Travelers' Intercom

ITN received from a reader a copy of a letter he sent to Norwegian Cruise Line, parent company of Orient Lines, as follows.

We have recently returned from spending, out of the last 2½ years, our 39th week aboard an Orient Lines ship.

The 21 days we spent aboard the Marco Polo on this latest trip made for an almost perfect cruise experience. From the moment we boarded the ship on April 7, ’03, in Nassau, Bahamas, to our disembarkation in Civitavecchia, Italy, including a 3-night...


A Parisian friend arranged for us to be picked up at her nearby apartment, where we were visiting her in 2002, by Air Line Shuttle (112 bis rue Champimnet, Paris 18e, France; phone 01 42 51 2656). We were going to Charles de Gaulle Airport at about noon and thence home.

She called the service several days prior to our October date. When the office person answered, my friend was alarmed by her manner and thus visited the office the day before we were to leave. Many assurances were...


ITN was mailed a copy of the following letter, sent by a reader to Mr. Joe Hyman of Country Cottages.

As requested during our phone conversation, I am summarizing the problems we had during our 2-week rental (April 19-May 3, ’03) of the property you represent, the Castello La Rocca in Traversa, the Mugello, Italy (postal address: Loc. Traversa, 50033 Firenzuola, Firenze Province, Tuscany, Italy).

You are already aware of the outrageous charge we were to be assessed for the...


In April ’03 we were scheduled to depart for China on a tour with China Focus Travel (870 Market St., Ste. 1215, San Francisco, CA 94102; phone 415/788-8660, fax 415/788-8665 or visit Two weeks prior to our departure, China Focus canceled our tour due to the SARS outbreak. They did it to protect their customers and at a great financial loss to themselves. Within weeks they had mailed us a check for a complete refund.

We have talked and read of other tour...


Just as our July ’03 issue arrived with Randy Keck’s article on Transylvania (Romania), we were about to leave on a self-planned trip covering the same sites. These are our observations, to augment his.

Hotels were all quite good, with Casa Viorel (phone 40-268-262-431) in Poiana Brasov being outstanding. The largest hotel we stayed in was the only place we found that accepted credit cards, but ATMs were available in every town we visited.

Food was a different story. About...


In May 2000 we visited Solo on the island of Java in Indonesia. We particularly enjoyed Solo because it is a classic, traditional Javanese city, especially in regard to the music scene. Our favorite venue was the Sriwedari Theatre, a huge hall with live performances of gamelan and colorful comedy and drama every night between 8 and 10 p.m. Because the entry fee was only about 20¢, mostly natives were in attendance.

Also, on Friday mornings at the local Kraton (palace), there was a...


“Grandmothers shouldn’t be doing work like this,” the little Chinese boy said as he took the shovel from me and laid it down. With his small hand in mine, he led me over to a log and indicated I should sit down.

I knew this 3-year-old child. We had met several days earlier when our group of Global Volunteers walked the red clay “main” road in An Shang, China, a village over two rough hours’ drive west of Xi’an.

Eleven of us were in the village in April-May ’02 to work with...


When we planned a romantic visit to the Italian lakes area, we expected lake views, islands, gardens, great food and lots of wine. We did not expect to see a beautiful, modern monument honoring the victims of September 11.

On our visit in the first two weeks of September ’03, there were just 11 of us assorted Americans plus Patti, our guide and mentor. We all met in Milan and soon were transported by our driver, Matteo, to Lake Como, followed by Lake Maggiore and then the resort town...