Travel News this Week

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A 10,000-Year Clock Is Being Built Under A Mountain Owned By Jeff Bezos
Travelwirenews reports the clock’s builders hope it will encourage people to think about humanity’s distant future. Hours away from any airport, deep in the heart of the Sierra Diablo mountains along the Texas-Mexico border, a 500-foot-tall clock is taking shape. In an era when atomic clocks can tick billions of times a second, the colossal timepiece will tick once a year, for the next 10,000 years. The 10,000 Year Clock is the brainchild of inventor Danny Hillis, who dreamed up the idea in 1986 as a way to encourage people to think about humanity’s distant future. After spending a decade designing the clock, Hillis and the San Francisco-based Long Now Foundation he co-founded are building and installing it within a mountain owned by Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who has invested $42 million in the project. Last week Bezos tweeted a time-lapse video showing construction of the clock, calling it “a symbol for long-term thinking.” The clock will be 500 ft tall, all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles, and synchronized at solar noon, a symbol for long-term thinking. The foundation’s website offers its own rationale for building the clock via a series of questions: “If you have a Clock ticking for 10,000 years what kinds of generational-scale projects will it suggest? If a Clock can keep going for ten millennia, shouldn’t we make sure our civilization does as well? If the Clock keeps going after we are personally long dead, why not attempt other projects that will request future generations to finish?” The clock will be driven by giant gears within a shaft in the mountain and powered by thermal energy harvested from the changes in temperature associated with the day/night cycle on the mountain above. The clock can also be wound by people who make the difficult hike to the site for a visit. A century hand will advance once every 100 years, and a cuckoo will emerge once every 1,000 years, according to a blog post by Bezos. The mechanism will also contain 10 bells and a so-called “melody generator,” created by rock musician Brian Eno, that is designed to produce a unique pattern of chimes each time the bells sound. No completion date for the clock has been set. “The clock of the Long Now impels us to wonder how we will live as far in the future as we are from the beginnings of cities, far beyond the spans it will take to solve all the problems that occupy our thoughts now… If the clock can be built, it may inspire the imaginations of billions of people.”
 
Roald Amundsen Delayed as Hurtigurten Cancels Inaugural Season
Cruise Industry News reports because of problems at the shipyard, Hurtigruten will not take delivery of the 530-passenger Roald Amundsen until 2019. The new ship is being built at the Kleven shipyard, which faced financial issues in 2017 and was subsequently bailed out by a consortium of investors, led by Hurtigruten, which combined with other parties to take a 40% interest in the yard. “We are sorry to confirm that the delivery and introduction of the world’s most advanced, modern and environmentally friendly expedition ship, MS Roald Amundsen, will be delayed until 2019. Kleven yard, where the highly advanced vessel is currently under construction, has informed us that due to the complexity of the project, they will need more time to complete the vessel and will not be able to deliver her on schedule,” the company said, in a statement sent to Cruise Industry News. “While we are eager to welcome you onboard this truly unique vessel as soon as possible, this delay means that we unfortunately must cancel the voyage that you had booked with us. Please accept my sincerest apologies, and rest assured that we will do everything within our power to make your Hurtigruten adventure happen,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam wrote in a letter to booked guests. Those guests will get a full refund, including cancelled flight costs, the company said. In addition, it is offering discounts on alternative Hurtigruten expedition sailings. Roald Amundsen’s first voyage is now expected to depart on May 3,2019 from Lisbon. 
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Baccarat Hotel New York Named Five-Star Hotel By Forbes Travel Guide 
Baccarat Hotel in New York has been named a Five-Star Hotel By Forbes Travel Guide in Its Official 2018 Star Rating Announcement. The Baccarat Hotel New York is one of only two New York City hotels to receive the Five-Star award since 2016, and will be showcased with all the Star Rating recipients on ForbesTravelGuide.com. The Baccarat Hotel is owned by Sunshine Insurance Group, a comprehensive insurance financial group based in China that ranks among the country’s most successful insurance and investment firms. Sunshine Insurance Group purchased the property from Starwood Capital Group in 2015. The Baccarat Hotel New York is the first hotel and global flagship for the 254-year-old Baccarat crystal brand. Across the street from the Museum of Modern Art and steps from Fifth Avenue’s legendary shopping, the 114 guest rooms & suites designed by Paris-based, luxury design team Gilles & Boissier delight the senses with lavish finishes and artisanal attention to detail. Amenities include stunning salon-style spaces where guests enjoy breakfast, cocktails, afternoon tea and fare; a beautiful barrel-vaulted bar featuring Baccarat crystal stemware; Spa de La Mer, the first of its kind in the world, and a 55-foot marble swimming pool reminiscent of La Cote d’Azur. 
 
No. 1 Airport In The US For Stolen Baggage
While checking a bag is common practice for many travelers, some airports have better track records than others. In fact, there’s one airport that comes out as the No. 1 most notorious for missing baggage. (It’s important to note that for the sake of this article, we’re talking about missing items from bags, as opposed to missing bags that never reach their destination.) The information came from Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. The company used data that the US Department of Homeland Security compiled on TSA claims. Based on the claims filed between January 2016 and February 2017, here are the items most likely to be lost or damaged. Personal electronics/Cosmetics and grooming (tie) Clothing is the second most coveted baggage item. The NO. 7 airport for claims is Boston Logan. In just four years, they had just under 900 claims. No. 6 is Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson with 1,063 claims. No 5 is Newark Liberty International Airport with 1,072 claims. No. 4 is Miami with 1,168 claims. No 3 is Orlando with 1,308 claims. No. 2 is Los Angeles is with 1,491 claims. The No. 1 worst airport for theft is John F. Kennedy International Airport with 2,493 claims. For years, JFK has lived up to its reputation as the airport with the most theft in the country. In fact, the whistle was blown on a huge inside-job scam back in 2012, claiming that JFK had about 200 thefts per day.
 
American Cruise Lines Starts Construction On Another Riverboat
American Cruise Lines announced that construction has begun on the second modern riverboat in the series of five, according to a statement. The second riverboat is a sister-ship to state-of-the-art American Song, the first modern riverboat available in the US, which will make its inaugural cruise on the Mississippi River this October, the company said. “American Cruise Lines revived US river cruising in 2010 and is now is transforming US cruising with these innovative new riverboats. They are unlike anything other cruise companies are doing and the interest has been phenomenal,” says Timothy J. Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines. Itinerary details will be released soon, but American Cruise Lines has said that the second new riverboat in the series will be available in the summer, 2019. Work has already started at Chesapeake Shipbuilding, in Salisbury, MD, where the American Song is also being built. The American Song will feature a bow that can open to a retractable gangway system for angling it towards various river bank and dock configurations. The ship will thus be capable of more itinerary options. Onboard, 190 guests will be comfortably accommodated in 102 staterooms across five decks. The smallest accommodation is the 250-square-foot single-occupancy stateroom with a private balcony. Double-occupancy staterooms range from 304 to 900 square feet for the Grand Suite. The fleet is known for having exceptionally large accommodations. The second ship has not yet been named. 
The FAA May Stop Airlines From Shrinking Seat Sizes
The FAA is set to announce the results of its review of seat sizes and legroom in the near future. That review could prevent airlines from further reducing the space available to passengers as carriers cram a few extra seats on board. The review, which followed a judge’s order in July, is looking at the safety implications of tighter seats. Seat pitch, better known as leg room by most flyers, has dropped from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches, with some airlines only offering 28 inches. Seat widths have gone from 18 inches to 16.5 inches. The issue has become contentious enough that legislators have introduced bills to stop airlines from further shrinking seat and leg room, but so far those have failed to make much headway. Passengers are backing up the complaints with their wallets. In 2016, airline profits were down over $11 billion. 

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