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Bad Ideas / Travel Industry / Airport Security / TSA / Technology / Cruises / Royal Caribbean / Jetstar / Kim Kardashian / Air Marshals / EWR / Lists / → All Tags
The year is more than half over, which means we're more than halfway done with 2010 travel stories. Since things slow down over the summer, we figured this was a perfect time to pause and reflect on just how insane this year has been. And by insane, we mean stupid.
We wanted to avoid things that were stupid in the "that obviously won't work" kind of way and instead turn to the mind-boggling, inexplicable, "what could they have been thinking" sort of stupidity. And, thanks to the nature of the travel industry and airport security, there was more than enough to go around.
Single Travel / Cruise Travel / Cruises / Solo Travel / Norwegian Cruise Line / Norwegian Epic / Silversea Cruises / Holland America / → All Tags
Silversea wants all the single ladies to put their hands up on deck.
You've heard of flying solo, but now singles have the option to cruise solo. Not that they didn't have the opportunity to do so before, but single travelers typically have to pay 150 to 200 percent more than globetrotting duos. Luckily, cruise lines are stopping their discriminatory practice of singling out singles and making it much more affordable for someone to hit the seas all by him or herself.
Check out three cruise lines that are helping out all the single ladies and lads.
Oil Spill / Florida Travel / Tourism / Travel News / Cruises / Cruise Travel / Bahamas / → All Tags
It's hard to tell what effect the oil spill is actually having on beach tourism. Part of the problem is that Florida tourism officials blow things out of proportion too soon. Another problem is that government officials are inclined to bluster in general, like the New Jersey politicians who demanded to know what their environmental chief was doing to prepare for the oil slick (answer: not much).
But the real issue is that nobody knows how the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States is going to play out. One of the things about being the worst ever is that we don't really have any basis for comparison. The slick could very well reach the Bahamas in the near future. And when you're talking about the Bahamas and tourism, the immediate issue becomes the Caribbean's billion-dollar cruise industry.
There’s plenty of potential aggravation and claustrophobia to be had with a trip around the world by plane or bus, but taking a ship around the globe should allow for a little more room to stretch out. People have been sailing to exotic locations for centuries, and even if you think you’re too cool to cruise—it’s still a solid option. It will take quite some time to complete your travel, which is a good thing, but just start saving those vacation days at the office. So if you’re looking for permission to come aboard, here are some of our ideas on how to do it.
Ideas on How to Cruise Around the World, after the jump!
Single Travel / Cruise Travel / Cruises / Cruising / Solo Travel / Norwegian Cruise Line / Holland America / → All Tags
Cruise ships are making it easier and cheaper for members of the lonely-hearts club to hit the seas.
The cruise industry is notorious for discriminating against single travelers, piling on surcharges for those cruising alone and giving better deals to duos. Margie Jordan of the American Society of Travel Agents told Reuters that solo globetrotters have to pay 150 to 200 percent more than those traveling in pairs.
But cruise ships are seeing an untapped market in solo cruisers and are jumping on it. In July, Norwegian Cruise Line will launch the Epic, a ship with studios designed for one occupant and there's no single supplement included. Stays in the specially designed staterooms are now for available for purchase.
It's probably that by now, in addition to all of the coverage of the horrible earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti, that you've also heard about how cruise ships are continuing to stop at their "private" beaches in Haiti, effectively swatting aside human suffering and need for the power of the almighty dollar and a shipload of vacationers demanding the destinations promised.
Years ago, we were on one of the ships that stops in Haiti and yet our boat suddenly skipped it on account of "political instabliity." We didn't get to party on the beach in Labadee, but we did have an extra day at sea. Why couldn't the cruise line do that in this case, with more than just political instability at hand, but an estimated 200,000 deaths and widespread human crisis?
Excuses, excuses...after the jump!
Cruises / Cruise Ships / Man Overboard / Royal Caribbean / Majesty of the Seas / Cruise Travel / Cruising / → All Tags
In the latest tale of people jumping off cruise ships, an assistant purser on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas apparently hated his job so much that he couldn't wait until he was back on land to quit, hopping overboard as the ship steamed from Key West to Miami. Fortunately for everybody involved, he was rescued two hours later while treading water off Miami's Cutler Bay, but you've got to wonder what would bring somebody to do such a thing.
Dangerous Travel / Cruises / Ships / Boats / → All Tags
We’ve got some more news from the Pacific Ocean, but this time it isn’t as successful or cool as those two dudes who decided to take a rowboat across the ocean. This story involves an ocean rescue and a couple of people that might want to reconsider their new career opportunities before they even began.
Two people from Seattle were rescued about 400 miles outside of Hawaii when their boat hit some rough seas last Friday. The winds were whipping and the waves were easily 40 feet high, and to make things worse, the two had to look after their dogs as well—don‘t worry they had life vests for their furry friends. Everything turned out well in the end as they signaled the Golden Princess cruise ship, and the vessel was glad to give them a lift. No word on whether they were allowed to eat in the dining room without formal attire.
Cruises / Oasis of the Seas / Cruising / Dangerous Travel / Royal Caribbean / Seasickness / Motion Sickness / → All Tags
The brand new, unbelievably huge Oasis of the Seas cruise ship has been rocked by some serious waves on its first voyage. As USA Today points out, the 5,400-passenger vessel encountered hurricane-strength winds and waves over 60 feet high in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Fortunately for the cruise line, there aren't any passengers on board, as Royal Caribbean is merely transporting it from the shipyard in Turku, Finland to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for its inaugural cruise. But while many passengers would have likely gotten seasick, they wouldn't have been in any serious peril, as the ship has weathered the waves quite smartly. For maximum stability, Captain William Wright has slowed the world's largest cruise ship down and steered it head-on into the waves. He probably wouldn't admit it, but I bet he's having fun.
Sail away with Jacques Pepin
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Top Chef restaurant profile with food news of a different sort. Today, instead of highlighting an aspiring top chef, we're calling attention to a few names who earned their stripes after years in the industry and a consistent record of putting out great food. Nothing against the current crop of Vegas hopefuls, but there is something to be said for gaining cred in the days preceding reality television.
Some of these real-life top chefs, like Nancy Oakes of San Francisco's Boulevard and Jacques Pepin, will be joining 2010's Food & Wine Trails cruise roster, allowing fans to follow them to the ends of the Earth, in a manner of speaking.
As you can guess, deck volleyball isn't a high priority on-board. Travelers are there for tastings and pairings alongside some of the country's most famous wine makers, with stops at European cities and wineriesnot one of those oh-so-perky family resorts you see advertised on television.
Are you anxious for winter to hit so that you can embark on a Carnival Cruise to Antigua, get drunk, and get your brawl on? Too bad, since six Brooklynites already went and spoiled your fun by doing exactly that and getting arrested. Not only were they arrested for getting into a fight with a cabbie and then assaulting the plain-clothes cops who tried to break it up, but their legal issues have turned Carnival off of the island for the time being.
Carnival's ships that sail the Caribbeanthe group in question was onboard the Carnival Victorywill no longer stop at Antigua for the reason that they have "a desire to incorporate a new port of call." Right, we're sure that's the only reason, and that the detainment and guilty pleas of their brawling passengers had nothing to do with it. Carnival can try to keep up appearances, but the fact is that they are embarrassed; no cruise line wants to be pegged as the one that sails with shiploads of rowdy Brooklynites looking for a fight. Possible punishments for those under arrest include 2 years in jail or a $4,000 fine each.
Some travelers endeavor to make every trip an educational and spiritually uplifting experience, seeking out museums, parks, and cultural sites and making a point to get to know the local people and understand their unique way of life. Other travelers simply want to relax and have fun in a warm, beautiful place, the more delicious food and fancy drinks the better. I've always been the former kind of traveler, but there's a part of me that seeks the comfort, luxury, and sheer simplicity of the latter. So while I might speak disdainfully of those who book vacations at all-inclusive resorts and never leave the property, I secretly wouldn't mind changing places with them every once in a while, spending a week learning nothing at all about my destination and returning home just a little bit dumber than I left.