Orlando - http://www.chriscruises.net/
Chris Owen is a travel writer from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers.
They all talk about it. "Like us on Facebook," "Follow us on Twitter" and "Read our blog," say travel-related websites
selling everything from guidebooks to airline flights, gear and gum. Many give us little reason to like them, follow them or do anything other than buy their products on the way to the next online destination. But some travel seller sites actually do put some time and effort into creating a reason to visit other than to buy something.
The task of buying a hotel room for a night is easy to define. The short list of variables includes location, price and availability. Easy. Any number of search sites can gather that information, whirl it around and present viable options. Hotel.info
does more. On their blog we find The Ultimate Guide To Cooking In Your Hotel Room
that brings us unique, interesting content that in and of itself is a good reason to visit their site.
, the solar airplane
that was set to fly across the United States
, has taken off and completed the first leg of the journey from California to Arizona. Averaging an altitude of just 10,000 feet and a speed of 40.6 miles per hour, the flight took most of a day to complete. Technically, 14,000 people were on board, albeit virtually via streaming video.
Launching the "Clean Generation" initiative by completing the first leg of their 2013 Across America mission, Pilot Bertrand Piccard took off from Moffett Airfield at NASA's Ames Research Center early Saturday morning, arriving at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport 18 hours and 18 minutes later.
Promoting greater investment in technologies for sustainable energy production and use, Piccard and Solar Impulse co-founder André Borschberg will alternate flying the five legs of the trip.
This Photo of the Day
, titled "Brighten Up Your Day," comes from Gadling Flickr pool
member The Delhi Way
and looked like an appropriate photo for this time of year when Spring showers are happening in many places
Taken in Delhi India, The Delhi Way
says of the image: "One can find the most eclectic things in Delhi. These beautifully embroidered, vibrant umbrellas while being practical, can also be the perfect accessory to your outfit & moreover a great mood up-lifter. "
Want to be featured? Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool
. Several times a week we choose our favorite images
from the pool as a Photo of the Day
Tips for being featured: add a caption describing the image and (better yet) your personal experience when capturing it, details of the photography gear used and any tips you might have for others wanting to emulate your work.
Now, you can also submit
photos through Instagram
; just mention @GadlingTravel
and use the hashtag #gadling when posting your images.
[Photo Credit Gadling Flickr pool member The Delhi Way
Considering a trip to see the Northern Lights
? This year may very well be the best time to go. 2013 is the height of the 11-year solar cycle. September and October offer peak activity. They can be seen in Alaska, Norway, Finland and Canada on a clear night. Better yet, try viewing on a ship at sea.
Common tips for viewing the Northern Lights
say to go North, inside the Arctic circle, bring along a good guide and get away from light produced by cities and towns. That's exactly what Compagnie du Ponant
, a little French-flagged cruise line is doing this autumn for one of the best aurora borealis
viewing opportunities possible.
Specializing in expedition sailings to the poles, Compagnie du Ponant sails small ships that feature custom technology designed to preserve fragile marine ecosystems.
have affected travel in a number of ways. Passport applications
and renewals are taking longer, as is the process for requesting a visa. Traveling abroad, less security at U.S. facilities
means less protection for Americans. National parks
have closed some facilities and delayed opening of others. Now, even the Smithsonian Institution in Washington is feeling the impact of budget cuts.
"A reduction in a contract for security that supplements the Smithsonian security force affects some museums. The safety and security of the public and our collections will not be compromised," said a notice
on the Smithsonian website
While no major exhibitions will be closed, the commons in the Smithsonian Castle, one room in the African Mosaic exhibit and sections of the permanent collection galleries
in the Hirshhorn Museum will be unavailable for a short time.
On a positive note, the Smithsonian, a top budget travel
destination, has a number of new exhibits underway of particular interest to fans of space travel that are unaffected.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
new Norwegian Breakaway
is due to arrive in New York City to be christened in the city by Radio City Music Hall's
Rockettes on May 8. This week, the 146,600-ton ship was previewed by UK travel professionals and members of the press in Southampton on a two-night preview sailing prior to its inaugural transatlantic sailing. Sailing year-round from New York, Norwegian is betting heavy on the success of the ship's New York City theme with everything from the city skyline painted on the ship's hull to Sabrett hot dog carts
positioned around the ship. But how did the ship play out in real life? Gadling asked travel professionals on the UK sailing for their opinion.
Norwegian promotes the ship as "ground breaking" and "innovative," something Norwegian Cruise Lines knows a thing or two about. They introduced the concept of Freestyle Cruising that broke away from rigid ship schedules for dining and activities.
Scott Anderson, General Manager of The Luxury Cruise Company
told Gadling he thinks Norwegian hit their goal, saying Norwegian Breakaway
is a "much needed departure away from the clashing colours and gaudiness of the Jewel class and (Norwegian) Epic. The Norwegian Breakaway cabins and suites are all decorated in soft, natural, muted tones; the ships public rooms, whilst being 'themed' are not over the top and the carpets throughout are not migraine inducing."
It came across as a simple tweet of information by Airfarewatchdog
: "Frontier charging for carry-on bags if fare not bought on their site. Calls it an 'enhancement.'" The airfare experts at the site were noting a new policy from Frontier Airlines
that goes into effect this summer.
"Frontier continues to make it easier for customers flying with Frontier to pay only for the services they use, which allows us to continue lowering fares," said Daniel Shurz, Frontier's senior vice president, commercial on the Frontier Airlines website
Should Have Seen It Coming
Presented as a way to reward Frontier's most loyal customers and reduce the fight for overhead bin space created by checked luggage fees, the airline will begin charging those buying Basic fares through third party sites for carry-on luggage
Buy a Basic (the lowest) fare through Frontier's website? No charge for a carry-on
Buy anywhere else? $25 to $100
Travelers have become accustomed to paying more for flights
as airline fees soar
, tapping them for billions. Between baggage fees
, service fees and in-flight fees, it is getting harder to find cheap fares and no one knows that better than NASA.
As the space shuttle program came to an end in 2011, NASA began relying on the Russian Space Agency to ferry astronauts and supplies back and forth from the International Space Station (ISS). But even NASA, OK with paying $65 million per seat, did not see the latest price hike coming. Agreeing to pay $424 million for the flights of six astronauts aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft to service the ISS in 2016 and the first half of 2017, NASA is not happy.
But NASA really has no other choice than to pay the $70.6 million per seat fare as Russia has the market cornered as the only way to get to and from the space station.
They were on their final approach to Scotland's Glasgow airport when an unidentified object passed within 300 feet of the Airbus A320 passenger jet
. "Er yeah we just had something pass underneath us quite close [1255:30] and nothing on TCAS have you got anything on in our area" said the pilot to Glasgow tower, reports the BBC.
The TCAS' of which the pilot mentions is the A320's Traffic Collision Avoidance System, which communicates with other aircraft, several times per second, alerting two aircraft that are dangerously close to each other. The system was silent as the A320 was preparing to land, in clear conditions, at an altitude of about 4,000 feet. It was then that the pilot and non-flying pilot saw an object about 300 feet (100 meters) ahead.
Described as "blue and yellow or silver in color with a small frontal area, but 'bigger than a balloon,' the object moved quickly and came so close to the A320 that the pilot filed a near-miss report
Like them or hate them, travelers have heard of cruise lines
that travel around the world on city-like ships
, ply the rivers of Europe
or sail from convenient home ports
around North America. Some have ships designed to be destinations in and of themselves, while others have purpose-built vessels with a shore-side focus, stopping at world class destinations. Between the brands of Royal Caribbean International
and Carnival Corporation
alone, millions of travelers take to the sea each year. A comparative handful of cruise travelers choose small, boutique lines that sail just a few ships to many of the same places with their own signature travel experience.
Lüftner Cruises, a family-owned Austrian company, is one of those tiny cruise lines. Lüftner operates Amadeus Cruises
, a luxury river cruise line with just six ships that sail along Europe's Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers in opulent luxury on voyages lasting four to 15 days.
Just launched, 443-foot Amadeus Silver
is their largest and most luxurious river ship ever. The 90-cabin vessel is adorned in first-class interior furnishings, luxurious accommodations, authentic Austrian programming and an environmentally-friendly design.
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