Q My wife and I are planning a cruise to Tahiti next winter, and would like to spend a couple of days after the cruise in Bora Bora. We want to stay in an over-water bungalow. The resorts all look the same. Are there differences?
A Some of Bora Bora's nine resorts that offer over-water bungalows are on the main island of Bora Bora, while others are on more isolated and private coral reef islets, called motu, that ring the island. All resorts that offer over-water lodging on stilts are expensive; rooms run at least $500 per night during the winter high season.
The new Bora Bora Nui Resort on Motu Toopua is the most luxurious. The Starwood property offers 84 over-water bungalow suites, each with more than 1,000 square feet of living space; amenities include spa services and an infinity pool. Other ultra-deluxe properties on offshore motus include Sofitel Motu, with just 30 units, great views and boat shuttle access to facilities at its sister property on the main island; Bora Bora Lagoon Resort, which offers a beautiful white sand beach and great views; and Le Meridien Bora Bora, a 115-unit resort in a more remote islet where guests can swim in a marine turtle sanctuary.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, with 50 over-water bungalows, a movie theater, tennis court and game room, is somewhat less expensive, as is Sofitel Marara. Le Maitai Polynesia, which opened in 1998 and is situated on Bora Bora's southern tip, is the least expensive.
Go through a travel agent that specializes in Tahiti. For a list of approved agents, contact Tahiti Tourism, 800-365-4949, www.go-to-tahiti.com.
In a check-in line for a Virgin Atlantic flight to London, a woman was acting strangely, patting her ear vigorously and replying to voices she was hearing. When a supervisor was called, the woman told him she was a CIA agent and didn't need to show her passport. I don't know if she eventually boarded, but can an airline refuse to board such a passenger if she has a valid passport and ticket? What are the rights of the other passengers?
I had similar thoughts recently when I watched three drugged and/or drunk individuals try to board a flight in Cancun. It's alarming to think of sharing a flight with someone who is out of control.
Every airline has the right to refuse to transport a passenger under certain situations, which are spelled out in a legal document that conveys with your ticket and is typically called a "contract of carriage."
Virgin Atlantic's contract of carriage is quite broad. Its section on "right to refuse carriage" details 24 different reasons where "We may decide to refuse to carry you and/or your baggage (even if you have a valid ticket)." Several apply to the situation you described, including "your mental or physical state, including impairment from alcohol or drugs, appears to present a hazard or risk to yourself, to passengers, to crew, to the aircraft . . . or represents a likely source of material annoyance or discomfort to other passengers."
While this woman's actions were obviously readily apparent to the ticket agents, it's not a bad idea to bring such behavior to the attention of airline personnel and to tell them that you would be bothered sharing a flight with the person. Also, you may want to try to get help for an upset or disturbed traveler by contacting Traveler's Aid, a volunteer group that helps travelers in need. The nonprofit organization has booths at Washington Dulles and Reagan National airports.
I am hoping to visit Estonia and want to bicycle through the countryside, maybe find an English-speaking guide. I'm not looking for luxury, but for a feel of the country. Any suggestions?
Bicycling and other outdoor activities are popular in Estonia. Several Estonian tour operators can put together bicycle touring and private guide services, including Raeturist (fax 011-372-668-8401, www.raeturist.ee), Adventuur (fax 011-372-641-9001, www.adventuur.ee) and Baltic Relax (fax 011-372-630-6561, www.balticrelax.ee).
For more choices: Estonian Tourist Board, fax 011-372-627-9777, http://visitestonia.com.
Lisa Buono of Washington has a recommendation for the reader searching for a good travel store in the D.C. area that stocks items such as compact sleeping bags (Travel Q&A, Feb. 2): Hudson Trail Outfitters on Wisconsin Avenue NW, near the Tenleytown Metro stop. "I walked in there with a list for a trip and found 95 percent of what I needed, including one of those sleeping bags," Buono said. Hudson Trail Outfitters has eight other locations in Maryland and Virginia; 202-363-9810, www.hudsontrail.com.
Send queries by e-mail (email@example.com), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20071).