Departures

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The Independent Travel
Ferry switch

P & O EUROPEAN Ferries has announced that from the end of the year it is ending its agreement with Belgian ferry company RMT to market the Dover to Ostend service. Sally the Viking line, which operates from Ramsgate to Dunkerque, will take over the route, operating a joint service with RMT between Ramsgate and Ostend.

Sally claims that the joint venture will create 'one of the largest services on the short sea routes' carrying more than 4.5 million passengers a year. Sally's fleet will double, to 10 vessels.

A P & O spokesman said that the Dover to Ostend service has been 'in question' since a new autoroute opened in June between Calais and the Belgian border. The sailing time for the Dover to Ostend route is four hours compared to 75 minutes for Dover-Calais. P & O will continue its Felixstowe to Zeebrugge service.

World's fare

BRIDGE the World Travel Centre (071-911 0900) has a new round-the-world fare using Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic. The fare costs pounds 840 and the route available is: London to Hong Kong, Sydney, Fiji, Rarotonga, Los Angeles, London.

St Lucia blues

THE CARIBBEAN island of St Lucia, which holds an annual summer jazz festival, is to stage a 'Big Banana Blues' festival on 3 and 4 December. Scheduled to appear are Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and Robert Cray, Mark Knopfler, Stephen Stills, Daryl Hall and Dave Stewart.

Drop down under

AUSTRAVEL (071-734 7755) has cut the cost of fares to Australia on selected charter flights from Gatwick and Manchester. On 26 October, for example, a return from Manchester to Adelaide costs pounds 499; Manchester to Sydney on 31 October is also cut to pounds 499.

Combination return fares from Gatwick and Manchester to Australia and New Zealand using Cathay Pacific and Britannia charters - departing in October and November and returning in November or December - have been reduced by pounds 50 to pounds 549 with stopovers now available in Hong Kong or Malaysia.

Intellectual outing

TEMPLE World (081-940 4114) has launched a new programme of 'Intellectual Interludes'. For example, a Tolstoy's Russia trip - from 28 April to 6 May 1994 - visits the St Petersburg of Anna Karenina and the Moscow of War and Peace: it costs pounds 799.

Golf trips

BRITTANY Ferries (0705 862611) is offering golf day- trips to Normandy for pounds 69 per person. The price includes return ferry crossing with car (based on two people travelling together), on- board accommodation overnight, and green fees for up to 36 holes at either Golf Omaha Beach or Golf de Caen. Both courses are near the Brittany Ferries terminal at Ouistreham, near Caen. Golfers can travel out on the Portsmouth-Caen sailing at 23.30 and return the following night at 23.59.

The offer is available until 19 December.

Swiss walk

SHERPA Expeditions (081- 577 2717) has launched a Swiss Experience programme of summer and winter Alpine outdoor activities, including winter walks, summer glacier exploration and hotel treks, where luggage is moved from inn to inn each day. Winter Freedom holidays cost from pounds 480 per person for a seven night half- board package to Meiringen, including return scheduled Swissair flight from Heathrow.

Travel bookshelf

THIS month's best-selling Lonely Planet guides:

1. India Travel Survival Kit* pounds 14.95

2. Nepal Travel Survival Kit pounds 8.95

3. Vietnam Travel Survival Kit pounds 9.95

4. Australia Travel Survival Kit pounds 13.95

5. Poland Travel Survival Kit pounds 10.95

6. South-East Asia on a Shoestring pounds 12.95

7. Western Europe on a Shoestring pounds 14.95

8. Dublin City Guide pounds 5.95

9. Victoria State Guide pounds 9.95

10. Mongolia Travel Survival Kit pounds 7.95

* Lonely Planet reports that it is receiving 'tearful calls' from people keen to obtain the latest edition of India Travel Survival Kit, which sold out within three days.

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