Cruise lines take a very deep breath Smokeless: Cruise companies introduce smoke-free interiors, a smoke-free ship and even a smoke-free line.

October 05, 1997|By Arline Bleecker | Arline Bleecker,ORLANDO SENTINEL

Recently a number of cruise lines, big and small, announced that smokers are not welcome. In fact, they have introduced not only smoke-free interiors and a smoke-free ship but also an entirely smoke-free cruise line.

For years, smokers have been consigned to the hinterlands, restricted to smoking only on designated sections on ships, most commonly bars, staterooms and outer decks.

Clipper Cruise Line may have been the first to outlaw smoking altogether inside a ship. Last November, Clipper announced that, though passengers may smoke on the outer decks, smoking no longer would be permitted in any interior areas of its 100-passenger ships.

And last month, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it is building the first smoke-free ship. When the Paradise debuts in the fall of 1998, it will be the world's first smoke-free cruise ship.

Neither passengers nor crew will be permitted to smoke anywhere on the 2,040 passenger, 70-000-ton vessel -- including its open decks. The line also announced that even shipyard workers building the Paradise will not smoke anywhere on the ship during its construction.

There's a smoke-free cruise line in the wind, too. In August, Renaissance Cruises confirmed plans to designate its four new R Series ships as entirely nonsmoking; it is the first cruise line to plan and designate its entire fleet as such. The first in this series of nonsmoking, 684-passenger ships, the R1, will begin sailing in August 1998.

Other ships also provide safe havens for nonsmokers. In 1994, Norwegian Cruise Line established not just nonsmoking dining rooms on ships with two or more dining rooms but also set aside 50 percent of the cabins on all its ships for nonsmokers, a move many lines might like to emulate but consider impractical from an inventory standpoint.

Nevertheless, on just about every ship, designated smoking areas are becoming smaller, said Mimi Weisband of Crystal Cruises. And lines such as Crystal take care to eliminate smoky odors from rooms occupied by smokers. Unlike hotels, where guests check in and out quickly, embarking cruise passengers usually don't enter a cabin for many hours after it has been vacated. Rooms are given plenty of time to air out and are treated to rid them of odors, Weisband said.

Those who still wish to smoke can light up with impunity on Holland America and Celebrity cruise lines, which are among several lines that cater to smokers with opulently appointed cigar-smoking lounges.

Carnival will begin taking reservations later this fall for Paradise's alternating seven-day eastern and western Caribbean sailings from Miami. For more information, call 1-800-327-9501.

Renaissance's smoke-free fleet will sail in the Mediterranean and Tahiti, marketed exclusively to American cruisers. For more information, call 1-800-525-5350.

Pub Date: 10/05/97

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