The fall and winter season will soon bring Florida’s crop of absolutely unripened tomatoes to our tables. This is another example of our collective willingness to eat chemically treated food when better alternatives exist. It is what separates us from the Italians, the French, and the Spanish as we appear to have no trouble with adulterated foods. Continue Reading »
The new Global Competitiveness Rankings, developed by the World Economic Forum, evaluate each nation’s education, health care, business innovation, infrastructure and other key factors.
There are some key “understandings” shared by many cruise line executives about their future growth and the internalization of their passengers. Here are some observations that can help the consumer envision the world of upscale cruising projected ten to fifteen years into the future:
It is a given that at least 50% of luxury cruise guests will be sourced outside the United States. Continue Reading »
Among the exciting new ships en route to us in the coming 24 months, none has generated the initial buzz of The Four Seasons, a 42,000 Gross-ton beauty under construction in Finland. We are hearing that the 100 or so apartments that range in size from 1300 to over 3,000 sq. ft. are selling out prior to the company’s launch of an official sales piece. Continue Reading »
When it comes to airline miles not all flyers or airline programs are created equal. Although the travel ads will never tell you this, frequent flyers can manipulate the system to secure the upgrades that seem so elusive for the rest of us.
One of the best techniques is to use two different Elite Status Mileage cards – say one on American and one on United. Continue Reading »
Spain’s El Bulli restaurant has been nothing short of Mecca for food writers and a huge posse of trendistas intent on sampling a new cuisine that involves infusions of pure flavor essences.The food fusion movement has been called the inevitable merging of fine dining and science.
Now, the internationally respected Restaurant Magazine, an industry publication read by anyone who counts, has named the Fat Duck, in Bray, England as the “Best Restaurant in the World”. Continue Reading »
What we have here is a failure to communicate. When exactly is hurricane season in the Caribbean?
The unreported story is that we are now considering the entire month of November as hurricane season. In the past, before Pat Robertson decided to change the world’s weather patterns, cruisers were told to avoid the last two weeks of August through the end of October. Continue Reading »
Of the several Gordon Ramsay’s, the best of the lot, GR at Royal Hospital Road, is currently London’s finest. Getting in takes a top-notch concierge or serious pre-planning.
The other top toque in town is Shane Osborn of Pied A Terre on Charlotte Street.
Both of these restaurants produce innovative “New French” cuisine, meaning an almost complete absence of flour-based sauces. Continue Reading »
The Egyptian tombs, that is, in New York’s wondrous Metropolitan Museum where the Conde Nast folks hosted their annual Reader’s Choice Awards. Cocktails were offered in the huge room holding The Temple of Dendur circa 15 BC.
Hotel exeus, cruise line execs, and representatives of worldwide destinations were in the running for awards that are worth their weight in marketing gold. Continue Reading »
That would be Fergus Henderson’s place, St. John, located in what was once a smokehouse in the not yet absolutely completely fashionable Smithfield Market neighborhood. The place has been creating meals out of portions of the pig that even the Chinese discard.
But lo and behold, when Restaurant Magazine, an important European restaurant industry publication, published its list of the 50 best restaurants in the world – there it was, way up there in 16th place. Continue Reading »
A new 9-story hotel and shopping center complex has opened in Kabul, Afghanistan. The 90-store mall is the first fully air-conditioned building in the nation and features Afghanistan’s first ever escalators.
Security outside is tight. Half a division or so troops are protecting the shoppers, most of whom have never seen a mall before. As relatively unsafe as things appear to be outside, the real danger is inside where burkas have been catching in the escalator mechanisms causing a good deal of anguish and fear .Moving stairways to lady’s fine fragrances is a new concept in these parts. Continue Reading »
An important, but little-known fact, is that nearly 80% of all cruise reservations are made on Monday.
They are made in that tenuous period between the Today Show and Monday Night football. Mom and Dad have discussed things over the weekend, played on the internet, perhaps, if they are intellectuals, even scanned the Sunday papers. And now they are ready to book. Continue Reading »
The Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, the currently oh so hot enclave in Miami, employs a tanning butler. This fellow’s brief is to walk the pool area in search of those who may need assistance applying sunscreen to those areas of the body that may be difficult to reach. He carries a small selection of oils because some of us are butter people and some of us aren’t. Continue Reading »
The Traveler’s Cheque card from Amex and the Visa Travel Money cards seem like a good idea. You pay for the cards in advance and then simply use them at ATM’s throughout Europe until you’ve used up your money.
But be careful. There are activation fees and “reload” fees. You are, in essence being charged to use your own money. Continue Reading »
Look for 2006 to be the year River Boats in Europe and Asia come into their own. Cruising the Danube, the Rhine, the Soane, or the Yangtze with just a few hundred fellow Americans is perceived as a safe, cost effective, and almost intimate way to experience important parts of the world. You can see China, albeit in a somewhat sanitized way, experience “The Path of the Czars” or simply glide through Burgundy and Provence on a one-week idyll. Continue Reading »
The first thing to know about the French is that the drinking age is 16 and is never, ever enforced. In fact, French mothers have been known to mix a bit of wine with baby’s formula to begin the path to maturity.
It appears to work because the only drunks I’ve ever seen in Paris were over-the-edge hooligans from countries where pints outsell happy meals. Continue Reading »
The anecdotal evidence is in – and Europe has officially been labeled a “rip-off”. Cruises and escorted tours to Europe are booming while independent travelers are returning from France and Italy with tales of $300+ lunches and plans to re-mortgage the house.
The European-bound traveler needs to consider paying in dollars up front. The romantic notion of negotiating hotel rates in the lobby of some quaint left bank family-run three-star on the fly is but a dream. Continue Reading »
I was strolling the back aisle of a small bookshop in the Notting Hill section of London the other day, thinking how very unlike Hugh Grant I am, when a new title by BBC producer Jessica Williams (Disinformation Company Ltd.) caught my eye.
“50 Facts That Should Change the World” is a book that could well change the way that you view the world. Continue Reading »
Yesterday – a slow news day until two academics got us thinking ……….to whit, two profs in the Geriatric Medicine field at Chicago’s prestigious Northwestern University.
Doctors Robert Golub and Lee Lindquist wrote an article in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Journal that suggests that a modern cruise ship is well equipped to fill the role of a floating assisted living facility. Continue Reading »