Berlitz Publishing’s Cruise Expert Provides Insights for Passengers…

After Last Week’s Ship Blaze Allegedly Caused by One Cigarette

NEW YORK, March 29 /PRNewswire/ — Douglas Ward, author of Berlitz Publishing’s “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006,” now in its 21st year of publication, commented that now may be the time for cruise lines to begin the elimination of smoking in cabins, restricting smokers to designated public areas and ship’s decks.

His comment came after a fire apparently was ignited by a cigarette aboard a ship, carrying approximately 2,689 passengers and 1,123 crew members last Thursday during a Caribbean trip. As a result, one passenger died (of cardiac arrest, probably not as a direct result of the fire), 11 people suffered from smoke inhalation, and it is estimated that 100-150 cabins endured fire or water damage.

Ward says, “Carnival Cruise Lines had one ship, Paradise, which was non- smoking, while the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises was a totally non-smoking cruise line. Perhaps it’s time to consider banning smoking in cruise ship cabins, and to allow smoking only on outside decks (but not cabin balconies). However, this would undoubtedly upset the many smokers that take cruises. In the days of ocean liner travel, special smoking lounges were the place to see and be seen, but today’s ships are different, and infinitely more complicated.”

He continues, “It is unfortunate that, because of the actions of just one cigarette accident, the vacations of 2,689 passengers were terminated, not to mention the difficulties they must have faced while the fire was in progress. I am, however, delighted that the situation was brought under control with the ship’s own safety systems, procedures, and the efforts of the crew without any significant loss of life.”

Mr. Ward lauds the crew aboard Star Princess that put out the fire by themselves. He says, “Although the ship was near Montego Bay, it is reported that Montego Bay’s only fireboat was in dry dock!”

Throughout the Berlitz “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2006,” Ward comments on ships with a heavy percentage of passengers who smoke. This book delivers detailed analyses and ratings for 269 cruise ships on today’s seas with dispassionate and clever information. It’s renowned as the most established and comprehensive resource on cruising and is a “must buy” for anyone considering a cruise. To find out where to purchase, contact: Berlitz Publishing: 800-432-3294 or visit http://www.berlitzbooks.com/.

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