Travelers cruise to Antarctica and then board rubber boats for excursions ashore


November 01, 1992|By New York Times News Service

Q: I am interested in a trip to Antarctica. Can you give information on what companies go there?

A: Travel to Antarctica is done by ship, and rubber boats called Zodiacs take passengers ashore for excursions. (The number of visitors is limited in cooperation with the National Science Foundation to minimize environmental damage.) The cruises are accompanied by naturalists, ornithologists and other experts who lecture on board and lead the excursions. Here are some of the ships that make cruises to Antarctica. Prices are for one person, based on two sharing a cabin, and the length of the trip includes time on land before and after cruises.

* The World Discoverer, 138 passengers, operated by Clipper Cruise Line, (314) 727-2929. Trips are 15 days (from $5,575) and 22 days ($7,700). Prices include airfare between Miami and Santiago, where the cruises begin.

* The Ocean Princess, 400 passengers, is operated by Ocean Cruise Lines, (800) 556-8850. Trips of 18 or 19 days cost from $5,420 including airfare to and from New York (costs vary by city).

* The Explorer, 96 passengers, is operated by Abercrombie & Kent, (800) 323-7308. One 15-day cruise, starting Jan. 6, is solely to Antarctica and starts at $6,540. Others, which include additional ports, leave Nov. 11 and Dec. 8, Jan. 17 and 28 and Feb. 8 (all (15 days), from $5,220; Nov. 22, 1993, (20 days) and Dec. 19, 1992, (22 days), both from $6,750. Prices do not include airfare to and from Santiago.

* The Illiria, 135 passengers, is operated by Classical Cruises, (800) 252-7745. Fourteen-day trips out of the United States cost from $5,395, not including airfare.

* The 38-passenger Professor Molchanov, operated by Mountain Travel-Sobek, (800) 227-2384, has 17-day trips, from $4,750 not including airfare to Santiago. Next season's cruises will be on the 75-passenger Akademik Sergey Vavilov, at the same price or lower.

Q: Are there publications that show comparative costs of specific items in various countries?

A: Such a listing is available from Runzheimer International, a management consultanting company that specializes in travel and living costs. The information is probably most useful to companies whose employees travel or move for business or to people considering a move. Runzheimer provides cost comparisons by city that include goods and services, housing, transportation and taxes, with an annual figure given for each category, based on a family's size and income. On request, the company will provide clients with an item-by-item breakdown of subcategories that make up the goods and services entry. Included are food at home (with a list of typical grocery items and prices), food away from home (with such items as a hamburger and french fries), tobacco, alcohol, home furnishings, clothing, domestic services, health care, personal care and recreation. The cost for a two-city comparison typically is $330.

To get an idea of comparisons of more cities, but without the detail, the international edition of Runzheimer's Meal-Lodging Cost Index lists prices for business-class hotels and restaurant meals, including tips, service and taxes, for 100 cities. Prices are given in local currency and in dollars. The index costs $195 ($190 for each subsequent year).

A less expensive city-by-city comparison is the State Department's compilation of per diem allowances for meals and lodging. A monthly listing of about 850 foreign locations is intended for government employees traveling on business and is for "moderately priced facilities" and includes service charges, tax and tips plus such incidentals as laundry. One listing costs $1.50 ($1.87 if sent to a foreign address) for the most recent issue or $15 ($18.75 for a foreign address) for a one-year subscription. Send a check or money order to Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402-9371, requesting United States Department of State Maximum Travel Per Diem Allowances for Foreign Areas.

Q: Do casino hotels in Atlantic City allow dogs in a guest's room?

A: None of the casino hotels allow pets (except for guide dogs) in guest rooms, according to the Greater Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau does mention two hotels in the area that will allow dogs. In both cases, you should call first to say you plan to bring a dog and to answer any questions about the animal. Dogs should, obviously, be housebroken and should not bark.

One of the hotels is the Barbizon Catalina, P.O. Box 1257, Atlantic City, N.J. 08404, (800) 257-8610. It is on South Carolina Avenue near the beach, and a short walk to several casinos. The hotel will allow guests to keep what it calls small dogs, no heavier than 50 pounds, in a room. Rooms are $59 midweek and $69 to $99 on weekends.

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