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Cruise Lines and Their Smoking/Non-Smoking Passengers

Written by: Rita

I am so heartened to read all of the feedback on last week’s entry to this blog.  That’s exactly what I want this blog to be – a two-way street with all of us expressing our feelings to each other.  Who knows?  Maybe together we can all come up with some good ideas to make our cruises better.  I do know that some of the cruise lines do have executives who read these missives.

 

I’ve read each response posted, and here’s what I seem to find.  You folks let me know what you think.

 

I think the whole issue of smoking onboard is one where there’s lots of strong feelings both pro and con.  It seems to me that about two-thirds of the responses favor smoking onboard, while one-third do not.  I think most people who are against smoking feel that way because the smoke truly bothers them, and impacts their overall shipboard vacation experience.  The folks who favor smoking onboard feel that if they could not smoke, it would detract for their cruise experience as well.

 

Is there any way to please both factions so that everyone has the shipboard experience they are looking for?

 

I think there is, and I think it is up to the cruise lines to make it so if they want to retain everyone’s business.

 

A major complaint the non-smokers seem to make is that they cannot enjoy their balconies when a smoker’s balcony is located in their general vicinity.  I can understand this complaint entirely.  Some people are truly bothered by smoke. They spend the considerable extra money to get a balcony stateroom and then have their enjoyment of that amenity destroyed by others who are smoking on balconies around them.

 

On the other hand, I would imagine that many smokers purposely book balconies because they need a place to smoke, and the balcony provides that.  Maybe they are sharing a stateroom with non-smoking friends or family, and the only place where they can light up without bothering them is on the balcony.

 

So, it would seem to me that the cruise lines are not doing their part to ensure everyone has the vacation experience they desire.  Why can’t the cruise lines simply ask the person making the booking – the travel agent, group leader, or passenger – whether they smoke or not?  Smokers will book cabins toward the back of the ship and if non-smokers choose to take one of those aft cabins, they do so knowing that there are likely to be smokers in the cabins around them.  Having a balcony at the aft of the ship would also ensure that smoke is blowing backwards and not into the faces of those non-smokers on balconies at the front of the ship.

 

Of course, this would not be a foolproof solution.  There are certainly going to be cases where all of the cabins at the rear of the ship will be booked and a smoker may have no choice but to be located in a cabin towards the front of the ship.  Also, there are some people who are adamant about wanting a certain cabin, and regardless of whether they smoke or not, are going to book that cabin.  Also, there may be some situations where someone books their cruise late and the only cabins available are in the rear of the ship, forcing them to book in “smokers’ territory.”  However, by at least making an effort to segregate the smokers, the cruise lines will do much to improve relations between them and their non-smoking fellow passengers.

 

The other major complaint I seem to read from the non-smokers is that they can’t enjoy the bar and lounge areas because of excessive smoking.  When smokers read this sort of thing, they tend to get annoyed because generally the smoking section in these venues is very small.  The non-smokers have the run of the place, and there is no reason they must sit near the small section that the smokers have to enjoy.  The smokers complain that non-smokers will often sit in or around the smoking section and then cough and wave their hands in front of their faces, in an attempt to make the smokers uncomfortable.

 

Can’t we all live together and enjoy the ship together?  I say we can, and again I place the responsibility for creating this cohesive environment squarely on the shoulders of the cruise lines.  If certain areas of the ship “stink” of cigarette smoke, then I would suggest that maybe the cruise lines need to carefully evaluate the effectiveness of their ventilation systems.  Perhaps in many cases the fault lies with a ventilation system that is not properly maintained.  There is no reason a room should “reek” of cigarette smoke – especially when smokers tend to occupy it for only relatively short periods of time (i.e., during the evening hours when that lounge is open for business.)  If the ventilation system were working properly, it would have no problem removing those odors in such a manner that they would not become at all offensive.  Add extra ventilation in the area of the venue that is open to smokers, and I’d bet the problem wouldn’t be half as bad as the non-smokers say it is now.  And, non-smokers – if cigarette smoke truly bothers you, why not settle in at a table far removed from the smoking section.  Usually the smoking sections are located near the bar area.  Most of the lounges onboard most ships have a lot of seats, with bar service, that are nowhere even close to the actual bar.

 

I know that non-smokers do make an argument that cigarette smoke is harmful even to those who are only exposed to it second-hand.  They feel that it is unfair that they have to “compromise” at all.  The ships should be 100% non-smoking because smokers have no right to “kill” non-smokers with their noxious smoking fumes.  The only question I have for these folks is why they are not boycotting the automobile industry and lobbying against them? Why are you taking all of your frustration out on smokers alone?  Believe me, you get far more noxious fumes in your lungs from vehicle exhaust than you could ever get from being exposed to 100 smokers year-round, around the clock.

 

The smoking debate will never truly be resolved – at least not as long as cigarettes are legal.  Sure, smoking is a harmful habit, but it is not the only one.  There are plenty of habits that are just as potentially dangerous – gambling, over-eating, drinking to excess, etc., etc.  And if you don’t think those bad habits affect you at all, you might want to think again.  When the habitual and careless drinker gets into his car after a night on the town, it is you who is affected if you happen to get in his way.  Through no fault of your own you could wind up with life-altering injuries in a matter of seconds.  Believe me, I know someone who is in just that sort of situation — her life hasn’t been the same since she was plowed into by a drunk driver.  Yet it seems that there is far more negative publicity about smokers than there is against these careless drinkers.

 

True, smokers can have a negative impact on the cruise experience of the non-smoker, but that impact can be greatly reduced if only the cruise lines would take some of the simple steps outlined above.  True, those steps would involve more work, more trouble and maybe even a bit more expense – however, in these troubled economic times can the cruise lines honestly afford to turn away any willing customer?  Shouldn’t they be more than happy to do whatever is necessary to create a positive cruise experience for their smoking and non-smoking passengers alike?

 

Does anyone have any additional ideas as to what the cruise lines can do to help both smokers and non-smokers alike to enjoy their cruise experiences?  I’ve come up with a few ideas here, but there are far more creative minds than mine in our CruiseMates community, so I’d really like to hear your thoughts and ideas.

 

(Note:  I will be putting up an article in the next week or so detailing the general smoking policies, as they currently stand, for each of the major cruise lines.)

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Comments

Comment from beentravelin
Time February 20, 2009 at 8:11 am

Well Rita, I’m a smoker who believes in non-smokers right to not have to breathe my smoke. I think you should not be able to smoke in your cabin or on your balcony. They should create a lounge and a spot on one open deck (preferably aft) for smokers only. If smokers can’t wait a couple of hours between cigarettes then they should probably seek professional help.

Comment from Craig
Time February 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Way to start this one off with some good judgmental door slamming.

The fact of the matter is that I, like many smokers, just enjoy smoking. While some of my smoking is no doubt addiction related, I really do enjoy it. If I couldn’t smoke on a ship, I would not enjoy myself and would absolutely not cruise.

The idea that people are concerned about 2nd hand smoke is just plain stupid. Exposure to 2nd hand smoke has no impact on one’s health unless you have prolonged exposure (measured in YEARS in the studies I found).

This reminds of the non-smoking law that was passed here in FL. The primary argument was that it was impacting the health of employees. Well… those employees (who did not ask for the law) were helped right out of their jobs here when bars started to close because their sports crowd stopped showing up. I have heard stories all over the UK from friends who tell me that the idea of the “local pub” is almost non-existent now. What a shame.

I agree that there is always an unusually high percentage of smokers on cruise ships. Smokers make up a large part of the cruising business, especially the casino business. Cruise lines should learn from many neighborhood bars that have had to close… smokers have no problem abandoning their favorite places over this issue.

Capitalism should decide how this plays out. RCI’s policies have pushed me away (Ive cruised over 10 times with them) toward NCL. My wife and I cruise at least 3 times a year and are happy to spend our money where it feels most wanted and appreciated. The free market should decide the fate of smoking on ships.

Comment from RayB
Time February 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm

It has been proven that smoking will impair ones health. Smoking is a Habit that can be curtailed. I or my loved one cannot stand to be near one who smokes.
I will move away when it bothers me.

Since it is harmful to ones health I believe the smoker should make an effort to quit.
Thats my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Comment from Rhonda
Time February 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Comment from RayB

It has been proven that smoking will impair ones health. Smoking is a Habit that can be curtailed.
Since it is harmful to ones health I believe the smoker should make an effort to quit.
Thats my opinion and I am sticking to it.

____________
My response:

- Eating red meat is harmful to ones health and you should make an effort to quit.
- Drinking alcohol is harmful to ones health and you should make an effort to quit.
- Driving a car is harmful to ones health (car accidents you know..as well as pollution from emissions) ..you should make an effort to quit.
- Drinking Caffeine is hamful to ones health, you should make an effort to quit.
- Typing on a keyboard can be harmful to ones health (carpel tunnel you know!) you should make an effort to quit.
- Listening to music too loud can cause deafness and be harmful to ones health, you should make an effort to quit.
- Staying up too late and not getting enough sleep can be harmful to ones health, you should make an effort to quit.
- Riding in a plane is harmful to ones health (plane crashes you know alogn with all the virus filled recirculated air)..you should make an effort to quit.
- Swimming in the open ocean (or any body of water) can be harmful to ones health (drowning, shark attacks you know!)…you should make an effort to quit.

That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

Comment from Craig
Time February 21, 2009 at 9:21 am

Rhonda I could not agree with you more. Somewhere along the way, smoking becaming the key point in every armchair health expert’s mantra. The funny thing is, that the rates of cancer in smokers is not that different from those who do not smoke. Some studies have even showed that smoking may even ward off some types of cancers and that smokers are less likely to develop alzheimers. Now thats not to say that smoking CAN contribue to to lung cancer. It can. I can tell you, from my own family, that both of my parents have had cancer (non-smokers), my aunt died a slow, painful death (non-smoker), my cousin died before he was 50 of lung cancer (non-smoker), my uncle died of pancreatic cancer (non-smoker) at age 48. Isn’t it interesting how people target smokers because it is easy. Just to drive the point home – My grandfather died last year as a 50+ year smoker. He was 96 (natural causes). My wife’s grandfather, another 50+ year smoker died at 95 (cancer free).

For all the self-righteous people here who go on and on about how unhealthy it is. You are fools. Smoking is down in many parts of the country by over 70% in the last 25 years and yet cancer rates (including lung cancer) continue to rise at alarming rates. The air pollution, disgusting chemicals in our food, radiation from all of the electronic devices we use in our daily lives are ALL contributors. Frankly, if you actually look at studies those factors contribute FAR more than smoking ever has to increasing odds of getting cancer.

Now, with that being said. I do respect a person’s right to dislike smoking. It smells… some people have allergies… some are just annoyed by it… I get it. However, when I go on a ship, nobody works hard to get rid of the things that annoy me. I just tend to hang out in the place where those things aren’t. For example, I can’t stand being around lots of kids. I find kids (yes, including your angel), to be obnoxious, loud, and spreaders of disease. So, I try to only go to the “adults only” pool areas, I spend a lot of time in the casino, and I enjoy the smoke-friendly bars. Why? Because I don’t expect everyone around me to cater to my every want.

Ships have separate smoking areas. If you don’t like smoke, don’t sit on the smoking side of the pool deck. Most of the ships have non-smoking tables at the casino… take advantage of it. Bars in open areas of most ships do not allow smoking… go to those bars. It all so simple it makes you wonder how many people just like to complain.

I have had 2 occasions on a ship where I was confronted about smoking. Once, I was sitting outside in a smoking area. Two old bags, who clearly saw us smoking, sat down right next to us and within 2 minutes were complaining asking US to move. I said “Kiss My A**”. “I don’t hang out on the non-smoking side of the ship and complain about not being able to smoke, you can’t come to this side and complain”. They walked away in a huff and I saw them complain to someone about me, but I never heard anything about it.

The next time was a woman with 2 children on the pool deck who took up residence on the smoking side and then proceeded to complain to everyone about how her kids have asthma and we could not smoke around her kids. A few people put their smokes out. I didn’t. I called her a selfish, horrible parent for putting her desire to tan her fat butt ahead of the health needs of her children. If she didn’t care enough about them not to pick a spot in the smoking area, why the hell would I care? Its not my problem.

As for the comment from RayB. Who are you to tell me what I should “make an effort” to do? I have a right to do as I please, no matter how unhealthy it is. I will consider listening to your babble about quitting smoking when the self-righteous do the following:
- Stop driving – Your car is far more toxic to me than smoking is.
- Switch to Solar Power – Using electricity from coal-fired plants is more toxic to me than smoking.
- Begin protesting outside of processed food manufacturers and fast food restaurants and shut them down. These things cause FAR more health issues than smoking.

Comment from Doris
Time February 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Rita, i read with interest your blog. Why don’t the cruise lines designate certian floors for smokers and certain floors for non-smokers. like every other floor for instance. or they could put the smokers on one side of the ship and the non on the other side. I for one hate to smell smoke when some one comes around me and i smell cigarette smoke i move it stinks.if smokers realized how bad they smell they would quit

Comment from Diane
Time February 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Rita, I like the idea of making one side of the ship smoking and one side non-smoking cabins. I posted on your other blog that my Husband smokes and I do not, sometimes we get a balcony and sometimes we don’t. I prefer the balcony for space and the fresh air, but sometimes it is too expensive. I have never seen my Husband smoke in an area that is non-smoking, but I have seen him smoking in the casino when we are playing the slot machines and a non-smoker still sits next to us, but complains about the smoke. I agree with you on the point that they should have better ventilation in the smoking venues too. I am glad you are going to give us the latest smoking policies, RCI used to be one of our preferred lines, but as I mentioned before their new policy is just a little too strict for us.

Comment from Nancy
Time February 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Smokers vs Non-Smokers has been an ongoing debate in Canada for years. This included (years ago) cinemas, eventually the workplace, even outside standing too close to a door. Then finally it hit the bars too. So, as a smoker, I am used to smoking outside, and I would never smoke in somebody’s house where they do not smoke. Even outside venues such as a football game one cannot smoke in the stands. I am so used to it that I don’t find it an issue.

However, with bars/restaurants, these are businesses owned by people – people who should have the right to say smoking is permissable or not. Then, it is up to the customer, and the workers, whether or not they choose to visit. That’s what ticks me off – it’s their own business! They pay taxes! If you are a non-smoker and you see outside that smoking is allowed within, then don’t go in – simple.

I am not someone who has careless disregard for others……even at a bus stop I’ll ask anyone near me if I am smoking, if it bothers them – if it did, then I’d move.

I’ve been on cruises. I’ve been alive long enough to see all the changes in smoking policies (I’m only 46 lol). I believe non-smokers have rights as well.

So, what would I do? No smoking in dining rooms, stage shows, etc. Have a smoking room well ventilated instead, or go outside – this has been going on so long surely it wouldn’t be something some person is not used to by now. It’s not like us smokers who freeze our
but(t) off (pardon the pun) to go outside to smoke in the winter (Canada, eh?).

I don’t think it is too much to ask to go to a designated area, to have smoking and non-smoking rooms (just like any hotel?).

I guess a question is………what happens to the casino – someone just can’t get up and leave for 10 minutes. The casino’s in Canada are smoke-free, but a smoker then chooses to go in there – vice-versa right? Just like the restaurants. Ahh but if you have a drink…..boy, you want a smoke lol.

We ALL pay for our vacations, we are ALL entitled to enjoy it. Smokers OR non-smokers. Sorry, it’s a fact of life. Smokers know the health risks so don’t even go there. A good person, who happens to smoke, is totally aware of their surroundings and does not want to intrude upon a non-smoker’s “air space”.

So, allow the ‘segregation’ as you say – without depriving the smoking passenger as much as a beautiful view as the non-smoker. We are BOTH paying for our vacations.

Now………..the question at hand is………. what happens on the deck, outside, around the pool(s)………. maybe segregate that too without discrimination against the smoker.

After all, WE ALL paid for our vacations.

Comment from John R
Time February 23, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I will not spend my vacation on a cruise where I could not enjoy a cig. but I do respect the ‘space’ of non smokers.
Simply have the port side, mid ship to aft balcony as smoking, and one interior mid ship bar/lounge to have a glass of wine and enjoy music, in addition to a couple of outdoor areas. The ships are big, we can certainly find a way to both enjoy vacations without any harrassment. We pay alot of taxes on this habit, lots. and we are not doing anything illegal. (I would rather get in the car with a smoker behind the wheel than with a drinker). My grandmother did not smoke, grandpa did, and all my aunts did, grandma passed away at 98 of natural causes – I think they just pick at smokers because we are an easy target. There is so many other terrible things in this world, some of the effort and energy spent on this subject could do so much good if directed at some real problems facing our world today. My last thought: No one ‘falls’ (Jumps) over the railing of a ship because they had one too many Marlboro.

Comment from Fireba11
Time March 4, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Looking forward to all the cruise lines current smoking policies! It will definitely affect who I do business with. I have to agree with the post above about letting Capitalism decide the issue of smoking. There is no reason a cruise line can’t have all smoking cruises and all non-smoking cruises considering how many times per year most cruise ships sail the same routes. Personally, as I stated in the last blog, I believe that the starboard side should be all smoking and the Port side all non smokers, that is the best way to keep peace.

Comment from tizzyloucat
Time March 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I rarely post comments to blogs but as a smoker and a cruiser, I have thoughts on this issue for sure. I’m sure second hand smoke has an effect on non-smokers – my grandmother (a nonsmoker) was married to my grandfather (a smoker) for 63 years. She died at age 98; he died at 88. I have been smoking for 45 years, do not have a smoker’s cough and can still run 9 flights of stairs without heavy breathing…

Nonsmokers were not content with confining smokers to designated areas. They are deterimined to outlaw smoking. The nonsmokers are some of the most obnoxious and inconsiderate people around. They opt to sit in the designated smoking areas and complain about the smoke.

My husband and I have been on more than 60 cruises and I have spent a lot of time searching for information about ships that allow smoking in cabins and on balconies. I have a list of those with the most restrictive policies. If I can’t smoke in the stateroom, we don’t book with that cruise line. In fact, we cancelled a cruise with Azamara (to the tune of about $8,000 for the line) because of their excessively restrictive smoking policy and I made certain they knew why we cancelled but it did not seem to matter to them. We had previously cruised with MSC 6 times and the last time we cruised with them we found out after boarding the ship that smoking was no longer permitted in the cabins. MSC was the cruise line that permitted smoking in the show lounges and in the dining rooms less than 5 years ago. Too bad about the policy change, we really enjoyed MSC! We had cruised on the Lirica 4 times and loved the ship…no more MSC cruises. We also had cruised with RCCL 10 times and with Celebrity at least 8 times. Both are history now so far as our cruising preferences. I figure if we are paying $4000+ for a cruise, as a smoker I should be able to enjoy it. If I can’t ejoy it, I’m not going to do it. The cruise lines need to think about what they are doing…Smokers tend to be drinkers and gamblers — we are the ones who spend the money. Maybe the only thing that will work is a boycott of those ships that have severely limited their smoking policies. Carnival tried a totally non-smoking ship and had to change its policies.

I would not be adverse to a “smoker’s cruise.” In fact that might be a good way to show the cruise line what smokers think of their restrictive policies. I think it would probably be a great cruise since I find most smokers to be far more outgoing and personable than nonsmokers who want to rule the world.

Port side for non smokers does not really work because the nonsmokers are not willing to keep the peace. There are very few outdoor spaces designated for smokers; however, on any given day on a cruise you can find many nonsmokers sitting at the smoking tables just daring a smoker to light up anywhere around them in the smoking section.

I don’t think there is a way to keep the peace other than having all smokers stop smoking. That is the goal you know.

Comment from lorraine
Time April 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm

we will not cruise with ships that do not allow smoking in cabins. why have so many ships said it is in line with uk law. it is banned in public places not private rooms. surely they could have a percentage of smoking cabins!

Comment from Jerbie
Time June 28, 2009 at 8:07 am

Just returned from a 12 day sailing in which I used my SmartSmokerUSA e-cigarette. The ship was smoke free with the exception of a small corner in the pool area. I was able to use the my SmartSmoker everywhere! The entire ship was amazed and the smokers were busy ordering their own SmartSmokerUSA e-cigarettes at every port stop (Internet Cafes). My husband and I were able to vape in our cabin, etc… What a difference it made for the trip! SmartSmokerUSA was so happy with the business that they have a special discount code for Cruise Ships. Use the discount code howard . I am not sure how long the code will be active. The Cruise Line’s attitude is proof that the e-cigarette is gaining acceptance in spite of the attempts to stifle it!

P.S. I used my e-cigarette during the 8 hour flight home w/o incident. Nobody seemed to notice.

Comment from John
Time July 21, 2009 at 7:04 am

Anti-smoking is not new. There were a number of ‘crusades’ earlier last century (US and Nazi Germany). They are typically led by persons of questionable mental stability. They quickly zoom beyond fact and into fear and hate-mongering deluded belief. The current ‘crusade’ is no different. It usually begins with a very, very small group of people that ‘hate’ smoke (mysocapnist), i.e., anti-smoking. These folk are typical narcissists. One of their prime delusions is fear of ‘contamination’. Unfortunately, smoke lends itself beautifully as a projection point for the narcissist’s irrational fear/hatred. Where their views are allowed to proliferate, the fear/hatred of smoke/smokers spreads to progressively larger numbers of non-smokers that initially had no problem with smoke (bandwagon effect). The shift is an entirely psychological (delusion) one that, further, promotes nocebo effects. There are now many non-smokers that have been affected (brainwashed) by the sponsored anti-smoking tirade (propaganda) that they are in a deranged ‘superiorist’ mode – hence the treatment of those that smoke as second-class citizens. Some posters above have even noted that brainwashed non-smokers will intentionally sit in smoking-permitted areas and demand that the smoking cease. This is fake superiority (bigotry) in motion.
Many current anti-smoking beliefs (propaganda), similarly as in past crusades, and contrary to popular belief, have no scientific basis (see e.g., http://www.rampant-antismoking.com). Much of the momentum of the current crusade has been provided by funding from the pharmaceutical cartel which stands to profit from the sale of essentially useless nicotine replacement products. With such considerable funding, there are now many anti-smoking groups whose singular ‘function’ is to press for further and further smoking restrictions, including on ships, regardless of fact. Sensibility is not a foundational aspect of these groups’ thinking.
If you are a smoker, or non-smoker that can see bigotry in motion in anti-smoking fanaticism, let cruise lines know that you are not doing business with them because of their restrictive smoking policies. If they do a good job of accommodating, reasonably, smokers and non-smokers, let them know, too. Let them know that treating non(really anti)-smokers as superior and smokers as inferior is plainly unacceptable.
Points of note:
There are no allergens (proteins) in tobacco smoke that can cause ‘allergic reactions’.
Tobacco smoke, like other forms of smoke (cooking, heating), was not considered a trigger for asthma until anti-smoking was allowed to take a strangle-hold on public health views and policy. Remember that smoke (tobacco, cooking, heating) was a central aspect of all households until recently. As exposure to household smoke has been declining, rates of asthma have actually increased.
Tobacco smoking was not considered an ‘addiction’ until a redefinition in 1988 as an integral aspect of the current antismoking crusade. The ‘redefinition’ was not based on any coherent thinking, but is the way of drawing tobacco-smoking into a medical ‘disease’ model.

Comment from Christopher Hendrix
Time October 6, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I completely and whole heartedly agree with John. I also fully believe that once these bigots do get their way they will move on to another “freedom” we currently have and try to take that away as well. Take for instance E-Cigarettes. E-Cigs contain NO Tar, NO Tobacco and none of the supposed bad things that tobacco smoke has, yet the FDA is seriously considering banning them based on this totally irrational fear. If society thinks this will end with smoking, they are delusional.

Comment from Carl Ball
Time December 4, 2009 at 6:53 am

Smoking on the Island Princess

Princess fails to protect non-smokers from the well-known negative health consequences of second-hand cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke.

Princess makes no effort to enforce the minimal rules they do have. If you point out a violation of the rules to the Pursers office, they will listen to you and do nothing. Security people who are supposed to enforce the rules can see people smoking in non-smoking eating areas – and not say or do anything. I understand that Princess employees don’t want to hassle customers, but letting smokers pollute the air wherever they want is grossly unfair to non-smokers.

There is so much Princess and other cruise lines could easily do to make things better – like have all smoking cabins on the Port side and all non-smoking cabins on the Starboard side; and restrict smoking in public rooms to enclosed designated areas. Celebrity and RCI have taken a step in the right direction by banning smoking in cabins and on balconies, but more is required!

P&O Cruises Australia seems to be leading the way in limiting smoking on cruise ships. Their policy is: “In the interest of our passengers’ health, safety and enjoyment during their cruising holiday, smoking is not permitted indoors, including in cabins, suites and on private balconies. This is in line with Australian standards. Outdoor smoking venues will be published in the Pacific Daily on board your cruise” (see http://www.pocruises.co.nz/AlreadyBooked/CruiseHandbook/Pages/SmokingPolicy.aspx).

The smoking policies of most cruise lines can be found at: http://www.shipdetective.com/ships/programs/smoking_policies.htm . Princess is not alone in catering to smokers and disregarding the health, safety and enjoyment of non-smokers.

Princess wants to pretend that sensitivity to tobacco smoke is just a matter of personal preference and opinion – not a real health and safety issue. You would think the Star Princess fire of March 23, 2006 would have made it abundantly clear to Princess management how dangerous smoking in cabins and on balconies is to the physical safety of passengers, crew, and the ship itself. See http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=1576 for details of the horrific fire.

Princess once told us in a letter that cruise ships were not like airplanes, and that passengers could not be expected to wait for the next Port to smoke. I would respond that smoking is completely optional, and treatment options are available for those wishing to quit smoking. Breathing fresh air is not optional; in fact, it is an absolute necessity for people with respiratory issues like Asthma, and is generally necessary for everyone’s good health – including smokers.

Princess says that smoking is prohibited in dinning areas and theaters. However, when smoking is allowed in cabins, the clothing of smokers is saturated with the stench of stale smoke that goes with them throughout the ship. The stench lingers for a long time after the smoker leaves the area. This definitely affected our enjoyment of public areas.

Some public areas are divided into smoking and non-smoking sides. This ridiculous approach results in the whole area being filled with cigarette smoke. The only effective way to control the spread of cigarette smoke in public areas is to eliminate it at the source. Otherwise, you should label the public areas as Smoking Only.

Non-smokers pay the same price as smokers for a cruise. But smokers have the power to prevent non-smokers from enjoying most of the ship’s features by the simple act of smoking and polluting the air in an area. If cruise lines were fair, they would charge non-smoking passengers substantially less because they cannot enjoy the ship as much as smokers.

Cruise ships seem to be the last refuge of smokers. Smokers think nothing about lighting-up in the presence of non-smokers. They often seem to enjoy exposing others to their second-hand smoke. Cruise line management is extremely reluctant to offend the sensibilities of smokers. They don’t seem to realize how many non-smoking customers they are loosing after each trip. According to the CDC, only 19.8 of U.S. adults smoked cigarettes in 2007. Cruise management had better start being concerned about the sensibilities of the 80% of the population that don’t smoke, if they want to remain a growing industry.

Princess management doesn’t want to know what their customers think about their smoking policy. They could easily find out by including smoking in the things they put in their evaluation questionnaire, like:

v Should smoking continue to be allowed in cabins?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed on balconies?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed in bars and lounges?
v Should smoking continue to be allowed on the Promenade Deck?
v How effective is enforcement of the Smoking Policy of this ship?
v Does allowing smoking on this ship negatively impact your enjoyment of the cruise?
v Does smoking on this ship negatively impact your health?
v Does allowing smoking on this ship cause you to be concerned about the safety of cruising?
v What could we do to reduce the impact of smoking on you?
v How important is it for you to be able to smoke on this ship?
v Should smoking be banned on this ship?

Princess could easily ask these questions if they were interested in what their customers thought about smoking. The fact that they don’t ask any smoking questions tells me how desperate they are to allow smoking in spite of their fiduciary duty to the stockholders. They don’t ask the questions because they don’t want to know the results that would probably require them to take actions to limit or band smoking. By not asking any questions, management can pretend that everything is fine, and that they are not aware of any serious problem allowing smoking causes their customers. This is folly on steroids!

Princess needs to join the rest of the civilized world and highly restrict smoking on ships so that non-smokers are not continually subjected to the stench and health impacts of second hand smoke, the potential of spending many hours/days in a life boat, or worse – cancer from second smoke or death by fire.

I personally favor an absolute ban of any type of smoking on cruise ships – with violators removed from the ship at the next Port (like they do for drug possession or use). My wife and I have decided to boycott Princess until they completely ban smoking on their cruise ships. The perks of being Platinum means nothing compared to the stench of cigarette smoke.

Comment from Martha
Time January 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

We are planning our first cruise for next spring. I am a non-smoker and my husband is a smoker. I will definately be looking at cruise lines with the least restrictive smoking policy because my husband wouldn’t go otherwise.

I still don’t understand…. how CAN cigarette smoke bother a non-smoker if you’re OUTSIDE???? Other than a person blowing smoke directly in your face.

Comment from Cor
Time March 1, 2010 at 11:44 am

Well, its quiet simple: wanna smoke free cruise, book an entirely smoke free cruise, if you wanna smoke book a ship which allows it and let the market decide where the guest is asking for based on bookingsnumbers and not on complaints. I really get fed up with people who complain to complain, being in the cruise business myself, we have found out that non smokers are complaining more, about the smallest details which has nothing to do with their “spoiled holiday experience” but simply take that lucky shot at a discount voucher, so please non-smokers read the ships policies, enjoy your holiday and leave the trouble making at home.

Comment from Nett
Time March 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I believe that smokers should have the right to smoke in designated areas and on their balconies. I also feel that where there is outside dining, there should be a smoking area to allow smokers to have a cigarette or cigar following their meal. This lack of tollerance for each other is getting out of hand. I know that its a well used argument but, put simply, some people offend me with their choice of languarge, lack of antiperspirant and often on cruises, blantant disregard for others trying to have a restful holiday. We should all just try to have a good time and be more considerate of people quirks and habits and this firmly includes smoking. Smoking does not cause people to act unreasonably, become violent or abusive and be sick or stagger around. Alcohol does. Should this be banned on cruise ships? I smoke but do not drink alcohol and find drunken people threatening and disrespectful to fellow passengers. Perhaps the alcohol issue should be addressed alongside that of the smoking one. If there was ever a threat of ”we lose the one, we lose them both”, I think you would find non smoking passengers suddenly a lot more tollerant of smoking passengers.
Ps. On my last cruise I fell over a wheelchair that had been placed near the entrance to the restaurant. Perhaps we should ban all disabled people too with their highly dangerous equpiment, and children who laugh too loud, not to mention their charriot style buggies, and women who wear too much perfume causing people to choke on the fumes………….. silly eh? Come on, we all choose to holiday together. Be more tollerant and have a flippin’ good time Stop whinging!!!

Comment from Cruiser1
Time May 14, 2010 at 3:22 am

Absolutely no cruising for me if there is a smoking ban. My cabin is my home away from home and at the very least I should be able to smoke on my own balcony. After all it is my vacation too and my drug of choice is LEGAL.
Just my opinion but all the smokers on ships seem to have more fun and enjoy themselves more so than the uptight non smoking cruiser.

What if there was an alcohol restriction? The ships would be empty! lol The bottom line is dollars not health.

Sighhhhhh….send the smokers to the back of the ship….we are treated as second class at the best of times it seems. It is almost comical.

Comment from Mary Warner
Time June 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I have sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat, I have taken the ferries up the coast. I enjoy the smell of the Pacific, the kelp, the salt air. I do not think that anyone has the right to spoil that for me. I booked myself on a cruise for the first time in my life. I know that the ventilation systems are not good. Anyway, I was so excited about booking this cruise with a friend, that I forgot about the smoking issue. Now, I will probably forefit the payment which is substantial, so that my friend can go and still have the cabin that we were going to share. It makes me really depressed that anyone could consider that people must tolerate smoking at sea. Even the fact that cigarette butts are thrown in the ocean and that they do kill birds and sea animals. Anyway, I just wanted to vent. Now I do not want to go on my cruise and it makes me sad.

Comment from Krunch
Time December 24, 2010 at 10:33 am

First, kudos to both Rhonda and Craig above who IMHO made some of the BEST arguments, and they were very fair.

To the “Hardcore” non-smoking activists I offer this…

Take a trip to your perfect world where no one smokes anymore. Where your cruise AND your country are smoke free. Where the price of your cruise AND your taxes back on land all go through the roof because the money generated by smokers, and the taxes that governments collected from it is now all gone. Is there a price for having your world smoke free? Absolutely. The question is, will YOU pay for it?

Another suggestion to the “Hardcore” non-smokers. I live in Canada, I work in Healthcare, and I am a smoker. I am not allowed to even smoke on hospital property! Smoking laws are always evolving, and then all of a sudden, similar complaints arrise from new sources of “Pollutants” and THOSE are also included in the smoking laws. Up to this point (unless I missed it) I haven’t read any mention of FRAGRANCES. Come to a Canadian hospital and see what non-smoking laws evenually evolve into. My workplace is smoke and FRAGRANCE free! If you ever get smoking banned, expect to have your favorite perfume, cologne, or flowers banned shortly after because in most Canadian hospitals, they already are. This is the reality of where non-smoking laws go, and I already work in that environment.

Denis Leary I believe said it best MANY years ago…

“Well you know. Smoking takes ten years off your life.” Well it’s the ten worst years, isn’t it folks? It’s the ones at the end! It’s the wheelchair kidney dialysis years. You can have those years! We don’t want ‘em!”

Comment from Sig
Time June 7, 2012 at 2:30 am

I’m a long time smoker too and have experienced much of the above.
I did a cruise as a non-smoker a few years ago.
I didn’t meet: the kindest, most generous, completely interesting and interested people ever.

Carnival Triumph was the biggest come and go group ever and I have very fond memories of those people and all they had to share. We could go to that spot anytime of the day or night and at least one of the gang would be there. Dear Pat, had quit smoking before that cruise but bought cigs just for the cruise. On disembarkation day she found me and gave me her remaining cigs and a big good-bye hug! Another dear, sweet man, Gene, bummed a few cigs a day from rotating donors.
The people I meet and the conversations we share, and have even shared some on-shore activities; are a very important part of my cruise experience.
Granted, it’s not a healthy habit; but neither is snobbery, or any other self-absorbed attitude.
I’m glad for the designated smoking and non-smoking areas. Everyone gets to choose for themselves.
Repeat: everyone gets to choose for themselves and not impose on others. I think the cruiselines have handled the situation well.

Comment from Mary
Time August 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Rita,
I couldn’t agree with you more. We would never “subject” others to our smoke, but we WILL smoke outdoors on our balcony. Any ideas (in 2012 ) where we can cruise and smoke in private on our balcony??!!

Comment from Mary
Time August 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Anyone who has current exprience, PLEASE respond. We love to cruise and are not HEAVY smokers. Use personal email…would love to hear from you!
M-

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