telephone (877) 940-6900, Internet http://www.europcar.com, at least 48 hours ahead to arrange for a car to be delivered to a port. After using the car, the customer returns it to the port, where the company picks it up. The service is available in 18 European nations and Mexico.
Redondo Beach-based Henning Luessmann, director of marketing for North America, said the program is an effort to get North Americans familiar with his company. The rates offered are lower than typical walk-in, one-day rates--in many cases, half as much, he added.
A Pajama Party With Abraham Lincoln
It's Tuesday. You've visited the Washington, D.C., museums with your kids and had dinner. Now what?
A new option is to head for the Lincoln Memorial for a program that starts at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and is aimed at children 4 to 9. Called "Goodnight, Mr. Lincoln," the hourlong program gives a child's-eye introduction to the memorial and Lincoln's life. Participants play 19th century children's games, measure their heights against the towering president's and listen to stories, among other activities.
It costs $10 for each child and $5 per accompanying adult; no credit cards accepted, no reservations needed. Look for guides wearing Washington Walks badges. The program, through Oct. 23, is one of 10 offered by the 21/2-year-old tour company. Tel. (202) 484-1565, http://www.washingtonwalks.com.
Traveler's Notes ...
A Manhattan hotel went smoke-free this month, banning smoking in all guest rooms and public areas, including stairways. The 79-room Comfort Inn Midtown, 129 W. 46th St., claimed to be the city's first hotel to ban smoking throughout. (Smoking is allowed in bars in the city but not in restaurants, although the law is loosely enforced, a hotel spokesman said.) Room rates begin at $89 per night. Tel. (800) 567-7720, http://www.applecorehotels.com. ... Hilton Hotels Corp. said it will end its $3-per-room energy surcharge, imposed earlier this year in California and 12 other states, plus the District of Columbia, on Sept. 1. It cited "stabilizing" energy costs for the decision.
\o7 Compiled by Jane Engle\f7