Archive October 2015

Giant Spiders and Flying Curtains Descend on Cruise Ships

(5:20 p.m EDT) — Cruising got a little quirky in Australia on Friday with two simultaneous publicity stunts in two cities. In Sydney, a two-storey redback spider was perched on the bow of Carnival Spirit as it arrived on the eve of Halloween. A recent survey by Carnival Cruise Line found that half the nation is afraid of spiders. Meanwhile, in Melbourne, helicopters carrying massive golden banners, each measuring 20,000 square feet, circled Golden Princess as it sailed down Port Philip Bay. In a dramatic move — a nod to the city’s theatre scene — the...

A postcard from Western Sahara

It’s 40 years today since Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco, but life goes on in this disputed and forgotten land. Campaigner, Beccy Allen, recalls her first visit to the territory. There was a sense of foreboding in the air. Armoured trucks, military men and scary-looking Moroccan police were scattered all over the city. The atmosphere was tense, unsettling. I had travelled to Laayoune, Western Sahara with two friends – Sidi and Andrea – to witness first hand what life was like in the Moroccan-occupied country.  Few tourists make it down here and the authorities...

New Cruise Ship Regent Seven Seas Explorer Floats Out and Other Luxury Cruise News

(1:32 p.m. EDT) — Regent Seven Seas Explorer, which debuts in July 2016, marked a major milestone today in Italy, where the cruise ship was floated out at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa. “In less than nine months Seven Seas Explorer will make its grand debut and completely revolutionize the luxury vacation market,” said Jason Montague, president and chief operating officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Our vision of building the most luxurious ship ever is quickly becoming a reality.” When it debuts, Regent Seven Seas Explorer will be an all-suite...

Why Are Flowers Blooming in the Driest Desert on Earth?

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is one of the driest places in the world, but after a year of record downpours, something magical has happened: It’s a phenomenon called Desierto Florido, or Flowering Desert, and it means that bright pink flowers have sprung up all across the Atacama. Though a small floral bloom is expected at this time of year, never has the result been so abundant and colorful. Earlier in the year, the desert underwent an increase in humidity and received an additional 2.4 inches of rain. This bizarre weather pattern is believed to be the same one that produced...

P&O Cruises’ Azura Cruise Ship Delayed due to Norovirus Outbreak

(10: 30 a.m. GMT) — P&O Cruises’ Azura has been delayed in Southampton due to a Norovirus outbreak onboard. The 3,096-passenger ship is being deep cleaned today (October 30) and passengers are being asked to arrive five hours later than planned, with the ship setting sail at 8.30 p.m. (GMT) tonight. P&O Cruises is offering passengers £20 onboard credit for refreshments while they wait. A statement posted to the line’s Facebook page yesterday (October 29) states: “If you are joining Azura tomorrow we have some important information for you. There has been...

How Airbnb and Uber Are Changing Travel

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Airbnb and Uber, along with the dozens of similar companies taking over the sharing economy (or as some refer to it, “collaborative consumption”). As the sharing economy has exploded in recent years, it has also dramatically changed the way we travel. And it makes sense: Trading accessibility for money and sharing unused resources goes right to the heart of travel—after all, you’re paying for an overall experience rather than a tangible product. Here’s what’s been happening in the...

How the Sharing Economy Opens New Doors for Travelers

You travel thousands of miles to experience new cultures. So why would you settle for a generic hotel or nondescript tourist restaurant? The burgeoning peer-to-peer or sharing-economy movement allows travelers to skip the traditional booking options and live la vita local by staying in other people’s homes, driving their cars, eating in their kitchens, and otherwise, seeing a new destination through their eyes. Why share? After the economic downturn, people developed innovative ways to make money by sharing resources they already had, such as houses, vehicles, and skills, creating a...

Cruise Lines Are (Finally) Improving Wi-Fi

For most of us, 24/7 Internet access is a necessity, especially on vacation. But for a long time now, cruisers have been forced to choose between overpaying for a painfully slow connection or disconnecting for the entire voyage. Fortunately, the onboard Wi-Fi experience may soon improve thanks to new moves from industry leaders like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, who are lowering Internet prices and restructuring how they charge for it. Advertisement Carnival recently announced plans to create the industry’s largest Wi-Fi network to make staying connected easier, more...

Holland America Line Emphasizes Customized & Authentic Experiences with New Partnerships & Logo

(3:15 p.m EDT) — Holland America Line is looking to its future, partnering with travel publication Afar, Seattle-based trip-planning company UTrip, and BBC Earth to create a more authentic travel experience for its passengers. Calling the ventures a "bold new story," Holland America president Orlando Ashford revealed the line’s plans at a press conference at the Explorer’s Club in New York City today. In conjunction with the line’s partnerships, Ashford also unveiled a new oval logo featuring the traditional blue hull of their ships, with a new brand theme:...

Royal Caribbean Lays Keel for Fourth Oasis-Class Cruise Ship

(12:15 p.m. EDT) — Construction is underway on Royal Caribbean’s fourth Oasis-class ship, after a keel-laying ceremony at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. During the ceremony, a 1,000-ton-block was lifted into the building dock and newly minted coins were placed under the keel. The coins will remain in place until the ship is near completion, when they will be removed and presented to the ship’s captain to be placed onboard the ship. The as yet unnamed ship is scheduled to launch in spring 2017....

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