Q I had intended to invite my granddaughters for a weekend in New York City to attend the Radio City Hall Christmas show, but because of conflicting schedules, this won't be possible. Do the Rockettes perform any other time of the year?
A For more than 50 years, the high-kicking Rockettes performed four shows daily 365 days a year, but the group now concentrates on holiday shows.
The Rockettes, which started in St. Louis in 1925 as the Missouri Rockets, perform at various special events outside the Christmas season, but they don't do any other regularly scheduled gigs. You can also see them each year in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Columbus Day Parade and the Rockefeller Center Tree-Lighting Ceremony, all in New York.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular runs for almost two months in New York, so perhaps you can figure out a time early or late in the schedule. The first show is Nov. 4 and it is performed several times daily through Jan. 2, with only five days off (Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 22, and Dec. 31). There are more than 200 performances in New York, with tickets costing $39 to $129. The show is also in Detroit Nov. 26-Dec. 26; Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 18-Dec. 5; Boston Dec. 2-31; Buffalo Nov. 11-28; St. Louis Dec. 10-31; and Denver Nov. 26-Dec. 31.
For ticket and schedule info: 212-307-1000, www.radiocity.com.
Several years ago I read about a cruise to Veracruz, Mexico, from Tampa. It may have been a ferry. Do you have any current info?
The Port of Corpus Christi in Texas signed a letter of intent with a ship management firm last week to begin cruise-ferry passenger ship service between Corpus Christi and Veracruz. Service could begin as early as January. The voyage would take about 30 hours, and the ship would also transport cars, RVs and motorcoaches; tickets are expected to cost about $175 per passenger and $150 per car.
In 2002-2003, a ferry called the Yucatan Express operated for one winter between Tampa and the town of Progreso, Mexico, which is more than 400 miles from Veracruz on the Yucatan Peninsula's northwest coast. A spokeswoman for the owners of the ferry, which operates in summer between Maine and Nova Scotia as the Scotia Prince, said they are hoping to resume service in November 2005, but "nothing is definite yet."
Holland America is the only major cruise line that uses Veracruz as a port, although the town is not part of any regular itinerary. A "Mexican New Year" cruise aboard the Veendam will depart Tampa Dec. 26 and spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day docked in Veracruz. The ship will also stop in Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan Bay Island, Honduras. Prices start at about $1,160 per person double.
I would like to visit a friend who's serving in the Peace Corps in Shoumen, Bulgaria. It's a small town near Varna on the Black Sea. What's the cheapest and easiest way to get there?
Bulgaria is not a huge tourism destination from the United States, but it's all the rage with Brits in search of cheap country houses. It's also a big bird-watching spot.
Shoumen, in northeast Bulgaria and founded in the early Middle Ages as a fortress town, has several interesting architectural and historic sites. The nearby "Madara Rider" cliff carving, which depicts a knight triumphing over a lion and dates to the eighth century, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
Many major foreign airlines, including Alitalia, Austrian, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France and KLM, offer connecting service between Washington and Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, but sale fares are uncommon. Expect to pay about $700 round trip during most of the year. Austrian Air, connecting through Vienna, and Alitalia, connecting through Milan, offer convenient connections and some of the more reasonable fares.
From Sofia, you could fly to Varna, but a bus may be more convenient. Orli Mirtchev, a spokesman for the U.S.-based travel agency Visit Bulgaria, said the flight schedule between the two cities is not convenient and the round-trip fare would cost about $150. And you'd still have to get from Varna to Shoumen. Instead, take a four-hour bus ride to Shoumen. Several private bus companies offer this service from Sofia's Central Bus Station; there are about 14 departures daily. The round-trip price is less than $20. The bus schedule is online at http://tis.centralnaavtogara.bg .
For more info: Bulgaria National Tourism Promotion and Information Agency, fax 011-359-2-989-69-39, www.bulgariatravel.org. For travel planning from the States: Visit Bulgaria, 866-424-8728, www.visitbulgaria.com.
Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@ washpost.com), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington D.C. 20071).