How To Get Away With Smoking On A Cruise Ship – And What Happens If You’re Caught

If you’re a smoker who is planning to go on a cruise, you may be wondering how you can get away with smoking on a cruise ship. Well, the truth is that the best way to get away with it is to stay within the rules. 

Yep, a boring answer I know but there are no bike sheds to hide behind on a cruise ship and there are a lot of cameras and sensors, so I recommend that you follow the rules to avoid a hefty fine.

Girl smoking with cruise ship on background

The good thing is that every cruise ship includes somewhere to smoke, and on most cruise ships you can smoke in quite a number of places, including some indoor locations.

Where can you get away with smoking on a cruise ship?

Smoking is allowed on cruise ships but it’s only permitted in designated areas. These areas will vary depending on the ship, but to find out where these are you can consult the deck plan.

This will have all the smoking areas marked so you can make a mental note of where these areas are for when you crave a cigarette. 

As you might expect, a lot of smoking areas are located in outdoor areas, but there will generally be indoor smoking areas as well. Depending on the ship, this may be an unglamorous smoking shelter or you might be able to light up in a cigar bar or the casino.

Smoking area on Anthem of the Seas
Smoking area on Anthem of the Seas

Can you get away with smoking on a cruise ship balcony?

Your own balcony is probably the most obvious place to try to get away with smoking on a cruise ship. It’s a private space, it’s outdoors so you might think – what’s the problem and who will ever know?

Well, the problem is that cigarettes which aren’t properly extinguished might cause a fire. Plus, if they are thrown overboard they will pollute the sea. For these reasons, almost every cruise ship has banned smoking on balconies.

If just love smoking on your balcony then I suggest that you take a trip with Costa Cruises as they are the only major cruise line which allows this practice. Fred. Olsen allows it too but only until 1st April 2025 when the rules are changing.

If you are on any other ship I wouldn’t recommend that you try and get away with it. Many balconies are overlooked by other decks or by CCTV and of course, the smoke can waft to your neighbours.

Smoking on cruise

They might not enjoy your second-hand smoke and will most probably report you to the ship’s authorities. So, there is a decent chance that your secret smoke wont be as secret as you had hoped.

Some cruise ship security teams are much stricter than others when it comes to smoking outside of the smoking areas.

One man recently commented in a Carnival cruise Facebook group that his wife had reported people smoking on the balcony and the security team didn’t do anything about it.

FYI my wife is currently on the Miracle with her sister and she told me she can’t even enjoy their Balcony because of all the marijuana smell.  Security said they can’t do anything unless they observe it themeselves. So much for tightening up the rules

What happens if you get caught smoking on a cruise?

As I have mentioned above all cruise ships have designated smoking areas. If you stick to these spaces you will have no problems.

Smoking area on Anthem of the Seas
Smoking area on Anthem of the Seas

But, your rebellious side might be wondering whether it is worth taking a risk and having a smoke outside of the designated areas. Will you just be asked to put it out and move on or are there any serious repercussions? 

Well, in most cases the first time you get caught you will get away with a warning. But any further offences could mean that you get kicked off the ship. This is a pretty serious repercussion.

You have spent thousands on your dream cruise, do you really want to jeopardise that for a quick cigarette? 

If you are caught smoking in your room you may well have to pay a cleaning fee, even the first time that you get caught.

A lot of people don’t like the smell of smoke so this is fair enough and since fire is one of the biggest risks on a cruise ship it is something that the ships take very seriously. With the number of smoke alarms on board, there is a good chance that you will get caught.

How to get away with smoking in your cabin

If you really want to smoke in your room then the best way to get away with it is to stick to the rules. You might think that there is no way you can ever smoke in your cabin and it be permissible. Well, you’d be right unless you are willing to consider using electronic cigarettes. 

Daily program with details of where the smoking areas are
Daily program with details of where the smoking areas are

There are no cruises that allow traditional cigarettes in the room Costa Cruises does allow e-cigs to be vaped in the cabin and also allows cigarettes to be smoked on private balconies. [Source

So, if smoking in your room is a big deal for you then the best and only way to get away with it is to take a cruise with Costa.

The majority of cruise liners treat e-cigarettes in the same way as traditional cigarettes and vaping on a cruise is restricted to the same designated smoking areas and is forbidden in all other areas (including your cabin and balcony). 

Can I get away with smoking weed on a cruise ship?

Smoking weed is forbidden on all cruise ships. This is true even when you are departing from a port where cannabis is legal. The ban even extends to marijuana that has been prescribed for medical use so you are not allowed to smoke weed on board even if it is for health reasons. 

No smoking on cruise

So, can you get away with it? Maybe, but I don’t recommend that you try.

If you are smoking it the smell is a massive give away and it’s not likely to go unnoticed.

Bringing cannabis on a cruise in a form that doesn’t need to be smoked is less likely to be noticed but don’t forget that your bags are likely to be searched and scanned when you board and drugs are one of the things that you can’t take on board a cruise

If you are caught then you might get kicked off the ship, arrested or banned from cruising for life. 

While this wasn’t smoking, a passenger was given a Carnival lifetime ban for trying to bring CBD gummies onboard.

Cruise ship security guard

Basically, it’s not with the risk. And don’t be tempted to get high when on a shore excursion either, as most cruise liners have a marijuana policy that also applies to shore excursions and time at terminals. Admittedly, they are unlikely to know what you have been up to whilst on land, but it is still a risk. 

Final Thoughts

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and have now realised that there is actually no need to try to get away with smoking on a cruise. It’s allowed!

All you have to do is smoke in the proper place and you will have no problems. You won’t have to look over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching or flap about near the smoke detector to stop it from going off. You can just sit back and enjoy your cigarette in the designated place!

Having said that, if you are a keen smoker you will find it easier to stick to the rules if you are on a cruise that has more comfortable smoking areas.

A good option is Costa Cruises which allows you to smoke on your balcony or vape in your bedroom. MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean will allow you to smoke in certain parts of the casino, which let’s face it is more enjoyable than being huddled in a bland smoking shelter.

Family-friendly Disney cruise ships only have one or two smoking areas, but even then, you can still find somewhere to light up when you need to.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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