Travelers' Intercom

We enjoyed a wonderful 10-day cruise aboard the Regal Princess in May ’02, traveling round trip from Copenhagen. In addition to Denmark, we visited Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland and Norway. I would like to give some tips on doing the shore excursions on your own as we did.

The two major difficulties we encountered on this cruise were 1) the many different currencies that were necessary for public transportation and admissions and 2) traversing the long distances into the...


I received an invitation to celebrate the 60th birthday of Kwabenar LaVerte Mathis, an old and dear friend of almost 50 years. The celebration was held on Ischia, a resort island off the coast of Naples, Italy, that is known for its thermal pools, steam baths and therapeutic waters.

The trip, May 26-June 3, ’03, was booked and coordinated by Liz Morris of Omega Travel (phone 703/246-9259 or fax 888/380-9805). The airfare was $725 round trip, and my single room at the 4-star Hotel...


It was through an ad in ITN years ago that we first found the greatest travel agent ever, Pannir Murugesu.

In March of 1996 we (a party of four) went to Bangkok, Bali and Hong Kong; the package we booked was offered in an ad by Natrabu Indo-American Travel. At that time, Pannir Murugesu was with Natrabu and that is where we came to know him. We took another three trips through Pannir at Natrabu: a 5-island tour of Indonesia in October-November ’97, Bali in April ’99 and Bali and...


ITN performed an invaluable service for travelers in publishing the reader’s letter entitled “Mystery Charge on Credit Card” regarding Internet hotel reservations (Dec. ’03, pg. 30).

I, too, made a reservation over the Internet with a hotel in Dublin. This was in 2001. After returning home I got a bill from an unknown “travel arranger” in England. I was billed in pounds for my hotel in Ireland, which at the time used punts. I had paid the hotel directly in Ireland.

When I...


I read the reader’s letter titled “Money Laundering 101” (Oct. ’03, pg. 45), on cleaning paper currency to use for travel. Fascinating. For those more slothful travelers, here is a suggestion.

I would imagine most banks are like mine. About four days before I want to pick up my trip money, I give my bank a list of the denominations that I want and when I will be in to pick up the bills. On the appointed day, I show up and the teller counts out all new bills. Less fatiguing.



Thought I would add a postscript to the letter “Money Laundering 101.”

Prior to several trips to Russia, I have simply gone by my bank and asked them for relatively new money with the “security strip” embedded in each bill. In Russia they would not take the “unstripped” money. (Actually, there is now very little of the old money around, and the strip is not in the one-dollar bills.)

In any event, my bank was always very helpful. In fact, they were the ones who first told me I...


We did a couple of tours of Romania with a young guide, Cristian Florea (Crif Tours, Strad Aleea Valea Viilor Nr. 2, Bloc. A53, Ap. 46, Sector 6, Bucuresti 77409, Romania; phone/fax 444 01 64, e-mail or visit

His English is flawless, he is extremely knowledgeable and he can take you to some very unusual areas. I contacted several people he gave as references and all spoke very highly of him.

In May ’03, Cris drove four of us in a...


We were in Hong Kong in November ’03 and took a day trip on the ferry to the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The ferry ride took just under an hour. After several hours of sightseeing in this unusual area, we got hungry and our guide dropped us off at Henri’s Galley (4 Av. Da Republica, Macau; phone [853] 556251 or visit It is located on the old waterfront and has a nautical theme. Seafood is a specialty along with a wide variety of Portuguese and Asian dishes....