Carnival Cruise Line shares bad news for some passengers

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Back in the 1980s restaurants and airlines had smoking sections. In many cases, these areas had only nominal separation from the nonsmoking sections.It was not uncommon for the smoking sections not to have any real barrier that kept nonsmokers from breathing in second-hand smoke. It may be unheard of now but in the 1970s, '80s, and into the '90s, very little was done to protect nonsmokers from being exposed to smoke.Related: Carnival Cruise Line issues a warning to passengersIn the 2020s, laws make smoking indoors in a restaurant or bar illegal. Aside from casinos, which operate under exceptions to the law in Nevada and New Jersey, or set their own laws on Native American lands, smoking in public places has become a relic.Cruise ships, however, operate under their own sets of laws. And they have to provide places to smoke because passengers can't get off the ship to indulge in their habit.You can't smoke in your cabin and on your private balcony on any cruise ship. That's because the risk of a fire on a cruise ship takes precedence over anything else.In general, cruise lines provide a few outdoor decks for smokers, and some, but not all, allow cruisers to smoke while they gamble in parts of the casinos. Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) has some very specific smoking rules, and some of its passengers have taken issue with those protocols. 

Smoking is allowed only in select areas on cruise ships. Image source: Getty Images

Carnival makes its smoking rules very clearCarnival Brand Ambassador John Heald spends most of his day answering questions on his Facebook page. That sometimes involves giving passengers news they don't want to hear. He recently fielded a question on smoking on the cruise line's ships.Okay. I'm ready for the onslaught. Dear God John. I just read smoking is not allowed in the casino unless we are playing and giving money to the cruise line. And there is nowhere to smoke at all on embarkation day until after the boat leaves because of fuel. God help me. So I can't go there. How difficult would it really be to go and smoke out the side of the boat where you are not bringing on the fuel. All of us smokers and all of us vapers are confused: I have already resigned myself [to not] smoking on my balcony but it would be nice to be able to enjoy our smoking area. We are humans. Why can’t it be 50/50 smoking in major transit spaces. I have many friends who do smoke and cruise.Heald, who acknowledged that he was opening himself up to criticism, explained Carnival's policy."Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the ship on embarkation day if the ship is bunkering/refueling," Heald wrote. "There will be announcements made reminding everyone of this. The housekeeping crew will remove all ashtrays and put out no smoking signs. When the refueling has finished then the ashtrays will be placed back in the designated smoking areas and announcements will be made that smoking is allowed once again."Want the latest cruise news and deals? Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter.Carnival bans smoking at certain timesWhile its ships are sailing, Carnival allows people actively playing in its casinos to smoke in select areas. That does not mean its casinos are smoking areas when they are not open for gambling."The casino is not a smoking area," Heald wrote. "The casinos are used on most ships as a muster station and that is one of the reasons why on embarkation day that smoking is not allowed there. "The other reason is guests may only smoke if they are playing there. So once the ship sails and the roulette tables start rouletting, the blackjack tables start blackjacking, the slot machines start slotting and the crap tables start...ummm...opening then if you are playing you may smoke," he added. Sign up for the Come Cruise With Me newsletter to save money on your next (or your first) cruise.Heald is sympathetic to the smokers who must abstain on embarkation day, but he also made clear that violating the rules has consequences. "Of course, I understand the discomfort faced for smokers on embarkation day but to say you will smoke on the balcony, well that is a massive NO. If you get caught, and we do catch many of the few who do break this law, there will be an instant $500 fine. And if after that your smoking continues then we may disembark you and not allow you to sail again," he said.

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