Overview of Smoking Policies by Cruise Line

| May 18, 2009

Hardly any single topic in our cruise forums attracts more interest than one entitled "Smoking policies on Cruise Ships."

Smoking issues on cruise ships can get very heated, and rarely do you see the opposing sides reach a meaningful point of compromise. So when the cruise lines have to create smoking policies the challenge is to try to please both sides, smoking and non-smoking passengers, at the same time. Not an easy thing to do!

This article will focus on the smoking policies of some of the major U.S.-based cruise lines, and what you can expect will happen once you actually get onboard.

First of all, there is no entirely smoke-free cruise line serving the North American market. While most cruise ships are largely smoke-free, all the cruise lines provide at least some areas for cigarette smokers, and even for pipe and cigar smokers. However, even cruise lines owned by the same parent corporations are not created equal, and some of them are far more restrictive than others.

First of all, no major cruise line permits smoking in any of the dining venues onboard, nor do they allow it in the main show lounge. The famed ocean liner, Cunard's QE2, was the last ship to have limited smoking sections in certain dining venues onboard, including the Caronia Dining Room. But with the retirement of that vessel an era ended for smoking and all dining venues on all ships today are completely smoke-free.

Other than dining rooms and show theaters the smoking policies are unique to each cruise line. We'll highlight the policies of some of the major ones as they exist in early 2009. Be forewarned, these policies can and do change at a moment's notice, and if smoking is a "hot" issue for you, you are best off checking with your cruise line prior to departure to find out the current policies for the specific ship you plan to sail.

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Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival is the cruise line that once ran the only totally smoke-free cruise ship servicing North American waters. The Carnival Paradise sailed Caribbean itineraries and smoking was entirely banned. Passengers and crew had to sign a form upon boarding signifying that they understood the rules, and the penalties for breaking them were quite severe; disembarkation at the next port of call. Unfortunately, while it was a noble experiment it didn't last long. After about two years Carnival changed the smoking policy -- some say sailings on the vessel were never very profitable. Today all of the ships in the Carnival fleet have areas where smokers are free to light up.

Today all of the ships in Carnival's fleet provide smoking areas in the casinos, most of the bars and lounges, the discos and in designated areas on the open decks including the outside dining area of the Lido cafe. Smoking is also permitted in the cabins and on balconies. Dedicated cigar bars are provided on some of the larger ships in the fleet.

Smoking is not permitted at all in many public rooms, including the library and certain lounges.

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity "made waves" a year or so ago when it instituted a fleetwide policy prohibiting smoking in cabins and on private balconies. Smoking is also prohibited in all of the lounges and bars except one where the port side of one lounge per ship is designated for smokers. The casino is pretty much smoke-free as well, with the exception of one small section of the slot machines area.

Outdoors smoking is allowed on the port side of the pool and sun decks, as well as in sections of most of the outdoor bar areas.

Pipe and cigar smokers are especially restricted on Celebrity. They can only light up in a limited number of specially designated areas on the open decks, with no indoor venues provided for them at all.

Costa Cruises Costa Cruises, based in Italy and generally appealing to a European clientele, is pretty liberal in its smoking policy. Lighting up is permitted in sections of most of the public rooms, including bars and lounges. Passengers are also free to light up in their cabins and on balconies. Smoking is allowed in designated areas on all open decks and in the casinos. Smoking is only fully prohibited in the restaurants and the show lounges.

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Continue Article >> Overview of Smoking Policies by Cruise Line (Part 2)

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