Should smoking be banned on all cabin balconies?

Should smoking be banned on all cabin balconies?

Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises are the latest cruise lines to announce enhanced smoking bans. It seems non-smokers are winning the battle to make ships more smoke-free.

The cruise lines say they are just following what customers are telling them.

A Cruise Critic survey of 500 cruisers, released last week, shows that more than half (54 percent) want smoking banned from cabin balconies and 24 percent think smoking should be banned everywhere on cruise ships.

In the latest round of changes, Royal Caribbean said it would ban smoking on cabin balconies (except on cruises in Asia) beginning January 1.

Anyone who has ever experienced being on a balcony next to a chain smoker can probably appreciate the need for such a ban. Wafting smoke tends to distract from the delight of ocean views.

MSC said it would expand its smoke-free policy on MSC Divina, in order to please the North American market – the ship will cruise year-round from Miami beginning in November.

Smoking will be limited on MSC Divina to two places: the Cigar Lounge and designated areas on outside decks. At the discretion of the casino manager, smoking may also occasionally be allowed for playing guests (presumably high-rollers).

Cunard and Disney also have expanded bans, soon to take effect, that include cabin balconies. A new Seabourn policy will ban smoking in the all-suite lines suites and most balconies.

The only cruise lines that still allow smoking on the majority of cabin balconies, though not in cabins, are Norwegian and Carnival. When contacted by Porthole, both lines said they had no immediate plans to change their policy.

Carnival’s blogger John Heald, a cigar smoker, has his own take on why the line’s management is reluctant to make a change.

“The answer to me is that if a family or a group books a cruise and just one person smokes, Carnival will not be a vacation choice. They will end up going to places where you can smoke like ummm… mmmmm… Moscow or Chad,” Heald writes. “Smoking is only allowed in a few select areas and most of our ships are smoke-free but there is still choice and, that, I think is maybe what the beards are thinking.”