Travel News & Deals
Deals, tips, advice and more
Harmony of the Seas mega-ship is on course to be world's largest

You could spend your whole day going up and down three waterslides that spiral down 10 decks on the upcoming Harmony of the Seas cruise ship from Royal Caribbean International.

The cruise line on Wednesday announced features of the ship that's scheduled to make its debut in April 2016. It will be the world's largest cruise ship and the third in the line's Oasis class, according to news reports.

Harmony of the Seas will feature 2,747 staterooms and hold 5,479 passengers on 16 decks, surpassing its sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's announcement says.

Like other ships in this class, it will feature seven "neighborhoods," or activity zones: Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and the Youth Zone.

You can play on a carousel and in a games arcade on the Boardwalk, take water slides that swirl from the top down to Central Park, and grab a drink from the robot...

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Travel risky in Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel, U.S. warns

A new travel warning for Israel, issued Feb. 18, notes that "U.S. citizens need to be aware of continuing risks of travel" to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and some metro areas, "including Tel Aviv and Haifa and surrounding regions," which the warning says are "comparable to other major global cities."

But, it says, "the July-August 2014 Gaza conflict … and subsequent political and religious tension associated with access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem led to increased levels of violence, particularly in Jerusalem and West Bank environs, not seen in those areas in a decade.

"Attacks on individuals and groups have occurred in East and West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Bethlehem, as well as various places in the West Bank. We have no indication that U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted based on their nationality."

To read the full warning, go to www.lat.ms/1Gm1okk.

Ebola fears hit North Korea

If you had planned to run in the annual Pyongyang marathon...

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EatThisPoem.com recommends foodie stops and food for thought

Love to eat? Love to read? The two don't have to go hand in hand, but in this case the two traits make for delicious city guides.

Name: EatThisPoem.com

What it does: It's a literary food blog that gives you the inside scoop on foodie haunts, best indie bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, literary conferences and more in 47 cities across the United States.

What's hot: EatThisPoem goes way beyond large cities to include small and mid-size American towns. Each city guide is written by someone who has a relationship with the city. They review destinations with tips such as favorite bookstores and places to write. There are suggestions that could appeal to general travelers too, such as the guide's favorite views, a superior hiking trail or their favorite place for seasonal organic breakfast fare.

What's not: The blog is well past its launch date, so I'm sure I'm not the first person to raise her hand and request an international section. More of a good thing is never bad.

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Letters: Seating strategies?

Regarding "Trying to Sit Together" [Letters, Feb. 15]: Years ago, when traveling with my young daughter, I had no problem rearranging our separate seating assignments when I informed the stranger next to her that I had requested an extra bag from the flight attendant because she often suffered from motion sickness. It was, in fact, true. Not that I am recommending fabricating such a story, but it definitely helped in our situation.

Judy Brooks

Valley Village

Here's another item to add to letter writer David Kaufman's great "kit" to help get your family seated together without paying extra. Give the flight attendants earplugs and say, "My kids always scream and cry when they're not close to mommy and daddy."

Robert Bubnovich

Irvine

Kudos to Qantas

This might be an unusual email to you because it concerns an airline that made a mistake and apologized for it. The situation is as follows:

1. I made reservations for my wife and me to fly to Australia on Qantas using my American Airlines...

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Shackleton's Antarctic adventure up for discussion at Distant Lands

ANTARCTICA

Presentation

Joel Robinson will describe the Antarctic escape led by Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago and Robinson's effort to retrace part of Shackleton's route.

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Monday at Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.

Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (626) 449-3220.

EUROPE

Workshop

Hostelling International will conduct a workshop on exploring Europe by rail. Topics include Eurail passes and classes of service.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the REI store in Santa Monica, 402 Santa Monica Blvd.

Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (310) 393-9913, Ext. 3104.

MT. WHITNEY

Workshop

REI experts will discuss applying for a permit, planning a route, and choosing equipment and food.

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday at the REI store in Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave.

Admission, info: Free. (714) 379-1938.

SPAIN

Presentation

Kurt Koontz will discuss his book "A Million Steps," about his trek on the Camino de Santiago. A question-and-answer session and signing to follow.

...

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Tour company Best of Morocco went the extra mile for travelers

My friend and I had the opportunity to travel to Morocco. I contacted the Best of Morocco, and they were very flexible and willing to organize my tour according to places we wanted to see and the length of time we were staying. Hafid, our guide and driver, made us feel very safe. The hotels and riads [traditional homes] they chose for our trip were very nice, clean and comfortable. My friend and I are chefs, and Hafid was so nice to us by allowing us to cook with the locals when we visited the desert. Tour prices vary depending on days of travel and accommodations; the website has up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, riads and more.

Best of Morocco, www.morocco-travel.com, 011-212-667-195-783

Karla Lomeli

Covina

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