Smoking is something that has come under deep scrutiny all over the United States in recent years, and many jurisdictions have banned it in public places like restaurants and bars. However, what happens when you set out to see on a cruise? Can you smoke, or will you need to leave your cigarettes at home? Obviously, you can’t just step off a cruise ship to have a cigarette, so this is a serious concern for smokers.
Thankfully, most cruise lines do allow smoking at least in limited areas on board. Because they don’t want to lose the revenue they would generate from smokers, they have designated specific areas of their ships for the purpose of smoking. The issue here is that they don’t want to alienate their non-smoking guests by allowing it everywhere, but they want to provide the option.
Where Can’t You Smoke on a Cruise?
The most common area where smoking is not allowed aboard the ship will be anywhere that children like to congregate. Family cruises are intended to protect everyone’s interests, so restaurants and indoor activities where children might be present will probably have no-smoking signs posted everywhere. However, adults-only areas such as bars will most likely allow smoking.
Additionally, as mentioned above, most cruises don’t allow smoking in cabins and on private balconies, and if you break the rules, you will likely be charged a hefty fee for cleaning. The reason for this is that cabins are often difficult to ventilate on a cruise ship, which means that future guests might be bothered by the residual smell of smoke.
What About Cigars and Pipes
In most cases, smokers of all types will be treated the exact same way, and will have the same opportunities to enjoy their habits. The one major exception is for cigar smokers who choose cruises where cigar rooms exist, in which case they will be able to smoke there, but pipe and cigarette smokers will not. A cigar room is an area of the ship dedicated to the storage, sale and enjoyment of cigars.
In fact, many cruise lines have ships with humidors on board, as cigars can become a healthy source of revenue for the company.
Balconies: Considerate smokers who want to least offend their neighbors should look at getting a balconied stateroom as far aft as possible since the smoke tends to drift back while the ship is underway. Conversely, sensitive non-smokers should look at booking their verandahs as far forward as possible, for the same reason. If that isn’t possible, non-smokers need to adjust their balcony-use schedule or just tolerate the smoke.
Public Spaces: Most ships have designated smoking areas, usually on one side or another of the ship. If smoking is permitted on deck on the port side, that’s where smokers should go to light up and where non-smokers should avoid sitting. You’d think that’s pretty basic, but many a fight has started over cigarette smoke because one side or another is in the “wrong” space.
It’s important to note that shipboard personnel cannot change policy. For example, they cannot and will not ask someone to stop smoking on that person’s balcony (except on cruise lines where it’s prohibited), but they can and will ask someone to move to a smoking area if that person is in one that is clearly non-smoking. Avoid confrontation; let the ship’s personnel handle the asking.
And now, on to our line-by-line roundup of policies (policies are ambiguous with regard to cigar or pipe smoking except where noted):
Azamara Club Cruises
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted in the port side aft section of the Looking Glass Lounge and the starboard forward section of the pool deck.
Where You Can’t: The rest of the ship is completely non-smoking, including all cabins and balconies.
Where You Can Smoke: Cigarette smoking in public venues is only permitted in Carnival’s dance clubs as well as in designated areas within the casino and casino bar. Smoking (including cigars) is permitted in designated exterior open deck areas (starboard side) of all ships. Additionally, smoking is allowed in the jazz clubs of the following ships: Carnival Destiny, Carnival Triumph, Carnival Victory, Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend, Carnival Miracle, Carnival Conquest, Carnival Glory, Carnival Valor, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom, and Carnival Splendor.
Where You Can’t: Everywhere but above enumerated spaces are non-smoking, including the dining room and most public rooms.
Smoking is prohibited in all cabins. Passengers in balcony accommodations are permitted to smoke cigarettes and cigars outside on the balcony. Spa cabins — currently featured on Carnival Splendor, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic — are entirely smoke-free, including on the balconies.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar smoking is permitted in the jazz clubs.
Where You Can Smoke: Cigarette smoking is only permitted in designated indoor and outdoor areas. Examples include the port side of the pool deck and sundecks on each ship; the port side of the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Century and on Celebrity’s Millennium class of ships.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited in cabins and on balconies. Also, smoking is not permitted in any dining venue, casino, theater, hallway, elevator or corridor. On Celebrity’s new Solstice, the Lawn Club and the Sunset Bar at the Lawn Club will not allow smoking.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar and pipe smoking is allowed only in specially designated sections of the open decks.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted on the open decks, and in designated smoking areas in most public rooms.
Where You Can’t: All restaurants and show lounges are non-smoking. Smoking is cabins an on balconies is also prohibited.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted in cabins, on open decks, and in designated smoking areas in most bars and lounges.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited on verandahs of all cabins and suites aboard. As well, all dining venues, including the Crystal Dining Room, Bistro, Lido Cafe and alternative restaurants, are non-smoking, as is the Galaxy Lounge (the main show lounge).
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar and pipe smoking is permitted either in the Connoisseur Club or on the open decks (except for Lido Deck).
Where You Can Smoke: As of April 27, 2012, for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, and March 24, 2012 for Queen Victoria, smoking is only permitted on cabin balconies, designated areas on the open decks, and certain bars and lounges.
The sole actual change in policy is the prohibition of in-cabin smoking.
Where You Can’t: As of the above dates, smoking is not permitted in cabins, any public area with the exception of Churchill’s Cigar Lounge (cigars and pipes only), designated areas on the open decks, and the upper level of the G32 nightclub on Queen Mary 2. Smoking is also prohibited in the Casino Bar as well as the entire Casino area. The obvious — elevators, theaters, the library, restaurants — are likewise non-smoking spaces.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar and pipe smoking is permitted in Churchill’s Cigar Lounge aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted on the starboard side of all open decks (except near Mickey’s Pool) and cabin balconies.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited in all indoor areas, including cabins.
Holland America Line
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted on open decks and in designated areas in most public spaces.
Where You Can’t: All restaurants are non-smoking, as is the show lounge during performances. HAL’s smoking policy designates cabins as non-smoking areas. Smoking is still, however, permitted on cabin balconies.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is only allowed indoors in the cigar rooms, the casinos and one dedicated lounge, and outdoors on one side of the sun deck.
Where You Can’t: Each MSC ship is now 90 percent smoke-free. Smoking is prohibited in dining rooms, theaters and cabins (including cabin balconies).
Norwegian Cruise Line
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted in designated areas on open decks, in casinos and in cigar bars. Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Spirit have cigar bars. Update: Norwegian Cruise Line will institute changes to its smoking policy for all sailings on or after November 14 2014. The specific changes prohibit smoking on stateroom balconies and limit smoking in the casino to players. On Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, smoking on The Waterfront will be permitted on the starboard side, except by the outdoor dining areas.
Where You Can’t: All indoor public areas except casinos and cigar bars are non-smoking. Smoking is also prohibited in cabins. Cigarette smoking is still allowed on balconies until November 14 2014
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted only in the aft port side of Horizons, and the starboard forward section of the outdoor Pool Deck.
Where You Can’t: All other areas are smoke-free. This includes all cabins and balconies, restaurants, public rooms and open decks except for the two designated smoking areas.
P & O Cruises
Where You Can Smoke: Passengers who wish to light up can smoke on stateroom balconies and on certain open decks.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public areas and in the cabins.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted in the Churchill’s cigar lounge, a section of the disco and casino, and a portion of the open decks.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited in show lounges, elevators, dining rooms and all food service areas. Princess also prohibits smoking in cabins and balconies across its fleet.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar and pipe smoking is permitted only on the open decks.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Where You Can Smoke: RSSC allows smoking on open decks, in casinos and at all pool bars. Smoking is also permitted in the Connoisseur Club on Seven Seas Mariner, Navigator and Voyager, and in designated smoking areas in lounges on each ship.
Where You Can’t: RSSC does not allow smoking in suites, staterooms or on private balconies. Smoking is also not permitted in any enclosed dining areas.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar smoking is permitted in the Connoisseur Club on Seven Seas Mariner, Navigator and Voyager, and in the designated area of the pool bar on those three ships. Pipe smoking is permitted only in the Connoisseur Club on Mariner, Navigator and Voyager, and is prohibited in open deck areas and on all other ships.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted only on cabin balconies, on the starboard side of open decks and in the designated smoking areas of public rooms.
Where You Can’t: Smoking is prohibited in all cabins and in one public room on each ship. In addition, as always, dining areas and show lounges will be non-smoking, along with the port side of open decks.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Where You Can Smoke: Cigarette smoking is permitted in suites and balconies, and, depending on ship, on one side of Observation Bar/Lounge (except during coffee and tea service hours), one side of the Sky Bar (except during Sky Grill food service on Seabourn Pride, Spirit & Legend) and one side of Seabourn Square Terrace and Club Terrace.
Where You Can’t: Most public areas are smoke-free.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Passengers are prohibited from smoking pipes and cigars anywhere inside the ship, including in suites and on balconies. Cigar and pipe smoking is permitted only on open decks (Seabourn Pride, Spirit & Legend) and only on the starboard side deck area of Seabourn Square Terrace on Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest.
Where You Can Smoke: Smoking is permitted in specifically designated tables in some bars and lounges and specifically designated outside areas on the open deck. Cigarette smoking is also permitted in cabins. Starting January 1, 2013, smoking will only be allowed in the Connoisseur’s Corner, the cigar and cognac bar found on all Silversea ships, and specifically designated areas on open decks.
Where You Can’t: Cabin balconies, The Restaurant, indoors at the Terrace Cafe, Saletta, the Show Lounge, Card/Conference Room, Library, Spa/Fitness Centre, Internet Point and Gift Shops/Boutiques are smoke-free. Starting January 1, 2013, passengers will no longer be permitted to smoke in their cabins.
Cigar and Pipe Smoking: Cigar and pipe smoking are only permitted in the Connoisseur’s Corner and in specifically designated outside areas on open Decks 9 and 10 aboard Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit, and open Deck 9 aboard Silver Cloud and Silver Wind.
To find out more about all cruise lines and smoking, including electronic cigarettes please visit our friends at CruiseCritic.com.
Starting next spring, passengers aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria will be prohibited from smoking in cabins, on balconies and in any public areas apart from the Churchill Cigar Lounge, designated areas on open decks, and the upper level of the G32 nightclub on Queen Mary 2.
MSC is 90 percent smoke-free, according to CruiseCritic, with smoking “prohibited in dining rooms, theaters and cabins (including cabin balconies).” Designated areas include the cigar room, casinos, one designated lounge and one side of the sun deck.
Similarlly, Seabourn has prohibited smoking from balconies in all category B suites on Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. But passengers staying in suites on Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest are permitted to smoke from cabin balconies.
In August, Disney Cruise Line announced it would ban smoking from all of its ships’ balconies, including electronic cigarettes.
“From time to time, we make adjustments to our operation based upon guest feedback,” confirmed a disney representative. “Effective November 15, 2013, guests will no longer be permitted to smoke on stateroom verandahs. Portions of open-air decks on each ship are designated as smoking areas in an effort to provide a cruise experience that satisfies both our non-smoking and smoking guests.”
Royal Caribbean followed suit with a balcony smoking ban last week that will go into effect in the new year. Those found in violation could face up to $250 in fines. The ban will be enforced on all ships except those traveling through Asia. In the meantime, passengers who prefer to light up can still do so inside of ship casinos and select Connoisseur Clubs on RCI ships.
Celebrity Cruises also prohibits smoking on verandas, including electronic cigarettes, and restricts lighting up to designated areas of the ship.
But smokers looking for a more permissive environment can still find them. Carnival Cruise Lines, for one, still permits smoking from stateroom balconies except for spa cabins. One can also partake inside of Carnival dance clubs and jazz bars on various vessels.
For specific questions regarding rules and restrictions, travelers should always contact cruise staff.