Cruise Line Drops Balcony Smoking But Adds Alternatives

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One of the few cruise lines that still permits guests to smoke on their stateroom balconies is ending that practice, and likewise is changing what areas onboard its vessels where guests can smoke or vape.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has updated the smoking policies on its website, listing where guests will be able to smoke after the new policy takes effect on April 1, 2025.

Changes to Smoking Policy for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

The UK-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is updating its smoking policy, eliminating the option for guests to smoke or vape on their stateroom balconies as of April 1, 2025.

“From 1st April 2025, smoking will no longer be permitted on cabin balconies. This applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes and electronic cigarettes that emit any vapour – even water vapour,” the new policy reads. “Electronic cigarettes that don’t emit vapour will continue to be permitted for use inside cabins and on cabin balconies but are not permitted in any non smoking public areas.”

At the same time, the cruise line is also adjusting what public open deck areas are available for smoking or vaping onboard its three ocean ships: Borealis, Bolette, and Balmoral.

Until the new policy takes effect, guests on Borealis can only smoke on the port side of Deck 8, outside The View Bar, and on Deck 9 forward. Under the new policy, the smoking area will be found on both Decks 8 and 9 but on the starboard side, as well as on Deck 9 forward outside the elevators, also on the starboard side.

Fred Olsen Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

On Bolette, the current smoking areas are only on Deck 8 aft and Deck 9 forward. After the change, the smoking areas will expand to both Decks 8 and 9, aft on the starboard side. Another smoking area will be found on Deck 9 forward, on the starboard side forward of the retractable roof, under the staircase leading to Deck 10.

Finally, on Balmoral the smoking areas will remain the same – Starboard side on Deck 7, starboard aft on Decks 8 and 9, and starboard outside the Marquee Bar on Deck 11.

Why the Change?

No information has been given about the change in smoking policy or why guests will no longer be permitted to smoke on their individual stateroom balconies.

Many cruise lines have long since prohibited smoking on balconies for a variety of reasons. Not only can one guest’s smoking be an unpleasant distraction for non-smoking guests on other nearby balconies, reducing their enjoyment of the space their stateroom offers, but the risk of flicking ash or cigarette butts overboard can lead to the possibility of fire if such items are blown back onto the ship.

Furthermore, anything tossed overboard – no matter how small – is littering the marine environment and a violation of environmental regulations in many areas.

Fred Olsen Cruise Ship
Fred Olsen Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Oleg Znamenskiy)

According to World Population Review, smoking rates in the UK, where Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is based, have been steadily declining for years. In 2022, 14.2% of the population was reported as smokers, down from 14.9% in 2021 and 15.6% in 2020. In 2000, smoking rates in the UK were a much higher 38%.

With fewer people smoking but more and more people enjoying cruise travel, it is important for any cruise line to prioritize the majority of guests’ enjoyment onboard. At the same time, with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines expanding the public smoking areas, the line is seeking to ensure that smokers’ needs and preferences are met as best as possible.

Read Also: Can You Smoke on a Cruise Ship – What to Know

It should be noted that the cruise line’s terms and conditions also discusses the smoking policy in Clause 17.

“Smoking (including electronic cigarettes emitting any vapour, even if only water vapour) is only permitted in certain designated external areas of the vessel, including private balconies (only until 31st March 2025). Smoking anywhere else is strictly prohibited,” the contract reads.

“Any breach of this clause 17 may result in the Passenger being required to disembark the Vessel at the next port of call, without any liability or cost to FOCL.”

The contract also notes that throwing cigarette butts overboard is strictly prohibited at all times, regardless of where the smoking areas are located.

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