By John Roberts
Two major cruise lines joined the growing tide and banned smoking on stateroom balconies in the past month. It's now off-limits to smoke on your balcony on Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ships. The vessels still have dedicated areas by the pool, and some feature indoor areas such as cigar lounges and casinos, where passengers can smoke.
Holland America remains the lone big cruise line that allows balcony smoking, but it seems like it won't be long before the practice is banned on those ships, too. (How soon before all ships ban smoking outright?)
Cruise lines are moving to institute new policies on smoking, citing health concerns chiefly among the reasons for doing so. Smokers are in the extreme minority, and the percentage of the population who smoke shrinks every year.
The lines know they risk alienating a loyal and vocal minority of passengers, but overall, it's simply the right move. I know I severely dislike the smell of smoke wafting up to my outdoor sanctuary when I'm on my vacation. I wouldn't want to be the source of displeasure for others. I know smokers often feel they are being persecuted, but perhaps they could try to view the multiple reasons these types of policies make more and more sense.
How do you feel about the new policies that further limit smoking areas on ships?
Elsewhere . . .
Norwegian Cruise Line has plans in place to add two more fun-filled ships to its fleet.
Already an active traveler's favorite, especially with the new ships Breakaway (sailing out of NYC) and Getaway (out of Miami), along with under-construction Escape (due to hit the Caribbean out of Miami in November 2015) and Bliss (due for delivery in 2017), NCL announced that it would have two more ships built in the Breakaway Plus class (Escape and Bliss). The third and fourth 4,200-passenger ships in the class are due in 2018 and 2019.
These ships are known for their wide range of dining options, including waterfront outside seating, and full range of exciting activities, like the largest ropes courses at sea. These ships are a favorite of In The Loop Travel because you'll always find something unique to do and somewhere new to eat so you don't fall into a rut during your weeklong sailing. We also like that NCL typically runs a lot of promotions that allow you to get onboard at attractive prices.
And, because it's never too early to plan for that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Antarctic, Poseidon Expeditions is offering early-bird savings on cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and Falkland Islands for the 2015-16 season. Adventurers who make reservations for the voyages, ranging from 12 to 23 days, aboard 114-passenger expedition vessel Sea Spirit will save as much as 25 percent off regular rates.
You have to book by December 31, 2014 to get the savings on these journeys:
Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia, Oct. 31 to Nov. 21, 2015, 22 days
Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia, Nov. 20 to Dec. 9, 2015, 20 days
Classic Antarctica, Dec. 8 to 19, 2015, 12 days
Christmas in Antarctica, Dec. 18 to 29, 2015, 12 days
New Year in Antarctica, Dec. 28, 2015 to Jan. 8, 2016, 12 days
Classic Antarctica, Jan. 7 to 18, 2016, 12 days
Classic Antarctica, Jan. 1 to 28, 2016, 12 days
Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia, Feb. 17 to March 10, 2016, 23 days
These types of trips are pricy (starting around $8,000 per person for a 21-night cruise, for example), but with this offer, you can save $1,424 to $6,499 per person, depending on the departure date and stateroom category booked.
Thanks for reading,