Beginning with cruises last weekend, there is no smoking in any of the piano bars on the ships of Carnival Cruise Lines.
That’s great news for all the piano bar lovers who can’t stand the heavy haze of second-hand cigarette smoke. I thank you, Carnival, and so do most of the piano players.
The new non-smoking rules announced this week by Carnival — and by Princess and Holland America — go far beyond the piano bars.
My guess is that the cruise lines will hear applause from around the world from non-smokers, including many of us who have serious allergies and are concerned about the negative health impact of second-hand smoke.
Ban smoking on balconies, too
An extra round of applause goes to Princess, which, like Carnival and Holland America, has banned smoking in cabins starting on cruises this winter (Carnival on Dec. 1, Holland America and Princess starting Jan. 15). Princess also will ban smoking on private balconies, and I hope Carnival and Holland America follow suit.
I would prefer that cruisers don’t smoke in their cabins, because the stench hangs around in the carpets and drapes for future inhabitants of their cabins. But I feel even stronger about smoking on balconies. If your balcony is downwind of smokers, which means any time the ship is moving, the impact is like sitting next to a smoker inside a room. And if your balcony door is open, it will suck in the unwanted smoke. There is also the danger of fire from smokers who toss their cigarettes overboard.
Phasing in the new smoking rules
Carnival is phasing in its non-smoking rules. Beginning June 15, cigarette smoking in public areas is permitted only in Carnival’s dance clubs, designated areas within the casino and casino bar, certain sections on the open decks on all vessels and in the jazz clubs on 13 Carnival ships. The 13 ships include Carnival’s Destiny, Triumph, Victory, Spirit, Pride, Legend, Miracle, Conquest, Glory, Valor, Liberty, Freedom, and Splendor. Cigar smoking is permitted in the jazz clubs. On other vessels, cigar and cigarette smoking will be permitted in designated areas on deck.
The cruise lines say that the modified smoking policies are the result of recent guest surveys. Carnival reported its surveys indicated that nearly 90 percent of all Carnival passengers are non-smokers, with less than 5 percent of passengers opting to smoke in their cabins.
The big change at Carnival is that passengers will have more choices about where they seek evening entertainment. While the dance clubs still may be hazy with cigarette smoke, other nightspots will be smoke free.
On my next Carnival cruise, I am heading for the piano bar.
David Molyneaux is the editor of www.thetravelmavens.com.