The Nov. 14 Travel Q&A column said travelers can fly from Dulles International Airport to Caracas, Venezuela, on United Airlines. United does not fly to Caracas. American, Continental and Delta offer connecting service from Dulles to Caracas. (Published 11/17/04)
Q My wife, two teenage sons and I want to visit Caracas, Venezuela, next July or August and go by cruise ship. What options are available?
A Poor visitor ratings have dropped Caracas off the list of ports of call for a number of Caribbean cruise ships. Visible poverty and some street crime against tourists have contributed to this, says cruise specialist Richard Bruce Turen, managing director and owner of the agency Churchill and Turen of Naperville, Ill. That plus the scarcity of cruise ships in the summer make this a difficult excursion.
If you were willing to fly to Puerto Rico, you could take a cruise ship that stops in Aruba, disembark and then take a 11/2-hour flight to Caracas on Santa Barbara Airlines. Both Carnival Cruise Lines (888-227-6482, www.carnival.com) and Royal Caribbean (800-398-9819, www.royalcaribbean.com) sail from San Juan to Aruba and back throughout July and August -- the Carnival ship takes five days, with stops in St. Thomas, Dominica and Barbados (from $819 per person double). Royal Caribbean takes two days, with no stops (from $589).
You would have to pay the full cruise fare and make arrangements with the ship ahead of time to disembark in Aruba. And there's the question of how to get home; again, if you made arrangements to board a different cruise ship in Aruba and return to Puerto Rico, you'd have to pay the full fare.
Cruises are not designed to be transportation, and if you use them as such, they can be extremely expensive. Most of the time you're better off flying; United has flights from Washington Dulles via Houston for $531 round trip.
We are planning a move to the United Kingdom next year and will want to take our dogs and cats. Where can one find information about safely moving animals abroad?
We hope Fifi and Kitty are well-trained, as they'll need to jump through several hoops in order to make this move.
The United Kingdom is rabies-free. Strict quarantines have been in effect for a long time, but the British government in recent years has relaxed its regulations, as long as certain conditions are met:
* A pet must be fitted with a microchip for identity purposes. Then it has to be vaccinated for rabies, even if it was recently vaccinated, and get a blood test no less than six months before you depart. All this info needs to be on official vaccination records.
* One to two days before departing the pets must be treated for ticks and heartworm. Again, this needs to be documented.
* You have to fly specific airlines and into specific airports. If you fly from Washington Dulles, for instance, it must be aboard Virgin Atlantic Airways into Heathrow.
The British government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provides full details about its "Pet Travel Scheme" on its Web site, www.defra.gov.uk. For more info, call its help line at 011-44-870-241-1710.
We will be spending Christmas in Nice (flying via Milan) and would like to bring over a prime rib to cook for Christmas dinner. Is this a problem?
Like most countries, France, where you would clear customs, has strict regulations on what food can be brought into the country. Meat and dairy products are "prohibited or otherwise restricted," according to the Embassy of France.
If you obtain special permission for the beef to get through customs, you'd have take into account airline rules. Andrea Zannoni, a spokesman for Alitalia, says that perishable food is not allowed in checked luggage. There also would be concerns about the meat unhealthily defrosting en flight if you carried it on, Zannoni said.
It can be difficult to know what passes muster at a foreign border. Some countries list the regulations on an official customs Web site (in France, it's the French Customs Administration, www.douane.gouv.fr, in French); if you can't find that for your destination, consult your airline or the embassy or tourism office for your destination.
Mary Jane Wyatt of Winchester says the grounds of the Park Administration Building in Banff (Travel Q&A, Oct. 31) are among the most scenic in the area. The building is at the end of Banff Avenue at 1 Cave Ave. "Cross the Bow River on a beautifully built bridge and behold the gardens." And the best part, she says: Admission is free. Info: www.pc.gc.ca.
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