Friday, October 7, 2016

The Current and Future State of Cruise Smoking Policies

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The smoking lamp is officially out on Holland America Line balconies beginning next year, so we thought we’d see what is expected of smokers on other cruise ships as well. Aside from unpleasant drifting fumes and second-hand smoke health concerns, it’s actually surprising Holland America Line was the last big domestic brand to put a balcony ban in effect since fire is the single greatest safety threat aboard a cruise ship. In fact, corporate cousin Princess Cruises experienced a devastating fire on its Star Princess in 2006, likely started by a burning cigarette on a veranda. Generally, smoking is not allowed in staterooms and suites due to the aforementioned risk of fire, and that now extends to balconies in most cases as well. Like Holland America, Seabourn is another to only recently ban smoking on private verandas, and only Costa Cruises remains, at least in the Carnival Corporation and among other domestic lines, to permit it. Comparatively, smoking is more prevalent, including on balconies, aboard foreign brands such as Italian Costa. In the case of Holland America and most cruise lines, smoking will only be allowed in certain outdoor areas and most casinos, save for those onboard the Oosterdam and Eurodam. Smoke-free casinos are actually a growing trend in the industry as MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina and Celebrity Cruises’ and Cunard Line’s entire fleets prohibit it. Norwegian Cruise Line has battled smoking on a number of its ships where fumes drift outside the casino and into adjacent venues as it wafts through open atriums, but thankfully casino smoking areas are expected to soon be enclosed aboard Breakaway-class ships like the new Norwegian Escape to stem the proliferation once and for all. Even Holland America’s latest Koningsdam sadly suffers similar effects as casino smoke drifts down to its Music Walk entertainment district immediately below a similar atrium. Otherwise, dedicated smoking lounges exist on some ships while some nightclubs allow smoking also. Besides open-flame varieties, electronic cigarettes mostly must adhere to the same policies. Although, surprisingly Holland America and others like Seabourn and Princess Cruises permit them to be used in cabins, but as more is discovered about the safety of the new technology over time, those policies too could change. Violations are subject to cleaning fees and even ejection from the ship, so it’s important to take each individual cruise line’s policy to heart. Nonsmokers will especially appreciate adherence to the rules. Following current trends to a possible future, it’s likely smoking policies will become even more restrictive for health and safety reasons.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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