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Regent Seven Seas Cruises to Offer Free Wi-Fi

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Free, reliable Wi-Fi is becoming standard practice at many hotels—but not so for cruise lines, where passengers are expected to pay for the service. In a sign of good things to come for the industry, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will now offer free Internet access in all public spaces and suites for voyages setting sail after January 1, 2015.

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Money-Saving Cruise Tips Video

When it comes to saving money on a cruise, timing is everything. Here are three tips from our Travel + Leisure Quick Tips video series.

Tip 1: Plan ahead.

You always want to plan in advance. Cruise lines release early booking discounts up to a year in advance, and they may be as deep as 20 percent off.

Watch more Travel + Leisure Quick Tips videos here.

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New Small-Ship Cruise Line Launches

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Last month marked the debut voyage of Pearl Seas Cruises, a new small-ship luxury operator that’s offering itineraries through the Canadian Maritimes, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway, with Caribbean journeys starting in 2015. A sister company to American Cruise Lines, it currently has one vessel: the 335-foot-long, 210-passenger Pearl Mist, complete with six decks and a balcony on each of the 108 cabins. (There are plans to add another ship in the future.)

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Carnival Cruise Lines to Ban Balcony Smoking

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The "fun ships" are becoming healthier too: Carnival Cruise Lines announced this week that, starting October 9th, it will ban smoking on stateroom balconies, joining an ever growing fleet of companies restricting where guests can light up.

Cigarettes will still be permitted in designated areas—such as certain nightclubs, casino areas, and several outdoor decks.  Why the new restriction? According to Carnival’s official statement, the shift comes in response to the “preferences of a majority of our guests.” It also brings Carnival in line with its sister companies Cunard and P&O, which updated their policies last August. Other brands owned by the Carnival Corporation, such as Seabourn and Holland America, still permit balcony smoking.

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Daily Transporter: One Cruise to Rule Them All

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If you book a Royal Caribbean cruise in early December, don’t be surprised to see capes, pointed ears, and furry feet on some of your fellow passengers. Trilo3y Voyages, with the blessing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s family, is planning the first in a series of cruises for fans of the author’s works, including The Lord of the Rings. Onboard activities will include a cosplay competition and masquerade gala.

See World’s Strangest Conventions

Editor’s Picks: Cruise Vacation Ideas
T+L’s Guide to Cruising 2014
Great All-Inclusive Cruises
Great Adventure Cruises

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Cruise Protests in Venice

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In March, a ban forbidding the largest cruise ships from entering Venice, was lifted leading to renewed protests by concerned citizens and scientists who claim that the mega ships erode the city’s delicate waterways and ecosystem.

See Venice in World’s Most Beautiful Canal Cities

Editor’s Picks: Venice
The Foodie’s Travel Bucket List
World’s Coolest Staircases
World’s Top Affordable Hotels

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Cruise Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, May 27

Whether you're a cruise novice or expert, join our Cruise Travel Twitter chat this Tuesday, May 27th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. We'll be asking experts about emerging cruise destinations, ship trends, and even industry misconceptions. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!

The Host:

T+L Senior Editor, Jacqueline Gifford, @jacquigiff

The Panelists:

Cruise Critic, @CruiseCritic

Celebrity Cruise, @CelebrityCruise

The Avid Cruiser, @avidcruiser

Stewart Chiron, @CruiseGuy

Belmond, @belmond

Viking Cruises, @VikingRiver

Uniworld Cruises, @UniworldCruises 

Seabourn Cruise, @SeabournCruise 

CLIA, @CruiseFacts

Princess Cruises, @PrincessCruises

Porthole Magazine, @PortholeCruise

Silversea, @Silversea

Royal Caribbean, @RoyalCaribbean

Cruise Maven, @CruiseMaven

Chris Owen, @OrlandoChris

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.

2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.

3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.

4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own! 

All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

News Update: Royal Caribbean, Up for Auction in Italy, and John Muir Way

Our latest video travel round-up includes Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas; an Italian island goes up for auction; and honoring naturalist John Muir with his own walking trail, in Scotland.

Cruise News: Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is taking an (ahem) quantum leap with its culinary offerings, as revealed at their glittery event in New York last night. When 4,180-guest Quantum of the Seas launches this fall, you’ll notice some sweeping changes onboard. For starters? They’re doing away with the main dining room, replacing it with a collection of complimentary full-service restaurants, from American Icon Grill (creamy New England clam chowder; sugar-dusted New Orleans beignets) to The Grande, a “nod to a bygone era” where you’ll find lobster on the menu every single night.

To kick their specialty restaurants up a notch, Royal Caribbean is bringing the work of star chefs to the table: Jamie Oliver and James Beard Award-winner Michael Schwartz, both of whom have restaurants on board. As Schwartz said: “The secret to good food is good food. Right?” Right. And one of the secrets to a good cruise is good food, too.

Sir Richard Branson Embarks on New Virgin Cruise Venture

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Virgin Group founder Richard Branson—the knight best known for his planes, trains, and spaceships—is turning his sights to the cruise industry.

Branson recently told The National he has been interested in launching his own cruise company since he was in his twenties. Now 63, he’s seeking $1.7 billion to finally develop a premier fleet of Virgin liners.

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