by Sophia Dembling | 03.13.09 | 10:56 AM ET
Yup, I have to admit, I’m among those who laughed at the harsh Saturday Night Live sketch that has Hawaiian officials in a huff, as discussed by fellow World Hum blogger Pam Mandel. The Gallup Well-Being Index recently ranked Hawaii as the second happiest state in the nation, after Utah, but my limited experience with the state (three visits) introduced me to more hostility than happiness. I’m actually a little afraid of Hawaiians. I understand that they have reason to be pissed off, what with their paradise being paved over with hotels and low wages and all. It’s a problem with tropical paradises everywhere. So I’m not passing judgment, really. I’m just saying.
by Michael Yessis | 03.11.09 | 9:46 AM ET
- The Senate passed a bill to ease travel and trade to Cuba—but the showdown over U.S. policy isn’t over yet.
- A man sued American Airlines for $7 million, saying the carrier “illegally revoked his lifetime pass.”
- Here’s an interesting combination: William Langewiesche, a French luxury cruise ship and pirates.
- Registration for this year’s tours of Washington’s Hanford nuclear site begins March 30.
- Police in China are feeding drivers raw chilli to help them stay awake on the roads in the Chongqing region.
- Goodbye, Travel + Leisure Golf.
- Amina Chaudary says she’s the only Muslim to whom Samuel Huntington gave a formal interview. She writes about “The Clash of Civilizations” author’s legacy at PostGlobal.
- For map geeks: Bloopers from a New York Times map and graphics editor. (via The Morning News)
- Timers on postcards? Isn’t the cancellation stamp enough? (via Coudal)
by Joanna Kakissis | 02.27.09 | 3:37 PM ET
Florida’s Key West as well as the Maldives, Tuvalu and the islands of Pate and Ndau in the Lamu Archipelago off the Northern coast of Kenya are among eight places that rising sea levels due to climate change will soon make uninhabitable, according to a provocative slideshow at Treehugger.
I hope this doesn’t start a trend in “climate-change cruises.”
by Pam Mandel | 02.18.09 | 5:44 PM ET
It’s politically incorrect, not entirely accurate historically, and oddly, the producers chose to intersperse “Aloha Oe” with “The Skater’s Waltz” in the sound track. But the boards are huge, the leis are fluffy and plentiful, and the footage of Waikiki Beach? Wow, it looks nothing like what I saw last year:
by Eva Holland | 02.18.09 | 11:09 AM ET
The king of low-cost carriers has joined forces with Costa Cruises and will now be offering discounted bookings with the Italian company through the Ryanair website, the Telegraph reports. “Ryanair and Costa Cruises will reduce the cost of traditionally expensive cruise holidays and bring greater choice to those looking to beat the recession and take advantage of these great value cruise holiday packages,” said a representative for the Irish airline.
There’s no word on whether Costa will start nickel-and-diming passengers as a condition of the deal. Charges for the lounge chairs on deck? Pay-by-weight at the buffet? A steadfast refusal to offer assistance, compensation or even a refund of the measly 15 pounds you paid for your ticket after a last-minute cancellation by the airline? (Not that I’m bitter.)
by Michael Yessis | 02.18.09 | 8:31 AM ET
- It happened again: Another cruise ship ran aground in Antarctica.
- Las Vegas and Detroit finished 1-2 in a Forbes list of America’s emptiest cities.
- Inside the hardened, restless lives of business-travel nomads.
- Here’s a scathing takedown of the idea of Dubai. (via Kottke)
- Here’s another dancing guy. He doesn’t go around the world, though. Just to hallways and stairwells and such.
- Teresa Watanabe looks at African Americans who are being “called back to Africa by DNA.”
- JetBlue promises fare refunds if you lose your job—with some fine print.
- “Afghan Model” is coming to Emrooz TV.
- The Yankees are building a new vacation stadium in the Hamptons, complete with on-deck gazebos and yacht parking for the players. The Onion has exclusive video.
by Joanna Kakissis | 02.13.09 | 12:58 PM ET
Trips to the (melting) frozen continent can cost anywhere between $8,000 and $30,000, a prohibitive amount in today’s crisis economy of failed banks and indebted consumers. That may explain the projected 7,000-person drop in visitors between the 2007-08 season (which registered a record high of 46,000 people) and the current 2008-09 season, which the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) predicts will bring in around 39,000 people.
by Tom Swick | 02.09.09 | 10:06 AM ET
Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel
by Eva Holland | 01.29.09 | 12:17 PM ET
Turns out that Margaret Atwood—the acclaimed author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Alias Grace” and “The Blind Assassin,” among others—is also a serious nature-lover. Atwood will be cruising the Scottish isles this spring as a guest lecturer on board the M/V Andrea; this press release notes that she is a “keen birder” and the current co-president of the Rare Bird Club. Who knew?
by Michael Yessis | 01.28.09 | 8:50 AM ET
- Love this graphic of anatomical terms that most sound like exotic vacation destinations. I’m booked for the Fissure of Rolando.
- Cole Hamels loves Sydney.
- Giant waves battered cruise ships in the Bay of Biscay. Photos at the Daily Mail.
- GOOD rightfully thinks trains need some more support—and more money—on Capitol Hill.
- Inside the quest for alternative jet fuels. Black vomit nut, anyone?
- Another great Time Zones piece: “The Beautiful Chaos of Bangkok”
- Sex and Romance in Rio: Seth Kugel looks at the relationships between male tourists and female locals. Some background on the story.
- A Fugu mishap in Japan injures seven.
- Have you read “the world’s best passenger complaint letter”?
- An Alaskan entrepreneur wants a license to sell booze on his Fairbanks shuttle bus. His goal: To make enough money so he can hire another shuttle bus driver and join the mobile party. (via Fark)
by Jim Benning | 01.13.09 | 9:09 AM ET
Jim Benning sifts through YouTube's accelerated videos to find the seven best
by Michael Yessis | 01.05.09 | 8:14 AM ET
- The amazing story of Stilwell Road— written by an anonymous Los Angeles Times writer.
- Robert Reid offers some suggestions for helping struggling travelers’ destinations. Among them: An alphabet throwing contest in Rila, Bulgaria.
- Passengers “run amok” on flight from England to Cuba.
- Christopher Elliott finds seven videos the airlines don’t want you to see.
- Gawker compiles video from a month of cruise ship disasters.
- P. J. O’Rourke on Disney’s “Innoventions Dream Home,” aka the House of the Future II.
- The Delta Queen: A new endangered historic site?
- Student abroad and accused murderer Amanda Knox was voted woman of the year in an Italian poll. Her trial begins later this month.
- The Cranky Flier remembers the airlines we lost in 2008.
- The New York Times discovers buzkashi in Afghanistan. We covered it in Tajikistan in 2002 and spelled it buskaschee. What is buzkashi/buskaschee? Goat-carcass polo.
by Jim Benning | 12.30.08 | 11:08 AM ET
- Is India safe for travelers? Depends who you ask.
- The Japanese man who mysteriously moved into Mexico City’s airport four months ago and became a celebrity of sorts up and left on Sunday. Go figure.
- Peruvian shamans held a ceremony to “protect the spirits” of Barack Obama and other leaders in 2009.
- Family members of the woman who disappeared off a cruise ship near Cancun say they believe she jumped, citing “previous emotional issues.”
- The Washington Post reviews “Bad Traffic, “a new novel from Welsh writer Simon Lewis, who “first gained attention as a travel writer.”
- Which helps impoverished people in developing countries more, cell phones or laptops? Good magazine debates the question. (Via Ideas Blog)
- In October, the last month for which numbers are available, gambling revenue in Las Vegas was down “an ominous 24.3% vs. the same month in 2007.” And that’s just the beginning. But hey, it’s nearly New Year’s Eve, so get out there and help the struggling city: Double down on 17.
by Valerie Conners | 12.29.08 | 10:42 AM ET
- World Hum contributor Eric Weiner writes in a Washington Post op-ed about the recession and the pervasive negative media coverage that may just be making it worse.
- The Travel Hall of Infamy Awards have been announced, and yes, arm-sucking train toilets and scary pilots top the list.
- And the year-end round-ups continue: The San Francisco Chronicle highlights the year’s oddest travel stories.
- The hotel room of the future: straight lines and corners were so 20th century.
- The Tintin movie is in the works, and The Economist explains the popularity of the comic strip character—who grew to be a European cultural icon—through “the prism of post-war Europe.”
- The FBI has begun investigating the disappearance of a Norwegian Cruise Line passenger, reported missing on Friday and believed to have fallen overboard near the coast of Cancun.
- The airport restroom that gained notoriety following the Sen. Larry Craig “toe-tapping” scandal has become less of a tourist destination, said an airport official. He added, “I think we’ll all be glad when there’s no special interest in that restroom.”
- As the year’s end creeps closer, frequent flier mileage runs are in full swing. One traveler details the highs, lows and mad dashes of being a “frequent flier addict.”
by Eva Holland | 12.04.08 | 5:45 PM ET
The 122-passenger ship is reported to be taking on “minimal” water and leaking fuel after running aground on the Antarctic Peninsula. No one is injured and help is on the way, but the incident is sure to bring back memories of last year’s cruise ship sinking and renew concerns about tourism in Antarctica.
by Valerie Conners | 10.07.08 | 10:37 AM ET
Before she is remade into a floating hotel in Dubai, the Queen Elizabeth 2 is taking a farewell journey. She recently pulled into the port from which she launched 41 years ago. The Daily Mail reports on the trip, and features a series of photos of the ship as it sailed home one final time.
by Jim Benning | 09.25.08 | 10:31 AM ET
A 52-year-old woman on a Carnival cruise drowned yesterday while on a shore excursion in Belize. She was tubing on the Caves Branch River—in what some say were questionable conditions—when, according to one account, she was swept under a rock. Reports USA Today: “A local news station in Belize, Channel 7 News, reports that most local tour companies that operate on the Caves Branch River had canceled their trips Wednesday due to poor conditions.” Obviously, her trip wasn’t canceled.
by Jim Benning | 09.22.08 | 11:01 AM ET
“[T]his fall, the discounting of cruise prices is more frequent and substantial than ever,” Frommer writes. “I’ve never seen such bargains.” Noteworthy: Even “upscale” cruise lines such as Celebrity are offering great deals, including $359 for a five-night Caribbean cruise.
by Jim Benning | 09.18.08 | 1:01 PM ET
Speaking of the excesses and absurdities in cruising, USA Today has published a series of reader photos of cruise towel creatures—probably best appreciated after a few Slippery Nipples or Fuzzy Navels with Cocopuff or Mojo Mike.
by Jim Benning | 09.15.08 | 2:15 PM ET
Classy move, Harper’s. Here’s the list. Our favorite, “Shipping Out,” is here. It’s about Wallace’s experience on a Celebrity Cruises voyage in the Caribbean. Among the writer’s post-cruise observations, sure to put a knowing smile on the face of anyone who’s ever taken such a cruise: “I now know the precise mixological difference between a Slippery Nipple and a Fuzzy Navel”; “I have met Cruise Staff with the monikers ‘Mojo Mike,’ ‘Cocopuff,’ and ‘Dave the Bingo Boy”; “I have dickered over trinkets with malnourished children”; and “I have learned what it is to become afraid of one’s own cabin toilet.”