FDA Rules Required for Inland Ships

Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: Is it true that cruise ships sailing U.S. inland waters are exempt from public health inspection?

Answer: Cruise liners on the Mississippi and the inland waterways, as well as those sailing between the Hawaiian Islands, are inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which, unlike the Public Health Service, does not make its findings public.

Q: We'd like to tour the Galapagos Islands on our own. Are there boat services other than the larger cruise ships?

A: Numerous small boats for cruising through the islands are available, some carrying as few as six passengers. They should be booked through your agent. For more information, contact the Ecuadorean Consulate Tourist Information, 548 S. Spring St., Los Angeles 90014, (213) 628-3014.

Q: Can I make rail and hotel reservations through Amtrak and get discounts? A: Amtrak has a number of rail and hotel packages, some of which offer reduced rates. These are available through travel agents or by calling the tour desk toll-free at (800) USA-RAIL.

Q: What are the sites and dates for the Vincent van Gogh exhibition in the Netherlands next Year?

A: The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Kroller-Muller Museum in nearby Otterlo will show 120 of the artist's paintings and 250 drawings between March 30 and July 29. Tickets costing $12.50 are available in the United States through Ticketron.

Q: We'd like to charter a sailboat in the Bahamas. What are the rates during the coming winter season?

A: Operators are advertising seven-day, six-night charters from $900 to $4,000 a day. For six people, this brings the cost down to $150 per person a day, plus $15 daily for food per person. Skippers can be hired at $75 a day plus meals. Your agent can make arrangements.

Q: Where is the firm in the United States that sells picture post cards of various foreign cities?

A: Foreign Cards, Box 123, Guilford, Conn. 06437, has 20,000 post cards covering nearly every country and city in the world. The post cards are from 23 cents and up, depending on the quantity ordered.

Q: Is there a national organization that offers advice to travelers who have allergy problems?

A: Contact the Allergy Information Center and Hotline at toll-free (800) 727-5400 for free information.

Q: Is it possible to obtain a cheaper tour - package rate by staying longer than the time specified in the brochure?

A: Various operators offer so-called extended-stay tours that can be stretched for weeks and even months at a single destination. Rates for the additional stay drop substantially. Your agent has details.

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