ON OUR travel agent's advice, we took out insurance with a separate company from the cruise line with which we were booking a November cruise from Australia to New Zealand ["Insurance: What, When, How, Why," June 13]. Soon after 9/11, the cruise line went under.
We filed claims 1) against the bankrupt cruise line, 2) with the insurance company, and 3) with Visa, with whom we had charged the cost of the trip.
Who do you think gave us a refund? Visa -- and relatively fast! We rebooked the following year and had a great trip.
Riding the Autotrain
THE ARTICLE on Amtrak's Autotrain [Lab Report, June 13] did not cover everything about the trip. I have traveled several times on this train.
Food is acceptable; you can order a special diet ahead of time. There is a first-run movie. Each time I used the Autotrain, we arrived early and had to wait for the train crew to take us into the station.
According to when you travel, the price is different. My wife and I are going in January, and the fare is $278.60. This includes the auto.
AS THE protagonist in James Joyce's "Ulysses" is Jewish, visitors to Dublin for Bloomsday might also enjoy a visit to the Irish Jewish Museum ["Re-Joyce in Dublin," June 13]. This small museum provides some insight into Ireland's small Jewish community and the Jewish Dublin of Bloom's time, as well as before and after. It has a collection of objects and artifacts and a preserved, though unused, synagogue up a flight of stairs. We found our visit well worth our time, especially since it opened up to us another, unexpected side of Ireland.
The museum is in the Portobello section of Dublin on Walworth Road, near the Grand Canal. It's about a mile south of Christchurch Cathedral and a short walk to Leopold Bloom's birthplace on Upper Clanbrassil Street. More information can be found at www.jewishireland.com.
Jean Kelly and Art Stern
Majors and Minors
IN THE June 13 Coming and Going column, you refer to the six "major" airlines, and later on to two "discount" airlines. However, the one thing that characterizes the majors right now is financial hemorrhaging on the way to probable bankruptcies.
A discount airline, Southwest, flew more passengers in April than any other airline nationwide. Seems major to me. Southwest flies more passengers in and out of BWI than all the other airlines combined using that terminal. Again, sounds major. Southwest makes lots of money. That too, would seem to indicate major, and not discount, management skills.
The traveling public has spoken. Southwest, AirTran and Jet Blue are doing well and, I predict, will continue to do so.
I suggest that you review your use of adjectives in the light of today's realities.
Victoria Ferry, Cont'd
WE ALSO were concluding our trip to Alaska and arrived at Canada Pier Place [Message Center, June 13]. We had contracted with Pacific Coast Lines to pick us up and to take us to the bus terminal. It was a wonderful ride, particularly on the ferry where we saw two orca whale pods.
When we arrived in Victoria, we took a short cab ride to our hotel, the Days Inn Harborside. Since we were there during Canada Day, the entire harbor had vendors, entertainment, etc. What a wonderful day.
The next day, we walked across the street to catch the ferry, the MV Coho Ferry, to take us to Port Angeles, where we rented a car to see the Olympic Peninsula. We returned our rental car the next morning and took a minivan bus that brought us directly to our hotel at Sea-Tac Airport. The bus stop to get into Seattle was at our hotel so we went into the city.
Other than renting a car a couple of times during our vacation through Alaska, Canada and Washington State, we used public transportation solely. Much more affordable and easy to do.
ODDLY ENOUGH, when the Travel section was reporting on Washington area B&Bs ["1 Hour," June 6], I had just completed a similar search. Since we were attending a wedding in Leesburg and reception in Lovettsville, I chose someplace a little more to the northern end of the county, Buckskin Manor (www.buckskinmanor.com). The drive out Route 9 past Hillsboro toward Harpers Ferry was beautiful. Owner Gail Bogert met us at the door and took us through her lovely property and inn, then showed us to our room with private bath and Jacuzzi. We met the assorted dogs the next morning, although thankfully not too early! Breakfast was simple but wonderful, including mixed fruit with cream and delicious omelets.
As to what we could have done without, well . . . the roadside sign was a little hard to read at night, but that's it.
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