The June 20 Travel Q&A column incorrectly stated that the Project Liberty Ship in Baltimore will offer a free six-hour cruise to veterans and military personnel Nov. 6. The company has not yet decided what Veterans Day-related activities will be offered this year. (Published 6/23/04)
Q Four years ago, my husband and I spent two weeks in Ireland traveling by car and staying at B&Bs. We'd love to go back, but my husband will be 76 and car rental agreements say age 23-75. I'm younger, but I'm afraid I would have trouble driving on the left.
A The maximum age to rent a car in Ireland is typically 75, but the rule is not mandated by law. Insurance policies for car agencies that rent to drivers older than 75 are exorbitantly expensive, and most save money by simply not renting to older seniors.
One exception is Hertz. According to Hertz's "qualifications and requirements" for Ireland, "Customers aged between 76 and 79 years can rent with specific conditions (you must drive on a regular basis, you will need to provide at the counter a letter from your doctor to state you have been in good health for at least 12 months and a letter from your insurance company to state you have not had an accident within the last five years)."
Ellen McNulty, spokeswoman for Lynott Tours, which sells self-drive tours to Ireland, said older drivers could expect to pay about 20 percent more for a car rental. Another option is to hire a private driver, but this will cost nearly twice as much as going it alone.
I'm interested in a trip to Easter Island. Do you have any information?
The history of Easter Island, situated 2,300 miles west of Chile and 2,500 southeast of Tahiti, is shrouded in mystery. A territory of Chile, the island is most famous for its nearly 900 statutes, or moai, some taller than 30 feet. No one knows why or how the statutes were built. Until relatively recently, historians believed the island was first colonized by South Americans between A.D. 400 and 800, but genetic testing has proven that the inhabitants' ancestors were Polynesian.
The island gets upward of 20,000 tourists each year. Most visit in January and February, when the islands' 3,000 or so residents celebrate the cultural Tapati festival. The only way to get there is to fly from Tahiti or Santiago on LanChile (866-435-9526, www.lan.com). From Washington, the round-trip flight is about $1,690 and takes between 19 and 24 hours each way.
The island has about 50 hotels, inns and private home accommodations and 20 restaurants. Sights include Rano Raraku, where nearly 400 statues in varying degrees of completion are strewn; Ahu Tongariki, with 15 standing statues and petroglyphs; Ahu Akivi, a well-preserved platform of seven moai and stone columns sitting in line with the summer solstice; and Anakena Beach for swimming and snorkeling.
Info sources include the Chilean Tourism Promotion Corporation (866-YES-CHILE, www.visit-chile.org) and the Easter Island Foundation (www.islandheritage.org).
My father, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, turns 80 this fall. We'd like to celebrate with a lunch or dinner cruise in Annapolis. Can we attend Mass in the chapel?
Mary K. Savercool
A cruise on the John W. Brown, a restored Liberty ship, may be a good option. It sails from Baltimore, not Annapolis, but the six-hour "living history" cruise endeavors to bring passengers back to a day in 1944. Big band music, the comedy of Abbott and Costello reenactors, barbershop quartets and mock attacks by World War II vintage aircraft are included, along with continental breakfast and a lunch buffet. The trip, which is $125 per person, will go out several times this fall. On Nov. 6, veterans and military personnel go free. Info: 410-661-1550, www.liberty-ship.com.
From Annapolis, you can go on day cruises aboard the 74-foot Schooner Woodwind (410-263-8619, www.schoonerwoodwind.com) and on boats operated by Watermark Cruises (410-268-7601, www.watermarkcruises.com).
The academy chapel is open to the public for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish services; call 410-263-6933 or check www.navyonline.com for info. For Naval Academy alumni events: 410-263-4448, www.usna.com.
Erik Rasmussen of Arlington has more suggestions for a Native American culture trip to New Mexico (Travel Q&A, June 6). "The Highway 4 loop from north of Santa Fe west to Los Alamos, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Jemez Pueblo . . . is stunning -- simply one of the most beautiful drives our family has taken anywhere," Rasmussen said. He also recommends the ancient Puye cliff dwellings on Santa Clara Pueblo and the Pueblo Harvest Cafe at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Bob Youker of Bethesda warns that the road into Chaco Culture National Historical Park "is absolutely terrible: I planned the trip for a year but turned around after 100 yards."
Send queries by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071).