Stay at prison,hunt for ghosts
Here's an unusual overnight travel experience: the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.
The prison, managed by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, offers overnight Ghost Hunts. The hunts began about five years ago on a random basis but have been so popular that more dates have been added.
Built in 1886, the state reformatory was a working prison for 94 years, housing more than 154,000 prisoners. It's believed that some of the former prisoners still walk the halls -- or at least it's fun to believe that when you're on a ghost hunt. The prison has been the setting for several major motion pictures, including "Shawshank Redemption," "Air Force One" and "Tango and Cash."
The cost of the ghost hunt is $50 per person and includes a late-night dinner of pizza and soft drinks. Participants must be 21 or older. Each hunt is limited to 80 people. Remaining dates this year are Nov. 9 and 23. In addition, public tours are offered each Sunday, May through October.
For more information, call (800) 642-8282 or visit www.mansfieldtourism.org on the Web.
Coming to cabsin N.Y. -- video!
NEW YORK -- For many New York City taxi passengers, the view out their windows usually provides plenty of entertainment.
Now there's something to see inside the cabs.
The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission has launched a test program to place video screens inside taxis. The videos offer information on cultural and sporting events, museum exhibits, concerts, movie listings, restaurant reviews and other helpful information.
"This is a great use of technology," says TLC Commissioner Matthew W. Daus. "It's entertaining, interesting and allows taxi passengers to maximize their time in transit while promoting New York City in a positive way."
Daus says there are seven companies providing screens on a contractual basis with private cab owners. The cab owners expected to earn about $100 a month from the video companies for allowing the screens in their vehicles. The video companies will generate income from the advertisements shown on the screens.
He expects 350 cabs to have video screens installed by the end of the month.
The commissioner says public service announcements also will be a key component of the video messages.
The TLC will seek feedback from passengers on the video screens on its Web site before determining whether to expand the service.
There are 12,178 cabs in the city, says TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg.
Everyday livingon cruise ship
NEW YORK -- The giant ocean liner docked at Pier 88 looked like any other cruise ship. And indeed, it had all the trimmings: swimming pools indoor and out, putting green, spa, and full tennis court.
The big difference, some say, is Freddy's Deli and grocery store. This ship was The World of ResidenSea, a floating condominium, laid out for everyday living. It has two- and three-bedroom apartments with full kitchens where you can cook your own pot roast. Cost to buy in to this floating marvel ranges from $2.25 million to $7.5 million.
For those wanting only a taste of the high seas life, there are also 86 studio cabins that can be rented for $800 per day, double occupancy.
After leaving New York recently, the ship was headed for Newport, R.I. then Portland, Maine. After that there were to be stops in Quebec, Montreal and Nova Scotia before heading back south for another several days in New York in early October.
Other ports will include Philadelphia, Baltimore and Savannah, Ga., before docking in Miami Oct. 15-17. From there it will cruise the Caribbean and hit several Mexico ports before making its way to Hawaii. It will dock at a number of the Hawaiian Islands during the Christmas-New Year's holidays. Then on around the globe for 2003.
For more information call 800-970-6601 or check http://www.residensea.com.
Louisiana attractsmost black tourists
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana led the nation in the percentage of black tourists last year, tourism officials say.
According to a study of tourism trends by the Travel Industry Association of America, 13.4 percent of Louisiana's tourists in 2001 were black.
The TIA study said Louisiana and other Southern states have a large share of black tourists because they have higher-than-average populations of black people.
The report said that though black visitors to Louisiana were up 11 percent between 2000 and 2001, non-minority travel declined 14 percent. The report said pleasure travel to the state by black visitors was up by 10 percent, but business travel by the same group declined 51 percent.
Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who oversees the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said 2.7 million black tourists visited the state last year, up from 2.5 million in 2000 and 1.9 million in 1999.
Non-minority tourists numbered 18.1 million in 1999, 19.7 million in 2000 and 16.9 million in 2001.
Carnival Cruise Linegets a new ship
Carnival Cruise Line took delivery last month of the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend from a shipyard in Helsinki, Finland.
The 12-deck, 88,500-ton ship is scheduled to arrive Sept. 20 in New York, from which it will operate two- and three-day cruises-to-nowhere and 11-day Canada/New England cruises into October.
On Oct. 23 it sails from Philadelphia on a six-day trip to Bermuda and back. After a similar trip from Baltimore, the ship will be repositioned to Fort Lauderdale for a winter schedule of eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Nov. 10.
Among amenities are 16 lounges, bars and nightspots; four pools; a corkscrew water slide; an Internet cafe; a 14,500-square-foot health spa and salon; a nine-deck-high atrium; a golf program; and an 1,800-square-foot children's play area.
For more information, call (800) 227-6482 or visit www.carnival.com on the Web.
Bermuda wantscrowd control
Ships the size of the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend make many people in Bermuda nervous. The genteel island carefully controls the number of ships in ports so that tourist crowds will not overwhelm the charm. The country's tourism minister recently set a limit of 7,500 passengers per day for next year, raising the annual ceiling to 221,000 from 200,000 passengers.
Some Bermudans have long scoffed at the cruise business, arguing that cruises do little to help the hotel or restaurant economies. That changes with Norwegian Cruise Line's announcement that next year it will issue all passengers $50 vouchers that can be used at restaurants ashore. The government said that would amount to a $2 million influx if all Norwegian Cruise passengers used their vouchers. Among them will be those embarking from Philadelphia on five Norwegian Cruise Line trips to Bermuda in autumn 2003.
Cruises to Hawaiiand Antarctica
Princess Cruises is dipping its toes into waters both warm and cold with two new destinations in its 2003-04 season. The line will begin its first regular round-trip Hawaiian cruises, sailing out of Los Angeles on a 15-day itinerary that will call on Honolulu; Hilo and Kona on the Big Island; Lahaina on Maui; and Nawiliwili on Kauai.
There will be seven departures of the Regal Princess between Nov. 22, 2003, and March 21, 2004, including a Dec. 22 holiday voyage. Early booking discount fares, through July 4, 2003, begin at $2,245 per person, double occupancy.
Princess will offer its first Antarctic cruise in December 2003. The 24-day trip aboard the Royal Princess, departing Dec. 19, will travel between Cape Town, South Africa, and Santiago, Chile, sailing among islands and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula and also calling on Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Early booking discount fares begin at $3,695.
To book, call a travel agent; for information, call (800) PRINCESS (774-6237) or visit www.princess.com.
Quark Expeditionscruises Antarctica
Antarctica, a 5 million-square-mile wonderland of ice-scapes and rare wildlife, has been circumnavigated just 10 times in more than 200 years. Quark Expeditions is offering the second-ever opportunity for tourists to complete a 13,000-mile circumnavigation. The expedition Nov. 26 through Feb. 1 will travel counterclockwise aboard the Kapitan Khlebnikov.
For those on a tighter schedule, the voyage can be booked in two legs: the 45-day Far Side & amp; Weddell Sea, and the 29-day Peninsula, Phantom Coast and Ross Sea. Rates for the full trip begin at $34,950 per person, double occupancy. For the 45-day voyage, rates begin at $24,550 per person, while the 29-day expedition starts at $15,500 per person, double. Space is limited on the second segment.
Rates include pre-cruise accommodations with breakfast, all onboard meals, shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage.
For more information, call (800) 356-5699 or visit www.quarkexpeditions.com on the Web.
Combined dispatches

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