QUESTION: Would you have information about freighters that would take me to Italy from a Southern port?
ANSWER: There is a freighter line, Lykes Brothers Steamship Company, that takes up to 12 passengers on its ships, from Galveston, Texas, to Italy, but there are a number of stops along the way.The ships, which usually sail twice a month, call at Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk, Va., (though not always accepting passengers at those two ports) and then Port Elizabeth, N.J. Next, the ships call at Alexandria, Egypt; Haifa, Israel; Izmir, Turkey; and then Naples, followed by Leghorn (Livorno).
The trip from Galveston to Naples generally takes 26 to 28 days. The round trip to Naples is $3,725 from Galveston and $2,425 from New Jersey; passengers must return on the same sailing. One-way fare is $2,625 from Galveston and $2,025 from Port Elizabeth. Contact Lykes Brothers Steamship Co., Lykes Center, 300 Poydras Street, New Orleans, La. 70130.; (504) 523-6611 or (800) 535-1861.
QUESTION: I am a devoted fan of PBS's "Mystery" episodes about Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot. Recently there have been shows with exquisite scenes of the Cornish coast, the Lake District and the west coast near the Lake district. In each, M. Poirot and Captain Hastings stayed at glorious Art Deco hotels. What hotels were they?
ANSWER: According to London Weekend Television, producers of the series, most of the buildings portrayed as hotels in the series are actually apartment houses or office buildings that were modified for filming.
However, one operating hotel, used in the "Double Sin" episode, is the Midland Hotel in Morecambe on the west coast.
The hotel was designed by Oliver Hill and its appearance is essentially intact from when it was built in 1933. Among interior features are a bas relief by Eric Gill. A room is about $104 a night, including breakfast. Contact the Midland Hotel, Marine Road, Morcambe LA4 4BZ, England; telephone (524) 417180.
You might want to look at other Art hotels that the producers say they are considering for future episodes of the Poirot series.
One is the Ocean Hotel, near Brighton, whose exterior is almost identical in appearance to the Midland. However, the producers say, the interior decorations are not up to the same standard.
The hotel caters to budget-minded families who like a summer camp-like atmosphere. Rates range from $236 to $468 a person a week. Contact the Ocean Hotel at Longridge Avenue, Saltdean Near Brighton, East Sussex BN2 8RP, England; (273) 302291.
Burgh Island Hotel, an Art Deco hotel on the island of that name off the Devonshire coast, is also being considered for filming. Agatha Christie stayed at the hotel, built in 1929, and based two novels' settings on it. Rooms are $138 to $170 a person a night, including breakfast and dinner. Contact Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, South Devon TQ7 4AU, England; (548) 810514.
And two London hotels, the Savoy (built in 1899 but refurbished in the late 1920s ) and Claridge's, both with fine examples of Art Deco architecture and design, are being considered. At the Savoy, rooms are $390. Contact Savoy Hotel, The Strand, London WC2R 0EU, England; 836 4343. Double rooms at Claridge's range from $480 to $570 a night. It is at Brook Street, London W1A 2JQ, England; 629 8860.
QUESTION: My family is contemplating a trip to Europe in the summer of 1992 and would like to visit the new Disney park outside of Paris. Will it be open by this time?
ANSWER: Euro Disneyland is scheduled to open in April 1992. Walt Disney Company officials say the exact date will be set later this spring. The park is being built on 5,000 acres in Marne La Vall'ee, 20 miles east of Paris.