North to New England, Canada

The Smart Traveler

June 15, 2008|By Arline and Sam Bleecker

Sometimes it pays to go against the tide.

This summer, while a flotilla of cruise lines will cross the big pond to ports in Europe or elsewhere, a way to avoid the crowds and heat is by sailing north to New England and Canada.


Vintage Departures / $15.95

"Glaciers are melting, rain forests are succumbing to logging and development, rivers are drying up," authors Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen begin, reminding readers that threats to our world's natural beauty are not only environmental but commercial, political and even travel-related. In the United States the endangered wonders range from the Everglades to Yellowstone; in Europe, from the Alps to the Danube; and in Africa, from Mount Kilimanjaro to Timbuktu. This book takes us from brink to brink, showing us how each destination faces extinction, whether by changing climate or the coming of shopping malls.




Fast ferry service from Portland

The high-speed ferry called The Cat has arrived at its new home on the Portland, Maine, waterfront. The 320-foot catamaran arrived at the city's $21 million Ocean Gateway terminal, which will serve The Cat as well as cruise ships. The ship's owner, Bay Ferries, has signed a five-year lease with the city. Service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine, began at the end of May. Eventually, Portland plans to build another $7 million berth at the terminal to accommodate the world's largest cruise ships.



Royal Caribbean

Cruise lineup grows by two

Royal Caribbean International has announced the names of two new cruise ships that will be the world's largest. The Miami-based cruise operator said that Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas were chosen in a "Name That Ship" contest. The names were submitted by George Weiser, of Livonia, Mich. Oasis will hold 5,400 passengers. It is scheduled to launch in late 2009. Allure will launch in 2010. Both are part of the brand's "Project Genesis" and will be more than 35 percent bigger than the current largest cruise ship, based on volume.




Seafood and wine festivals

The top 10 seafood and wine festivals, according to Coastal Living magazine:

1. Stone Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival, Longboat Key, Fla. 2. Sushi & Sake Festival, Long Beach, Calif. 3. Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, Maui, Hawaii 4. Clayoquot Oyster Festival, British Columbia, Canada 5. Crab & Wine Days and Taste Mendocino, Mendocino, Calif. 6. Harvest on the Harbor, Portland, Maine 7. Cayman Cookout, Grand Cayman Island 8. Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, Newport, Ore. 9. Taste of the Beach, Outer Banks, N.C., 10. Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Pebble Beach, Calif.


Curvy cabins coming

In the continuing attempt to distinguish itself from its giant rivals, Norwegian Cruise Line says the cabins on its next class of ships will be, um, curvy. The yet-to-be-named F3 ships (4,200 passengers) will feature what the company is calling New Wave staterooms, the most distinctive element of which will be "contemporary curved architecture," including the cabin walls. Also, the bathrooms will be divided into separate shower, separate "water closet" and modern vanity. The TV, however, will be flat. The F3 ships, the first of which is due for service in 2010, will be Norwegian's first entry into the modern-era size wars.



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