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Finland Created a Kitchen Made Out of Ice—and It Works

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/16/2021, 6:00 PM

As if a hotel built from more than 20,000 tons of ice and snow weren't impressive enough, the designers and igloo constructors of Lapland Hotels SnowVillage in northern Finland keep finding ways to melt the hearts of guests who might have grown cold to the wonders of elaborate winter sculptures.  In 2018 and '19, the seasonal property, located in the Arctic Circle near Kittilä in Finnish Laplan...

Virgin Voyages Is Giving Away 1,000 Free Cruises

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/16/2021, 12:00 PM

Before Covid hit—back in the Pleistocene era—huge excitement was building over the impending debut of the Virgin Group's first cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady, which promised to be a ship like no other. Onboard features include a tattoo parlor, "experimental" eateries, daily yoga on the sundeck, and other touches meant to convey that this is truly a contemporary vessel and brand. But then came...

Alaska Opens Up: Visiting No Longer Requires a Negative Covid-19 Test

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/15/2021, 7:00 PM

As of this week, travelers entering Alaska are no longer required to show proof of negative Covid-19 test results upon arrival. That was one of the provisions in the state's emergency declaration adopted in response to the pandemic. But the state of emergency expired on Sunday at midnight, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy decided not to renew it, thus ditching the testing requirement too.  “From what ...

Historic Queen Mary Is In Dire Straits As Operator Collapses

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 02/15/2021, 2:00 PM

January 2021 kept people occupied with a few other news headlines, so you're forgiven if you missed this one: The company that operates the famous and irreplaceable Queen Mary filed for bankruptcy. Singapore-based Eagle Hospitality Trust claims more than $500 million in debt. And although Covid-19 has been harsh to the grand old ship, keeping it closed since May 2020, the pandemic isn't fully t...

Airline Waives Mask Rule for Passengers in First and Business Class

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/15/2021, 12:00 PM

First class and business class flyers getting special perks is not news. But it's a shocking development when airlines decide to bend science in an effort to attract big spenders. That's what Hong Kong–based carrier Cathay Pacific is doing. According to Executive Traveller magazine, the airline circulated an internal memo advising that when passengers are lying flat—as in the fully reclining se...

Go Inside Beijing's Forbidden City With Lush Images From This $995 Book

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/12/2021, 1:00 PM

Beijing's imposing Forbidden City complex has been wowing travelers for centuries. Marco Polo called it the "greatest palace that ever was." Franz Kafka, who never visited China except in his imagination, took the very Kafkaesque view that the 180-acre cluster of red walls, gold-capped pavilions, courtyards, and winding corridors inspires both awe and dread. He pictured Ming and Qing Dynasty...

Flash Sale: Two-For-One Tickets On Amtrak For Travel Through August

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/12/2021, 12:00 PM

How does Amtrak celebrate Valentine's Day? Nope, it isn't painting train carriages bright pink or handing out chocolates on the Acela. Instead, the rail service is doing something even more doting by throwing what it calls the "Amtrak Loves You Sale," which will give passengers who book by February 16 the gift of BOGO tickets on travel from February 22 through August 27, 2021. The offer is a...

Eiffel Tower in Paris to Be Painted a New Color for 2024 Olympics

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/11/2021, 3:00 PM

Imagine how strange it would be if San Francisco decided to paint the Golden Gate Bridge lavender. Or if the Great Wall of China was redone in red shellac.  A structure just as iconic is getting a new color, and although the makeover won't be as jarring as those scenarios, the change may take some getting used to. The landmark in question? The Eiffel Tower in Paris, which is going gold.  Of c...

See the World from Home with Amazing Travel Photographer of the Year Images

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/10/2021, 4:00 PM

With travel curtailed since the start of the pandemic, the work of skilled photographers lets us explore the world vicariously and, just as important, reassures us that it's all still there—from the northern lights shimmering in arctic skies to polychrome fish swimming through cathedrals of kelp on the ocean floor.   Any doubts about whether Earth still houses marvels are quickly dispelled with...

1950s School Bus That Once Toured 200,000 Miles Revs Up for New Journey

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/09/2021, 6:00 PM

A 1950s school bus that already racked up more than 200,000 miles on two continents decades ago is going back on the road.  Josh Jackling and Carolyn McKenna spent three years renovating the vehicle, which once belonged to Jackling's grandparents. According to In The Know, the older couple, who have both since passed away, drove the bus throughout North and South America, keeping a guestbook of...

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