By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We’re thinking of a cruise before Christmas and I’m a smoker. Do you know of any ship that permits smoking?

A: The trend for non-smoking is hitting some of the high seas. I came across Royal Caribbean International which currently permits smoking. However, according to a company press release the RCI has announced a new smoking policy onboard its ships effective January 2008.

“It’s in time to help guests set their New Year’s resolutions for a healthier lifestyle,” says Royal Caribbean International and adds the policy is to “bolster the cruise line’s new Vitality wellness program, recently debuted on Liberty of the Seas, the newest vessel to share the title of the world’s largest cruise ship with sister-ship, Freedom of the Seas.”

Royal Caribbean is increasing smoke-free zones by designating all staterooms and one lounge on each ship in its fleet as non-smoking areas. The new policy will go into effect aboard 18 of the line’s 21 ships initially, with Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas following suit with the 2008 summer season.

"Feedback from our guests was a driving force behind the new Vitality program and our focus on wellness," said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president of marketing for Royal Caribbean International. "Results from online polls as well as input from all of our international offices worldwide, show very strong support of the new smoking policy.

These changes reflect a more contemporary approach to healthier lifestyles and will significantly improve the cruise vacation experience for our guests." Currently, the company reports smoking is prohibited in guest hallways and corridors, restaurants, entertainment venues and most of the ship’s interior public spaces except for designated areas in bars and lounges.

The new policy will add all guest staterooms and suites, and one bar or lounge on every Royal Caribbean ship onto the roster of smoke-free spaces. Come 2008, Guests wishing to smoke may still do so from starboard outer decks in designated areas in bars and lounges, and on stateroom and suite balconies. Ashtrays are available in designated smoking areas or by request through stateroom attendants.

Violations of the smoking policy will result in cleaning charges to the guest’s onboard account and may also be addressed through the line’s Guest Conduct Policy, details of which are available both online and in all staterooms.

Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 21 ships currently in service and three under construction. The line also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand through its cruisetour division.


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