One of the last bastions for smokers has finally stubbed out lighting up on balconies, with Holland America Line this week issuing a new tobacco policy.
But the modern electronic cigarette, which allows users to inhale nicotine without burning tobaco, continues to divide some cruise lines.
Balcony smoking is now banned on all American and Australian lines. It has been a bone of contention between cruisers for years.
Non-smokers maintain tobacco smoke is blown back through their balcony doors, and the habit has sparked bitter rows.
“No smoking of any kind will be permitted on any stateroom verandah,” according to a news release sent out by Holland American this week. “Smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is already not permitted in any stateroom. The new policy has been announced to better align with guest wishes and health concerns.”
Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line the implement the ban three years ago followed by Carnival Cruise Line in July 2014 and luxury-line Seabourn implemented the policy this year.
HAL will be rolling out the fleetwide ban over the next five months starting from Maasdam and Rotterdam from January 2.
But HAL will allow passengers to use e-cigarettes and vape inside their cabins and staterooms.
The cigarette substitutes have split cruise lines, with Azamara Club Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Australia as well as Carnival Australia banishing them to designated smoking areas.
HAL will also still allow smokers to puff away at designated smoking areas like the Sea View Bar and Pool on all it ships. Guests will still be allowed to smoke at the Sports Deck on the Maasdam, Veendam, Volendam, Zaandam, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
There will be smoking designated areas for slot players in all casinos except the Oosterdam and Eurodam which will have smoke-free casinos.
So what’s the penalty if you light up in the wrong areas? You’ll be slapped with a US$250 cleaning fee per day of violation and you could be removed from your cruise.