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Three new cruise ships are setting sail

The lineup includes the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream and the 4,000-passenger MSC Splendida.

July 26, 2009|Rosemary McClure; Judi Dash; Chris Erskine

New ships are on horizon

Despite a slow period for cruise lines, three new ships -- including two megaships that will hold more than 3,500 passengers each -- are setting sail from European shipyards this summer. The lineup includes the 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream, above, Carnival Cruise Lines' largest ship; Celebrity Cruises' newest vessel, the Celebrity Equinox; and the 4,000-passenger MSC Splendida. Carnival Dream will debut at Monfalcone, Italy, on Sept. 21, with an inaugural schedule that includes visits to European and Caribbean ports. Although Dream is the largest ship for Carnival, several other lines have larger ships, including Royal Caribbean's Freedom and Voyager series. But Dream has some interesting features, including a large water park and whirlpools that extend over the ship's beam.

-- Rosemary McClure

Talk to the bin

Those wacky Finns: From the Scandinavian country known for odd pastimes comes a new wrinkle to startle tourists: trash cans that say thank you in seven languages. Finland often makes news with its strange contests and hobbies. such as the throw-your-mobile-phone competition. Now its trash cans are grabbing some attention. The talking trash bins, which can be found in Helsinki, announce their message in Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, English, German, Polish and Russian. The cans greet passersby while promoting cleanliness and environmental care, say city public works officials.

-- Rosemary McClure

Give a boost

The Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System from Graco is a highchair and booster-seat combo that goes and grows with your child. The modular system comes with both a folding highchair and toddler booster seat that can be used separately or together to convert from a lightweight highchair to an infant feeding booster, a toddler booster, or a youth chair (for children who can sit up unassisted). Using different configurations, you can seat two children at once. The system comes with a removable seat back insert with a three-point harness that can be used interchangeably with the toddler booster or youth chair. Priced at $180, at www.babiesrus.com or (888) 222-9787.

-- Judi Dash

Wine and dine

More than 170 wineries and 70 restaurants will be represented in the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Nov. 18 to 22, touted as one of the largest such events in the nation. Last year's festival drew 8,000 food and wine enthusiasts to various venues around the city. The schedule for this year's event includes wine-tasting seminars, celebrity artists, auctions and cooking classes. Tickets are on sale now, and schedules and price information can be found at www.worldofwine events.com or by calling (619) 342-7337.

-- Chris Erskine

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