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October 26, 2008|Jane Engle; Chris Erskine; Catharine Hamm

Carnival back in business in Galveston

Carnival Cruise Lines will return to sailing from Galveston, Texas, on Saturday -- just seven weeks after Hurricane Ike devastated the city. The company's two Galveston-based ships, the Ecstasy and the Conquest, began using Houston's port for their Caribbean cruises after the hurricane. In a news release, Galveston's port director, Steven Cernak, said Cruise Terminal 1, damaged in the storm, had been overhauled, with work crews tearing out carpeting and walls, installing new amenities and repairing equipment. Beaches and many hotels and restaurants were open, according to the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. Both Carnival ships, at sea with passengers when the storm hit, sailed safely. The Ecstasy had set sail two days before the storm, while the city was under a hurricane warning and an evacuation order. Carnival said the Ecstasy would begin sailing out of Galveston on Saturday, and the Conquest on Nov. 2.

-- Jane Engle

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Bad trip? Share

Travel section readers recently told us where to go, suggesting some out-of-the-way spots they discovered and loved. Now we'd like to know where not to go. We've all experienced getting to a highly touted destination and discovering it's not quite what we had in mind. Was Hawaii too hot? Paris too impersonal? Beijing kind of blah? We'd like to hear about a place -- not a hotel or a restaurant but a destination -- that didn't tickle your fancy. Tell us why you didn't like it and whether you'd consider returning. Tell us the funny stuff. Tell us the sad stuff. Just tell us. You can send an e-mail to tellus@latimes.com or use the form at latimes.com/overrated. If selected, your place will be used in an upcoming Travel section.

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Excess baggage

Is airline fabric the next denim? Well, jet-setter, you decide. Virgin Atlantic Airways is converting old seats into handbags. That's right, you could carry 14E on your shoulder forever. The airline is teaming up with Worn Again, a British design company that specializes in recycled materials, which all plays into the airline's goal of becoming "the world's most sustainable airline," including plans to reduce materials sent to landfills by 50% by 2012. If this sort of memorabilia appeals to you, move fast. Worn Again will produce 2,000 limited-edition pieces made from about 1,000 seats. Cost: Toiletry bags sell for $40; handbags, around $100. Info: www.wornagain.co.uk

-- Chris Erskine

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Peace work

Imagine a brass pendant that's a symbol of peace, or a brass bracelet emblazoned with the Khmer word for "community." They are, at turns, both beautiful and disturbing when you realize that the brass is actually old shell casings hammered into exquisite shapes by Southeast Asian craftsmen. Nikaya Handcrafted is an outgrowth of Journeys Within, which was founded by Andrea and Brandon Ross to fight poverty and improve health, education and life. They added Nikaya to their repertoire to create change and promote economic development. Besides helping artisans, 10% of the profit from Nikaya goes back to Journeys Within. Info: for products, which include jewelry, scarfs, pillow covers and handbags, go to www.nikayahandcrafted; for Journeys Within, see www.journeyswithin.com or call (877) 454-3672.

-- Catharine Hamm

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For more travel news, go to latimes.com/travelblog.

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