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 balconies.

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 2014.

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 Noordam.

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 recent drydock.

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, does not.

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.


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