Royal Caribbean Notifies Guests of Smoking Ban in Mexico

A new smoking ban in Mexico will apply to cruise travelers, and they need to be prepared for possible consequences.

Royal Caribbean International is informing all guests sailing on applicable cruises of the recently enacted smoking ban in all public spaces in Mexico, and how it can impact travelers.

Mexico is one of the cruise line’s top destinations, with multiple ships making calls in various Mexican ports year-round.

Mexico Bans Public Smoking

All forms of public smoking and consumption of nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and tobacco, have been banned in all public areas in Mexico. This includes on beaches, in parks, town squares, pier areas, hotels, and other public spaces, including areas popular with cruise tourists.

It should be noted that private beaches, such as those associated with independently-run resorts, can still permit smoking on the beach or within their own spaces, but individual policies may vary. Designated smoking areas may also be available, depending on the destination and local ordinances.

Royal Caribbean International is ensuring that all guests on their vessels are aware of the ban and its possible consequences, by providing letters onboard prior to reaching ports of call in Mexico.

“As you go ashore in Mexico, please keep this in mind, as failure to comply may result in steep fines and/or being detained up to 36 hours,” a copy of the letter from Adventure of the Seas reads.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in Mexico
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in Mexico (Photo Credit: Benjamin Clapp / Shutterstock)

Adventure of the Seas is currently homeported from Galveston, Texas and is offering 4- and 5-night sailings, all of which visit at least one port of call in Mexico.

Penalties for violating the public smoking ban can be fines up to $550 (USD), while an older law, enacted in 2008, could entail jail time of up to 36 hours. Exactly how strictly the ban will be enforced is yet to be determined, as it just went into effect on Sunday, January 15, 2023.

The ban is country-wide, including popular ports of call on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Mexico such as Ensenada, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Costa Maya, Progreso, and the most popular cruise port in Mexico, Cozumel.

In fact, with more than 3.6 million passengers visiting each year, Cozumel is the most popular port of call in the world.

The smoking ban, however, will not diminish the popularity of visits to Mexico, and thousands of cruise ship calls will visit the country in 2023 alone.

“We look forward to enjoying this destination and the rest of our time together!” the letter from Adventure of the Seas concludes. At this time, no cruise lines are adjusting their itineraries or changing ports of call due to the smoking ban, and such changes are unlikely.

Local Laws Always Apply

All Royal Caribbean guests, as well as cruise travelers from any cruise line, are required to obey all local laws while in ports of call. This applies to drinking ages, speed limits, dress codes, trespassing restrictions, and similar laws, and now in Mexico, the smoking ban.

Cruise Ship in Cozumel, Mexico
Photo Credit: Solarisys / Shutterstock

Should guests violate local laws in any port, they are subject to the same penalties as any resident or other visitor would be. This means that a cruise ship will not wait for guests who may be detained for violating the smoking ban, nor will any travel insurance cover fines imposed due to breaking the law.

Buying and transporting cigarettes and other smoking products is not prohibited and has not been changed, though cruise guests may have a more difficult time finding the products or brands they prefer. Part of the new law also restricts advertising all tobacco products, and cigarettes can no longer be openly displayed.

While the smoking ban is a new law and overall enforcement may be uneven as local authorities become accustomed to the ordinance, it may be best for cruise travelers to be extra cautious and always ask if they are permitted to smoke, or else abstain until back on board their cruise ship and in a designated smoking area.


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