Travel briefs


Cruise lines

Viking prepares

for launch of

ocean cruises

Viking Cruises, which will launch its first ocean-going cruise ship in Europe in spring 2015, has put more cruises on sale, saying its inaugural trips have almost sold out.

Traditionally a river cruise line, Viking announced in May that was adding an ocean cruise line with its first ship, the 928-passenger Viking Star, sailing Scandinavian, Baltic and Mediterranean itineraries through the summer of 2015. Now the line has made Mediterranean cruises through 2015 plus select cruises in 2016 available for purchase.

A second ocean-going ship is on order for delivery in 2016.


More Miami feel for new Norwegian ship

The Norwegian Getaway, a 4,000-passenger ship that will debut in January, will feature several restaurants and bars that evoke the tropical feel of Miami, its home port. Norwegian Cruise Line last week announced venues unique to the Miami-themed ship:

The Tropicana Room, a supper club inspired by Miami Beach nightlife of the 1940s and ’50s; Flamingo Bar & Grill, serving food with a Latin flair; Sunset Bar, inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s Key West; and Sugarcane Bar, which will serve mojitos and rum-based cocktails in an island-themed setting. Dining at both restaurants will be included in the basic cruise fare.

The restaurants and bars are the newest elements announced by the cruise line. Other features, previously announced, include artwork depicting South Florida scenes; the Grammy Experience at sea, curated by the Grammy Museum; the Illusionarium, a magical dinner show; Latin-inspired dance productions; and the musical Legally Blonde.


National Aquarium closes in D.C.

An aquarium that opened its doors to visitors in 1885 has closed its doors in the nation’s capital.

Officials announced in May that the National Aquarium must move out of the U.S. Department of Commerce building due to renovations.

The 1,500 animals will be moved to other locations, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, in the months ahead.

The aquarium’s Washington location has been housed at the site near the National Mall since 1932. For decades, it has drawn families and tourists to see fish, turtles, alligators and snakes in the basement of the massive federal building.

The aquarium’s board says it is exploring ways to maintain a presence in Washington, but a site hasn’t been determined.

National Parks

Upgrades at Yellowstone

The National Park Service is making improvements to the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone to better withstand earthquakes and to make it more accessible.

The center was originally built as bachelor officers’ quarters by the U.S. Army in 1909 and had been used in a variety of ways before being made into a visitor center.

In addition, exhibits and displays inside the center will also be receiving a makeover. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2015.

Miami Herald

wire services

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