Sept. 9, 2013 -- Is it lights out for cigarettes on the high seas? Smoke-free environments are becoming increasingly more popular among travelers, according to a new survey.
A poll of more than 500 passengers by Cruise Critic, a global cruise community site, revealed that 54 percent think smoking should be banned from cabin balconies. And nearly a quarter of respondents were in favor of prohibiting puffing from all areas of the ship.
"Smoking onboard cruise ships is a highly debated and contentious issue within the cruise industry, and cruisers have very strong opinions on this topic, as revealed in this survey," said Adam Coulter, UK editor of Cruise Critic, in a statement.
A handful of cruise lines have made waves over the last year introducing stricter policies on smoking.
Starting next spring, passengers aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria will be prohibited from smoking in cabins, on balconies and in any public areas apart from the Churchill Cigar Lounge, designated areas on open decks, and the upper level of the G32 nightclub on Queen Mary 2.
MSC is 90 percent smoke-free, according to CruiseCritic, with smoking "prohibited in dining rooms, theaters and cabins (including cabin balconies)." Designated areas include the cigar room, casinos, one designated lounge and one side of the sun deck.
Similarlly, Seabourn has prohibited smoking from balconies in all category B suites on Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. But passengers staying in suites on Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest are permitted to smoke from cabin balconies.
In August, Disney Cruise Line announced it would ban smoking from all of its ships' balconies, including electronic cigarettes.
"From time to time, we make adjustments to our operation based upon guest feedback," confirmed a disney representative. "Effective November 15, 2013, guests will no longer be permitted to smoke on stateroom verandahs. Portions of open-air decks on each ship are designated as smoking areas in an effort to provide a cruise experience that satisfies both our non-smoking and smoking guests."
Royal Caribbean followed suit with a balcony smoking ban last week that will go into effect in the new year. Those found in violation could face up to $250 in fines. The ban will be enforced on all ships except those traveling through Asia. In the meantime, passengers who prefer to light up can still do so inside of ship casinos and select Connoisseur Clubs on RCI ships.
Celebrity Cruises also prohibits smoking on verandas, including electronic cigarettes, and restricts lighting up to designated areas of the ship.
But smokers looking for a more permissive environment can still find them. Carnival Cruise Lines, for one, still permits smoking from stateroom balconies except for spa cabins. One can also partake inside of Carnival dance clubs and jazz bars on various vessels.
For specific questions regarding rules and restrictions, travelers should always contact cruise staff.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News and Disney Cruise Line.