MSC Cruises has just announced a fleetwide "Clean Air Policy," joining the ranks of other cruise lines severely restricting smoking onboard. However, unlike Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, whose recently announced rules will take effect in several months (an advance notice some readers tell us prompted them to cancel bookings), MSC put the policy in place right away -- even in Europe where smoking is quite common.
Effective immediately, smoking is no longer allowed in staterooms or on stateroom balconies. Only the Cigar Room, the casino and one lounge will be available for smokers; otherwise, smoking is allowable only in designated areas on deck. Previously, MSC allowed smoking in cabins and in some public rooms on the ships' port sides.
MSC's restrictive policy is similar to those of Disney, Azamara Cruises and Oceania Cruises (which does not allow smoking in the casino). As of January 2008, RSSC will no longer allow in-stateroom or on-balcony smoking -- and by next summer, Royal Caribbean International will prohibit smoking in all cabins fleetwide.