The readers of Conde Nast Traveler voted Regent Seven Seas the “Best Small-Ship Cruise Line.” for 2007. We’re partial to Regent ourselves, so we thought we’d let you know.

Another cruise line we love, Crystal, was voted “Best Large-Ship Cruise Line” for the 14th year in a row!Š

Peter Deilmann Cruises is expanding the no-smoking restrictions on its European river fleet to include all areas inside the vessels beginning in 2008. The policy will become effective at the start of the river cruise season in March 2008. Deilmann, which operates a fleet of nine river vessels, first extended the smoke-free areas on its ships in 2005 to include all cabins and corridors along with its no-smoking policy in the restaurants. Now smoking will only be permitted on the open decks.

According to Daily Cruise News, “reports in from Costa Maya show that over 50% of the infrastructure in Costa Maya, including the pier, have had significant damage as a result of Hurricane Dean. Early estimates are that the port will remain closed up to 8 months, and will re-open sometime in mid 2008.

“Scheduled calls at Costa Maya during this time will be canceled, and the individual cruise lines will have to revamp those affected itineraries with either another port of call, or a day at sea.”

Much of the Caribbean “dodged a big bullet, named Dean, when the hurricane went a little south of its original track. It had been on a course that would have taken it directly over Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel/Cancun”

Luckily, as strong as Dean was, there have been very few reports of loss of life.

This web site – – provides historical information about which airports have the most delays and what times are the worst times to fly.  I learned about this on the Perrin Post at Conde Naste traveler.  I also learned from that blog that “European hotel managers rated Americans their second-favorite customers, after the Japanese. Not surprisingly, we’re also considered the best tippers and the worst dressers.”

According to Travel Weekly, “smoking will be prohibited in all cabins and one lounge on each ship in the Royal Caribbean International fleet beginning in January. The new smoking policy will go into effect on 18 of the line’s 21 ships initially, and then be added to the Legend of the Seas, the Rhapsody of the Seas and the Splendour of the Seas in summer 2008. Smoking will still be permitted on cabin balconies. The company said that the changes reflect a more contemporary approach to healthier lifestyles.”

In my opinion, this is just lip service.  If people can still smoke on their balconies, then that means I have to breathe it when I’m out on my balcony.  And if all the lounges but one are smoky, that’s not a real healthy ship.

Holland America Line is going to begin offering “As You Wish” dining policies for its passengers. Starting now with the Noordam, passengers can choose between traditional pre-set dining arrangements (with early and main seatings) or flexible service between 5:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. each day. Holland America’s entire fleet will adopt the new rules by the end of 2008. Passengers will need to specify their preferences when booking their cruise. If they pick flexible seating, they can make reservations during the cruise until 4 p.m. daily or simply walk in during dining hours for the first available seating. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Regent Seven Seas has updated their smoking policy and, effective December 2007, smoking will be prohibited in all suites, staterooms and balconies fleet-wide.  This change will take effect on the following dates:

  • Seven Seas Voyager: December 21, 2007

  • Seven Seas Mariner: December 21, 2007

  • Seven Seas Navigator: December 27, 2007

  • Paul Gauguin: December 29, 2007

From USA Today: The Toronto Star/Bloomberg News writes JetBlue “will detail plans by year’s end to let passengers send free e-mail or text messages from wireless handheld devices. No U.S. airline (currently) offers such a service. New York-based JetBlue is developing the technology through its LiveTV subsidiary, spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said in an interview.” Devin says: “We think that is what customers want. They have told us in no uncertain terms that they do not want cellphone usage allowed onboard. So we’re looking at silent options.” However, there currently are no plans for wireless Internet access, Dervin says.

Comfort Suites have now joined Marriott, Westin, Sandals and Beaches in becoming smoke-free.  They are marketing this as “Breathing Room — our new smoke-free program that places us among the first hotel brands to go completely smoke free. In fact, we’ve deep cleaned all of our rooms and common areas to help ensure our guests have the fresh air they want. So now you can breathe easy in every inch of the hotel.”

Don’t confuse Comfort Suites with Comfort Inns. They’re run by the same company, Choice International, but it is only the Comfort Suites that have gone smoke-free.

Carnival has reconsidered their recent policy change and will now allow passengers to bring limited quantities of nonalcoholic beverages aboard. Here is their new onboard beverage policy:

“Guests are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages onboard. However, wine enthusiasts may bring fine wine and champagne onboard during embarkation at the beginning of the cruise. A $10 corkage fee per bottle will be charged should you wish to consume this wine in the dining room or a $14 corkage fee per bottle in the Supper Club. Guests may bring small quantities of nonalcoholic beverages. All liquor, excessive quantities of wine and non-alcoholic beverages, to be determined at the discretion of security and embarkation personnel, will be confiscated and discarded without compensation. Alcoholic beverages will not be sold or served to anyone under the age of 21. We reserve the right to refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone. Alcoholic beverages purchased in the ship’s gift shops or in the ports of call will be retained by Carnival until the end of the voyage.”

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