Smack in the middle of nowhere northwestern Australia, scientists have recently discovered detectable signs of earliest life on the planet that they are dating at 3.5 billion years. Given current estimates that our earth is 4.5 billion years old, this finding of microbially induced sedimentary structures can now be said to serve as an indication that we have now found the first demonstrable evidenced of life on the planet. Continue Reading »
The senseless killing of a Melbourne college student and baseball player in a drive-by in Duncan, Oklahoma has aroused the passion of the Australian press and renewed calls for a boycott of travel to the United States. Australia’s former deputy Prime Minister helped introduce tight gun laws in the country in the 1990′s. He is now calling for “Australians to avoid the US until it does the same.”
The New Zealand Herald got into the act claiming that a boycott the US was “crazy but on the subject of guns, we can think of crazier things like sending your child on a typical day and claiming him in the morgue that night.”
The Sydney Morning Herald explained to readers that “Americans have two blind spots – guns and the death penalty.” It went on to point out that more Americans are killed each year in domestic gun violence than in all of America’s overseas combat. Continue Reading »
Travel agents are not doctors and doctors are not travel medicine specialists and travel medicine specialists can barely keep up with a constantly changing medical landscape. These are our ten secrets to maintaining good health while traveling internationally:
The Food and Drug Administration dropped a spicy bombshell this week when it announced that of 20,000 shipments of imported spices to the United States, 7% of the shipments were found to be contaminated with Salmonella which can result in death if the infection spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream where it can then attack organs. Continue Reading »
According to a recent survey of just over 50,000 people in 30 countries by Men’s Health Magazine, Croatia is the country where sexual activity is most frequent as is the number of partners engaged in such activities. This should present some interesting challenges for the Croatia Tourism Board as they work on their ad campaign to trumpet the news. Continue Reading »
Collecting credit card issued complimentary airline miles is a serious science. Here are three important things to know to help you choose the best airline mileage credit card for your needs:
01 – Be patient and wait for an offer that may be unadvertised and offered on a Frequent Flyer Blog or through the mail. Look for 75,000 miles to sign up. Continue Reading »
Traveler’s passing through Rome’s Fiumicino Airport can now order a cannoli or a cassata sicliana and feel they have struck a blow at the Mafia. Although most Americans know the term “mafia”, Italy is home to more than one major crime group. The Cosa Nostra controls much of Sicily, Calabria’s main crime group is the Ndrangheta, and Naples is home to the dangerous Camorra. Continue Reading »
The rise of the affluent class in China has had interesting repercussions, but the recent attack by some drunken Frenchmen on Chinese students in the Bordeaux region has created a diplomatic tiff of magnum proportions. Six students were brutally attacked while being subjected to racist abuse. This is seen as related to China’s rise as one of the two major importers of fine French wines. Continue Reading »
The hottest food trend in New York is the “Cronut”, created by Chef Dominique Ansel at his bakery at 189 Spring Street in Manhattan’s SoHo District. The long lines begin forming at 5:00 am. as trendistas and foodies patiently await the “two per customer” allotment of the new taste sensation that is a marriage between the American donut and the French croissant. Continue Reading »
There is a pork shortage in China as a growing middle class is demanding more pork atop their rice. So the China’s largest pork producer, Shuangthui International, just paid $4.7 billion to buy venerable Smithfield Foods, the Virginia-based owners of Smithfield hams.
Just how to get an inbound H-18 Visa approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services was made clear in an investigation by Bloomberg.com We like fashion models so over 50% of their visa applications are approved. Only 28% of HB visa requests for computer-related occupations were approved. Nice to have our priorities straight.
Unions in Sweden are protesting the fact that the average Swedish work week has just hit a historic high of 26.2 hours per week. Since this is an average, it means that a substantial number of the Swedish full-time work force is working even less than that. This new report, says one of the major unions in Sweden, “can adversely affect people’s health.”
That would appear to be affirmative. In fact, changes in cabin air pressure may affect the brain to the degree that making decisions or even properly responding to e-mails when the brain has less oxygen at 40,000 feet is not a good idea.
The good Professor David Gradwell of King’s College London is Britain’s first Professor of aviation medicine. Continue Reading »
We have just updated our annual 2013 ‘BEST IN CLASS’” Cruise Ratings in the “5-Star Inclusive Category” and we are pleased to announce the current winners:
BEST DINING AT SEA
- #1 – CRYSTAL CRUISES
- #2 – REGENT SEVEN SEAS
BEST ENTERTAINMENT AT SEA
- #1 – CRYSTAL CRUISES
- #2 – REGENT SEVEN SEAS
WARMEST/MOST FRIENDLY CREW
- #1 - SEA DREAM YACHT CLUB
- #2 – CRYSTAL CRUISES
BEST STANDARD CABINS
- #1 - REGENT SEVEN SEAS
- #2 – YACHTS OF SEABOURN
- #1 - YACHTS OF SEABOURN
- #2 – REGENT SEVEN SEA
BEST ON-BOARD LECTURE PROGRAM/INSTRUCTIONAL CLASSES
- #1 – CRYSTAL CRUISES
- #2 -ORION CRUISES
BEST ON-BOARD “KNOW YOUR NAME” PERSONAL SERVICE
- #1 – SEA DREAM YACHT CLUB
- #2 -CRYSTAL CRUISES
BEST ON-BOARD ‘MAKE IT HAPPEN’ CONCIERGE SERVICES
- #1 – SILVERSEAS CRUISES
- #2 -CRYSTAL CRUISES
These ratings are based on professional evaluations, some of the nation’s most respected travel writers, and over 10,000 upscale cruisers who have sailed multiple lines. Continue Reading »
An important new DNA study by the Oceana Group has found that 60% of the tuna sold in restaurants and grocery stores in the United States is deliberately mislabeled. The fish normally substituted for real tuna is a far less expensive, oily fish, named escolar. This is a fish known to cause diarrhea in humans. But your chances of finding actual tuna when you order it is still better than the odds of receiving authentic red snapper. Continue Reading »
Windstar Cruises, a line that operates three unique small cruise ships with computerized sails, has suddenly become the largest of the small ship (under 300 guests) operators with the announcement that it has purchased the three smaller and older Seabourn ships, the Pride, the Legend, and the Spirit. The delivery of the 208 passenger ships will occur over the course of the next 24 months with renovations and “re-branding” preceding deployment of the Pride in April of 2014 and the Spirit and Legend in 2015. Continue Reading »
American Airlines and US Airways have consummated their stormy merger prenuptials, and we are expecting Justice Department approval of a deal worth an estimated $11 billion to be finalized this Fall. The new carrier will be known as American Airlines with headquarters remaining in Ft. Worth.
After all is said and done, the stockholders in US Airways will end up owning just under 30% of the new airline. Continue Reading »
BOEING’S NEW 787 DREAMLINER TAKEN OFF THE TARMAC
The mostly eagerly anticipated aircraft of the decade has been taken out of service worldwide because of fire-inducing issues with the new lithium ion batteries unique to the 787. ANA and Japan Airlines have already taken delivery of 28 of the planes. Air India has has 6. Lot-Polish, the only European carrier to have taken delivery, has two. Continue Reading »
THE REALLY BIG PICTURE
Sometimes, we in travel need to step back a few paces, to see the big picture in terms of future travel destinations. NASA’s latest data collected from the amazing Kepler long-range telescope, now indicates that there may be as many as 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the galaxy, including the 461 new ones Kepler just unearthed. Continue Reading »
The Disney folks are launching a new series of technology improvements to enhance guest experiences. The initiative is known as MyMagic+. The program, which will first be introduced at Walt Disney World in Orlando will include a new website and dedicated apps. But the innovative part of this is the radio-frequency technology that comes embedded in a MagicBand bracelet. Continue Reading »
The most expensive lunch ever recorded will be consumed by an anonymous bidder who paid $3.46 million to break bread with legendary investor Warren Buffett. The money will be donated to Glide Community Church and its outreach center in San Francisco.
Do not scoff at the cost of this meal. Last year, Ted Weschler paid $2.6 million for the privilege of dining with Buffett and he would surely say that it was worth every penny. Continue Reading »
If you want to know more about pending airport delays then the airline’s reservations people are telling you – well, now there’s an app for that. FAAwait, which can be downloaded for Android and iPhones, gives you access to the current FAA status reports on airports throughout the country including current delay times. This App even gives you the actual reason your flight is being delayed so you will likely know more than anyone else in line and it is highly likely you will know more than the airline’s own counter staff. Continue Reading »
Lots of hotel properties unknowingly compete for the “World’s Worst Hotel” title among travel mavens, but there seems to be real consensus that North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel is the clear winner. This is somewhat amazing given that the 105 story property was never completed despite being started in 1987.
It is not as if funding became a problem. Continue Reading »
Now that almost 10% of the adult population has taken a cruise, more and more “experts” seem to be popping up in online in chat rooms, in your local community, and on the telephone as part-time practitioners of the travel craft attempt to show off their knowledge of cruising. Some of these cruise urban legends get spread at cocktail parties where the “recently returned” are quizzed about their experiences. Continue Reading »
American Airlines passengers can tell you that the airline is flying through some unusually strong turbulence. On September 4th, a federal judge ruled that American’s management could, under the rules of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, tear up the contract the airline had signed with its pilots. They were also allowed to make some serious benefits and wage cuts. Continue Reading »
The oldest continuously publishing Maritime Journal, Lloyd’s List, has given its annual “Seafarer of the Year” Award to the crew of the Costa Concordia which partially sank off the coast of the small island of Giglio on January 13th this year.
In an unusual move, the award was given to the Concordia’s entire crew in recognition of their “true examples of courage and professionalism” as exhibited in a highly dangerous night evacuation of the 4,229 onboard passengers
Lloyd’s commented that “what was largely missed in the media storm that ensued were the genuine examples of bravery and professionalism displayed by members of the crew.”
Given that at least 32 guests died in this tragedy, it was not surprising that the ship’s, at times pathetic, captain, Francesco Schettino, was brought up on a range of serious charges including manslaughter. Continue Reading »
The Battle of the Burger giants has just ended and the overall winner, based on nationwide polling by the Market Force Information Group, is Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Fuddruckerse came in second, followed by, surprisingly A&W, and Smashburger.
The results were based on food quality, service, taste, value, and cleanliness. Five Guys swept every category but value. Continue Reading »
Rio de Janeiro has a reputation for explosive nightlife and a hedonistic attitude toward life. But the real trend in Rio is a sharp decrease int he Catholic population and a major growth spurt in the number of evangelical Christians.
Catholics now make up just 65% of the population and evangelicals and Pentecostals are now almost a fourth of the population. Continue Reading »
SPECIAL PREVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT:
We are very pleased to announce our annual Signature trip, June 12-24, 2013 from Reykjavik to Copenhagen aboard the five-star rated, all-suite, all-inclusive, Regent Seven Seas Voyager. This cruise will be personally escorted by Angela and Richard Turen. There is no better way to cool off this summer than “Chilling with the Vikings” as we explore ports in Iceland, Norway, ending our cruise in Denmark. Continue Reading »