Update, 11:41 a.m. EDT: Passengers interested in canceling a sailing booked for after the smoking ban goes into affect may do so under Norwegian Cruise Line's normal cancellation policy. "The November 1 effective date gives most people that want to cancel the opportunity to do so without penalty," a spokesperson for the line said.
(10:00 a.m. EDT) - Beginning November 2014, smokers won't be able to light up on their cruise ship balconies when sailing Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian is the second major cruise line in eight days to extinguish cigarette smoking on cruise ship balconies.
News of Norwegian's decision broke on the Cruise Critic Norwegian Cruise Line member forum Tuesday, July 15, when Norwegian sales representatives were already telling prospective passengers that as of November, smoking will no longer be permitted on balconies. Furthermore, the only indoor space in which smoking will be allowed is the casino, and then only if passengers are actively playing, also according to sales representatives.
This morning, Norwegian made the official announcement. "As the health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance, Norwegian Cruise Line will institute changes to its smoking policy for all sailings on or after November 1, 2014," the line said. "The specific changes prohibit smoking on stateroom balconies and limit smoking in the casino to players. On Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, smoking on The Waterfront will be permitted on the starboard side, except by the outdoor dining areas."
Smoking also is permitted in select outdoor spaces on open deck. All smoking rules apply to e-cigarettes as well.
Passengers found smoking in their cabins or on cabin balconies will be fined $250 for cleaning. If cigarette burns on furniture, linens, towels or carpeting are detected, passengers will be advised and charged for the damage.
Norwegian's ban on balcony smoking follows hot on the heels of Carnival Cruise Lines' decision, announced last week. The two cruise lines were among the last three holdouts to permit smoking on cabin balconies. Among large, mainstream cruise lines, only Holland America permits balcony smoking on its cruise ships. In December 2013 Cruise Critic predicted the industry would see lines axe that privilege this year.
--By Dori Saltzman, News Editor