Oceania Cruises has tightened its already toughest-in-industry smoking regulations onboard Regatta, Insignia and Nautica. In a new "Zero Tolerance" policy, there is no smoking in cabins or on balconies -- and in fact it's easier to point out the few places where passengers can smoke than those where they can't. "Designated Smoking Areas are located on Deck 9 in the forward starboard corner of the pool deck, and Deck 10, in the aft corner of Horizons," reports spokesman Tim Rubacky.
Zero Tolerance was implemented directly in response to the fire that broke out on Star Princess last month; while Princess Cruises has said that conflagration started on a balcony, it has not officially designated the cause as a cigarette.
While Oceania has long been the most restrictive in the industry toward smoking onboard, what's really new is that Zero Tolerance carries with it a more drastic penalty. In a letter that is handed to passengers as they board, Oceania says that "guests choosing to disregard this policy will be disembarked at the next port of call and may also be subject to monetary penalties..."
Says Rubacky, referring to the Star Princess fire, "this fire revealed just how great a danger smoking in accommodations and on verandahs is, and the only way to prevent another such occurrence is to enforce a policy such as this."
Interestingly, when Oceania president Frank del Rio was at the helm of the late Renaissance Cruises, it was the only cruise line to have a complete non-smoking policy across the entire fleet. Carnival also toyed with the smoking issue when it introduced Paradise as a non-smoking ship with a zero tolerance policy that was similar to Oceania's. After a few years, however, the cruise line reverted the ship back to one that permitted smoking.