It's interesting that the author refers to the Terms and Conditions of travel (twice), because they contain no mention of e-cigs at all.
Now, I don't know about you, but 'smoking' - as I understand it - involves tobacco and, you know, smoke.
But to reciprocate, I can see where Ms Visser is "coming from" too, as P&O Ferries can make up whatever rules they like as a private business. However, our intrepid traveller pointed out that the Terms and Conditions did not prohibit e-cigs but was told that it was "going to be in them", not that it already was.
I'm sure you don't need me to remind you that e-cigs are not illegal, and the Health Act 2006 does not ban their use, erm, anywhere.
On the other hand, under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, P&O Ferries do have some obligations to their travellers if they offer travel and accommodation for over 24 hours. P&O mini-cruises perform exactly that function as the cabin is booked for the duration.
Under these regulations, P&O have no right to refuse return travel if the use of e-cigs is not prohibited in their stated terms and conditions. The rules are very clear about this.
9. (1) The other party to the contract shall ensure that:
(b) all the terms of the contract are set out in writing or such other form as is comprehensible and accessible to the consumer and are communicated to the consumer before the contract is made; and
(c) a written copy of these terms is supplied to the consumer.
This was satisfied, as the copy of T&Cs above proves. Therefore, refusal to abide by the contract (that is, return travel) is a breach of the law and punishable by damages unless the change in terms was communicated to the consumer before travel so that they could decide if they wished to proceed or ask for a refund. That not being satisfied, P&O were obliged to supply an alternative return carrier at their own expense.
So the cruisers were breaking no law, but P&O were. Interesting, huh?
Of course, these particular vapers - including a disabled passenger who was being ordered to the smoking areas on the outer decks with the rest - could have had this argument with the On Board Services Manager, but she would have probably looked blankly at them while her brain screamed "does not compute!".
Neanderthal companies like this will one day be brought knuckle-dragging and braying into the 21st century but, for now, it might be best for the one million UK vapers to consider P&O's ignorant and unenlightened attitude, and simply not use them.
H/T Mr W's 'first mate'