Passengers who want to light
up on the balcony of their cruise ship cabin have nearly run out of options, as
one of the last major cruise lines to allow balcony smoking will ban the
practice starting in 2017.
Holland America Line said it
would end smoking on cabin balconies "to better align with guest wishes
and health concerns."
More than two-thirds of the
staterooms on newer Holland America ships such as the Koningsdam have
Holland America prohibited
passengers from smoking inside their cabins in 2012. All its ships will
continue to allow smoking in designated public areas, which are mostly located
on outside decks.
Rich Skinner, president of
Cruise Holidays of Woodinville, Wash., near Seattle, said many of his clients
will say that it's about time.
"I think there will be
a great hurrah from several of my clients who have complained about that,"
Skinner said. "They say, 'I have my nice balcony stateroom, and my
neighbors have to smoke, and I hate it. Especially in port.'"
Holland America continued
allowing passengers to smoke on their balconies after other Carnival Corp.
lines banned it, including Princess Cruises in 2012 and Carnival Cruise Line in
The latest to adopt the ban
was Seabourn, which will begin enforcing it on cruises starting in November.
Skinner said the policy
might have lagged because HAL attracts a fair amount of European passengers,
and "Europeans tend to smoke a lot more than Americans these days."
Susan Weissberg, president
of Wyllys Professional Travel in Coral Gables, Fla., also said the change would
be very well received.
"There have been
nothing but complaints from clients about smoking on the ships," she said.
The move leaves only one
line operating from U.S. ports that continues to allow smoking on cabin
balconies. Costa Cruises, based in Genoa, Italy, stations a single ship in Fort
Lauderdale from December to April to sail the Caribbean.
HAL's designated smoking
areas are typically by the aft pool on one side of the deck, though on some
ships they are by the sports deck.
Active slot machine players
also have a designated area in the casino on all HAL ships except the Oosterdam
and the Eurodam.
The only other indoor area
where smoking is permitted on HAL is in the Oak Room cigar lounge on the
Some cruise lines are also
doing away with cigar lounges, which were a popular trend a decade ago.
The Connoisseur Club on the
Regent Seven Seas Navigator, for example, was converted into a library in a
Other lines still have cigar
lounges, and many, like HAL, continue to permit smoking in areas of the
casinos, as well.
Smaller European cruise
brands, such as Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Saga Cruises, continue to allow
smoking on balconies, although one of the largest, Geneva-based MSC Cruises,
No cruise line has banned
smoking completely on its ships since Carnival tried it with the Carnival
Paradise in 1997.
The experiment lasted five years but ended because fewer
passengers were booking the Paradise than other comparable Carnival ships.