Archive for the ‘travel tips’ Category

On the CruiseCritic.com forums, user Winegirl writes:

Corinthian II vs Endeavor vs Polar Star-any first hand knowledge?

Spouse is 46 and I’m 57. I have long been a student of polar exploration and am planning a trip to see some of Antarctica–only, not Falkland Islands. Spouse can get away for only a couple weeks, so we are looking at 15 day or shorter trips. Various options called to our attention are: Corinthian II, 114 passenger all suite ship. Online information looks pretty appealing–a smaller ship option so hopefully more personal service, a lot of valuable inclusions. Not cheap but seems good value for price. Other option is NG Endeavor. NG name carries a lot of weight, but the prices are sky high and the overall accomdations look less appealing than the Corinthian II. Polar Star looks promising as well. Spouse likes space and luxury, but does not like snobs. We both love great food and wine, and have done some soft adventure travel, plus some backpacking in the Rockies. He is a real science and nature buff and I just want to visit the “last place on earth. I’d feel better about having an MD on board, just in case, although neither of us has medical issues. I’d like to have maximum options to go ashore, even possibly camp overnight ( I know some ships offer that option at times.) Being from Wisconsin, the weather will be relatively similar to our January/February weather–cold, damp, overcast, etc.

I am reluctant to book on any Russian ship (first hand experiences with Russian business practices leave us skeptical,) and ships that don’t allow you to use your credit card for the final payment (leaves you with less protection in the event of a default.)

Any feedback on any of these ships would be most appreciated!

User Harbor32 responded:
I was on a Corinthian II cruises to Antarctica in Feb 2007. We had one of the best crossings of Drakes passage (both directions), great weather and a totally wonderful trip. (more…)

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RoyalOntarioMuseumIf you’re heading to Toronto this summer, The Washington Post has thoughtfully written up a number of good restaurants in the Yorkville neighborhood, around the Royal Ontario Museum – designed by Daniel Libeskind. Libeskind’s tetrahedric design works perfectly for the museum’s restaurant, C5.

“Chef Ted Corrado, who has the boyish looks of a teen pop star, sources local products at C5 to produce a limited yet sublime menu on which the ethnic flavors of Toronto shine through his studied technique. Offerings change with the seasons, but recent choices included porcini papardelle with white anchovy and paquillo peppers, and rack of wild boar with eggplant cream, baby leeks and litchi. On a budget? Order a cocktail and an appetizer, and savor the city view through the enormous tilted windows.”

Read more from The Washington Post.

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Joe Sharkey, over at The New York Times‘ travel segment “On the Road,” reports on Expedia.com’s new TripAdvisor, which – he says – performs some flight-booking magic:

a search function that quickly sort[s] out flights and variables, including fees, connections and even the layout of the plane, from data pulled from a vast range of online booking agencies, including airlines’ own sites and sites like Travelocity, Hotwire and Expedia.

I’ve been fiddling with it, and I’m impressed. Besides basic fare, my priorities in booking an airplane ticket are seating (I’d sooner walk than sit in the middle seat), connections and the time it takes to get from here to there. I tried a sample Houston-to-Seattle round trip and got 1,100 price and schedule options (variable connections account for the big number of choices). Most fares ranged from about $320 to $420, but a few were near $1,200.

Clicking on the “fees estimator” tab, I could then pick and choose among a range of options like headphones, snacks and checked bags. Depending on what I chose, the selections narrowed, each with a specific price. Clicking through to a specific flight, I could then see which seats were available. The system was quick and easy to use.

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As published in the latest edition of Forbes Magazine, Travel Dynamics International is offering substantial discounts on many of its 2009 itineraries. We are waiving the single supplement on many of our cruises – a $1,000 value – so single travelers can enjoy our journeys of discovery and insight without penalty. We believe that a transcendent travel experience is not just in the journey, nor in the destination, but who you travel with. Our elegant yacht-like ships, and our creative itineraries, are designed to foster a small, convivial discovery party of interesting, diverse, like-minded travelers: well-educated, cultured, and fascinating. We make a special effort to draw all the members of our tour groups together for a delightful, shared, enlightening experience. This is an ideal time to voyage and explore with confidence and in friendship.

Single travelers are not alone in the Special Offers category, either – TDI is offering 50% off the couples rate for several of our cruises, a savings of $3,000-$6,000 – and inviting you for a free night at a 5-star hotel at the destination port. Please click TravelDynamicsInternational.com for more details.

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We give people wonderful vacations here at TDI, but let’s face it: a trans-Atlantic flight, a hop on a boat, and touring the very next day? We know it, you know it – that first breakfast is rough when you’re still feeling that soul-delay. (That’s how William Gibson describes jet-lag in his novel Pattern Recognition.)

Well, an experimental drug currently undergoing trials is threatening to neatly reset the body clock, banish jet-lag, and eliminate that excuse, at least, for not traveling with us to the Mediterranean or Africa. Time Magazine reports that:

The drug, tasimelteon, works by mimicking the effects of the naturally occurring hormone melatonin, which has long been identified as the regulator of the body’s sleep and wake patterns. In Phase II and III clinical trials of 450 people who were subjected to simulated jet lag in a sleep laboratory (participants were forced to go to bed at 6 p.m. and wake up at 2 a.m.), a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that the new drug restored near normal sleep the first night it was used.

Read the rest here.

(Thanks to MyTravelOptimizer!)

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Later this month, Delta Air Lines customers will be able to avoid long security lines at Los Angeles International Airport by enrolling in a national program that provides priority lanes in passenger terminals.

In the first operation of its type at LAX, the Clear fast-pass system — using fingerprint and eye scanners — is designed to identify travelers and get them through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in a matter of minutes.

“Just to know you can get to the airport at a decent time, go through security and make your flight is something you can’t put a value on,” said Bryan Martinez, 37, of Thousand Oaks, a marketing executive for Amgen Inc. who has used the Clear system for several years at other airports. More from the LA Times here.

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Starving yourself before a long flight may help prevent jet lag, according to U.S. researchers.

Normally, the body’s natural circadian clock in the brain dictates when to wake, eat and sleep, all in response to light. But it seems a second clock takes over when food is scarce, and manipulating this clock might help travelers adjust to new time zones, the researchers said Thursday.

“A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock,” said Dr. Clifford Saper of Harvard Medical School, whose study appears in the journal Science.

Read more at the International Herald Tribune.

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