CRUISES FOR VOLUNTEERS
Aiming to attract the kinds of socially conscious travelers who might otherwise shun a cruise, Carnival Corporation, owner of Carnival, Princess and other cruise lines, on Thursday announced the launch of Fathom, a new line offering volunteer trips to the Caribbean.
With Fathom, passengers will board the 710-passenger ship Adonia in Miami, beginning next April, and travel to the north shore of the Dominican Republic where the ship will dock for four days in the Puerto Plata region, serving as a base for volunteer day trips. For a few hours or multiple days, guests can choose to work planting cacao, teaching English at area schools or building water filters.
“We’re trying to define a new category of travel,” said Tara Russell, Fathom president and visionary who calls it “social impact travel.” “Our vision is for transformative impact in places we partner with.”
On sale now, seven-day trips start at $1,540 per person, including shipboard meals and three onshore volunteer excursions.
IN CHICAGO, AN ELEVATED PARK (CYCLISTS WELCOME)
A new elevated, 2.7-mile ribbonlike recreational trail and four adjoining parks open Saturday in Chicago in a project named the 606.
A decade in the making, the 606 centers on the Bloomingdale Trail, a rail-to-trail conversion that runs east-west, threading four neighborhoods slightly northwest of downtown. They include Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park. The trail offers on and off ramps every quarter mile, and connects to four ground-level parks (another two are under construction).
Compared with the High Line, Manhattan’s elevated park, the Bloomingdale Trail is shorter, 17.5-feet high, neighborhood-based and open to multi-use traffic, including cyclists.
“It’s an alternative transportation corridor as well as a park and a living work of art,” featuring commissioned sculptures, said Beth White, Chicago director of The Trust for Public Land, which managed the project.
Several locations of the city’s bike-share program Divvy near the trail offer convenient rental cycles.
AN AIRPORT EXPRESS TRAIN IN TORONTO
Beginning Saturday, passengers who fly into Toronto’s main airport will have new train service linking Pearson International to downtown.
The new Union Pearson Express, equipped with free Wi-Fi service on board, will operate between Union Station downtown and Terminal 1 at the airport, with two stops in between. The full one-way ride costs 27.50 Canadian dollars (about $22.50) and takes 25 minutes to travel 16 miles on an elevated track, avoiding common highway traffic jams. Departures from either end take place every 15 minutes and operate daily during airport hours.
The service opens in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games, taking place in Toronto July 10 to 26.
LOUISVILLE HAS A NEW OFFICIAL COCKTAIL (IT’S OLD-FASHIONED)
New Orleans has the Sazerac as the city’s official cocktail. And now Louisville claims the old-fashioned, a bourbon cocktail made with sugar and bitters. The city’s official drink was declared Thursday by Mayor Greg Fischer.
The proclamation, which underscores the city’s link to regional bourbon makers, took place during the Old Fashioned Fortnight, a new event established by the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. It runs during the first two weeks of June with citywide drink specials and culminates on June 14, National Bourbon Day.