The stern of Royal Caribbean's megaship Allure of the Seas
Probably the most disturbing recent news in travel was the announcement by Royal Caribbean Cruises that their newest ship would have a bumper car rink on its top deck. Yes, bumper cars. Though these were the most startling addition to the elegant vessel, other “improvements” included a basketball court, a roller skating rink, and a simulated sky diving experience propelling cruise passengers into the air six feet above the top deck. Does anyone need further proof that cruise line executives are attempting to convert cruise ships into cheap amusement parks? Would you want to cruise with people attracted by the availability of a basketball court and bumper car rink?
....A ten-year-old child, sharing a hotel room with his father, recently attempted to dial 911 for help when the father suffered a severe heart attack. But because (unknown to the child) the hotel telephones required that one first dial “9” for an outside line, he was unable to call for emergency help. This tragedy has persuaded activists to demand that hotels permit their room phones to call 911 without first requiring a 9. We should all support their efforts.
....Hertz Rent-a-Car has apparently created its own GPS device for customers desiring one, thus holding on to additional income that otherwise would go to the popular Garmin GPS--a pioneer in the field. I recently rented a Hertz car with Hertz GPS, and was very unhappy with it; it seemed to lack the brilliant programming of the Garmin GPS, and to make errors in guiding us to our city destinations. Bring back the Garmin!
....Our brand-new Frommer’s Easy Guides are now in the bookstores, and by the time you read this column, they will also be available in e-book versions on all e-readers. By going to the “store” department on the main menu page of Frommers.com, you’ll be able to access them in seconds
….A 29-year-old American was recently released from prison in Dubai after serving a nine-month sentence for making a video that satirized the lives of young citizens of Dubai; he planned to show it on YouTube. Such punishment for a wholly innocent commentary should serve to remind us that Dubai is no democratic nation but a dictatorship ruled by a single tyrant having no respect for the freedom of speech. I marvel at the ability of some Americans to enjoy themselves in this supposedly-frolicsome nation devoted to the entertainment of tourists.
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