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Travel+Leisure USA_Jan 2019

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THE T+L TODAY’S PASSENGERS aren’t just sitting by the pool, cocktail in hand for their entire voyage. CRUISING They’re keeping busy by road-testing every 2019 feature on board—and then signing up for adventurous shore excursions that take ACTIVE them to new, unforgettable places. Here, the SIDE OF itineraries and amenities that are redefining what it means to be on—and off—a ship. (Continued on page 54) CRUISING COURTESY OF SEABOURN CRUISE LINE Ventures by Seabourn, the luxury line’s program of offbeat activities, focuses on kayak and Zodiac trips in places like Alaska’s Inside Passage. 51

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T+L CRUISING 2019 Tauck river cruise passengers on a shore DANIEL GEBHART DE KOEKKOEK excursion in Austria’s Wachau Valley. BIKE, EAT, REPEAT Cycling side trips are growing more popular on river cruises, and Tauck, the Connecticut-based tour operator, recently added a slate of new ones. On a weeklong sail along the Danube, Howie Kahn fuels up for the ride by sampling the local delicacies. ONE RIDE, ONE SCHNITZEL. The dish sounded like a schnapps- descended along the highway, where driven, prewar art movement, but it the air was redolent of fresh timber, That was the rule I set for myself was actually a piece of chicken, and through small Austrian villages. before I boarded Tauck’s pounded thin, breaded, and studded 130-passenger Joy in Vilshofen, with pumpkin seeds. It proved to be At dusk, we zoomed into Aschach, Germany. I would have the chance to instant energy. a tiny town with a population of cycle five times over seven days as we around 2,000, where the lights were made our way to Budapest, passing A dozen or so of us set out that on inside the Red Berlin. I assumed it castles, vineyards, and monasteries. afternoon from the ship, each taking was a bar. The booths were covered in The schnitzels would be my reward. things at our own pace as we began to red velvet; the walls displayed grainy climb a steep stretch of road. Steve, a photographs of musicians. Turns out, I definitely needed some pan- new friend from near Buffalo, New Red Berlin is an ice cream parlor. I fried goodness before ride number York, broke to the front of the pack. ordered the Heisse Liebe. Translation: one, a hilly 18-miler. At Gasthaus He’d had one knee replaced, and yet “hot love”—a sundae with warm Engelszeller Stüberl, a treasure he attacked our first hills as if he were raspberries. After dessert, we headed of a restaurant attached to a gas riding in the Tour de France. My back to the plush boat, its deluxe station in the whisper-quiet port sweat smelled like schnitzel, but I cabins stocked with 400-thread-count of Engelhartszell, Austria, I ordered managed to keep up with Steve as we sheets and Nespresso machines. the Kürbiskernschnitzel vom Huhn. 54

“We were getting worried about you,” pounded paper-thin, with a breading RETHINKING said one of my other new shipboard that had properly puffed away from THE RIVERS friends. The older crowd was the meat and possessed a golden universally friendly. It was like having topography of peaks and valleys. A host of new programs from 129 doting parents. I mean that as a cruise lines are bringing a compliment. Tauck succeeds in Lighting the steep trail with our more active bent to the sustaining an upscale, familial vibe iPhones, Steve and I made our ascent. world’s inland waterways. where guests are taken care of Thirty minutes later, we reached the seamlessly—and even come to take top. We looked toward Vienna, where Debuting in May on the care of one another. we would soon ride for nine more Danube, AmaWaterways’ miles around the Prater, the city’s most 196-passenger AmaMagna A couple of days later, we saw signs famous park, and along the Ring Road, will have a custom Water for more “hot love” as we biked over stopping at the Hofburg palace. The Sports Platform that will cobblestones in the district of Krems, great schnitzel reward of this leg of the allow you to kayak right off whose capital was founded in 1305. Our trip would come at Zum Schwarzen of the ship. And with the group that day numbered in the dozens, Kameel, a café that dates back to 1618, Exclusive Golf Concierge and our spandex-clad guides told us we where the Wiener schnitzel was so on Program, there’s the option were at the gateway to the Wachau the mark that the meat practically to play 18 holes at top courses Valley, home to some of Austria’s best levitated within its breading. like Albatross, outside Prague. wines. Pedaling through rows of; seven- Grüner Veltliner vines, I spotted Steve But up above Dürnstein, there was night sailings from $2,399 again, sprinting along with his wife, no schnitzel, no rules. It was just me per person. Cathy, on what he’d later tell me was and Steve among the ruins on a cool their 47th wedding anniversary. fall night. Up there, it was more about Crystal River Cruises is the centuries, the passage of time, now offering Exhilarating After the ride, which went for an how we all got here and where we’ll all Adventures, a welcome easy and flat eight miles and concluded go. Steve boiled our adventure down departure from a typical after sunset, Steve asked me if I to its essence: “How cool is this?” gentle walking tour. On an wanted to hike to the top of the castle; seven-night Danube Enchanting Moselle voyage in Dürnstein, where the English king sailings with two-night stays in Prague aboard the Crystal Bach, Richard the Lionheart was held for and Budapest from $5,990 per person, you can work off breakfast ransom in the 12th century. I was still all-inclusive. with a five-mile trek along charged up from my most recent Luxembourg’s hilly Mullerthal schnitzel, eaten 24 hours prior in the Howie Kahn is a contributing editor at Trail. Or cross Germany’s Blaue Gans restaurant in Salzburg. It WSJ Magazine and the co-author of the thrilling 328-foot-high was Wiener schnitzel that time—veal New York Times best seller Sneakers. Geierlay Suspension Bridge, then hike in the surrounding DANIEL GEBHART DE KOEKKOEK. ILLUSTRATION BY GIACOMO BAGNARA The 130-passenger forest.; Joy runs weeklong 10-night sailings from $4,525 cruises through the per person, all-inclusive. Central European On the Ganges River in countries along India, Uniworld’s new the Danube. wellness-focused sailings, round-trip from Kolkata, include sunrise yoga, meditation, and pranayama breathing, as well as ayurvedic cooking classes and lectures on understanding your chakras.; 12-night sailings from $6,599 per person. — Jacqueline Gifford 55

T+L CRUISING 2019The Solomon Islands are a remarkable GERALD RAMBERT/COURTESY OF SOLOMON ISLANDS DISCOVERY CRUISES. ILLUSTRATION BY GIACOMO BAGNARAdestination for diving. FANTASY include a stop in Tahiti Iti, where ISLANDS passengers can dive the Marado, one of the archipelago’s only true drop- These cruise lines are making it easier than ever offs. Experienced divers can reach a to experience the rich traditions and unparalleled depth of up to 90 feet to see coral, sea anemones, and plenty of reef fish. In beauty of the far-flung South Pacific. April, Australia-based Coral Expeditions (; HOME TO COUNTLESS islands and two French Polynesia itineraries. A 10-night sailings from $6,870 per Cook Islander with Maori and person) will launch the 120-passenger atolls, as well as pristine waters rich Tahitian bloodlines, Pittman often Coral Adventurer, which will have a with marine life, the South Pacific is sails the open ocean in a traditional variety of itineraries in Papua New arguably best seen by ship. And now vaka (outrigger canoe), using the stars Guinea, one of the world’s least- cruise lines are upping their game to guide him. Aboard the ship, he will visited destinations. The Customs with innovative programming and share his seafaring stories and insight and Craftsmen journey will have an visits to some of the region’s most into regional customs and cultures. art historian on board and include remote corners. This year, Lindblad Also in French Polynesia, Paul Gauguin visits to isolated villages to meet local Expeditions (; eight- Cruises (; seven-night makers. History buffs interested in and nine-night sailings from $7,960 sailings from $5,595 per person) now the Solomon Islands—the setting for per person) is bringing expert offers Society Islands sailings that the Guadalcanal campaign in World navigator Tua Pittman on board for War II—can explore battle sites and shipwrecks on the 20-passenger Taka as part of Solomon Islands Discovery Cruises (; seven-night sailings from $1,770 per person). And come January 2020, Windstar Cruises (windstarcruises. com; six-night sailings from $2,399 per person), which keeps its sailing yacht Wind Spirit docked in Tahiti, will launch a new collection of South Pacific itineraries. Ranging from seven to 16 days, the voyages will hit Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga, and the Cook Islands. — Brooke Porter Katz WATER WORLD KAYAKING IN THE BAHAMAS Cerro Brujo’s white coral beach have the chance to take the or in the secluded Tagus Cove, helm.; 14-night More fun excursions At Princess Cruises’ resort area where pirates and whalers once sailings from $6,799 per person. for cruise passengers on Eleuthera, Princess Cays, you anchored.; seven- can now take a clear-bottom- night sailings from $7,850 per CANYONING IN GIJÓN, SPAIN on ocean voyages. kayak tour through the aquamarine person, all-inclusive. lagoon and spot eels, clown fish, This spring, luxury line Silversea and sea turtles.; six- SAILING IN NEW ZEALAND is unveiling a 22-day British night western Caribbean sailings Isles and Northern Europe from $600 per person. In 2021, New Zealand will defend voyage aboard the Silver Cloud its title in the America’s Cup. Expedition, sailing from Lisbon STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING In the years leading up to the on May 1. Activities include a IN THE GALÁPAGOS competition, Viking is giving canyon descent near Gijón, Spain, passengers a taste of the action where guests can swim in the Ecoventura offers in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. clear, natural pools typical of paddleboarding on all of its Guests will embark on a three- the Asturian coast. silversea. vessels, including its spring hour sail aboard a sleek yacht com; from $13,000 per person, debut, the luxury yacht Theory. used in the 1995 race—and even all-inclusive. — B.P.K. Guests might paddle along 56

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T+L CRUISING 2019 SOMEDAY YOU’RE GOING to go to UNDER A RALPH LEE HOPKINS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/OFFSETAlaska. You can say you hate the cold, COLD SPELL but you’ll still go. There are puffins, whales, otters, bears, glaciers, and Alaska is at the top of many a cruise wish list— fjords in many places around the but how many lines can truly get you up close world, but eventually you’ll give in, because only Alaska feels like Alaska: to the state’s natural wonders? On an vast, empty, disconnected, and, as you action-packed voyage with Seabourn, start to realize during your 10th hour Stephen Drucker explores the wilderness in the air to Anchorage, farther away than you’d imagined. It’s the end of the by kayak, dogsled, and ship. line, and not in a Key West kind of way. Seabourn “Alaska isn’t a reserve. It’s wild,” passengers take a I was told by Chris Srigley, the leader Zodiac ride past of the expedition team aboard my South Sawyer Seabourn Sojourn cruise last July. Glacier, in Alaska. “Wild” is not quite the same as the pure, still majesty of Antarctica, 58 which fills you with peace. Wild is a charge in the air. It’s the dark, ominous, infinite evergreens. It’s watching everything trying to eat everything else, while keeping a respectful distance from the things that want to eat you. It’s the nagging thought in the back of your mind that the most powerful earthquake recorded in America—an incomprehensible 9.2—occurred where you’re standing. The ground in Anchorage shook for four and a half minutes. Champagne flowed freely as the 450-passenger Sojourn explored the wild for two leisurely weeks, starting in the southern port city of Seward and then following the Inside Passage to Vancouver. I’d sailed Seabourn on expedition itineraries before and knew its cosseted take on adventure and the people it would attract. They came from around the world, and they weren’t boring: an Australian TV celebrity, a producer of Sharknado, a lawyer from Liechtenstein, who finally explained Liechtenstein to me. As always, the cabins were spacious and the bathrooms were marble, while the food ranged from country- club solid to stellar. Chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry has his own handsome restaurant on board and also creates menus for the main dining room.

In the port town of Sitka, personal cruise. The birders were there is the option to do a attached to their binoculars rain-forest hike and visit the perpetually, hoping for one more pigeon guillemot. The whale- Alaska Raptor Center. watchers would spend hours on deck, scanning the water for the tip of a fin. Most ships do this itinerary in one iceberg field and leave envious of a The bear people would lose their rat-a-tat week. Two weeks gave new friend’s six-mile, eight-hour minds over every brown speck in the Sojourn the time to linger, to call on march in cleated boots across distance. “Look, at two o’clock....” obscure ports, and to dig in with 116 Davidson Glacier (after which he “Sorry, it’s a rock....” “No, I saw it shore excursions, many a part of moaned in his cabin for a full day). move....” “Too late, you missed it....” Ventures by Seabourn. Available in Alaska since 2017, Ventures consists Each of us really designed a I—a generalist—chose one ice of more rigorous outings—the kind outing, one search for sea and bird you’d traditionally find on an A bear hunts for life, and one bear trek, though I wasn’t expedition cruise. The program, now salmon at Anan Creek, quick enough to book the coveted over three years old, has transformed near Wrangell. Ventures Anan Creek bear viewing, this luxury cruise line in unexpected which sold out months in advance. ways. Everything has become less And I like dogs, so I signed up for a formal, more youthful, and much helicopter jaunt to go sledding. I more active. There’s not a lot of didn’t fully grasp that I’d be dropped vegging in a deck chair anymore. onto a glacier with 200 huskies in You’re in a kayak, alone in silence, or training for the Iditarod, the in a Zodiac, racing along with a guide legendary thousand-mile sled race telling stories about bears and from Anchorage to Nome. These avalanches. You’re focused on fishing, weren’t the blue-eyed glamour dogs I ethnography, nature photography, was expecting; they were more like hiking, mindful living, or a zipline. mutts, powerful, affectionate, smart, You’re always wondering what you’ve and bred solely for endurance. All they missed: I’d go to dinner thrilled about want to do is run, and if you make my spin through the Tracy Arm them stop, all they do is bark. Our musher had to spell out their commands—I can still see his breath in the cold air as he mouthed the letters H…A…W…—because if you even whisper the command “Haw,” FROM TOP: DESIGN PICS INC/ALAMY; COURTESY OF SEABOURN CRUISE LINE 59

#1 RIVER CRUISE LINE #1 OCEAN CRUISE LINE Did you know? The world’s leading river cruise line is also rated the world’s best ocean cruise line. BY RIVER & BY SEA Only with Viking, the small ship experts. ELEGANT SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN CULTURAL ENRICHMENT SERENE SPACES AL FRESCO DINING SPACIOUS BATHROOMS Visit, call 1-855-8-VIKING or see your Travel Agent. From Travel + Leisure Magazine, August 2018 © Time Inc. Affluent Media Group. Travel + Leisure® and ‘World’s Best Awards’ are trademarks of Time Inc. Affluent Media Group and are used under license. Travel + Leisure and Time Inc. Affluent Media Group are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Viking Cruises. CST# 2052644-40

The Viking Difference Destination focused. Culturally enriching. Carefully curated. Celebrating more than 20 years of cruise excellence. Unparalleled dining and service. From its humble beginnings in 1997, Viking is now the world’s Enjoy regionally inspired cuisine in a choice of restaurant venues, most recognized cruise line, with award-winning river and with the most al fresco dining on Europe’s rivers and at sea. ocean fleets exploring the world’s great waterways. Highly trained staff deliver thoughtful and attentive service. Small ships, big advantage. The Thinking Person’s Cruise.® Intimate vessels sail into the heart of your destination — Travel should be a doorway to cultural insight and personal where new discoveries are just a short walk from your ship. enrichment. That is why Viking itineraries are created for curious travelers, with true explorer spirits. Sail in Scandinavian serenity. Chairman’s Choice, Norwegian poached salmon Viking has fine-tuned the art of exploring the world in comfort. Understated, elegant ships, thoughtfully engineered by nautical architects to bring the outside in. Graceful staterooms and public areas designed to inspire and refresh you. Cultural enrichment from ship to shore. Every Viking cruise opens doors of discovery and enrichment with an included excursion in every port. Viking also takes you beyond the iconic with Local Life, Working World and optional Privileged Access® experiences; and a robust onboard enrichment program.

T+L CRUISING 2019every dog within earshot will take off14,000 people from other ships. But like a rocket to the left. Within walk 200 yards beyond the shorefront MARK MEYER. ILLUSTRATION BY GIACOMO BAGNARAminutes of landing I was standing onstores, and you’ll find it. In Ketchikan, the rails of a sled with 10 ecstatic dogs I spent an hour over reindeer sausage that thought they were galloping for and eggs at the Pioneer Café, making Nome, ready to bump for miles futile small talk with the locals, who through a valley of snow and ice. And tend to answer in one word. Like most then someone stuck a puppy in my of the state, Wrangell, population arms. Total goner. 2,369, is accessible only by plane or boat, and the boat sometimes The wild side of Alaska is less appears at 4:30 a.m. I found a café apparent when you’re docked in there that made Red Bull smoothies, Juneau or Ketchikan along with COLD-CLIMATE CRUISES FOR EVERY TRAVEL WHIM A totem pole in Ketchikan. The wonders of winter, in Alaska and beyond. and then reviewed a supermarket *If you want to see truly feel at the edge arctic wolves at Polar noticeboard where every kind of Alaska and enjoy all of the world: Alaska’s Park.; bullet was for sale. the comforts of a big, volcanic Aleutian Islands. from $4,999 per person. glamorous ship... You can visit Kiska, which Every day brought something a was occupied by the *If you want to splurge cruise brochure can’t quite capture: Cunard’s newly refitted, Japanese during World and tick every cold- the distinctly un-touristy cultural 2,081-passenger Queen War II, before heading climate destination off demonstration by the First Nations Elizabeth will call in to the mainland and your bucket list... people of Klemtu, British Columbia, Alaska this season—the wildlife-rich Katmai where Seabourn is the only cruise line first time for the brand National Park. ponant. Regent Seven Seas that calls, or the American Bald Eagle in more than 20 years. com; from $10,700 per Cruises has one of the Foundation in Haines, where my You’ll have your pick of person, all-inclusive. most comprehensive, heart was stolen by a bird named some 140 excursions: mind-blowing Arden that had been rescued after an set out in search of *If you want to spot the itineraries out there: a encounter with a power line. sea otters or soar over aurora borealis… 91-night Grand Arctic glaciers in a floatplane, Discovery voyage. The But I always liked knowing what then go back to the Viking now offers 496-passenger Seven was waiting for me at the end of an grand, Art Deco–style voyages above the Arctic Seas Navigator will exhausting day: the yachtlike Sojourn, liner for a restorative Circle in the winter set out from New York its clubby atmosphere, a crew I looked massage at Mareel, the season—the best time for City on June 15, 2020, forward to seeing again, and—what reimagined spa. cunard. viewing the phenomenon. to take passengers every cruise revolves around— com; 10-night sailings On its 12-night In Search up the eastern coast dinner. Months later I’m still thinking from $1,899 per person. of the Northern Lights of Canada and on to about a cut of prime beef Keller called itineraries, you’ll stop Greenland, Iceland, a calotte, wondering if I’ll ever eat *If your heart is set in the small Norwegian Denmark, Norway, and anything that good again. Two weeks on way, way remote ports of Bodø, Alta, Murmansk, Russia, the of living like that goes to your head. At Alaska... Tromsø, and Narvik. largest city north of the one point I caught myself standing on Along the way, you can Arctic Circle.; deck in hiking boots and waterproof A 12-night expedition take a reindeer-led sleigh from $43,999 per person, pants saying, “I have to keep it simple itinerary from Ponant ride and get up close to all-inclusive. — J.G. tonight. Caviar and lamb chops.” calls in destinations that; 10, 11, or 13-night Alaska sailings from $4,699 per person, all-inclusive. Based in East Hampton, New York, Stephen Drucker is the former editor of House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, and Town & Country. 62

T+L The Disney Dream does three- and four- night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida, year-round. CRUISING 2019 LET THE BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGESGAMES BEGIN On a first-time mother-son sailing, Jacqueline Gifford succumbs to the whimsy, fun, and sheer sensory overload of a voyage with Disney Cruise Line. WE CAME BEARING costumes. Lots and beach time at Castaway Cay, the the fleet: there’s so much damn stuff to line’s very own private island. And do on the ship that it’s impossible to do of costumes. there would be fireworks—real it all. So you just embrace the Armed with a suitcase worth of fireworks, at sea! screaming children and thrilling waterslides and do the best you can. witch capes, Superman T-shirts, and We ended up batting two for four on plastic swords, our merry little trio— the above, missing the fireworks and In our case, that meant grabbing a me, my mother, Pat, and my three- both costume parties because I have photo with Mickey at check-in, before year-old son, Bobby—boarded the the only kid in the world who hates we even boarded the 3,500-passenger Disney Dream, after flying in to costumes. The type-A traveler in me Dream. While waiting in line we made Orlando and driving for an hour to first saw this as an epic fail. But with a friends with a family from Japan. Port Canaveral. We had high hopes for little hindsight comes acceptance and, They were just a few of the passengers this three-night sail to the Bahamas. eventually, understanding. Because whom Bobby somehow took a liking There would be costume parties, of here’s what I learned about a Disney to, whether it was in the massive, airy course: one involving pirates and cruise—something that holds true atrium, where a violinist would another with actual trick-or-treating, whether you’re sailing the fjords of happily perform Disney tunes in the since ours was an October, Norway or the isles of the eastern afternoon, or in the grand, wide Halloween-themed cruise. There Caribbean on any of the four vessels in hallways ringing the sides of the would be Mickey photo ops, for sure, 64

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T+L CRUISING 2019 Dream, where we often found KIDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN ourselves waiting in line to see yet ILLUSTRATION BY GIACOMO BAGNARAmore characters. Activities for teens, tweens, and little ones run the gamut, making it easier than ever to keep everyone entertained. There was, it turned out, plenty of sun and fun over the course of eight SLUMBER PARTY two-story go-kart track animals, including sloths hours at Castaway Cay, most of which on the top decks where in Costa Rica and sharks in we spent in one of the 20 private Royal Caribbean’s the cars can reach up to Hawaii. family cabanas, available to guests for newest ship, Symphony 30 miles per hour. Scores a surcharge.These cushy pads come with of the Seas, has a one-of- go up on an electronic TOP CHEFS a hammock, loungers, and snacks. So a-kind Ultimate Family display at the end of the there, on our own little slice of sand by Suite—a two-story guest 15-minute race. It may come as a surprise, a tranquil lagoon, while Pat had a accommodation with an but luxury ships welcome mojito and I attempted to read, we indoor slide (it connects INTO THE WILD plenty of children, watched Bobby splash random the kids’ bedroom to the especially during the teenagers. We also saw him swim living room), an air hockey Princess Cruises summer and holidays. unassisted for the first time ever, table, and a climbing wall, has rolled out shore Crystal Symphony and which was pretty great. among other amenities. excursions across the Crystal Serenity just went It sleeps up to eight and fleet in partnership with through multimillion- The beauty of Disney, no surprise, averages $60,000 for Discovery and Animal dollar overhauls, and lies in its intuitive, attentive customer a seven-night cruise. Planet. Look for active, their redesigned kids’ service, from the cabin attendants outdoorsy experiences, clubs offer cookie who will stock your room, no such as a ride on the baking, galley tours, questions asked, with a Diaper Genie READY TO RACE crab-fishing boat from and even sushi-making to the waiters who will bring your kid Deadliest Catch and courses. crystalcruises. milk in under five minutes if they see Norwegian Cruise Line’s opportunities to meet com. — Sherri Eisenberg a meltdown coming on. The events, Norwegian Bliss has a activities, and meals are all coordinated down to the microsecond, WORKING UP A SWEAT from the Broadway-caliber shows to the character sing-alongs in the Going on a cruise once meant giving up your home fitness routine. But today Oceaneer Club, which has a dazzling there are state-of-the-art gyms and on-trend classes to keep you trim. Magic PlayFloor that lights up and replicas of both Andy’s room in Toy PEDAL TO THE METAL its Athletic Club will have huge spring-fed mineral Story and the cockpit of the the first outdoor kickboxing pool in Viterbo, Italy. Millennium Falcon. One look at all the On Celebrity Cruises’ ring on a cruise ship, along bells and whistles and friendly faces newest ship, the 2,918- with a variety of classes. in this place will have any adult with a passenger Celebrity HITTING YOUR STRIDE heart wanting to rewind 30, 40, or 50 Edge, the gym truly rivals years to become a kid again. anything you can find on GET YOUR ZEN ON Thanks to a partnership land. It offers high-intensity with Technogym, MSC A part of me is still sad we missed interval training, cardio Oceania Cruises’ Cruises gives you plenty the fireworks. But my consolation prize boxing, hot yoga, and the wellness-themed activities of ways to stay fit: a was a three-hour dinner with Pat at first Peloton bikes at sea. with Canyon Ranch take MyWellness app to track Remy, the French fine-dining place in some pretty your steps, classes like restaurant that is an oasis of calm and dramatic settings. You power yoga, and more Bordeaux. We left Bobby in the nursery, LAND A PUNCH can meditate with a active shore excursions, and found ourselves spellbound by yet Buddhist monk in Bangkok; from a beach run in Rio de another well-choreographed Disney When Virgin Voyages’ practice qigong in the Janeiro to a mini triathlon moment, this one a seven-course meal adults-only, 2,770- rain forest outside Cairns, in Cozumel, Mexico. msc on Bernardaud china. We could hear passenger Scarlet Lady Australia; or swim in a — S.E. the fireworks just one deck above. That launches in spring 2020, would have to do.; two-night sailings from $699 per person. Jacqueline Gifford is the editor in chief of Travel + Leisure. 66

insurance and you could save. | 1-800-947-AUTO | Local Office Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states, in all GEICO companies, or in all situations. Boat and PWC coverages are underwritten by GEICO Marine Insurance Company. Homeowners, renters and condo coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, DC 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2018 GEICO

JANUARY 2019 TRAVEL SMARTER: FIVE WAYS TO HAVE YOUR BEST TRAVEL YEAR EVER GENTL & HYERS Forge Global PRIOR Connections Drawing on a network of contacts built during his days as a Travel clubs have existed for decades, but travel editor, Aussie expat David Prior, along with co-founder new operations are demonstrating fresh Marc Blazer, plans bespoke travel, group trips, and members- approaches that reflect a generational only events. Input from local artists, artisans, and thought shift toward experiential travel. From leaders ensures that every trip fulfills modern travelers’ desire exclusive dinners and tech innovations for out-of-the-ordinary excursions and transformative to socially conscious programming and interactions. Upcoming itineraries include a culinary weekend swank co-working spaces, these four in an Emilia-Romagna estate with the team behind the lauded truly raise the bar. By Hannah Walhout restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, and viewing of the next solar eclipse this July from the company’s camp in Chile’s Araucanía region.; annual membership $2,500 (credited toward travel fees); trip prices vary. Members of travel club Prior float down the Narmada River in India before releasing candles as part of a local ritual. 69

UPGRADE LITTLE LUXURIES LIFE HOUSE Know When It’s Worth These hotels—the first of which just launched It to Pay a Premium in Miami, with more coming to Brooklyn and Los Angeles—developed a proprietary app that In certain instances, there’s real value in spending a encourages deeper immersion. Guests can chat bit more money to save time, eliminate a pain point, or elevate with others who will be in town at the same time, as well as with locals who can offer insider tips an aspect of the travel experience. By Eric Rosen or organize meet-ups. The app’s forthcoming algorithm will also match guests who stay in Clear Even if you’re already unlocking cars with an app. GENTL & HYERS. ILLUSTRATION BY GIULIO BONASERA Life House’s hostel-style shared suites based on enrolled in TSA Precheck or The brand has vehicles at 25 personal preferences—and let them exchange Global Entry, you’ll likely U.S. airports, plus five in-town messages before bunking together. life-house. find this expediting program locations, and each rental com; doubles from $159. useful, especially if you’re comes equipped with free a frequent domestic flier. 4G LTE Wi-Fi, GPS, and Sirius EATON WORKSHOP Kiosks at a growing number XM radio. You can also add of U.S. airports (26 and extras like car seats and, in Founder Katherine Lo has made it her mission to counting) verify a person’s Denver and Salt Lake City, ski create a community-based, social-justice-minded identity using biometrics racks for no additional charge. hotel brand. The result? A pair of art-filled (e.g., fingerprints and iris The service recently began properties in Hong Kong and Washington, D.C., scans), allowing travelers offering convertibles. silvercar. that serve as hotels, social clubs, and members- to head straight to the actual com; from $49 per day. only co-working spaces. Besides providing room bag scanners without waiting and board, each location hosts free community in line. The service is also ExpertFlyer The site’s free events and artists’ residencies. Additional rolling out at large search engine lays out your properties are in the works for San Francisco, entertainment venues, such options for award travel and Seattle, and Toronto.; as Los Angeles’s Dodger upgrades for all flights on your memberships from $400 per month in D.C. and Stadium and New York’s Citi departure date on a given $320 per month in Hong Kong; doubles from $152. Field. A free one-month trial airline. Premium membership means you can test it out allows for unlimited queries ONDA before committing to the and other perks, including annual fee.; real-time flight-availability Fans of bundled-access programs like ClassPass $179 per year. alerts so users can snap up (for fitness) and Priority Pass (for airport lounges) open premium seats before will find a similar approach with this newcomer. Global Airport Concierge other travelers. expertflyer. Patrons have access to a growing alliance of more This VIP service, found at com; $99 per year or $10 than 100 sites, from workspaces at NeueHouse, in more than 700 airports per month. Los Angeles, to stylish private clubs like the Stack, worldwide, can arrange in Cape Town. Another perk: global gatherings expedited security, escorts Award Wallet Plus Tracking and purpose-driven events for members, by to lounges and gates, fast- points balances across nearly members.; annual memberships $80 tracked immigration, 700 airline, hotel, and credit per month ($64 per month for age 30 or younger); dedicated baggage porters, card programs is a breeze three visits to members’ clubs, three visits to and executive car service to with the free Award Wallet co-working spaces, and three visits per health club. make your arrival or transfer app. The Plus package that much smoother. global includes faster account After a visit to the; prices updates and compiles data ancient Indian fort city vary by location and service. on users’ balance history Mandu, Prior members and credit card spending to gather to eat breakfast. Silvercar by Audi Users can help maximize point earning skip the usual counters and and usage.; 70 lines at self-service kiosks by $30 per year.

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UPGRADE SELF-CARE SMARTS Assemble Your 6 POWDERED SUPPLEMENTS Next-Level Wellness Kit Care/of, a personalized vitamin Rather than toss the same products into your suitcase trip after trip, subscription service, recently refresh your repertoire with these body- and mind-boosting tools that unveiled its line of Quick Sticks (; $5 will make your travels happier and healthier. By Annie Daly per five-stick pouch), each addressing a different need 1 ALLERGEN TESTERS protector does more than Wellness Formula body lotion (e.g., blueberry Gut Check to FROM LEFT: COURTESY OF NIMA; COURTESY OF BOSE; COURTESY OF RETINAGUARD; COURTESY OF LORD JONES; COURTESY OF BURST ORAL CARE; COURTESY OF CARE/OF guard against screen cracks. (; $60) to soothe aid digestion, lemonade- Travelers with serious peanut Electronics emit a subtle blue sore muscles and joint pain flavored Chill Factor to fight or gluten sensitivities can avoid light that interferes with the after a long road trip or hike. The stress). Green juice devotees their food triggers with Nima’s production of the sleep hormone scented version’s combination can tote Amazing Grass’s portable allergy sensors melatonin, and even a fairly low of sage, mint, and green citrus effervescent tablets (; $289 per amount of exposure can disrupt adds to its relaxation effect. (; $8 per device, $6 per test capsule). your circadian rhythm. Affix tube), which easily mix with Place a morsel of food inside one of these filters (retinaguard 5 A RECHARGEABLE water to create immunity- the tool, and it will analyze the; from $27) to the CHARCOAL TOOTHBRUSH boosting drinks that contain a sample in roughly five minutes. front of your phone, tablet, or serving of vegetables, plus computer to protect both your Activated charcoal isn’t just antioxidant-rich superfoods. 2 SLEEP AIDS eyes and your body clock. for detox drinks anymore. Similarly, Hum Nutrition’s Raw Chargeable with a USB plug Beauty to Go green superfood Bose Noise-Masking 4 CBD LOTION or wall socket, Burst’s sonic powders (; Sleepbuds ($250; toothbrush (; $25 for 15 packets) contain might resemble wireless Advocates of cannabidiol, $70, $6 per replacement brush), antioxidants, adaptogens, and earphones, but they’re actually commonly referred to as CBD, which comes in black or white, probiotics. The company just designed to improve your believe it helps relieve anxiety features replaceable charcoal- developed mint-chocolate and slumber. The diminutive gadgets and inflammation, and early infused bristles that help fight vanilla-berry options. Elixirs connect to a phone app that research supports the claim. plaque and gingivitis. Bonus: an from medicinal-mushroom plays your choice of soothing If you’re traveling within a state hour-long charge of the lithium specialist Four Sigmatic sounds, covering up any where CBD is legal—it hasn’t battery gives you up to four (; $38 for a background noise (say, the gotten the okay from all 50 weeks of use, and you can sign box of 20) complement (or even snoring of a seatmate). And yet—consider investing in up to have a new brush head replace) your morning tea or no need to worry about missing Lord Jones High CBD Pain & delivered every three months. coffee. Try Reishi Elixir to aid a wake-up call—the gentle, sleep and Chaga Elixir to help built-in alarm has you covered. 3 5 bolster your immune system. 3 A BLUE-LIGHT BLOCKER 6 Though it looks like a simple, thin piece of plastic or glass, RetinaGuard’s anti–blue light tempered-glass screen 4 1 2 72

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MY KIND OF PAR The shoreline of one of Fiji’s 300 or so islands, as seen from the air transfer to Kokomo Private Island Fiji.

A D I S E We all dream of powder-soft, palm-fringed beaches and crystal-clear seas, but in Fiji, these are par for the course. After the opening of a clutch of next-level private-island resorts, MICHAEL PATERNITI finds out what it takes to elevate a stay from great to truly mind-blowing. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SEAN FENNESSY 77

Right: The Beach Shack, the guest reception area at Kokomo Private Island, a recent addition to Fiji’s high-end resort scene. Below: At the new Six Senses Fiji, traditional dance performances are held on the beach at dusk. BEFORE YOU SET OFF FOR your private-island resort in Fiji—a place called Vatuvara—there’s the exertion of having to fill out a form. “Favorite cocktail?” it asks. If you’re being honest with yourself, the answer is: “All.” “May we stock your personal wine fridge and mini-bar with specific items?” it inquires. You think, “Yes, specific items are welcome— and did you just say personal wine fridge?” Before you arrive at your private-island resort in Fiji, to your villa with its own plunge pool and views of one of the most magnificent oceanscapes you’ve ever laid eyes on, the resort staff would also like to know how they can help you attain your wellness goals, and what activities you enjoy. You can check hiking and watersports, massages (plural!), and renewing your vows, among other options. If you pick yoga, an on-call instructor named Cloud will be flown in by seaplane to help turn your tense, inflexible body into a warm pretzel. And here’s the thing. As you strike your wobbly tree pose to the lovely encouragement of Cloud, while gazing upon the aquamarine waters of the South Pacific, personal wine fridge stocked and ready, you will ask yourself some very important questions: If Fiji itself is supposed to be paradise, could it be that I’m experiencing something more than paradise? This villa, this view, this moment—is this paradise plus one? Paradise turned up to 11? These questions, which at the time will seem the most reasonable in the world, will lead you to reconsider the meaning of that well-worn word paradise—what it is and what it signals in our minds. It’s a common trope of travel, of course, used to imply a certain color of water, a certain 78 79


softness of sand, a certain amount of sun and spoiling. But Clockwise from above: if you were to experience three distinct interpretations of The seafood platter at the word, by visiting three lavish private-island resorts Vatuvara Private Islands purpose-built to indulge your every desire, would each one showcases Fijian flavors expand or diminish the definition of paradise? And having like coconut, lime, and experienced those dreams, what would you have learned? cilantro; a guest room at Six Senses Fiji; the That’s why I went to Fiji, to find out. beach at Kokomo, located on the remote island of LOCATED SOMEWHERE NORTHWEST Yaukuve Levu. of Tonga and southwest of Samoa, Fiji is a gorgeous insanity of South Pacific islands and atolls—more than 300, to be less than exact (some come and go with the tides). Though tourism is now the number one industry, for a long time Fiji was seen as Tahiti’s less exclusive cousin, with great beaches and diving but not much in the way of cushy, high-end resorts. Whereas honeymooners jetted to, say, Bora-Bora for their once-in-a- lifetime trip, backpackers would arrive in Fiji and board a ferry to one pristine island or another to surf, catch rays, and party on the beach. Some Australians came for family vacations, but Americans were far more likely to opt for Hawaii or the Caribbean. Over the past five years or so, though, the number of big-spending U.S. visitors has surged, thanks to the launch of nonstop flights from L.A. and a clutch of new upscale resorts. My wife, Sara; our youngest son, 13-year-old Nicholas; and I flew in from Boston, meaning our flight was a little less than nonstop. After almost 20 hours of air travel, we emerged into fragrant, humid air, stripping off our fleeces. A short car ride later, we came to a marina where a boat took us out into the watery playing fields of Fiji. To suddenly find ourselves in that elemental otherworld, with its salt-laced wind, expanses of fluorescent water, and rugged, mountain-fringed horizon, was discombobulating, a physical shock. It felt like the best kind of freedom in the world. On the transfer to our first resort, the newly opened Six Senses Fiji on Malolo Island, I chatted with Sam, a member of the crew, up in the front of the boat. After pointing out the various world-class surf breaks we passed by, Sam told me a story about Dakuwaqa, the shark god. He said Dakuwaqa once terrorized the waters of Fiji, but then when he attacked the island of Kadavu, a goddess named Rokobakaniceva, assuming octopus form, subdued the shark and extracted a promise that he would leave the people of Kadavu alone. Sam told the story as if it had occurred yesterday. Then, as we approached Malolo Island, he said that the island’s Tui Lawa, or chief, commanded his own duo of large sharks. If you misbehave, he said gravely, you might get bitten by one. When I asked if he really believed that, he looked at me, smiling, and said, “Of course.” He said his uncle had often swum with sharks, and because he was such a fine person, had not been bitten once. That’s why. WE’D BEEN TOLD that the best thing about Fiji is its people: kinetically friendly, communally minded, kid- loving, naturally hospitable, greeting everyone with a loud “Bula!” At Six Senses, we were welcomed by serenade, which, friends, I’m here to tell you is the best way to arrive anywhere. As wooden necklaces were draped around our necks, a group of singers with acoustic guitars belted out a string of heartfelt harmonies. These songs could easily have seemed like just another tropical island cliché—and yes, the experience would be repeated five more times on our trip. But in the moment, the singing felt like an organic extension of the Fijian spirit. (Of course, the staffers sang these songs a

Clockwise from above: lot as guests came and went, but for me, sap that I am, that A staffer at Vatuvara, initial moment never lost its feeling, especially later as we where guests have approached the end of our trip, and I went through my included Prince Harry own complicated feelings of not wanting to leave Fiji, ever.) and Meghan Markle; one of the three villas at While Six Senses is of course luxurious, it also stresses Vatuvara, which all have sustainability. Efforts to reduce the resort’s carbon footprint an informal, personal can be felt at every turn—from the metal drinking straws feel; Vatuvara has set up and the Tesla battery–powered solar fields to the kitchen a foundation to protect garden with its resident flock of chickens. According to Rose the surrounding reefs. Kavanaugh, the property’s enthusiastic marketing exec, it is this philosophy, more than the spa facilities or the food (both of which were fantastic), that repeat customers at Six Senses’ other resorts give as the reason for their return. Perhaps, having burned the jet fuel to be there, some of us feel relief in knowing that a resort has our ecological back. And however eco-friendly Six Senses’ version of paradise might have been, we certainly didn’t suffer for it. After checking in, we reviewed our activity options and found that they included a consultation with the property’s “sleep ambassador,” who can provide everything from organic pajamas to a sleep kit containing a neti pot and something called a sleep spritzer, infused with the scent of jasmine. Having installed ourselves in our beachfront villa, we took in the view. In the near distance, we could see a small island called Wadigi, which, we were told, has been rented out by Pink and Paris Hilton. Out to the west, the water turned from near-purple to an emerald green, and beyond that was an epic wall of white water where the energy of the ocean collided with the coral reef. Everything around us was shaped by the mood and aspect of the sea. It occurred to me that part of what makes any place a paradise is the contrast it provides with your life at home. Back in Portland, Maine, where we live, Sara and I had just sent our oldest child off to college and put our second on a plane to Beijing for a high school year abroad. For the past few weeks, the nest had seemed two-thirds empty. In Fiji, the sensual bombardment of the natural world helped erase that parental pang. By the time we snorkeled the nearby reef, we’d passed into a state of wonder, lost in a world of parrotfish and blue starfish. It reminded me of something that came before all the swimming and paddleboarding, before the yoga and massage at the spa designed to look like a Fijian village, before our last night on the island and the cocktail on the hilltop overlooking the resort at sunset. When we’d first arrived, we’d met what Six Senses called our GEM, or guest experience maker. His name was Pela Rageci, and besides being awesome, he looked a little like Usher. His greeting to us that morning, later to be repeated by others, captured something so true about the familiarity we felt in Fiji. “Welcome home,” he’d said, as if we’d already been there in another life. IF YOU ASK ME, the mega-rich have it the hardest in Fiji. The rest of us go on vacation, and then, with lightened wallets and heavy hearts, take our leave at the end of the trip. We don’t want to go home, of course, but we generally don’t have much choice. Multimillionaires, on the other hand, operate on a different budget and schedule. We all crave our own version of paradise, but they alone have the means to acquire it—as well as a seeming compulsion to engrave their indelible signatures on the landscape in golden glitter. And then the project turns out to be a whole lot of work. It’s a thing in Fiji, moguls and celebrities buying their own islands. Mel Gibson purchased one for $15 million.


Clockwise from above: Clare Bronfman, the Seagram heiress, owns 80 percent of Kokoda, or Fijian-style one, for which she paid $47 million. David Gilmour, the ceviche made with Canadian gold baron, bought and developed the 1990s coconut milk, at Six granddaddy of Fiji’s star-studded private island resorts, the Senses; guests at Wakaya Club & Spa. And in 2018, Red Bull cofounder Dietrich Vatuvara have the island’s Mateschitz opened a resort on Laucala, his own manicured supply of watersports version of Xanadu, replete with Austrian chefs and an 18-hole equipment all to golf course staffed by PGA professionals, which has attracted themselves; sculptures in celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to George Clooney. the gardens at Kokomo were carved from fallen So it was strictly in the name of research that we hopped cinnamon trees. aboard a seaplane whose barefoot pilot brought us to an island called Yaukuve Levu, which is owned by Australian real estate billionaire Lang Walker. After spending $160 million, Walker has realized his own version of paradise: Kokomo Private Island. The story of its acquisition goes like this. In 2011, a friend sailed by the jungle-thicketed island that would become home to Kokomo, and told Walker he’d found just the place for him. Lore has it that when Walker eventually showed up, he slashed his way to the top of a hill to get cell coverage, then negotiated the price down from $7 million to $3 million. He calls it the most costly phone call of his life, because shortly thereafter, he turned on the cash spigot to create the resort that stood before us. “This is the one project on which Walker has truly spared no expense,” Martin Persson, the island’s GM, told me. While Six Senses might have possessed a slightly more sceney vibe, Kokomo, by dint of its price, clientele, and 45-minute plane transfer, upped the ante in terms of exclusivity. As we padded along the dock after drop-off, again came the musical greeting and the bestowing of leis, followed by a quick briefing from Lynn Enocksson, the PR manager and Martin’s wife. Here, our GEM was called a butler, and the “butler button” on our in-room iPad, we were told, would be the conduit to service. As it should be in paradise, the takeaway was simple: whatever you want, whenever you want it, we’ll try to make it happen. At this point, I was tempted to vocalize an urge for baked Alaska and fire juggling on the beach, just to see. (One guest had embarked on a new cleanse just before she arrived, and asked the resort staff to come up with 120 pounds of celery, which they did.) Our beachfront villa, one of 21 at the resort, was once again ridiculous, with its white stone bathtub that resembled a bisected dinosaur egg, its bed that I never wanted to leave, oriented toward the azure ocean, and its paintings produced by one of Walker’s favorite painters, Chris Kenyon, during a yearlong island residency. But despite the creature comforts, at Kokomo you really get the feeling of being out there. The resort is situated in the Kadavu group of islands, surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef—the fourth largest on the planet—which teems with exotic marine life, including sharks and dolphinfish. The place feels so remote, in fact, that some of the nearby beaches are used to film international editions of Survivor. At Kokomo, we again were briefed about the multitude of on-land amenities on offer, from the tennis court to the yoga sessions. But again, we found ourselves most drawn to the aquatic wonderland of the Pacific Ocean. The resort offers a PADI dive center and a staff marine biologist who studies the region’s manta ray population. There’s Hobie catamaran sailing, tubing, snorkeling, outer-reef surfing, and deep-sea fishing (migrating tuna are never fattier than when in their Fiji phase, Persson told us). One day, we took a boat to an even more remote island, which took us past the Survivor beaches, (Continued on page 104)

Nadi FIJI Kaibu Malolo FIND YOUR OWN PRIVATE Yaukuve Levu PARADISE IN FIJI You’ll want to set aside at least a week for a vacation here, as the journey can be long. But with beaches, reefs, and resorts like these, who would want to go for any less? Getting There as excellent food and a Astrolabe Reef, one of the Nanuku, an Auberge Resort dazzling array of wellness premier diving spots on earth. Accessible by plane or road Fiji Airways has daily nonstop options. And for surfers of; villas from Nadi, Nanuku is a laid- flights from Los Angeles to means, legendary spots like from $2,500. back, family-oriented resort in Nadi International Airport, on Cloudbreak and Restaurants Pacific Harbour, on Viti Levu’s the main island of Viti Levu. As are a short boat ride away. Vatuvara Private Islands southern shore. Adventure is a Fiji is made up of more than; villas from Another plane ride, this time central focus: guests can dive 300 islands, many resorts offer $945. 40 minutes northeast from with sharks, Jet Ski to remote their own air or boat transfers; Nadi, lands you on Kaibu, an islands, and journey up inland in addition, there are ferry Kokomo Private Island island in the remote Lau rivers to rapids and waterfalls. services to the busier A 40-minute seaplane (or archipelago owned by Oakley What makes Nanuku most Mamanuca and Yasawa island helicopter) ride south from sunglasses founder Jim special, though, is the way it groups from Port Denarau, a Nadi to Yaukuve Levu, this Jannard. Formerly closed to showcases Fijian culture—best short drive from the airport. property owned by Australian tourists, Kaibu is now home to witnessed in the traditional developer Lang Walker feels a this exclusive, 370-acre, kava ceremony, which Where to Stay bit like Fantasy Island. three-villa property with combines consumption of the Whatever you want, the staff overflowing gardens, an euphoria-inducing local drink Six Senses Fiji Located on here aims to provide—from a on-site farm, and an organic with tribal dancing and singing. Malolo Island in the picnic lunch on a deserted golf course.;; doubles Mamanucas, this eco-friendly island to a visit to the Great villas from $4,300. from $775. — M.P. resort offers high-end luxury with minimal guilt—as well 85

An adult orca catches a herring on the surface of the Norwegian Sea. Opposite: An expedition vessel used on Natural World Safaris’ orca-viewing trip. 86


I T HAD JUST TURNED ONE O’CLOCK on a frigid day In an interview after his return from in January, and already the light was beginning to Norway, Odell admitted he’d had some fade. By 2 p.m., it would be completely dark. misgivings before setting off. “My daughter, From the deck of a trawler out in the Norwegian who’s eight, was really frightened,” he fjords, the ocean looked deeply forbidding: recounted. “ ‘Maybe they’re going to eat you up,’ choppy, black, and bone-numbingly cold. she said.” Standing on the deck in his dry suit, For the divers lined up on the prow, however, snorkel, and mask, the temperature somewhere the conditions were perfect. Under the surface, a in the teens, he had hesitated. But once he was pod of orcas had gathered, drawn by a shoal of in the water, his apprehensions evaporated. “It herring that had migrated to this stretch of the felt great, completely natural,” Odell said. “And Norwegian Sea that morning. The divers were because of the Gulf Stream, the water was about to swim with the orcas in their natural actually warmer than the air.” habitat, something few amateurs have experienced. One of them was Felix Odell, the Swedish Odell’s group was led by Patrick Dykstra, a photographer who shot the images on these pages. naturalist who for almost a decade has filmed and studied the orca population that comes to 88

Clockwise from left: A pod of orcas off the coast of Tromvik, in the fjords of northern Norway; naturalist and marine videographer Patrick Dykstra, who leads Natural World Safaris’ orca-viewing trip; a diver uses an underwater camera to film the orcas as they hunt for herring. ‘When you’re underwater, you can hear the orcas communicating, talking to one another. Their presence is extremely gentle.’ 89

this part of the Norwegian coast each winter. A Tromsø lifelong whale enthusiast, Dykstra gave up his day job as a corporate lawyer in 2013 to try his Norwegian Begin by flying to Tromsø, in hand at underwater video. He has since Sea northern Norway, on SAS or contributed footage to the BBC’s award-winning Norwegian (you’ll transfer in Oslo Blue Planet II. Guests on his orca safari, which is NORWAY or Copenhagen). Your base is the run by British tour operator Natural World Kinfish, a former research vessel Safaris, must be strong swimmers with a Oslo with comfortable en suite cabins passion for marine life. They should not expect and 360-degree views from all five-star service. As Dykstra put it, “I’m out HOW TO PLAN levels. The ship follows orcas as there filming the orcas because it’s what I love AN ORCA SAFARI they hunt for shoals of herring doing. Sometimes I take guests along.” along the Norwegian coast. IN NORTHERN Part of the dolphin family, orcas hunt for NORWAY Herring migrate to the fjords herring alongside their calves, working in family in late October and usually stay groups. A typical day aboard Dykstra’s vessel This eight-day trip with Natural until mid-January. There are begins by figuring out where these orca pods are World Safaris is not for the about seven weeks during that headed next, which can be an adventure in itself. fainthearted, but those willing to period when the daylight is too The morning of Odell’s dive, Dykstra began by brave frigid temperatures and weak to see underwater. Last consulting several online resources, then hitting choppy seas can be rewarded by year Natural World Safaris ran the phones. “Patrick has connections with remarkable wildlife interactions. orca-viewing trips in November fishermen in the area. He calls them to find out and January, but for 2019, all where the pods are each day,” Odell explained. trips will take place in November. Once Dykstra receives a tip, the race is on to reach the orcas’ reported location before they Guests must be strong finish hunting and move on. “You have to be swimmers, though PADI quick, because they can travel very fast. We got certification is not required. lucky that first day and located a group Groups contain a maximum of swimming around a fishing boat,” Odell said. 12 guests. All equipment, apart from dry suits, is provided by the But with daylight fading, visibility under the outfitter. naturalworldsafaris. water was low. Only at a distance of around com; from $7,800 per person. 15 feet could the divers make out the orcas, which can range from 23 to 32 feet long— published in the U.K. journal Science, the world’s roughly the equivalent of a London bus. When orca population could be reduced by half in the one did appear through the murky, sediment- next 30 to 50 years. “There’s a real danger that filled water, the experience was transformative. these creatures will die out if nothing is done to “Seeing these enormous creatures up close was save them,” Dykstra said. To that end, he works truly fantastic,” Odell said. “When you’re with researchers to collect DNA samples from underwater, you can hear them communicating, Norway’s orcas, which are added to a database talking to each other. Their presence is and matched with samples taken elsewhere to extremely gentle. At the same time they’re very create population studies, monitor diet, and powerful, of course.” more. “It’s a huge help in understanding what’s going on with orcas right now,” he said. Attacks on humans by orcas in captivity are well documented; in the wild, however, there is Above all, Dykstra is motivated by his little evidence of their harming people. Still, the fascination with the species. “Orcas are so trip leaders take safety seriously, giving guests incredibly intelligent,” he explained. “They have lengthy briefings on how to interact with the something called bio sonar, which gives an MRI- creatures underwater. “I’ve been scared before,” type reading of their surroundings. They know Dykstra admitted. “Ultimately these are wild right away that you’re not their typical prey. animals, so of course you need to be careful.” After a while, they begin to recognize you. And of course I recognize individual orcas, having come Of greater concern for him is the crisis facing back year after year.” the world’s orca populations. Orcas belong to a class of animals known as apex predators: they The thrill of seeing other orca enthusiasts sit at the top of the food chain, so they take in interact with these sensitive yet extraordinarily massive concentrations of pollutants absorbed powerful creatures for the first time is addictive, by smaller creatures. According to new research Dykstra admitted. “I love seeing people who don’t get to spend their lives out in nature, like Opposite: The northern lights, which appear I do, get so excited by seeing the orcas close up. I regularly over the Norwegian coast in winter, see guests cry all the time.” — Flora Stubbs above the town of Skjervøy. 91

San Diego is the biggest border town in America—which might seem an uncomfortable role to fill in these turbulent times. But the city’s next generation of lifestyle visionaries are treating their proximity to Mexico as an opportunity, importing their neighbors’ culture and cuisine and fusing them with the good vibrations of southern California. BY DAVID AMSDEN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MISHA GRAVENOR Opposite, clockwise from top left: Por Vida, a café in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood; La Jolla, a beachside community north of downtown San Diego; Provisional, the restaurant at the Pendry San Diego hotel; a mural off Logan Avenue. 92

alking to hicano ark in an iego’s arrio ogan neighborhood, I got the distinct impression that I was lost. According to my phone’s GPS, I was less than a block away from the seven acres that locals had described to me as a stronghold of the city’s Mexican-American community. All I could see, however, was a colossal highway overpass—a sea of highway overpasses, actually. It was hard to imagine that the thing I’d come to San Diego hoping to understand—how the city is continually shaped and reshaped by its standing on the border with Mexico—would be revealed in what looked like an urban no-man’s-land. But as I entered this imposing tangle of concrete, the atmosphere brightened. I saw majestic bands of color crawling up the gigantic pillars—dozens of intricate murals painted with the aggression of graffiti and the precision of fine art. This near-mystical constellation framed sculptures, plantings of cacti and wildflowers, a skate park, and swaths of grass where children played and people lounged at picnic tables painted in the colors of the Mexican flag. Chicano Park evolved from an act of protest. In 1970, residents of the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood learned that the area, which had been promised to them for

From far left: Diners at El Jardín, a new Mexican restaurant in the Point Loma neighborhood; a mural by Mario Torero in Chicano Park; rare vinyl at Beat Box Records, in Barrio Logan. parkland, was set to be turned into a highway marginalized, hundreds of people occupied the patrol station. Frustration had been mounting land for 12 days, demanding to be heard. They for decades among locals, who lost access to the were; the city backed off of its plan. In 2017, the waterfront when naval installations were built park, which contains one of the largest during World War II and, later, saw the collections of outdoor murals in the country, was neighborhood’s integrity suffer when it was designated a National Historic Landmark. rezoned for industry. Tired of feeling I didn’t know this history as I walked around. But I could feel it. A cross-cultural vibrancy percolates through San Diego in ways that are thrilling and unexpected, if a little hard to uncover. This aspect of the city is particularly potent throughout Barrio Logan, still a Mexican- American stronghold but hardly a stagnant one, as younger immigrants and transplants are changing the neighborhood in compelling ways. Earlier that day, I’d eaten a tasty lunch at ¡Salud!, a boisterous, newfangled taco shop on the main stretch of Logan Avenue, where piñata shops and galleries showing Chicano art have been joined by places like the vintage-vinyl shop Beat Box Records and the white-cube gallery BasileIE. After hanging around Chicano Park, I made my way to Border X Brewing, a Mexican craft-beer tasting room with a punkish vibe, where the 95

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