Shape up and ship out
So, independent travellers and cruise ship tourists don't mix (Cruising for a bruising, Traveller Letters, May 4-5). What is wrong with wanting to take a cruise? People travel in different ways for different reasons and not everyone can, or wants to, travel the world independently. I'm sure it's a major inconvenience when arriving at a heritage site to find, well, other people there. Meantime, let's not mention the boost a local economy receives from the money spent by tourists who arrive by ship. Live and let live, or stay home.
Reading the account of cruise mayhem on Traveller's letters page brought back great memories of travel in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Alaska. Before 10am and after 6pm Dubrovnik was serene and we walked the walls at 8am with nary a cruise passenger in sight. Between 10am and 6pm it was a nightmare of flags, umbrellas, conga lines of bodies and screaming guides. After 6pm it was quiet and one could have a peaceful pre-dinner drink and meal at a seafront restaurant.
In Alaska, we happened on the capital, Juneau, when it was playing host to five behemoths carrying more than 15,000 passengers - about the equivalent of half the local population. Across from the cruise terminal, the Red Dog Saloon had a line of people waiting to get in the bar so we gave it a wide berth and walked to the historic Alaskan Hotel and Bar. The bar was empty save for a lone cruise passenger.
My daughter and I are planning a driving holiday next month from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We would really appreciate advice about reputable car-rental companies in California.
I would appreciate reader's recommendations on a seaside village to stay in on the west coast of Italy in June-July for about two weeks. We are travelling with our five-year-old boy who loves to swim but we would also like to expose him (and us) to an Italian experience that has a mixture of relaxation and culture. We will be staying near Assisi for two weeks prior, so somewhere relatively close would be appreciated.
Michael Plutte suggests putting the car into neutral when encountering black ice on northern European roads in winter, Don't drive like a flake, (Traveller letters, April 27-28). This isolates the engine power source from the drivetrain, preventing the dynamic stability control (DCS) from intervening correctly should the car start to slide or lose traction. Instead, leave the car in gear, ease off the throttle and steer a course normally along the road.
If there was ever a reason not to holiday in outback Australia, it was the airfares quoted in the article on Longreach (The rest is prehistory, Traveller, April 27-28). An airfare of $598 from Sydney means it costs almost $2400 return for a family of four. Add the cost of accommodation, meals, entry fees, car hire and fuel, and you are looking at a bill of well over $3000 for a four-day visit. Families can afford to go to Fiji, Bali or New Zealand for the same cost, with better value for money. I love Longreach and have holidayed there many times - but I always use frequent flyer points to get there.
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