Luxury cruises, bikesharing data and dine at the newest Michelin star restaurant ... all you need to know for your next vacay

(July 24): The Parisian museum Louvre has announced that it is partnering with French luxury cruise company Ponant to organise two cultural voyages around the Adriatic and the Persian Gulf, set for 2020.

Guests can choose between two itineraries, which are respectively due to depart in August and November 2020.

The first sailing, dubbed "Cultural Jewels of the Adriatic," is a 10-day sojourn around the Adriatic beginning in Athens and ending in Venice.

It will venture around Kotor Bay and the Corinth Canal, with stops in the Acropolis, Delphi archaeological site and the 1,700-year-old Diocletian's Palace in Croatia.

Passengers will be joined aboard Le Lyrial by Jannic Durand, who is the director of the Department of Decorative Arts at the Musée du Louvre; as well as Ludovic Laugier, curator in the Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities at the Paris museum.

The second tour, which goes by the name of "The Treasures of the Persian Gulf," takes place over nine days from Muscat, Oman, to Dubai.

Guests will discover the artistic heritage of the Persian Gulf, visiting sites such as fjords of Arabia and Sir Bani Yas Island, renowned for its wildlife reserve.

They will be joined onboard by Yannick Lintz, who is the director of the Department of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre.

The cruise also includes a visit to Qatar's Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, which was notably designed by the late architect I.M Pei; as well as a stop at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

These new cultural cruises come shortly after The Louvre's partnership with Airbnb, which debuted this spring with a competition to spend a night at the world's most-visited museum.

Last month, the institution also announced that it has teamed up with French perfume company Officine Universelle Buly to create scents inspired by eight of its most famous works of art.

Additional information about The Louvre's cultural cruises, which start at from US$4,400 a head, can be found on Ponant's official website.


Google Maps rolls out real-time bikeshare data to 24 cities

Google has launched a feature on Google Maps that allows users to locate bikeshare stations in cities and look up the number of bikes available in real-time, in two dozen cities around the world. 

After piloting the program in New York City over the last year, Google has expanded its real-time bikeshare information service to 24 cities in 16 countries across Europe, North America and Asia. 

From New Taipei City to Toronto, bikers can now use Google Maps to locate their nearest bikeshare station, and look up where to park their bike after completing their commute. 

Data is updated in real-time, so that users can also see the number of bikes that are actually available when needed. 

The new service is in partnership with Ito World and involves incorporating global bikeshare data feed directly into Google Maps. 

The bikeshare service is available on Android and iOS in the following cities: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. More cities will be added in the future. 


 

Guangzhou has a new two Michelin-starred restaurant

The port city of Guangzhou, China along the Pearl River has earned its first two Michelin-starred restaurant in the locale's sophomore guide of the red bible of haute gastronomy. 

In the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide Guangzhou, Michelin inspectors promoted Jiang by Chef Fei at the Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou hotel from one to two stars. 

At the fine dining restaurant, classic Cantonese cuisine is given Japanese and Western touches. Specialties include Wenchang chicken with flaxseeds and steamed Hele crab with sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf. Inspectors also recommend the roast goose, char siu and dim sum. 

Overall, the 2019 edition of the Guangzhou Michelin guide represents 18 different types of cuisine, from Cantonese and Indian to Indonesian and Singaporean. 

A trio of restaurants also unlocked their first Michelin star. They include Famous Cuisine, which serves no-frills Cantonese fare like soy-marinated chicken and brown sugar pork trotters; Singaporean restaurant Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine; and Sichuan restaurant Song, named after the owner's family name. 

The new additions bring the overall number of single-starred restaurants to 10.