Make way for the Queen

Cunard's newest ship brings elegance to the high seas in time for a visit from St. Nick

The Smart Traveler

February 11, 2007


Fodor's / $27.95

This hefty guide covers Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The highlights vary from country to country. There's Museo Evita in Buenos Aires, a museum dedicated to the life of the Argentine firebrand Eva Peron. There's Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, home to 23 beaches. There's the Amazon, which covers some 4 million square miles. Things learned along the way: Despite the name, Panama hats, those finely made straw hats, are actually made in Ecuador and only became associated with Panama after Teddy Roosevelt wore one when he toured the Panama Canal.



United tightens frequent flier rules

In a change of policy, United Airlines frequent fliers who don't earn or redeem miles for 18 months will lose their miles, the company said. The previous deadline was three years. Miles in Mileage Plus accounts that will have been inactive since July 1 will expire Dec. 31. Airline policies on mileage vary. As of last week, the expiration deadline for miles was two years for Southwest and three years for American. Typically, customers don't have to fly to keep their accounts active; credit-card and retail partner purchases, for instance, also count.



Crystal Cruises bans trans fats

The trans-fat movement has hit the high seas. Crystal Cruises announced Jan. 24 that, effective immediately, it will ban hydrogenated vegetable oils from its culinary offerings. Earlier, Royal Caribbean said it would begin eliminating trans fats from its menus starting March 1, and that its fleet of ships would be trans-fat free by the end of the year. Cruise ships say they are now catering to a more health-conscious clientele. Crystal Cruises also has plans to introduce an "oil sommelier," who will offer diners a selection of infused specialty oils to flavor their meal.



Love nests

The most romantic bed-and-breakfasts and country inns for 2007, from American Historic Inns Inc. and

Adobe & Pines Inn, Taos, N.M.

McMillan Inn, Savannah, Ga.

Magnolia Mansion, New Orleans

Glasbern Country Inn, Fogelsville, Pa.

Blair Hill Inn at Moosehead Lake, Greenville, Maine

Candlelight Inn, Napa, Calif.

The Place at Cayou Cove, Deer Harbor, Wash.

Rivertown Inn, Stillwater, Minn.

Historic Jacob Hill Inn, Providence, R.I.

1795 Acorn Inn, Canandaigua, N.Y.


Tortuga Rum Cake top souvenir

The top Caribbean cruise souvenir combines two can't-miss ingredients: cake and alcohol. For the third consecutive year, Porthole magazine named Tortuga Rum Cakes as the best gift to take home from a cruise. The Grand Cayman-made cakes are based on a family recipe and have been available commercially for 20 years. The island nation's No.1 export, they're available in more than 100 cruise-ship gift shops or online. Go to tortuga


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