Newspaper article International New York Times

Briefly: International Traveler

Newspaper article International New York Times

Briefly: International Traveler

Article excerpt

As compiled by editors of The International New York Times.

Amtrak creates residency for writers aboard trains

The wheels have begun moving on Amtrak's plan to offer writers a rolling residency aboard their trains. The company has announced that up to 24 writers, chosen from a pool of applicants, will be given a round-trip ticket on a long-distance train, including a private sleeper-car room with a bed, a desk and electrical outlets. The trains promise the romance. The writers will have to do the rest.

The idea was born in December when the novelist Alexander Chee, in an interview with PEN America's magazine, casually mentioned his love for writing on trains, and added, jokingly, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers." When Jessica Gross, a writer in New York, echoed the sentiment on Twitter, Amtrak got in touch with her and asked if she would like to do a trial residency on the Lake Shore Limited from New York to Chicago. She agreed. Her account of the trip, "Writing the Lake Shore Limited," published by The Paris Review in February, grabbed the attention of The Wire, The New Yorker and The Huffington Post. Soon after, Amtrak decided to turn the trial run into a full-fledged program.

Writers must submit an application posted on Amtrak's website. Winners will be selected through March 31, 2015. Residencies will be from two to five days, "with exceptions for special projects." Routes will be determined based on availability. -- William Grimes

Pop culture extends its reach on cruise ships

Cruise ships are showcasing pop culture and familiar brands on the high seas.

Cartoon characters are a staple of many family-focused ships, including the new 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway that was introduced this year with a Nickelodeon-themed water park headlined by SpongeBob SquarePants. The 4,914-passenger Carnival Splendor has a new Dr. …

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