The New Zealand Herald

Travel Wires


Disturbing hobby It’s often said that everyone should have a hobby and for Edoardo Flores, it’s collecting do not disturb signs. The retired UN official’s collection of 15,000 notices started in 1995 when he hung the first sign, from a trip to Pakistan, in his office. “Someone said, why don't you collect them?” Careful of the UN’s image, the Italian insists: “I haven't stayed in 15,000 hotels.” Friends, family and colleagues have given him signs and he swaps with three other sign fanatics. Flores says, “I don't just take things. Some hotels have wooden ones, so I ask if I can have them. If they don’t agree I’m happy to pay for them.” Perhaps not everyone should have a hobby. Monumental crowd numbers The Taj Mahal is restrictin­g tourists to three-hour visits. India’s Archaeolog­ical Survey says numbers have surged above 50,000 a day and some people linger from dawn till dusk. An official said: “Space is limited and we cannot extend it. Sometimes it gets very difficult to manage the crowd.” And what a crowd it is — nearly 6.5 million people visited the site in 2016 and the monument faces environmen­tal threats, such as smog. Last year, green stains on its rear wall were blamed on insect excrement. Continenta­l cruising Luxury cruise line Silversea has launched the first cruise to stop at all seven continents. The 140-day trip will stop in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Antarctica but not Aotearoa. Prices on the 382-passenger Silver Whisper range from $95,000 for a basic cabin to $350,000 for the luxurious Owner's Suite. The cruise will touch 32 countries and dock at 62 ports. It sails from Fort Lauderdale on January 6, 2020, heading to Argentina, spending a morning in the Antarctic on February 5, before then going on to Chile, Tahiti, Singapore, Mumbai, Rome and Dublin and finally docking in Europe, at Amsterdam on May 25. Connected at sea Long an annoyance to cruise passengers, upscale lines are now offering unlimited free internet. Silversea says all its passengers have around-the-clock access. For most, the free service will only be fast enough for posting to social media and checking email. Those who want to stream video or make a video call will have to pay for a premium service. Viking has offered free internet since its debut in 2015. Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, Oceania and now Silversea have followed in its wake. Internet access on cruise ships comes over satellites, which makes fast service more difficult to maintain and more expensive for consumers than services at resorts on land. —

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