Travel news you might have missed, to help you plan your next vacation getaway —
Norwegian Cruises is expanding its smoke-free ship areas. Beginning in 2012, smoking is banned anywhere on board, except in shipboard casinos, in special cigar bars, or on your stateroom balcony. Norwegian says the new no smoking rules are in response to guest requests. So there’s to be no more smoking in stairwells or other lobby areas. There are enclosed cigar bars with special air filtering systems on board the Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Spirit for cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking. Under the new rules, guests may smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes in designated outdoor spaces and open decks. These do not include near outdoor restaurants or near the jogging track, sport complex, children’s pool and in The Haven outdoor areas.
Princess Cruises now offers Zumba exercise classes. On land, there are more than 100,000 Zumba classes held in gyms, fitness studios and even nightclubs, attracting millions of enthusiasts around the world to the high energy work-outs. At sea, Princess now offers complimentary workouts once or twice per cruise. Depending on the ship, the classes are in Club Fusion, the Piazza or the outside decks adjacent to Movies Under the Stars into a high-energy Zumba fitness party. Princess says the on-board classes have become so popular that it is training additional staff to become licensed Zumba instructors, as the program expands to all the ships in the Princess fleet.
American Safari Cruises becomes the first cruise line to offer unstructured inter-island small ship cruising in Hawaii, where the next “port” may not be a port at all. Instead, you might anchor in an inlet rich with wildlife, or a secluded sandy beach for snorkeling or kayaking. This is aboard the new 36-passenger Safari Explorer, which begins its inaugural season in Hawaii in October, 2011. There’s ample opportunity for whale watching, since two thirds of the North Pacific population migrate to Hawaii each winter for breeding, calving and nursing. Itineraries are seven- or 10-might. A few years ago, I sailed aboard an American Safari cruise in Alaska, and still savor the memories of kayaking before breakfast to play hide-and-seek with sea otters, and going on moonlight hikes. The small ship size feels more like a private yacht.