Travel Briefs

The king of Morocco inaugurated Africa's first high-speed train system, the Al Baraq, on Nov. 17. The trains connect Casablanca to Tangier, with stops in Rabat and Kenitra. Traveling at speeds of over 320 kilometers per hour (199 mph), each train can make a one-way trip in two hours, 10 minutes. (Previously, it took four hours, 45 minutes.) A one-way ticket costs MAD132 (near $14), second class, or MAD195, first class.


The former Cunard Line ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II, now a luxury hotel docked permanently at Mina Rashid Port in Dubai, began taking reservations in November. The 1,300-room hotel has 13 restaurants and bars plus a museum.

Room rates run about $100-$400 per night during high season (around January-May) and can be lower in off-season. Visit or call +971 4 528 888.

While visiting Tokyo, you can leave your hand luggage or even full-sized bags in a shop or post office that has partnered with Ecbo Cloak ( and pick them up later. Participating shops are in many locations, including at rail stations.

Using Ecbo Cloak's website or phone app, create an account, then choose a location and date and indicate drop-off and pickup times and the number and types of bags to be stored. At the appointed place and time, leave the bag(s) with...


Beginning in 2020 in the Pacific island nation of Palau, a law signed on Nov. 1, 2018, will ban sunscreens containing any of 10 chemicals thought to be harmful to coral. The chemicals are oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, triclosan, phenoxyethanol and four parabens (preservatives).

Two of the chemicals — oxybenzone and octinoxate — have been proven in lab tests to be toxic to coral, causing bleaching and stunting growth.



Wildlife walking tours along the Atlantic coast in County Cork are offered by Ireland Wilderness (phone +353 21 2348015, Leaving from the Celtic Ross Hotel ( in Rosscarberry, two 3-hour tours are available each day, weather permitting, April through September: a morning tour, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and an afternoon tour, 2-5:30. From October to March, only morning tours are available.

Animals that may be spotted include birds, whales,...


Wild animals can be viewed day and night through a floor-to-ceiling window in each guest's room in special lodges at Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve (Nr. Ashford, Kent, CT21 4PD, England, UK;

Within the reserve, at the Wolf Lodge, Tiger Lodge, Lion Lodge, Bear Lodge and Giraffe Lodge, each lodge's namesake move about freely in an adjacent enclosure. In the Giraffe Lodge, uniquely, guests can hand-feed the giraffes. Wildlife lodge rates...


Featuring multiple days of swimming with whales, all-inclusive tours in Australia, Tonga, Tahiti, Norway and Canada are led by the Australian company Whale Encounters (Forresters Beach, NSW; phone +61 [2] 4385 5454, The tours, which often sell out more than a year in advance, cost AUD4,935-AUD6,899 (near $3,604-$5,038) per person, double occupancy. At press time, 2020 tours were open for reservations.

Originally built as a single-family house for an upper-class Dubliner in the early 18th century, the building at 14 Henrietta Street (14 Henrietta St., Inns Quay, Dublin 1, 001 HH34 Ireland; had become a workers' tenement housing at least 100 people by 1911. Now a museum, opened on Sept. 18, 2018, the building's restored rooms display its entire history, from wealthy town home to courthouse to army barracks to tenement.

It's accessible only by a...