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My wife, Esta Lee, and I took a Russian river cruise between St. Petersburg and Moscow, June 4-18, ’03. We used Vantage Deluxe World Travel (90 Canal St., Boston, MA 02114; phone 888/734-0188), which had chartered the Novikov Priboy for several trips. The cost of the cruise was just over $3,000 per person, including round-trip airfare from Washington, D.C., all meals and most sightseeing.

We think Vantage did a first-rate job of organizing and overseeing the trip.

A river...

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ITN brought to our attention exactly the right barge trip for us. We were to be in France in April ’03 to attend a World War I history conference, and French Country Waterways (Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331-9977; phone 800/222-1236 or 781/934-2454 or visit www.fcwl.com) was offering an itinerary through the Champagne region from April 20 (Easter Sunday) through the 26th.

Everything involved in this journey was of the highest quality: the administration in the U.S., the cabin aboard the...

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As an avid traveler and ITN reader, I thought I was familiar with most of the means by which people were separated from their money, but the following was a new one to me.

In fall 2003, following disembarkation from our ship in Barcelona, Spain, our group was taken on a brief tour of the city while our hotel rooms were being prepared. The tour guide, while passing out pertinent information, also warned us about pickpockets. The “good news” was that the thieves are now very good at it...

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My favorite hotel would be the Hotel Colmar Garni (Lange Strasse 34, Baden-Baden, GERMANY; visit www.hotelsingermany.com) because it has it all.

It’s located on a walking mall in the heart of town with balconies overlooking ice cream shops and flowerpots. It’s unique, has historical charm and is family-owned — great staff. And it’s relatively unknown, mentioned in few guidebooks.

In summer 2003, when we parked our rented Opel in front of the hotel it was the only car on the...

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ITN asked readers to name the three cities they most enjoyed visiting outside of North America. Responses were printed in the July ’ 03 issue, inspiring more letters, which are presented below. You can send in your Top 3 list to Favorite Cities Overseas, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail editor@intltravel news.com (please include your surface-mail address). Mention when you last visited each city, and include pictures, if possible.

Favorite cities overseas? Only...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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