Beware the Blue Ridge elk
An animal that was extinct in the North Carolina mountains for more than 200 years has re-emerged as a potential threat to drivers on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Big, angry elk. "Adult elk seen along the Parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can weigh between 500 and 700 pounds and have been known to charge in order to defend themselves," the National Park Service wrote in a Facebook post. "If you see an elk on the Parkway please keep your distance in order to maintain their safety and your own." Elk grow bigger than black bears: up to 10 feet long and 5 feet tall at the shoulders, and the antlers on males can grow 5 feet wide, the Park Service says. Both males and females are known to charge if they perceive a threat, experts say.
Cruise price alerts
CruiseWatch.com, a cruise search site, sends free price alerts to registered users. The site allows you to search for a cruise, then set a price alert tailored to price drops and specific cabin types, such as interior or balcony rooms. Users can also set a maximum budget to see whether or when a cruise falls into that range. The Germany-based service is tailored to American travelers because they are the biggest market in cruising, according to its chief executive Markus Stumpe. While it doesn't sell cruises — bookings are handled by travel agency partners — the site offers free advice and strategies for saving money, including how to cancel and rebook if a cruise price drops more than the value of a cancellation fee. According to the company, cruise fares tend to drop around 100 days before sailing and users report typical savings of around $300.
New York Times
Coco Beach Club opening
Royal Caribbean has announced that the exclusive Coco Beach Club at its Perfect Day at CocoCay private island in the Bahamas will open Jan. 31, 2020. The cruise line has opened bookings for the Coco Beach Club as well as cabana reservations via the Cruise Planner site. The exclusive area will feature an oceanfront infinity pool with in-water loungers and the first and only floating cabanas in the Bahamas. A day pass includes access to an exclusive private beach, the clubhouse, the infinity pool, beach chairs and towels and complimentary dining. The floating cabanas will resemble the famous overwater bungalows of Bora Bora and will feature overwater hammocks, freshwater showers and private slides. Perfect Day at CocoCay opened this year, with attractions including the tallest waterslide in North America, the highest vantage point in the Bahamas and the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean.
Trail reopens in Hawaii park
The popular Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park recently fully reopened, a year and a half after Kilauea erupted and more than 60,000 quakes rattled the volcano's summit. The shaking last year damaged much of the park on the Big Island, including the popular 4-mile loop from the rim of a crater to its floor. Now visitors will see something new along the way: large boulders that tumbled down during the seismic shaking, a park release says. Part of the trail reopened in April; the full trail reopened Sept. 21 after final repairs were complete. Work crews from the nonprofit Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and other national park workers helped make repairs. It's all part of the park's slow recovery from the eruption that forced the park to close for an unprecedented 134 days in 2018.
Los Angeles Times