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Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. The award categories cover the best cities, islands, hotels, cruise lines and airlines. For now, we're going to focus on those last twothe forms of transportation.
We've only noted the top three airlines in each category below, but see the complete rankings over at CN Traveler.
It's not secret that cruise ships in these modern times are equipped with interneteven with WiFi in staterooms. What is a secret are the exorbitant rates you'll be paying to access it, as the network is satellite-based and designed to even reach you in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
We've touched on at-sea WiFi before, but things have changed in a year and a half since. Now the focus is not so much on the high rates as the unexpected high quality of the ship's tech setup and computer terminals. If you didn't bring your laptop or iPad to sea, chances are you'll be just as surrounded by comfort and luxury in the computer lounge as you'd be in your room.
We hopped onboard the Crystal Cruises ship Crystal Symphony for some snooping earlier this week while the ship was at dock in New York City, and were struck by the fact that this ship is not a PC; it's a Mac!
If you're torn between taking a relaxing trip this summer or spending that precious vacation time giving back, Crystal Cruises has a solution. The luxury cruise line is offering a new program, "You Give, We Give", on upcoming cruises to Alaska and Ireland which include voluntourism excursions.
Between May 14 and August 18, Alaska cruisers can spend time in Sitka assisting with the marine-life exhibits at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Crystal's Alaska Cruises depart from San Francisco for 14 day excursions through the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay.
On July 29, one of Crystal's European cruises will make a stop in Dublin where passengers will visit troubled youth at St. Joseph’s Youth Club and help with upkeep and activity planning at the facility.
For more information and pricing details, you can contact Crystal Cruises at CrystalCruiseLine.com.
Arthur Frommer may have dissed cruising this week by stating his horror at "the transformation of the cruise ship to an amusement park," and John Mayer has just disembarked from his ownbooze cruise, but gimmick cruises will soldier on. Who will be next to pack in the fans and pack on the pounds? Leave it to classy Crystal Cruises to appeal to a higher palate by sending celebrity chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matushisa out to sea for 12 days and 7 specially-prepared dinners.
For a starting price of $6,640 per person on the Crystal Serenity's July 12 "Byzantine Accolades" sailing, amateur gourmands will be treated to these seven "Omakase," or chef's choice, meals personally prepared by the man himself in his ship-board restaurant Silk Road. Don't forget to haul your Nobu cookbooks aboard either, as Matsuhisa will be signing at sea and giving cooking demonstrations so that when you return to dry land, your sushi skills don't dry up.
Although we don't exactly think of five-star Asian cuisine when we see an itinerary like this one, which hops around Italy, Greece and Turkey, we wouldn't mind not having to worry about the bill as we eat our fill. So long as the sea is calm, we're down with shoveling down the priciest sashimi regardless.
· Nobu Crystal Cruise Itinerary [Official Site]
· Travel Guru Arthur Frommer: 'I'm horrified by what cruise ships are becoming' [USA Today]
· 'Vom'd the First Night' :: Mayercraft 2 is a Success [Jaunted]
· Cruises Coverage [Jaunted]
Do you love cruises and Wimbledon so much that even as the economy continues to tank, you have no qualms about plunking down $25,000 for an extravagant tennis-themed cruise? If this is you, then a new Crystal Cruises packages was made with your kind in mind. (Also, can you pay for our trip too?)
Their latest cruise package extends your vacation with tickets to Wimbledon at the conclusion of its London-Stockholm trip. If you ever wanted to whisper sweet nothings in Rafael Nadal's ear, you probably won't get any closer than this.
After the 11-day cruise, which includes a trip to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Bastad, Sweden, passengers will be flown business class to London, where they'll be put up at the newly renovated Savoy Hotel. They'll get tickets to the women's and men's singles semifinals and finals at Center Court and admission into Fairway Village, where VIPs take their afternoon tea after the matches.
But before you pack your decorous sun-brimmed hat, you should be aware that this sporting sidebar costs more than the cruise itself -- and no, you can't just buy the post-cruise package and show up in Sweden. Cruise packages start at $4,995, but the Wimbledon package will set you back a cool $25,299. So how badly do you want to party with a Williams sister?
[Photo from Wimbledon '07: michelle_magnumm]