The 'Fish Tank,' a place for smokers on Seven Seas Explorer

Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

ONBOARD SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER — On deck plans, it’s officially designated the “smoking area” but its denizens call it the “Fish Tank.”

It’s a circular space about 15 feet in diameter on the starboard side of the pool deck where smokers can go to light up.

Most cruise ships reserve such a space for smoking. But on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new ship, the area is almost completely enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass.

“We call it the Fish Tank,” said Jose Santiago, chief operating officer of Going Places Travel in Fort Lauderdale, who was one of half a dozen smokers congregated in the area on a recent afternoon.

“Let’s be honest,” injected Chad Burt, a travel agency owner from Jacksonville, Fla. “We call it home.”

The semi-enclosed smoking area on Seven Seas Explorer is a first for Regent and is rarely seen on other ships. A Regent representative said there are similar structures on two

Oceania ships, Insignia and Riviera.

Smokers generally liked the idea. “It’s fine. It’s nice to have a little spot to go to,” said Chris Cook, a retiree from Palm Beach.

Added Burt: “They’ve accommodated us in a luxurious way, a comfortable way, and not treated us like second-class citizens.”

Which doesn’t mean that Burt was completely satisfied. He said that ventilation in the ceiling was one improvement he would make. The Regent spokesman said that change was already in the works.

Burt also said one is not enough. “There should be more of them elsewhere on the ship,” he said.

Nonsmokers gave the Fish Tank mixed reviews.

“I’m not impressed,” said Eli Cohen, a retiree from Montreal. “It’s a gallant attempt to appease the smokers, but the answer should still be no smoking.”

Sheree Lewis of Boca Raton, Fla., said that it’s an improvement over other cruise ships where the smoking area is not enclosed.

“The other ships all have it in an open area where it wafts across the pool,” said Lewis, who suffers from bronchitis. “Me being a nonsmoker, I’m glad that it’s isolated.” 

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