TANTALIZING FOR BOTH its rich history and natural beauty, every year Cochin (also known as Kochi) welcomes visitors from all parts of the world. But what makes it particularly attractive to cruise ships is its harbor. Known as one of the finest and safest natural harbors on the Arabian coast of India, it’s no wonder it makes a preferred port of call on repositioning cruise itineraries between Southeast Asia and Europe.
Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral founded Cochin when the Portuguese penetrated the Indian Ocean in the late 15th century, thus giving Cochin the distinction as the first European settlement on Indian soil. Split into two sections, its more modern Ernakulam district boasts high-rises and a bustling modern vibe, while across the water on a peninsula, the old districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin speak to the city’s past. In the historic districts you’ll find spice markets, an impressive collection of colonial architecture, 17th-century Dutch houses, India’s first European church, a synagogue and a Portuguese palace.
One of Cochin’s more unusual sights is the Chinese fishing nets. According to legend, the Chinese explorer Zheng He introduced the nets, brought from the court of the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan. Huge mechanical contrivances hold out the horizontal nets measuring 65 feet or more across, with each installation operated by a team of up to six fishermen. It’s a lot of work for a modest catch, so today the nets remain more of a tourist attraction than a way to reel in loads of fish.
While the nets might be Cochin’s most iconic attraction, one of its most mesmerizing has to be the backwaters. Part of the 560 miles of waterways making up the Kerala backwaters, they consist of a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets. Many cruise ships offer backwater excursions; cruising along the waterways offers a chance to observe a unique way of life. Small villages, individual dwellings and houseboats dot the shore, surrounded by palm trees and lush foliage. Water birds, like kingfishers and cormorants, fly overhead, adding to the overall feeling of tranquility.
If you haven’t started planning for next year’s total solar eclipse viewing, you have some serious work to do. Next year’s total eclipse will only be visible from Antarctica and won’t happen again for 75 years.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Alaska Airlines and American Airlines announced intentions to create an alliance. Benefits to passengers include access to more international destinations after Alaska joins the oneworld alliance in 2021, new service on American between Seattle (SEA) and Bangalore (BLR), new service on American between Seattle and London (LHR), a domestic codeshare expansion to include international routes from Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle, and loyalty member benefits across both airlines. Loyalty members with additional lounge membership enjoy access to nearly 50 American Admirals Club lounges worldwide and seven Alaska lounges in the United States for same-day travel on American or Alaska flights.
Ethiopian Airlines announced plans to build a $5 billion airport south of Addis Ababa. The airline’s CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the airport would be able to handle 100 million passengers a year.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle recently unveiled a new stand-alone menu designed for travelers living a plant-based lifestyle. The wellness-focused, wholesome and altogether appetizing menu includes 10 new dishes.
Delta Air Lines showed off several new technology initiatives at CES, the world’s largest electronics show, in Las Vegas last month.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
New luxury adventure cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages continues to add ships to its fleet. The line’s first ship, World Navigator, is currently under construction and Atlas Ocean Voyages just purchased four additional ships — World Traveller, World Seeker, World Adventurer and World Discoverer — to follow. World Navigator is schedule to sail in 2021, with two more ships following in 2022, and the last two following in 2023.