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A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
Viking Cruises

The Longest Cruise in the World Takes Seafarers to 59 Countries Over 245 Days

A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
Viking Cruises

The longest continuous cruise on the planet won’t take you around the world in 80 days, but it promises to get the job done in about eight months.

The brand new Ultimate World Cruise from Viking Ocean Cruises is a dream come true for travelers with some time—and cash—to spare. Starting at about $93,000 per person, the luxury cruise will hit 59 countries spread across six continents. It leaves from London on August 31, 2019, circumnavigates Earth, and returns to the same city on May 2, 2020. If you’re doing the math, that’s 245 days.

Viking has hosted two world cruises before, but the new offering is nearly double the length of its previous trips. In general, the world cruises offered by most commercial cruise lines tend to last between 90 and 120 days, according to Forbes.

Who would want to spend the better part of a year aboard a ship? A lot of people, it turns out. As Richard Marnell, the senior vice president of marketing at Viking Cruises, tells Forbes, “We received resounding feedback from guests on our first sold-out World Cruise who wanted to experience the cultures of the world in-depth, over an extended period of time, while sailing onboard a ship that was designed for discovery with all the comforts of home.”

The ship, called Viking Sun, will be stopping in 113 ports, where guests will get the chance to take guided tours of each destination. Of those, 22 will be overnight stays on land.

The Viking Sun can carry 930 passengers, and a variety of cruise packages are available. At nearly $270,000, the most expensive room type—the owner’s suite—is already booked.

If eight months on a ship sounds like too much to bear, travelers can instead opt for one of two shorter trips: a 127-day leg from London to Los Angeles that visits 33 countries, or a 119-day journey from Los Angeles to London that covers 29 countries.

[h/t Forbes]

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A Viking vessel in Saint Kitts, one of the stops on the cruise line's Ultimate World Cruise.
Mike Hewitt, Getty Images
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How Many of the World's 20 Most Popular Museums Have You Visited?
Mike Hewitt, Getty Images
Mike Hewitt, Getty Images

If you went to the Louvre last year, you're in the company of 8.1 million people. According to the latest Museum Index from the Themed Entertainment Association [PDF], the Paris institution was the world's most-visited museum in 2017—an honor it hasn't earned since 2015.

Attendance at the Louvre went up 9.5 percent from 7.4 million visitors to 8.1 million between 2016 and 2017. The National Museum of China in Beijing, 2016's most popular museum attraction, also saw a significant 6.8 percent boost in traffic last year from 6.5 million to 8 million guests‚ landing in the No.2 spot. Two U.S. museums, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, are tied for the third slot with 7 million visitors each, and the Vatican Museums rank fifth with a 2017 attendance of 6.4 million.

The Louvre's impressive attendance numbers look much different than they did in the year following the Paris terror attacks of November 2015. The number of tourists traveling to the French capital dropped by 1.5 million in 2016, and the Louvre alone saw a 1.3 million decrease in visitors. The city has since rebounded, and in the middle of 2017 tourism to Paris was greater than it had been in a decade.

Museums around the world saw more people coming through their doors overall last year, with an attendance boost of 0.2 percent from 2016 to 2017. The museums with the biggest spikes were the Victoria & Albert Museum in London with 25.4 percent and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C with 22.8 percent. Though the museum didn't make the top 20 list, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. last year helped contribute to the 3 percent increase in museum traffic in North America.

You can find the full list below.

1. Louvre // Paris, France
2. National Museum of China // Beijing, China
3. National Air and Space Museum // Washington D.C., U.S.
    Metropolitan Museum of Art // New York City, U.S.
5. Vatican Museums // Vatican City
6. Shanghai Science & Technology Museum // Shanghai, China
7. National Museum of Natural History // Washington D.C., U.S.
8. British Museum // London, UK
9. Tate Modern // London, UK
10. National Gallery of Art // Washington D.C., U.S.
11. National Gallery // London, UK
12. American Museum of Natural History // New York City, U.S.
13. National Palace Museum // Taipei, Taiwan
14. Natural History Museum // London, UK
15. State Hermitage // St. Petersburg, Russia
16. China Science Technology Museum // Beijing, China
17. Reina Sofia // Madrid, Spain
18. National Museum of American History, Washington D.C., U.S.
19. Victoria & Albert Museum // London, UK
20. Centre Pompidou // Paris, France

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You Can Now Rent the Montgomery, Alabama Home of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald Through Airbnb
Chris Pruitt, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The former apartment of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, perhaps the most famous couple of the Jazz Age, is now available to rent on a nightly basis through Airbnb, The Chicago Tribune reports. While visitors are discouraged from throwing parties in the spirit of Jay Gatsby, they are invited to write, drink, and live there as the authors did.

The early 20th-century house in Montgomery, Alabama was home to the pair from 1931 to 1932. It's where Zelda worked on her only novel Save Me the Waltz and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote part of Tender Is the Night. The building was also the last home they shared with their daughter Scottie before she moved to boarding school.

In the 1980s, the house was rescued from a planned demolition and turned into a nonprofit. Today, the site is a museum and a spot on the Southern Literary Trail. While the first floor of the Fitzgerald museum, which features first-edition books, letters, original paintings, and other artifacts related to the couple, isn't available to rent, the two-bedroom apartment above it goes for $150 a night. Guests staying there will find a record player and a collection of jazz albums, pillows embroidered with Zelda Fitzgerald quotes, and a balcony with views of the property's magnolia tree. Of the four surviving homes Zelda and F. Scott lived in while traveling the world, this is the only one that's accessible to the public.

Though the Fitzgerald home is the only site on the Southern Literary Trail available to rent through Airbnb, it's just one of the trail's many historic homes. The former residences of Flannery O'Connor, Caroline Miller, and Lillian Smith are all open to the public as museums.

[h/t The Chicago Tribune]

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