This Cruiser Loves the New Celebrity Smoking Policy

As a non-smoker, I applaud Celebrity Cruises for introducing their new more restrictive smoking policy. While I was “OK” with the old policy, I feel the new policy will make my family’s next cruise experience even more pleasant. The new restriction on in cabin and balcony smoking should also provide a safer environment for all passengers.

On our previous Celebrity cruises, I have “been OK” with the old smoking policy. The old policy is effective through October 1st.

“Cigarette Smoking is permitted:

  • In staterooms and on verandas
  • In designated areas on the port (left) side of most public areas (Lounges, Bars, Decks

Smoking is not permitted:

  • In the Celebrity Theater
  • In the Cinema
  • In the Conference Center
  • In the Dining Room
  • In the Elevators
  • On the starboard (right) side of the ship, either indoors or outdoors

Pipe and Cigar Smoking:

  • Pipe and cigar smoking is only allowed in specifically designated areas on outer decks of the vessel
  • Please check with the Guest Relations Desk for these specific venues
  • Please note that at no time is cigar and pipe smoking permitted in staterooms/suites or on their verandas”

While this policy worked well to accommodate smokers, it caused some non-smokers to be exposed to noticeable levels of second hand smoke even if they were not seated directly in the smoking areas. People who avoid second hand smoke due to long term health concerns or more immediate sensitivity reactions like asthma or allergies could never completely escape smoke during their cruise. Experts also believe that in-room and on-balcony smoking presents a fire hazard that could put the lives of all on board the ship at risk. In 2006 there was a serious fire on the Star Princess that resulted in the death of one passenger during the emergency due to a heart attack. The fire injured 11 other people and destroyed over 100 rooms. Investigators believe that a smoldering cigarette caused the fire.

A few weeks ago, Celebrity announced a new smoking policy that it will implement on October 1st.

“Effective October 1, 2008 for all Celebrity ships, smoking will no longer be permitted inside any stateroom or on any stateroom veranda. Cigarette smoking will only be permitted in designated indoor and outdoor areas of the ship, while cigar and pipe smoking will only be permitted in designated outdoor areas. Smoking will not be permitted in any dining venue, theater, hallway, elevator or corridor. Violations to this smoking policy will result in a $250 cleaning fee being charged to the guest’s onboard account and may also be addressed through Celebrity Cruises’ Guest Conduct Policy. Cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco must be properly disposed of and never thrown overboard. A guest must be at least 18 years of age to purchase, possess or use tobacco onboard.”

The press release from Celebrity regarding the new policy provides more details.

I applaud this new policy as a step to bring fresher air and more safe environment to all passengers. Having a more restrictive smoking policy should put smokers in the frame of mind that they cannot smoke in every room of the ship. One of the problems with the old policy was that passengers often smoked in all areas of the ship, not just the designated smoking areas. Non-smoking passengers often could not find a public area of the ship that wasn’t filled with the stench of smoke. The Michaels Club on the Mercury had been designated a non-smoking area on the ship for several months prior to our Alaskan cruise. We immediately noticed the difference when we used the room for a family board game one evening.

On a previous cruise on the same ship, the room was nearly unusable by non-smokers because of the stench. During the Alaska cruise, a large group of smokers spent an afternoon in that lounge, smoking the entire time. The bar area was not open, so no ship employee was there to remind them that the lounge was non-smoking. The smoke smell never really left lounge for the remainder of the cruise. I have also heard of cases where passengers with a sensitivity to smoke entered their cabins to immediately discover that the cabin has been used by a smoker during the previous cruise. For some of these passengers, a thorough cleaning and “airing out” of the room was sufficient to remove the lingering smell. However, I have heard cases where the cleaning process never completed removed the offending irritants. Finally, I do believer that the restrictions on smoking in-room and on-balconies will provide a more safe environment. While every fire cannot be prevented, the cruise lines should implement policies, like the new restrictions, that will help in preventing incidents like the Star Princess fire.

Finally, I do have to concede that the new policy will not please everyone. We have a smoking survey running here on Cruise Talk regarding ship board smoking policies. While a majority of our readers welcome the new policy, a high level of our responders, so far 27%, said that they would not sail on a line that did not allow them to smoke in their rooms or balconies. Having lived with a smoker, my father, for 20 years or so, I know that smokers often like to smoke first thing in the morning and right before they go to bed. With the new policy, they will have to go to an area of the ship that may not be located anywhere near their room. I understand that if they have a choice, they would probably want to be able to smoke in their room or at least their balcony. We recently cruised with my husband’s Aunt who smokes. She smoked on her balcony and in the designated area of the lounges. I hate to think that we wont be able to cruise Celebrity with her again, but I think the new smoking restrictions would be too difficult with which for her to comply. I know of several people who will be going on our next cruise with us who have had friends cancel due to the new smoking policy.

We invite our readers who have not yet answered our poll to please provide us with your input. We welcome any thought and comments from both smokers and non-smokers regarding the new policy.