CRUISE NEWS

Tender Queen Mary

CoGo is most partial to small boats. But Charles Sonneborn of Bethesda wasn't anticipating riding one when booking his Caribbean cruise on the opulent Queen Mary 2.

Problem is, this Queen is too big to dock at many Caribbean ports, so must anchor offshore. "That caused the use of tenders that offered an especially rough, bouncy passage for the 1,800 or so elderly passengers among the 2,600 who sailed," writes Sonneborn.

Cunard Line spokeswoman Julie Davis concedes anchoring is necessary in many Carribbean ports, but says, "We make it clear in all our literature that tender ports are possible." Ask ahead of time if a particular port is too small to dock the Queen; bad weather or other problems may necessitate tenders at other ports, as for any cruise ship.

Sonneborn says that while the QM2 is "magnificently appointed," the balconies on Decks 6 and 7 "are nothing more than open, enlarged portholes."

They are balconies, responds Davis. They are cut into the hull as opposed to off the hull like balconies higher up, she says. You do have to stand to see over the balcony edge, "but sun and fresh air still come in."

Last month, a CoGo reader complained that the view from QM2 balconies on Deck 8 are obscured by lifeboats. Decks 9 and above are apparently the key to view lovers.

UPRIGHT AND LOCKED

Battle of Hastings II

CoGo readers may remember the case of Michael C. Osborn and his guide dog, Hastings, and their battle with Britain. Last year, the Laguna Beach, Calif., resident discovered that he could not travel to the United Kingdom unless he agreed to put Hastings in a sealed cage in an airplane cargo hold.

The U.K. and Ireland are the only countries in the world with rules forbidding people to have their assistance animals on board with them. Osborn began a lobbying campaign in Parliament and a media campaign both here and in Britain. Hundreds of others joined him in what people began calling the Battle of Hastings II.

Now, Britain has responded: The government willl allow airlines to carry assistance dogs in the cabin once the airlines have completed paperwork. Continental, American and Air Canada are all in the process of getting approval, Osborn said. Ireland is following Britain's lead, although it will be some months before facilities are in place to process documentation.

Also rescinded: a rule that said pet owners on long flights would have to fly nonstop from their departure city to Britain, or the animals would have to be quarantined. The lifting of that rule affects all pet owners immediately. Osborn and Hastings are ready to take advantage of that change right now: They are flying to Zurich and taking a train to England.

ROAD TIPS

A Little Too EZ

CoGo's a big fan of EZPass and is as happy as the next person to get out of New Jersey. But when a recent trip south over the Delaware Memorial Bridge cost $18, it was time to rethink (albeit briefly) both of these passions.

During a random online check of our EZPass statement (registered through the Maryland Transportation Authority), we discovered that we'd paid six times the normal fee ($3) to go through the Delaware toll plaza just south of the bridge. A Maryland EZPass customer service rep told us vehicles can trip sensors numerous times if traffic is moving slowly.

But six times? Jim Salmon, public information officer of the Delaware River & Bay Authority, which oversees the bridge, said snafus can happen, because "technology isn't always perfect." Doing the math, he guessed that the CoGomobile was mistaken for a 16-axle tractor trailer. "We will correct it and make sure we get it right," he added.

Almost immediately after CoGo's call, a credit for $15 showed up, so no harm done. But if we hadn't checked . . .

If you spot an error in your statement, contact the local EZPass Customer Service Center (for Delaware, 866-372-2382), or the agency that issued the account.

Reporting: John Deiner, Cindy Loose.

Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to cogo@washpost.com. By fax: 202- 912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washing- ton Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.