Los Angeles offers guide on TV tapings

TRAVEL Q&A

December 27, 1992|By Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Q: We will be in Los Angeles this winter, on a combination business and pleasure trip. I would like to see some tapings of television shows, but I have no idea how to go about getting in to see them. Can you help?

A: You could write to the networks, but there's an easier way.

The city of Los Angeles has a useful listing that it offers free to anyone who requests it. A calendar lists TV tapings of all the shows with dates, locations and numbers to call for ticket information. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request to Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, c/o TV Tapings, 515 S. Figeroa, Suite 1100, Los Angeles, Calif., 90071.

Q: Every now and then I see a newspaper or travel magazine story that names the "best" this or that, such as hotels, airlines and so on. I always read these stories to see if I've ever stayed at any of the hotels, flown on any of the airlines, etc., since I make a lot of business trips.

The latest one I read about named the Regent in Hong Kong as the world's best hotel. I seldom stay at top hotels, since they cost too much for my expense account, but I have flown on some of the "best" airlines and sometimes disagree with the rankings.

Who makes up these lists? Do the "winners" have to pay to be included, or what?

A: Those "best" lists are compiled mostly because people like to read them. Such lists help sell magazines or newspapers, and are good publicity for the properties rated as best. As far as I know, nobody pays to be a winner.

The people who make the decisions may be the readers of a magazine or newspaper, members of a specific organization, travel agents and travel writers, and so on. The criteria usually include quality of service, comfort, amenities, hospitality level and so on. Cost obviously isn't considered, since most winners are in the luxury category.

The recent poll you mentioned, listing the world's top hotels, was run by Institutional Investor, an international publication, and targeted top-level financial executives who don't have to watch their pennies.

Conde Nast Traveler magazine polls its readers every year and features a cover story on the "Top 100 World's Best" hotels, resorts, cruise lines, airlines and spas. It's good for circulation; people like to read those stories, and they must like to participate, since 34,000 filled out the questionnaire for the current poll published in the Traveler's October issue. Readers voted the Oriental in Bangkok as the world's best hotel, with the Hong Kong Regent coming in second, so its readers disagreed with the business moguls.

Obviously, some "best" lists are more valid than others. The American Automobile Association and Mobil guidebooks annually publicize the top hotels and resorts rated five star (Mobil) or five diamond (AAA) in their guidebooks. These ratings, based on consistent criteria, are done by teams of professional inspectors.

Q: Can I get married on a cruise ship?

A: No, but you can get married during the cruise. Laws prevent cruise ship captains from performing on-board wedding ceremonies, but some cruise lines will help arrange for a wedding at a port of call, followed by an on-board reception. Most ship captains also will perform unofficial ceremonies, where couples can renew their wedding vows.

As for honeymooners on cruises, they get special attention, from champagne to flowers, fruit and cake in their cabin, a commemorative photo, breakfast in bed and whatever else the particular ship includes in its honeymoon program.

Some of the lines that promote honeymoon cruises are Carnival, Costa, Crown, Dolphin, Majesty, Norwegian, Premier, Royal Caribbean and Seawind cruise lines, American Hawaii, Club Med, Chandris, Holland America, Princess and Regency cruises.

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