If a Cruise Firm Overbooks, Life Can Get Attractive on the Next Sailing

Question: I’ve heard that cruise lines overbook. Can a passenger with a confirmed reservation be left behind, as is the case with airlines?

Answer: Cruise overbooking is rare because the lines usually know well in advance if there’s no cabin available. They will contact you, offering an attractive upgrade on another sailing.

Q. Does it really cost as much as $10 for a cup of coffee at a Japanese airport?

A. While Japanese food and drink isn’t cheap, latest check at Tokyo International Airport showed coffee costs $1.58; beer, $2.88; hamburger, $3.48; ice cream, $1.09; spaghetti, $3.66; apple pie, $1.79; whiskey, $3.73; chewing gum, 42 cents, and a pack of cigarettes $1.69. These prices are competitive with most airports around the world.


Q. What happened to the Cook’s Tours that were famous years ago? My agent says they’re not operated any more.

A. Thomas Cook still operates tours out of London to all parts of the world but hasn’t offered them in this country for some time. However, its newly reorganized Thos. Cook American affiliate will make such tours available again through its own and other travel agencies.

Q. Which company operates the world’s only luxury freighter and where does it sail?

A. The 19,500 ton, 88-passenger Americana makes 48-day round trips between New York City and South America. It has 52 cabins and various public rooms. Fares start at $6,480 round trip, per person. Contact Ivaran Lines toll-free at (800) 451-1639 or your agent.

Q. I’d like to take an adventure trip. Because they may be in wilderness or other remote regions, what emergency medical facilities do they offer?

A. Major African safari operators are served by the Kenya-based Flying Doctors Assn., which provides immediate emergency treatment, including air evacuation to hospitals. Operators also give doctors discounts when accompanying such tours. Those with such services include: Mountain Travel, El Cerrito, Calif., (800) 227-2384); Overseas Adventure Travel, Cambridge, Mass., (800) 221-08140, and Wilderness Travel, Berkeley, Calif. (800) 247-6700).

Q. I’m a high school student interested in studying abroad next summer. What programs are available and what’s the cost?

A. One-month summer study trips are offered by Experiment in International Living, which can be reached by calling toll-free (800) 345-2929. You stay with a family abroad. Cost is about $3,000, including room and board.

Q. Where is the European bird facility that teaches falconry and allows tourists to photograph birds of prey at close range?

A. Falconry Center, Newent, Gloucestershire, England, has the largest collection of falcons, eagles, buzzards, hawks, kites, owls and vultures. Open through November, visitors can photograph birds from a few feet distance. Falconry instruction also is given.

Q. Is there a perfume factory in the Caribbean that lets you mix and name your own brand?

A. Perfume Factory, Freeport, Bahamas, allows guests to select from various fragrances to create a personal scent. Admission free. Service is $15.

Q. Now that elephant ivory is on the endangered list, can tourists bring in walrus tusk products?

A. There’s no ban on souvenirs made from walrus ivory. Uncarved tusks, however, are considered contraband. Alaska tourist officials also warn that some items labeled walrus may be made from fishbone, elephant ivory or whale.