A Floating cruise Gym

Yeah you read that right. The new things that people come up with. All of you fit bods out there take notice. You can be a passenger aboard a boat and power it. No, not rowing it but you can literally be using the cross trainers or spinning bikes and move a boat along the Seine river.

Talk about enjoying a view while you work out!

If this concept gets beyond the designers’ table, you and 44 other passengers could soon be spinning wheels in a gym fitted onto a leisure boat cruising along Paris’s old dame of a river. Or any river where enterprising business folks detect sufficient demand. They say that an order for the boat can be ready in 18 months!

Ok, not all the power for the boat will come from you. For there are also solar panels in case you need to take a break…besides, not everyone will pedal at the same speed…

Heheh, we are sure many of you who use gyms will experience this. When one runs on a threadmill or cycles on a spin bike in a gym, one’s stationary. Perhaps you will have earphones plugged into your ears to listen to music and/or watch the TV screen while you work out. But imagine the feeling of getting somewhere as you work out.

This is one of the latest ideas that is being bandied about. Will you pay for a river cruise while working out?

Naughty Cruise journey

Ok, so the word they used was ‘sensual’. But we are plain folks who don’t buy into fancy words (though we use them – guilty heheh). But we cannot help it. You need to read this article yourself to be the true judge of what we are about to say is true. This is a cruise. But it’s no ordinary luxury cruise. This brings about a vastly different sort of ‘luxury’, one which combines entertainment and pleasure…

Now you sure need to be ‘open’ minded to join this cruise. Because clothing is optional at the pools and you’d likely be surrounded by open minded couples. Aaargh, my eyes!! You might yell if you are prudish. To be honest the photos of the fixtures on the cruise ship seems to suggest an AV film set..heheh…perhaps this might prick your curiosity to read the article? Perhaps book a cabin for April 2018?

But you will also note that this is not just one but of many themes that cruise operators are now betting on. Even the big names are cashing in on this. Can you imagine rocking and jamming while cruising the Caribbean? Yup, that’s sailed for a few years already. Wow, talk about rocking the boat.

Or how about getting your pants wet from being frightened out of your wits at every corner of the ship? Zombie themed cruise? Oh man, that might actually scare the living daylights out of us! lol.

You see, today travel is getting mundane. The sheer number of folks writing about their experiences testifies to the ‘commonness’ of the experience. That’s because the number of people traveling has been rising so much (read here) So people want something new, something refreshing, something unique. The experential kind that is.

What do you think? Has travel become mundane that we seek thrills that deviate from the ‘norm’?

Underwater cruising

Imagine being able to see sharks, whales etc even as you cruise without getting wet. No, not VR travel. You are actually witnessing how the denizens of the sea live from the comforts of a lounge or your own room, sipping wine or having a meal.

Underwater roomThere has been a plethora of underwater luxury written here and here. Now we have yet another instance of juxtapose, as travel and luxury merge even more with the advent of cruise ships with glass bellies – well, not fully, but at least much much larger than the normal potholes that lower deck cabins are privileged to have.

From 2018, we can expect these small luxury cruise ships to be launched according to to this artcle. One of these are said to be launched in Australia’s Kimerbly area, a region of relatively unexplored natural beauty.

Time to save up for that trip!

How long will the journey be with S$9.5m?

Singapore Toto recently had two multi-million dollar lottery draws. One of them saw a single winner of S$9.5mln. Just last Friday, yet another two persons shared S$13.9mln. While it is “miniscule” compared to the lotteries in Europe and the US, the winners here take it all. No “annuity” draw down of the win.

Obviously we were not the winners, otherwise would not be spending time blog posting.

The thought here is not about not winning the vast amount of money, rather what amount of traveling one can do with it! So let’s scenario make:

  1. Suppose it takes ~S$5000/person to have a reasonably luxurious 1-week long trip. And suppose also that you take a partner with you. The first winner would be able to make 950 trips. In weeks, it will be the equivalent of 18 years. This is not considering you can deposit the balance in a bank while you are on the road and earn the paltry interest, compounding some of it! But then think of the laundry that you’d need to do at the end of it all…
  2. And consider if you’ve won and wanted to do a round the world trip for S$50,000/person with a cruise line like Cunard. An example of a 118-day cruise costs S$41k/person for a cabin with balcony. Queen Mary2Take a business flight to London for the balance to top up to S$50k and you can circle the globe with your partner 95 times. That would be 3,800,000km. You know it is ‘only’ 384,000km if you want to fly to the moon.
  3. Then there is space tourism. Real people had to sign up US$250k for a seat on a sub-orbital flight. You’d still enjoy the zero gravity and the window view is probably great (hey the guy who cleans the window had better do a good job here – no fingerprints ok). Your best bet would be Virgin Galactic, and with the money take 37 other passengers with you. Would be such a great family trip. Maybe next lunar new year?

Alternatively you could be philanthropic and donate half of the lottery winnings and still fly to the moon only 47 times (or fly a smaller party to sub-orbital space). Does Frank Sinatra’s song inspire you now to play amongst the stars and find out what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars? Happens to be one of my favourite songs.

The practical ones will probably take up a combination of the three scenario options, come back to do the laundry and off again. I guess I’d do that too. And I’d still need to wash the toilet every Friday. So, this is NOT a bad way to live for the next 15-18 years! Why worrywart over how to invest the money. You know there is no way to bring it along with you when you expire.

So why not do some good while starting a long journey? I’d look forward to advising these three individuals. Pity they do not publish the names of the winners here. Unlike elsewhere, where it seems telling the world you have won a lot of money is a sport.

The Last Continent

While scouring the net, I was drawn to the Independent’s travel section again for inspiration late last week. I chanced upon Rebecca Stephens’ article on her trip to Antarctica. An accomplished climber (summited Everest in 1993) who started out in journalism, Rebecca also trekked across the Antarctic in 2001.

Click here to read Rebecca’s article.

It has always been one of the bucket list (probably at the bottom of the heap) for us to be able to visit the 7th and last continent on earth.

One significant “barrier” is cost, as it is an arduous long journey to even get to the starting point in the first place – ie the embarkation point of a voyage (and we are not just limiting this is luxury cruises) to Antarctica. The last time we had flown to South America (Peru that is), it took us more than 35 hours due to all the stops and transfers…

The most frequent and probably practical is to depart from the South America – from a distance as well as geographic accessibility perspectives.

Unlike Australia and New Zealand or South Africa which sees the expanse of the great southern ocean “standing” between them and the Antarctic, South America comes closest and even boasts of a string of islands in between.

So what are one’s choices?

  • Luxury expedition – the kind you’d come to expect with amenities that feels as you checked into a 5-Star hotel floating in the ocean. As you’d expect, this class of travel comes with the usual dining and perhaps even shows. However it combines elements of science with lectures, expedition options etc. Cruise lines such as Silversea operate such. I looked up a site that cited Nat Geo as operating such routes as well! Expect to pay more than US$10,000pp.
  • Expeditionary – usually “smaller”, these cruises offer even more intimate experience of nature, except that you still have most of the creature comforts. Sure there would probable be a theatre onboard, just don’t expect a gala dinner and show. Have not seen any prices <US$7000pp.
  • Specialty trips – focus not so much on the continent as covering a multitude of places to enjoy historic sites of the explorers, as well as visiting lots of wildlife locations and getting up close. Normally longer than the other cruises, there is a larger selection of cruise itineraries that not only cover the seas around Antarctica but also further northwards. As can be expected, prices will vary.

Some routes that the cruises take,

Some day this may be the crowning trip of our lives.

Dream Destination Aurora Borealis

There has been many legends about the mysterious lights over the northern parts of Europe (and Canada, Alaska, not to mention Russia etc). Today we know the reasons for this phenomenon of the solar wind’s collision with the earth’s magnetosphere.

Partly due to the draw of being at the place where such phenomenal display of lights (not made by man) and also the allure of traveling to the exotic is the draw which places a trip to Northern Norway on our bucket list.

The selection of Norway was a considered one, as the Aurora is mainly visible only in a specific band of latitude. Further, access to places which lies in the band is important, given that it will be highly preferable to watch the phenomenon in relative comfort.

Aurora Borealis Belt
Aurora Ring – grabbed from Hubpages.com

While Iceland, Canada and Alaska were some of the other considerations, Norway holds a special place for us. We were last there in 2004, but only to Trondheim and in spring!

Did anyone know that the sun’s activity has peaked and will be “slowing down”? This means less solar wind activity hitting our atmosphere and thus less phenomena of the dancing night lights! We know that within the coming 1-2 years we will definitely take the trip.

Best to cruise though after spending some time at the lovely (and lively) city of Bergen. We intend to take the cruise operated by Hurtigruten. There are limited voyages per season and astronomers onboard to give lectures for those who seek in-depth understanding of the phenomena.

Working out the budget now to see if we can go as early as 2017!