Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, smile as they watch a shark ceremony during their arrival at Marapa Island, Solomon Islands, September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool
Kate Middleton is really racking up those frequent flyer points.
The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, arrived in the Maldives on Thursday aboard a British Airways flight for a second honeymoon. It’s being reported that they are staying at a private resort on the northern Noonu atoll in the Maldives.
The Daily Mail reports the royal pair are staying at the five-star Cheval Blanc Randheli Hotel. The resort has 45 villas, a spa, gourmet restaurants and plenty of opportunity for water sports and diving. The property just opened in November 2013.
A woman from Glasgow, Scotland has been listed as the 87th best attraction in the city on travel review site TripAdvisor due to an error.
Mary Johnston, 60, signed up for a TripAdvisor account to post a review, but wound up listed as Glasgow’s 87th most popular attraction, beating “the best view in Glasgow” at Ruchill Park and music venue The Hydro.
“I didn’t set it up. It must be a bug in the system or it is malicious,” Johnston told The Scotsman. “I’m already a user and I went on recently to review somewhere in Amsterdam so it may have happened then.”
Some users had already begun to post reviews and five-star ratings on Johnston’s listing, with TripAdvisor urging travellers to “share their experiences” if they had “been to Mary Johnston,” before the site became aware of the listing and removed it.
“This attraction wasn’t in the guidebooks but is fun for all the family if you’re a fan of people called Mary or rotationally-challenged photos,” wrote TripAdvisor user Perrierdoumbe.
“I’ve met other Mary Johnstons around the world but never a sideways one. Mary, put the kettle on, I’m on my way round after work the night. Top banana,” wrote user Jon Pavelin.
Johnston, meanwhile, seems to be looking on the bright side, telling The Scotsman “At least it is a good picture of me.”
Air New Zealand is teaming up with ‘Sports Illustrated’ to celebrate 40 years of flying to the Cook Islands and 50 years of the magazine’s swimsuit edition.
In a new in-flight safety video, famed ‘Sport Illustrated’ swimsuit models, including Christie Brinkley, Chrissy Teigen and Jessica Gomes, add a saucy twist to the typical in-flight video.
“I’m grateful to be included in Air New Zealand’s safety video. I loved the playful script that contains a lot of unexpected moments for a safety video. It features so many SI beauties celebrating SI’s 50th anniversary of the swimsuit edition, that it may even have folks on the ground reaching for their oxygen masks! Thanks SI and Air New Zealand for including me,” said Brinkley in a press release.
Called “Safety in Paradise”, the safety video was filmed in the Cook Islands and will debut on Air New Zealand flights on Feb. 11.
This isn’t the first time Air New Zealand has turned to celebrity for its in-flight safety videos. The airline previously ran a safety video called ‘An Unexpected Briefing’ starring characters from ‘The Hobbit’ and ran a ‘Safety Old School Style’ video featuring Betty White.
As one year draws to a close, travel experts often release lists of what the most popular destinations in the following year will be. Sometimes the experts are on point: world events, sports tourneys and travel trends often give a good indication of what places will be “hot” for tourists. Other times, predictions fall flat.
All can be proved to be true and are good choices. France is the world’s number one tourist destination, having received 83 million visitors in 2012. More Canadians visited Florida in 2012 than any other U.S. state: 3.6 million. And Mexico is making a comeback from the swine flu and drug cartel scandals that kept tourists away from this budget-friendly destination.
It’s easier to see the past than the future, though. So as 2013 draws to a close, I name what I think were the top five destinations of the year that was.
I listed super trendy Costa Rica among my top destinations of 2012, and it was just as hot this past year. Costa Rica has flourished as a tourist destination, now famed for its gorgeous nature, luxury resorts and ample opportunities for adventure, including zip lining, hiking and surfing. In 2012, 136,261 Canadians travelled to Costa Rica, the third highest group of visitors to the Central American country, beaten only by the U.S. and Nicaragua.
Canadians have always known Cuba to be a great budget-friendly Caribbean destination (we’re by far the top group of visitors to Cuba: nearly 950,000 in 2010), but it was two visitors from the U.S. whose Cuba visit made headlines this year.
Some history: in 2011, U.S. president Barack Obama allowed for U.S. citizens to being travelling to Cuba under “people-to-people” trip guidelines: meaningful, cultural trips that allow Americans to enjoy the history and architecture of Cuba, but not the beaches (more for us, right?).
Possibly the most controversial people-to-people trip happened this past April when Jay-Z and Beyonce chose Cuba as the destination for an anniversary trip. Politicians said the pair used their Obama connections to get the OK to travel, while activists slammed the music duo, saying “There are women getting beaten on a daily basis, women who are being jailed for no reason… people are fighting for their freedom. It’s extremely insensitive.” Beyonce said the controversy was “shocking.”
Iceland is this year’s Costa Rica, an emerging destination to watch that is developing into a tourism powerhouse. More and more travellers — especially young ones — are choosing this Nordic country for their vacations. Very hip and optionally adventurous or relaxing, this destination on the rise welcomed 15% more overnight visitors in 2012 than 2011. Iceland’s most popular geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon, was also the world’s most checked-in place on Facebook in 2013.
This year, London continued to ride the royalty wave that began in 2011 with the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and continued in 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Curious tourists travelled to the English capital this past summer to join in celebrations for the birth of the royal baby, Prince George, and maybe catch a glimpse of his mom and dad, too. Various royal exhibits about town, Princess Diana’s dresses at Kensington Palace and the Crown Jewels at the London Tower, for example, attract tourists year-round.
If London rode the royalty wave, Vatican City rode the papal wave this year. Up to 200,000 visitors were in Vatican City when Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in March. The pope’s influence continues to keep the world’s eye on Vatican City, while his presence and attractions like the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica draw tourists of many religions to this holy city-state. More than 4 million people visit the Vatican Museums alone each year.
As was reported on CBS News’ Sunday Morning program this past weekend, Katz’s Deli in New York City is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
The famed NYC kosher-style deli has been serving up thousands of pounds of pastrami, corned beef and salami to Manhattanites each week since 1888. Long a New York mainstay, the deli received international attention when Meg Ryan famously served up one faux orgasm to Billy Crystal at the deli in the 1989 movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
My co-worker Marianne and I were lucky enough to eat at Katz’s on a trip to New York a few years ago. The line-up was long, but the plates of pickles and green tomatoes, massive sandwiches and community atmosphere (one Manhattan couple was kind enough to let us occupy the two unused seats at their table on a very busy Saturday) made it oh-so-worth the wait.
See photos from our visit below.
Nicole Feenstra photo
Sign above the table “When Harry Met Sally” (Nicole Feenstra photo)