Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are restoring smoking in their casinos starting this week. The two lines were among several that implemented a casino smoking ban last month amid tightening Covid-19 protocols in response to the omicron option.
New Carnival casino rules taking effect for cruises departing to On Monday, February 14, they say that it is forbidden to smoke in the casino if the guest is not sitting and playing, according to Cruise Citric. Seats at gaming tables and slot machines are reserved for players only.
However, casino guests must still wear a face mask, unless they are “actively smoking or drinking beverages”, according to the updated policy. Although the casino bar is supposed to remain open, it is considered a non-smoking area like the rest of the ship.
While smoking is allowed in the casino while playing, it is not allowed when the casino is closed, and is also not allowed “anywhere on board” while refueling for safety reasons.
“We appreciate the support of our guests these protocols, implemented in the interests of all,” said Carnaval.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has updated its smoking policy to once again allow guests to smoke in designated areas on the ship. Smoking of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and pipes is allowed in designated outdoor areas and will be allowed in certain areas of the casino.
The permit is valid for cruises departing on or after February 15, 2022, the company clarifies, except ships departing from China, UK and Australia. For cruises departing on or before February 14, 2022, the casino is non-smoking and masks are still required. Unlike Carnival, the mask mandate has now been removed after the policy update.
Smoking bans have been introduced by several cruise lines in an attempt to combat Covid, to mixed reception: while smokers have protested the measures, non-smokers have generally welcomed the policy. Similarly, most cruise lines have introduced mandatory masks on their ships, which some, including Royal Caribbean, Regent and Oceania, are now seeking to eliminate.
However, not all cruise lines agree with the return of smoking. The bans are still in place on Holland America and Princess cruises until March 31st, according to the previously cited news source.
The policy put in place to ban smoking in cruise casinos during the pandemic is no different from the policy set for land-based casinos. For example, Atlantic City in New Jersey implemented a smoking ban in its casinos as a measure to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in 2020, although the ban expired in April 2021. Since then, casino staff have been trying to restore it.