Tobacco-Free Cruise

I JUST HAD to let you know Cindy Loose's article about trying to quit smoking onboard Carnival's Paradise ["Ahoy. Now Put That Out," Jan. 12] was hilarious.

Although I'm not a smoker, my husband is and I can just imagine him going through the same thing. Whenever I book our cruises, I always threaten to book the Paradise. He always threatens not to go. With all the negative issues going on in the world, it's nice to read an article that put a smile on my face.

Debbi M. Ford

McLean

I REALLY didn't learn a thing about the tobacco-free cruise. Why was it published in the Travel section? Perhaps the article should have appeared in the health or lifestyle pages of the paper. Do you really think that nonsmokers, who might be interested in booking a cruise on the Paradise, want to hear your comments about the cruise while you relate your experiences of trying to quit smoking?

What prospective cruise passengers want to hear is what the people on the cruise are like as opposed to the people who book regular cruises, what the ship's atmosphere is like, how good the food is and if the experience was more pleasant than being on a cruise with people puffing on stinky cigarettes.

Ellen Mileski

Davidsonville, Md.

Uganda vs. Kenya

I ENJOYED reading about how Uganda is a beautiful tourist destination. I don't understand, however, why it was necessary to bash Kenya in order to make the point that Uganda is a now safe place to visit.

I just returned from a wonderful visit to Kenya. It is anything but a "war torn country . . . teetered on instability." Everywhere I went in Nairobi and elsewhere, I felt welcome and safe. And it was nothing short of inspiring to witness the recent election and peaceful transfer of power to a new government.

Rob Weinzimer

Silver Spring

E-Z Going

REGARDING your item on E-ZPass [Coming and Going, Jan. 12]: Why is there no standard for automated fare collection in the United States? We're such a mobile country, and my research on the Web found more than 50 different fare collection systems.

Vince Careatti

Annandale

THANKS for the info on E-ZPass and the New Jersey $1 monthly fee, which I've found annoying. How do I cash out my current E-ZPass and then get one from Maryland?

Danny Zemel

Arlington

The item on New Jersey's monthly E-ZPass fee, which will be used to fix the tollboth system, generated intense interest. First, if you wish to exchange a pass issued by New Jersey for one issued by Maryland, express your intentions to officials at 888-288-6865, then mail the pass to the address listed on the back. To purchase a pass from Maryland, which is good in all E-ZPass states, call 888-321-6824 or go to www.ezpassmd.com.

Also, the item quoted a reader who said the passes are solar powered, but he was reciting a persistent rumor, said Annie Danelli of the Virginia Smart Tag system. Both passes are powered by lithium batteries, with an approximate shelf life of five years.

Alabama vs. Mississippi

AS A NATIVE Alabamian, I was delighted to see the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., included on your map of top events for 2003 ["And Awaaaay We Go," Jan. 5]. That delight was quickly replaced with chagrin, however, when I realized the map depicted the festival's location as being not in Alabama but Mississippi!

C. Bernard Barfoot

Alexandria

Write us: The Washington Post Travel section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071; via fax, 202-912-3609; or e-mail, travel@ washpost.com. Include your name and daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.