"Modern life has become a three- and often four- or five-meal-a-day restaurant habit," Michael Wolff writes in the UK edition of GQ. "Of course the ultimate status is not to know someone, but to be known, for the restaurant to want you." (Matt Haber)
And in London, Vanity Fair's Nicholas Shaxson wonders who lives in One Hyde Park. (M.H.)
Photographer Gabriele Galimberti captured kids from around the world with their most prized possessions. The takeaway: Boys really love cars and the little girl from Zambia with the sunglass collection is a star. (M.H.)
Over at Capital New York, filmmaker Minty Grover looks back at Little Syria, a forgotten lower westside neighborhood of old New York City. (M.H.)
Just in time for the second season finale of HBO's Girls, NewYork.com's Megan L. Wood offers this guide to some of the show's locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. (M.H.)
Food trucks are so last year. Bloomberg Businessweek's Patrick Clark prepares us for... Food scooters? (M.H.)
If you're not fatigued by over-sharing your life on Facebook and Twitter, this little gadget—a SXSW debut—promises to capture all the special moments you may not realize you're having… by automatically taking photos every 30 seconds. We can't help think it's a great way to catch candid portraits of locals abroad—which is always an awkward pursuit. Jenna Worthman reports at the New York Times' Bits blog. (Nikki Ekstein)
Would you stay at a Whole Foods-themed resort? The ubiquitous health food chain is brewing plans to open a wellness retreat near their Austin, TX headquarters, USA Today's Bruce Horovitz reports (N.E.)
Azamara Club Cruises took advantage of the cruise industry's annual Miami conference to show off its recently refurbished Azamara Quest. Like sister ship Azamara Journey, the 694-passenger Quest was drydocked for the first time since 2007 for a freshening.
The decor in both public rooms and staterooms retains the casually elegant country club feel, with a few new Deco-inspired leather chairs and a slightly smaller casino. There's also a new caviar-and-Champagne bar and a chef's table in the steakhouse.
But the biggest changes for Azamara passengers won't be on board but in the ports they visit, said Azamara president Larry Pimentel. The brand's focus is on offering unusual "bucket list'' destinations such as Vietnam's Halong Bay, world celebrations like Monaco's Grand Prix, and private experiences otherwise unavailable. Among those is a visit by night to Italy's Verrazano Castle with a surprise concert. The two-ship line will also go to 41 new ports this year.
Says Pimentel: "We create the 'Wow' factor by using the destination as 'Wow.' "
Jane Wooldridge is T+L's Cruise Editor.
Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises
The World Economic Forum just released its 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, a report that evaluates 140 destinations across the world based on safety and security, environmental sustainability, and cultural and natural resources, among other "pillars" of tourism.
Among the findings:
° Switzerland is the best overall place in the world for tourism.
° In a further blow to its floundering travel industry, Egypt ranks last for safety and security, behind Yemen (139) and Pakistan (137). Kenya is ranked no. 135. Finland, meanwhile, is the safest place to travel.
° Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland take the top three spots for environmental sustainability. Oil-rich Kuwait comes in last.
° Brazil, Australia, and the United States are the best destinations for natural resources. Sorry, Rihanna, Barbados ranks near the bottom at no. 133 in this category. Haiti brings up the rear.
° Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States are the top five places for cultural resources, edging out contenders France (8), Greece (25) and Italy (7). South Korea (no. 10) is the only other non-European country to break the top ten in this category. (Thank you, PSY?) In last place: Burundi.
The whole list can be found at the World Economic Forum's official website.
Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at email@example.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.
File this under the Department of Not Again: Carnival Cruise Lines has had problems with not one but three of its ships in the last week alone—this just a month after the Carnival Triumph limped into port in Mobile, Alabama after a highly publicized four nights at sea without power, air conditioning, and functioning toilets.
Early this week, as the Miami Herald reports, Carnival Dream reported problems with an onboard generator (which allegedly led to some plumbing issues) while docked in St. Maarten. The cruise line canceled the remainder of the trip and is flying passengers back home rather than risk sailing back to Cape Canaveral without a back-up generator.
And now the Legend ship, reporting mechanical problems with its propulsion system, is skipping a scheduled stop at Grand Cayman Island to get back to port in Tampa. And new information emerged about a steering problem on Carnival Elation the week before; the company said it had asked a tugboat to accompany it as it left port in New Orleans in an excess of caution.
No passengers or crew members were hurt during any of these incidents. And there reportedly was little passenger inconvenience, unlike the situation a month ago when a fire aboard the Carnival Triumph left passengers adrift for days without power. Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of the beleaguered cruise company, announced on Wednesday a comprehensive maintenance review of Carnival’s entire fleet, news he hopes will calm the rough waters his company has hit in 2013. The Triumph is scheduled to be out of service through mid-April; the Dream has cancelled at least one sailing.
The bright side for travelers: Deals may be on the horizon.
Jane Wooldridge is T+L's Cruise Editor.
At T+L, we couldn’t be more thrilled about Baha Mar—the $3.5 billion resort project that opens December 2014 in the Bahamian Riviera. A few reasons why:
• 2,200 gorgeous hotel rooms in five new hotels: a Rosewood, Mondrian, Morgans, Hyatt, and the Baha Mar Casino.
• An uber-luxe ESPA with 30,000 square feet for pampering.
• First-rate local art throughout the property, thanks to a partnership with the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.
• 8,000 new jobs for Bahaman citizens, and an estimated $11.2 million added to the country’s GDP over a 20-year period.
• Oh, and did we mention Bahaman Lenny Kravitz is helping design the nightclub?
Learn more at bahamar.com.
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Baha Mar
The cruise industry addressed safety issues head-on at its annual industry conference, giving the first question of the annual CEO panel to Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill, who described an in-depth review by Carnival and outside experts to determine how the company and other cruise lines can prevent future incidents. Still, the industry response to the recent Carnival Triumph breakdown and other ship failures at the Cruise Shipping Miami conference were carefully scripted, and specifics about both the cause and future changes were limited.
Cahill stressed the rareness of such incidents and the fact that no one was hurt. But Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein, who also appeared on the panel, said that in the future all lines will likely pay attention not only to strict safety but also to passenger comfort when an incident does occur. Goldstein also addressed a commonly expressed concern that the industry is poorly regularly. Not so, he said. Regardless of where a ship is, it is under the regulation of various agencies at all times.
Cruisers with yen for the exotic can do so in high style.
U.S.-based Lindblad Expeditions has purchased Australia-based Orion Expeditions, known for its luxury service to remote destinations including Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Australia's Kimberly region. The Orion ship will join the Lindblad fleet in March 2014.
"Following two straight years of record revenues, it was the natural progression for company growth," Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, said in a release.
Award-winning Lindblad is known for its small-ship expeditions run in partnership with The National Geographic Society. Orion's single ship, the 102-passenger Orion, will take on The National Geographic brand. Itinerary details haven't yet been released, but a Lindblad spokesperson said the Borneo and Kimberly sailings will continue into 2014.
Yesterday, Skift's Rafat Ali reported that BBC Worldwide is in negotiations to sell off a majority of its stake in Lonely Planet, the longtime must-pack for wide-eyed international backpackers since its founding in 1973. The buyer, according to Ali, is Brad Kelley, a former tobacco company owner and semi-reclusive billionaire described as being the third biggest private landowner in the United States. BBC Worldwide, which acquired Lonely Planet from its founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler in 2007, would still have some role in the day-to-day operations of the book and web company. Rumors of a possible sale were reported in the U.K. press back in December 2012, when names of possible buyers included Barry Diller, head of IAC/InterActiveCorp.
So, what might this mean for fans of the books? As Jason Clampet notes in another Skift story from the same day, sales of guidebooks are down as more travelers are turning to the web and mobile devices for user-generated content. According to Clampet, sales of the top guides dropped by 47% since 2007.
Fans of Windstar Cruises will soon be able to expand their horizons in Asia, Europe, and Tahiti. Tuesday, the company announced it will buy three 200-passenger ships from the Yachts of Seabourn. The purchase doubles the number of Windstar ships and the number of berths, raising total capacity to six ships and about 1,200 berths, said Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz.
The first of the ships, Pride, will move to Windstar in spring of 2014; the Legend and Spirit, will join the fleet in spring 2015. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Xanterra, Windstar's parent company, bought the line in 2011 and has refurbished all three ships. The current ships all sport electronically raised sails. The Seabourn ships are traditional motor-driven yachts. But its the size and shipboard style—not the propulsion—that made the purchase attractive, according to Birkholz.
The disabled Carnival Triumph limped into port in Mobile, Alabama late Thursday night four days after a fire stranded it off the coast of Mexico and left it with limited power, air conditioning, and functioning toilets. Conditions aboard the ship had deteriorated, and its decidedly untriumphant return to the States was watched closely by the media. Here’s what’s being said:
CNN delivers an iReport compiling tweets and photos from Triumph passengers. Among them: shots of people sleeping in hallways and a tweet from a passenger thanking the ship’s crew for taking care of the ship.