Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are reinstating smoking in their casinos starting this week. The two lines were among several that introduced a smoking ban at casinos last month amid tougher Covid-19 protocols in response to the omicron option.
The new rules of the Carnival Casino, which come into force for cruises departing on Monday, February 14, state that smoking is prohibited in the casino if the guest is not sitting and playing, Cruise Citric reports. Seats at gaming tables and slot machines are reserved only for players.
However, casino guests must still wear a face mask unless they are “actively smoking or drinking drinks,” according to the updated policy. Although the casino bar should remain open, it is considered a non-smoking area, as is the rest of the ship.
Although smoking is allowed in the casino during the game, it is prohibited when the casino is closed, and it is also not allowed “anywhere on board” during refueling for security reasons.
“We appreciate our guests’ support for these protocols, implemented taking into account everyone’s interests,” Carnival said.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has updated its smoking policy to allow guests to smoke in designated areas on the ship again. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, electronic 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 says, with the exception of ships departing from China, the UK and Australia. On cruises departing on or before February 14, 2022, smoking is prohibited in the casino, and masks are still mandatory. Unlike Carnival, the mask mandate has now been removed after the policy update.
The smoking ban was introduced by several cruise lines in an attempt to combat Covid, which caused a mixed reception: while smokers protested against these measures, non-smokers generally welcomed the policy. Similarly, most companies have introduced mandatory masks on their ships, which some, including Royal Caribbean, Regent and Oceania, are now seeking to abolish.
However, not all cruise lines agree with the return of smoking. The bans are still in effect on Holland America and Princess cruises until March 31, according to a previously quoted news source.
The policy introduced to ban smoking in cruise casinos in the face of a pandemic is no different from the policy established for land-based casinos. For example, Atlantic City in New Jersey introduced a ban on smoking in its casinos as a measure to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in 2020, although the ban expired in April 2021. Since then, casino employees have been trying to restore it.