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Ecuador Declares Environmental Emergency in Galapagos

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A cargo ship that ran aground last week prompted Ecuador's government to declare an environmental emergency yesterday.

Nineteen-thousand gallons of fuel have already been removed from the Galapaface I, stranded off of San Cristobal island, but the environmental ministry's statement highlights the continued threat from the remaining cargo, including chemical products and bilge water.

In effect for 180 days, the declaration opens up federal resources to remove both the dangerous products and the ship itself.

Thankfully, the government's fast response has minimized any potentially disastrous effects, leaving the island's unique ecosystem relatively unscathed. Here's hoping the cleanup process remains so successful.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo by Ralph Lee Hopkins

New Ferry Service Reconnects Maine to Nova Scotia

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On May 15th, a new ferry service will begin making daily trips between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

With a capacity of 1,215 passengers, the MV Nova Star isn't exactly your average ferry though. Shipboard amenities include multiple restaurants—seafood will feature prominently—an art gallery, casino, and full-service spa.

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New Survey Reveals State of U.S. Pet Travel

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American travelers sacrifice significant vacation time for their pets—a whopping 69 percent have missed out on spur-of-the-moment getaways. So says a new survey from DogVacay, which polled 2,025 adults last month.

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World's Tallest Ferris Wheel Opens in Vegas

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The world's largest observation wheel, smartly dubbed the High Roller, recently opened in Las Vegas.

At 550 feet tall, it forms the centerpiece of Sin City's newest development, The LINQ, and rises 107 feet taller than the London Eye. Moving 1 foot per second, its 28 glass cabins take a half hour to complete their revolution.

And if you thought the Strip needed to be just a little brighter, the High Roller's builders agreed. They've added a whopping 2,000 LED lights to the city's skyline.

For more information and tickets, visit the High Roller's website.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Crystal Cruises Announces Game of Thrones Excursion

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Crystal Cruises has announced a Game of Thrones-themed excursion on summer sailings to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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Donate Miles for a Cause: Make-A-Wish Reveals Kids' Top Destinations

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions, has released its list of the world's top destinations for Wish Kids. Tomorrow, April 29th, is World Wish Day, and the organization is calling on frequent fliers to donate unused miles before summer, Make-A-Wish's busiest travel season. 

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T+L Travels to the 2014 Boston Marathon

T+L's Peter Schlesinger reports from Boylston Street, in Boston, along the route of the annual marathon. The Patriots' Day event had special meaning for the 36,000-plus athletes this year.

 

Airlines Grapple with Social Media This Week

It's been a rough week for airlines on social media.

After a Dutch teenager jokingly tweeted a bomb threat to American Airlines—she has since been arrested—the air carrier is now fielding dozens of other fake bomb threats over Twitter.

Meanwhile, U.S. Airways, is in crisis mode after it accidentally included a pornographic picture in one of its tweets. Even though the airline deleted the Tweet soon after, the image had already gone viral, with thousands of responders mocking U.S. Airways.

One bright spot: Southwest Airlines had a hit with its stand-up comic flight attendant delivering one of the coolest safety briefings we've ever heard. (Watch video above.) If you're going to go viral, that's the way to do it. 

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.

 

 

How to Fold a Towel Origami Swan

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We admit it: we’ve always had a fondness for so-corny-they’re-cute towel animals. Samson Macwan, a butler at Sandals Emerald Bay, in the Bahamas, shows how to create a conversation piece.

1. Hold bath towel lengthwise, tucking center under chin. Roll sides tightly at an angle toward center to form a scroll with a pointed tip.

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New Las Vegas Ad Targets Gay Couples...Almost



A new ad for Las Vegas targets gay couples...almost.

The clip, released this week and scheduled to air nationally, portrays a straight couple checking in to their Sin City hotel. The woman leaves to freshen up just as another man shows up to the front desk, at which point a receptionist asks whether the two gentlemen are ready to check in. A quick, knowing glance at each other and both men nod yes, queueing the iconic slogan, "What happens here, stays here."

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