I read with interest Slater and Basch's Cruise Views on Dec. 30, and after taking a November cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' Sun Viking, I too would like to make an award. To the cruise line I award a keelhaul with clusters for a disintegration in courtesy, service and food. I will not trumpet their praises, but pan the line because passenger comments are not considered or even taken seriously.
I could hardly believe the assertions and prejudices of S.J. Watkins (Letters, Jan. 6) who complained about the food and service in Spain, France and Italy, and specifically in the Nerja, Spain, parador. While I am not familiar with that parador, my wife and I spent two weeks in Spain's southern paradors, including Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Torremolinos, Oropesa and Merida. Each ranged from excellent to magnificent in terms of quality of the rooms, location, service. And the restaurant in each was outstanding, considering quantity and quality of food and service. Prices were also quite reasonable (dinner for two with wine, $20 to $30).
Much to our surprise and delight we found the Spanish people the most polite and well-mannered in Europe. . . . Any traveler who resorts to "gross me out" as a critique of a foreign country is not quite ready for international travel and should be content exploring the confines of the San Fernando Valley.
And while I'm at it, a big boo to the letter writer who attacked Beverly Beyer and Ed Rabey. I think their articles are good and the format is especially useful.
ARTHUR L. ZYGMONT
Regarding S.J. Watkins' letter: We were in Spain for nine days a year ago and found the people extremely friendly and courteous and the food and wine excellent. We had to make an emergency call home, did not have any Spanish coins and were not familiar with their telephone system. We stopped at a boutique for assistance and the lady there offered to place the call for us.
That evening we dined in the hotel restaurant and had a great dinner and excellent wine for only $3.50 each. . . .
My wife and I spent almost two weeks in Spain last May. We examined paradors and were not sorry that we were unable to get reservations. Basically I agree with S.J. Watkins. The paradors appeared to be disappointing. We ate at a few of them and found the meals much less than acceptable. One of them was really terrible.
However, we loved northern Spain and Madrid. We found southern Spain especially provincial, the people in Seville less than endearing. Madrid is cosmopolitan, artistic, civilized.
Not too many people are jubilant about the attitude of the Parisians. That does not stop most of us from returning to Paris. I have heard a negative thing or two about New York, but I find it the most exciting city in the world.
ARTHUR L. FINN