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Cruise the Galapagos Islands in Style Aboard this Historical Luxury Yacht

first_imgQuasar Expeditions/FacebookThere are plenty of great ways to cruise the Galapagos Islands. It’s an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, no matter what ship you’re sailing aboard. But, if you’re heading to the land of Darwin and giant tortoises anyway, why not do it in the utmost style? One classic vessel has luxury, panache, and a royal and military history unlike any other. The best part: You can book a cabin right now.The 147-foot M/Y Grace boasts one of the most fascinating histories of any ship, not just in the Galapagos Islands, but in the world as a whole. She began life simply as Monica in the late 1920s in Southampton, England, under the ownership of Jacques “Santiago” Soulas, a Franco-Argentine tycoon. Over the next decade, the ship would change hands several times before being acquired in 1939 by the British Royal Navy to patrol the area around the Isle of Wight. The newly-named Rion was stripped of her elegance, structurally hardened, and outfitted with hardcore military weaponry. Twin Oerlikons (a.k.a. “Kamikaze Killers”) were mounted astride the bridge, a 12-pound rapid-fire guy was affixed to the forecastle, and a stern rack was added to hold 300-pound depth charges.The ship was decommissioned after World War II, rechristened HMS Noir, and returned to her original builders, Camper & Nicholson International. The team worked hard in the ensuing years to refurbish the ship as a pleasure craft. In 1951, Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, bought the ship, rechristened her Arion, and kept her in his stable of toys for several years. She was ultimately gifted as a wedding present to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco. They hosted an array of lavish parties with some of the world’s most illustrious guests (Winston Churchill among them) before parting with her in 1958.Decades on, the ship would travel throughout the eastern United States and the Caribbean under numerous banners and owners. She was purchased in 2007 by Quasar Expeditions who, in a thoughtful nod to the princess, rechristened her the M/Y Grace. The company spent two full years retrofitting and restoring the ship to her former glory. Under the new banner, and with a healthy dose of modern comfort amenities in place, the ship now sails exclusive routes to and through the Galapagos Islands.The roughly 25 guests on each eight-day sailing are free to explore Ecuador’s famous islands amid the stately elegance of a bygone sailing era. Every interior space is awash in rich wood paneling and flooring, custom tufted seating, and plush fabrics. Even the ship’s original wheel has been returned with the inscription “Deo Juvante” (the former name).The ship’s diminutive size belies a host of creature comforts, including an intimate main saloon, a sun deck, a wine cellar, and an alfresco dining space. Quasar’s commercial director, Eduardo Diez Jr., notes, “It is probably now one of the most sought-after products in the archipelago.” It’s easy to see why.As of October 2017, adventurous, well-heeled travelers can book one of two unique itineraries aboard the M/Y Grace directly through Quasar Expeditions. Off-season rates in the fall of 2018 start at USD $5,600 per person (which covers almost every aspect of the eight-day trip less international airfare and domestic transfers). Although, we recommend splurging on the Grace Kelly Suite — the cabin where the Monegasque royalty honeymooned — with an all-in rate of USD $8,900. If you’re a hotshot willing to really open his wallet, you can charter the whole boat for you and 17 of your closest friends for just north of USD $125,000.Feature image courtesy of Quasar Expeditions/Facebook. Editors’ Recommendations There’s Never a Bad Time to Visit Whistler, the Four-Season Outdoor Playground The Opus OP15′ Is a Tricked-Out, Off-Road-Ready Travel Trailer Sip On the Original Stormtrooper Beer While You Wait for the Next Star Wars Movie Spectacular Failures Tells the Story of Businesses That Went Very, Very Wrong 8 Best Rums for Piña Coladaslast_img read more

Taoiseach wont say yet what he told Secretary General to tell Callinan

first_imgUpdated 11.20pmTHE TAOISEACH WAS asked tonight what he said to Justice Department general secretary Brian Purcell when he sent him to speak to the former Garda Commissioner about the taping of phone calls in garda stations.He also said that the government will take action on the medical cards issue after this weekend’s elections.Brian PurcellA day after Purcell and Martin Callinan met, Callinan resigned from his role as Commissioner.This evening, the Taoiseach said that the Commission of Investigation into the tapes will look at the resignation of Callinan.When asked by Brian Dobson on RTÉ Six One News if he would publicly say this evening what he told Purcell before he sent him to meet Callinan, the Taoiseach said he would not.However, he said that if he is called before the Commission of Investigation, he will “respond fully” to them on the issue.Kenny said that the Commission will be up and running soon.Medical cardsThe Taoiseach was also asked about medical cards during the interview. He said he hopes that the “vast majority” of people who have had their discretionary medical cards removed will get the cards back.He said that the government “will deal with this after the election” and that they want to see the review of discretionary cards changed, as well as the assessment process changed.Meanwhile, the Jack & Jill Foundation said that it pledges to continue to fight for automatic medical cards.Jonathan Irwin, CEO and founder of the foundation, said that they have sent a request for an urgent meeting with the Minister for Health, James Reilly.The foundation is asking families with children over the age of four who were supported by Jack & Jill to let it know about their status with medical cards. The information will also be shared with the Children’s Rights Alliance, the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall and the Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan.“We will trigger complaints legally both locally and beyond until we get a result,” said Irwin.- First published 7.50pmRead: Mary Lou’s 20-minute wonder underlines the need for top official to explain Gardagate – for his own sake>last_img read more