Smoking is one of the most challenging habits there is to change. Over the years, it has been banned from the workplace, pubs and restaurants and almost all public places across the UK. The aim was to reduce the exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke, which has a harmful effect on all. After six years with the ban in effect, enforcement officials claim to have seen the benefits and estimate that the next 20 years will halve smoking rates.

cigarette smoke

Cruise ships were not left out and had created dedicated areas smoking areas. However, there is a major change on the high seas for even more restrictions to smoking passengers.

Since August, Cunard and Seabourn placed in restrictive rules pertaining to smoking areas on their ships.

Commencing in February 2014, Seabourn will also ban smoking in staterooms on its six ships. Smokers will still be able to light-up a cigarette on verandas and in designated public areas on deck.

On Cunard’s ships, there has been a ban on smoking in cabins and public places onboard for some time, but smoking on balconies will also be banned beginning with the Queen Victoria on the 28th of April 2014. There will still be designated areas for smoking on the open decks. There is a no-smoking policy in all Cunard ship’s restaurants.

queen victoria queens grill

Image courtesy of Cunard Cruises

P&O Cruises also announced a ban last month that as of March 2014, smoking will no longer be permitted on balconies.

This move has pushed many more cruise lines to implement increasingly stringent regulations towards smoking.

Last week, one of the major players in cruising, Royal Caribbean surprised the industry by following Cunard and P&O Cruises stance, to forbid smoking in their cabin balconies.

The ban on Royal Caribbean ships will go into effect starting 1 January 2014 and will apply to its entire fleet with the exception to those based out of Asia.

RCCL is planning on fully enforcing the ban and those caught smoking on a cabin balcony will be hit with a £190 ($250) fine. Inside stateroom have already had a smoking ban imposed for a while.

The new restrictions apply to electronic cigarettes also.

This ruling on smoking for Royal Caribbean passengers will be extremely restrictive. The only areas that will allow smoking on most Royal Caribbean ships are the Casino (only at designated times), on the outer decks on the starboard side of all ships and in Connoisseur Club on selected ships.

In a public notification, Royal Caribbean says its new non-smoking policies are the result of “careful consideration and review of guest feedback.”

MSC Cruises has changed their smoking policy prior to RCCL’s announcement. The line announced it would expand its smoke-free policy. Commencing 2 November 2013 on MSC Divina’s transatlantic voyage from Venice to Miami, smoking will be restricted to the Cigar Lounge and the port side of designated outside decks.

msc divina cigar lounge

Image courtesy of MSC Cruises

There’s been no word from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line as of yet. They appear to still allow smoking on balconies, but there may be a few tweaks to their existing policies in the upcoming weeks.

Instead of taking the new rulings as a negative, turn it into an opportunity. A great many smokers say they would happily stop smoking if they could only find a way of doing it.

This is easier said than done and one of the hardest parts of quitting is filling the gap with something that will encourage a person to actually want to abstain from smoking again. Perhaps a cruise holiday is the best way to start. With all the activities and destinations that a cruise holiday provides, make it a stop smoking program that is much easier to endure.

For non-smokers, it allows a cruise holiday with more breathing room. For smokers, it will be a great way to take the cure.

Written by Veronica Shine