Royal Caribbean Toughens Smoking Policy

July 23, 2007

The hot topic today among smokers and non-smokers alike is Royal Caribbean's announcement that it will implement a new, more restrictive smoking policy. According to a company press release, the cruise line is increasing smoke-free zones fleetwide in conjunction with its new Vitality wellness program, just in time to "help guests set their New Year's resolutions."

The biggest change? Beginning in January 2008, smoking will be prohibited in all staterooms and suites. Royal Caribbean joins Disney and Oceania among the very few cruise lines that prohibit puffing in cabins. However, passengers can still light up on stateroom and suite balconies, as on Disney (Oceania guests cannot smoke on verandahs). Royal Caribbean will also designate one lounge on each ship in its fleet as completely non-smoking -- for example, the Champagne Bar on Freedom-, Radiance- and Vision-class ships, and the Viking Crown on Sovereign-class vessels, subject to change by voyage as listed in the Compass.

Other lines cracking down on smokey ships include Norwegian Cruise Line, which recently made all public areas smoke-free save for casinos and cigar bars, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which will ban smoking in all staterooms, suites and balconies fleetwide this December. Stay tuned for all new updates to our At Your Service: Cruise Line Smoking Policies.

Royal Caribbean's new policy will go into effect in January 2008 aboard all ships except Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas; those three will follow suit in the summer of 2008. Smoking is currently prohibited in guest hallways and corridors, restaurants, entertainment venues, and most public spaces except for designated areas in bars and lounges. Through the end of the year, passengers are allowed to smoke on starboard outer decks, in cabins and on balconies, and in said designated bar and lounge areas.

Those who violate new public room policies will be guided to a space that allows smoking; continued violations will be penalized on an escalating scale up to possible disembarkation. The penalties for guests who are caught smoking in their staterooms will be steeper -- violators will be charged a fine of $250 -- because of the time and resources needed to clean staterooms and reverse smoke damage.

Royal Caribbean's Vitality wellness program promotes healthier lifestyle choices: fitness classes and spa treatments, onboard and land-based activities, shore excursions, and healthful drinks and food selections. Cruise Critic's Dan Askin is onboard Liberty of the Seas this week checking out the offerings -- stand by for his report!

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor