The Paradise envisioned by believers may or may not be smoke free, but the cruise ship Paradise will be. The ship, a $300 million, 2,040-passenger vessel still under construction, has already been designated smoke free more than a year before her first scheduled sailing.
Smoking will be banned not only in dining rooms, show lounges and the casino, areas where smoking is already prohibited on many cruise ships, but on open decks as well. The ban will even apply to the crew.
No other ships scheduled for delivery in the next few years are known to have adopted a total ban on smoking. Not even the two 1,750-passenger Disney Cruise Line ships scheduled for delivery next year - the Magic and the Wonder - will be entirely smoke free.
New atlas has its place: Think, for a moment, how much the political map of the world has changed in the past decade - the reunification of East and West Germany; the collapse of the Soviet Union; the birth of new nations, such as Slovakia in Europe and Eritrea in Africa; Hong Kong’s reversion to China.
Whether you’re a traveler, a student or just trying to keep up with current events, relying on a 10-year-old atlas might lead to misunderstandings.
One solution is the new “Reader’s Digest Illustrated Great World Atlas” ($40 hardcover).
With the help of new technology and Rand McNally cartographers, Reader’s Digest has created 81 large-format maps for the atlas. The 288-page volume also explores the planet’s natural history and population growth and offers concise profiles of 192 independent nations.
Israel turns 50: Next year marks Israel’s 50th anniversary. On Dec. 23, the opening ceremony for the 50th jubilee in Jerusalem will coincide with the first night of Hanukkah. The actual 50th anniversary will be observed April 30.
Before then, a 50th Anniversary Forest will be started between Arad and Beersheba in the northern Negev. The first tree will be planted on Feb. 11, the holiday of Tu b’Shevat. Throughout next year, visitors to Israel will be asked to plant trees in the forest.
At sunset on April 29, the country will begin its 50th Independence Day celebration with dancing in the streets, festivals and all-night parties. Another extravaganza follows on April 30, when a reception for visitors is also planned at the Tower of David in Jerusalem.
A list of anniversary events is available from the Israel ministry of tourism, (888) 774-7723.
Rent a castle: What could make a traveler feel like royalty more than spending a night in a castle?
Nearly 40 lodgings are described in “Castle Accommodation,” published by the British Tourist Authority.
Among the properties are Traquair House, located an hour south of Edinburgh; Culzean Castle, on a clifftop in Scotland; Ruthin Castle in North Wales; and Amberley Castle near Arundel in southern England.
Get the brochure by calling 800-462-2748.
Military women get memorial: Visitors to the nation’s capital will soon have a new monument to visit: the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, located across the Potomac River in Arlington National Cemetery.
The four-acre memorial, situated at the main gateway to the cemetery, includes 14 exhibit alcoves, a 196-seat theater, a hall of honor, and a computerized database for finding photos and military histories of registered servicewomen.
The dedication ceremony will be at noon on Oct. 18.
Information: 800-222-2294 or 703-533-1155; Web site www.wimsa.org
Mexico by brochure: Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism has published 32 brochures on the country’s tourist regions and attractions. Among destinations in the series are Cancun, Los Cabos, Oaxaca, Merida and Puerto Vallarta. Themes include crafts, golf, ecotourism, beaches, hunting and the Mayan world. For free copies, call (800) 446-3942; Web site mexico-travel.com
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