It is indeed the end of an era, albeit a rather short-lived one: Carnival Cruise Line is announcing it will reposition Carnival Paradise, the industry's only remaining all-non-smoking cruise ship, to Long Beach, where the ship will sail three- and four-night Baja Mexico itineraries. Somewhat buried in the announcement is an aside that will be a disappointment to non-smoking cruisers: "The Paradise, which has operated as a smoke-free vessel since its induction in 1998, will no longer retain that designation."
At the end of the 20th century, some nine ships afloat were offering a completely smoke-free environment. Eight of them, of course, belonged to now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. None of the new owners and operators of those vessels have opted to continue that revolutionary policy. So, since 2001, Carnival Paradise has been the only hold-out though industry sources have long noted that the lack of a follow-up -- or sister ship -- in this arena by Carnival was a pretty strong sign that the concept would ultimately disintegrate.
Carnival Paradise begins its new assignment in September.