Updated August 21, 2018
Can you smoke on a cruise ship?
You may smoke on a cruise ship, but only in designated smoking areas. On most ships operated by U.S. cruise lines, all indoor public spaces are off-limits with the exceptions being the casino (or part of the casino), a cigar lounge (if the ship has one) and one or two other lounges. Carnival Cruise Line, for instance, lets smokers light up in the dance club, casino and jazz club, while Azamara restricts indoor smoking to the port (left) side, aft (back) section of its Looking Glass Lounge.
Outside, smokers are typically restricted to small areas on one or more decks. Celebrity Cruises permits smoking on the port side of the pool deck and sundecks on each of its ships, while Royal Caribbean permits smoking only on the starboard side of all open decks. On European lines, there's usually a bit more room for smokers to spread out, but even these lines are cutting back. Italian lines, Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises, both of which used to allow widespread smoking, now restrict the act to designated spaces on open decks.
For a complete rundown of smoking policies by cruise line, see Cruise Line Smoking Policies.
Can I smoke my room?
Not a single major cruise line permits you to smoke in your cabin, as it is considered a fire hazard.
Can you smoke on a cruise ship balcony?
Only a handful of cruise lines -- including Fred. Olsen Cruise Line -- permit smoking on your cabin balcony.
What happens if I am caught smoking somewhere I'm not supposed to be smoking?
If you are caught smoking outside in a nonsmoking area, you will be asked to move to a smoking area. If caught smoking in your cabin or cabin balcony, you will be told to stop and charged a "cleaning fee" (typically $200 to $250). If you continue to break the rule, you may be forcibly removed from the ship.
Is there someplace on a cruise ship I can smoke a cigar?
Cigar smoking is even more limited than cigarette smoking. In most cases, cigars may only be smoked in a cigar bar (if there is one on the ship) and one small area of an outside deck. No cruise lines permit cigar smoking on a cabin balcony.
I smoke e-cigarettes; are they allowed on cruises?
Most cruise lines treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes and ban vaping in almost all public areas, in private cabins and on balconies. A few notable exceptions do exist. You may smoke an e-cig in your room (but not on your balcony) on any Holland America Line or Seabourn ship, and in all non-dining venues on Oceania and Regent Seven Seas ships.
How do I find out more about smoking on a cruise ship?
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The What to Expect on a Cruise series, written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, is a resource guide, where we answer the most common questions about cruise ship life -- including cruise food, cabins, drinks and onboard fun -- as well as money matters before and during your cruise and visiting ports of call on your cruise.