Can You Smoke on a Cruise Ship Balcony And If So What Cruise Lines Allow Smoking on Balconies?

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When you’re mapping out your cruise vacation, there’s nothing quite like the thought of kicking back on your very own balcony, the ocean breeze in your hair, and a drink in your hand. But if you’re a smoker, you might be wondering: Can you smoke on a cruise ship balcony?

The short answer is that most cruise lines these days DO NOT allow smoking on a balcony, citing fire safety issues as the primary concern. But, there are some exceptions.

You also need to be aware of general cruise ship policies where smoking is permitted only in designated smoking areas.

Do Any Cruise Ships Allow Smoking on Balconies?

So, your balcony––that little slice of private sea-view paradise––is typically a No-smoking zone.  Almost all of the major cruise lines do not allow smoking on your balcony. However, there are three cruise lines where you definitely can: Costa Cruises, Fred Olson Cruise Lines and Hapag Lloyd Cruises

What Cruise Lines Allow Smoking or Vaping on Balconies?

Morag and two of our friends at St Maarten dock between two cruise ships
There Are Three Cruise Lines That Allow Smoking On Your Balcony

As of January 2024, the following cruise lines allow passengers to smoke on their private balconies:-

Costa Cruises

Italian-owned Costa Cruises is one of the most relaxed major cruise lines around when it comes to smoking. You CAN smoke on your stateroom balcony on Costa, although you cannot smoke in the cabin itself.

They also stress that you should make use of the supplied wind proof ashtrays. Please also note that they do allow the use of Vapes or e-cigarettes in your stateroom.

You can read Costa Cruises’ official smoking policy here.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen Cruise guests are allowed to smoke on their private cruise balcony excluding terrace balconies on their Bolette and Borealis cruise ships.  They also allow the use of e-cigarettes in staterooms, as long as they do not emit any vapor!

Here is the link to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ smoking policy.

Hapag Lloyd Cruises

You may not have heard of the German cruise line Hapag Lloyd Cruises. I certainly had not until I started to do the research for this article. They focus on the German market and operate a fleet of five ships serving the luxury end of the market. 

Hapag Lloyd Cruises DO allow smoking on the balcony or veranda as they refer to them.  The Hapag Lloyds Cruises smoking policy can be found here.

English speakers should target the MS Europa 2 and MS Hanseatic Inspiration ships as they offer bilingual cruises and shore excursions with English-speaking guides.  

Why Do Cruise Lines Have Strict Policies on Smoking on the Balcony?

Image of cruise ship zoomed in on cruise ship balconies
Cruise Ship Balcony on an Oasis Class Cruise Ship – Can You Spot the Spa?

The main reason that smoking is not allowed on guest cabin balconies is for safety and the risk of a fire.

A discarded cigarette could blow back onto the ship and cause a fire. There was a major fire on Star Princess in 2006, and fire investigators pointed directly to that as the cause. That fire went on to destroy almost 25% of the ship’s balcony cabins! This particular incident has been cited as the main reason cruise lines banned smoking on balconies.

I actually sailed on that ship in the early 2000’s. Other cruise lines used to refer to it as the “Shopping Cart at Sea” due to its distinctive “handle” design at the rear. The photos from the aftermath of that fire are truly horrific.

Photos From the Aftermath of the Star Princess Fire

What Are The General Smoking Policies onboard Cruise Ships? Where Can I Smoke?

Balcony Cabin on Vision of the Seas Interior view
Cruise Ship Staterooms Are Strictly Non-Smoking

On cruise ships, smokers can smoke in specific areas only.  As an example here’s information on Carnival Cruise Line’s smoking policy.  Remember these policies apply to electronic cigarettes as well.

Outdoors, smoking is allowed in a designated area – it’s usually the starboard side that welcomes smokers, but always check as this can vary from ship to ship. 

indoor smoking is not allowed, except in the casino. You can smoke in most cruise ship casinos but usually only if you are seated and actively playing. You won’t generally be able to smoke at the Casino bar. 

Inside, it’s a no-go in cabins and balconies, as mentioned above.

Can I bring a Vape on a Cruise Ship?

Yes you can, but as far as vaping goes, treat it just like traditional cigarettes when it comes to cruise ship policies. E-cigarettes and vaping get the same treatment, as well as Cigars for that matter.  Although you can find “Cigar rooms” or cigar lounges on some cruise ships.

Each ship might tweak these rules a bit, so it’s always smart to check individual cruise ship policies for the full scoop.

So, Can You Smoke on a Cruise Ship Balcony? Yes, But Your Choices Are Very Limited

Private Luxury Yacht anchored off shore at St Kitts in the Caribbean
Unless You Have Your Own Private Yacht – Your Options Are Limited

In a nutshell: most cruise lines say no to balcony smoking for safety reasons, but Costa Cruises, Fred Olsen, and Hapag Lloyd, give you the green light.

Always remember safety first. Whether it’s a cigarette, e-cig, or vape, stick to the designated areas. Before you set sail, double-check your cruise line’s smoking policy.

P.S. Full disclosure: Neither myself or Morag smoke, but this article has been written and researched by us to help those that do. So if it helped you in any way, please do us a big favor and share it with your cruising friends.

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Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

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