This IDIOT Risked All Our Lives on a Cruise Ship – By Smoking on His Balcony!

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Can you tell me what one of the greatest risks is to a cruise ship? If you said icebergs, even so many years after the Titanic tragedy, you would not be that far off. But clearly not if you are on a Caribbean cruise.

No, one of the greatest risks — and something we should all fear — is FIRE! Why is this? Well, think about where you are and just what could happen.

One of the dangers of cruising is the cruise ship catching on fire. Most families who go on a cruise don’t like to think about it. But it happens.” –

How bad can things go? Scary bad! So bad that it can, and has, resulted in death and massive destruction to a cruise ship. That is just what happened a few years ago on The Star Princess. Notice what NBC News reported back then (and check out the shocking photos):

A fire apparently started by a cigarette broke out aboard a giant cruise ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, leaving one passenger dead, 11 people injured and at least 100 rooms scorched.” – (bold mine)

This is one of the reasons, since November of 2014, that Norwegian Cruise Lines announced that smoking on the ships balconies was explicitly banned.

The current wording on every issue of the “Freestyle Daily” delivered to your room clearly warns you NOT to smoke in your room or on your balcony. tells us:

Staterooms: Guests are not permitted to smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipe, electronic cigarettes and vapor devices in their staterooms or on their balconies. Smoking inside your stateroom or on your balcony will result in a $250 USD cleaning charge added to your onboard account. If cigarette burns on furniture, linens, towels or carpeting are detected; guests will be advised and charged for the damages. Guests in the Garden Villas may smoke in their private garden and on their private sun decks.– BOLD MINE

This is, without question, a very serious matter — and the repercussions can be even more than just having to shell out more cash for your cruise. Notice what Cruise Critic tells us:

What happens if I am caught smoking somewhere I’m not supposed to be smoking?
If you are caught smoking outside in a nonsmoking area, you will be asked to move to a smoking area. If caught smoking in your cabin or cabin balcony, you will be told to stop and charged a “cleaning fee” (typically $200 to $250). If you continue to break the rule, you may be forcibly removed from the ship.” –

That kind of warning did not stop this IDIOT on my recent Norwegian Joy western Caribbean cruise from constantly smoking on his balcony.

Once again, this is NOT a trivial matter and his selfishness put the lives of thousands of souls on the ship in danger just so he could have a drag of poison. It would not have taken much for one of his butts to get sucked back into the ship and possibly cause a fire at some point.

A woman, on many occasions, joined him to vape on their expansive balcony. That, too, is also prohibited and falls under the same rules and restrictions (and penalties) for engaging in smoking on an NCL balcony or in the stateroom.

What to do?

I reported these idiots twice.

Did it make any difference? They seemed to continue in their brazen conduct and not care about anyone but themselves and kept smoking so who knows. It does not appear they were ever put off the ship and I have no idea if they were fined $250 for their actions.

I guess we can only hope so.

Beyond the clear safety issue there is also the fact that I paid a big pile of cash and points to enjoy my balcony — which I simply can’t do that if it reeks of smoke from cabins around or below me. – René



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René de Lambert
René de Lambert
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.


  1. I recently was on the huge German cruise ship AidaNova. At any given moment there was 1,000s of Germans smoking on their balcony (it’s allowed). Fires break out when people throw lit cigarettes into the ocean. If you witnessed this dude throwing lit stuff, then I understand your dramatic response. Otherwise, thousands of customers are currently smoking away on AIDA or Costa Cruises as we type, without issue. Enjoy your cruise and try to chill. This stuff is normal in Europe and I assume Asia.

    • @Steve – Thankfully I do not have to “chill” and choose to sail on ships that allow this kind of dangerous behavior and have my cruise ruined by those breaking the stated rules.

      But thanks for the waring about lines to AVOID – much appreciated!

  2. The smoking issue is compounded by people leaving towels, bathing suits, etc. on balconies to dry. In my experience this behavior is even more common. These are easily combustible if a cigarette butt were to land on them. They also pose an additional threat of blowing off into the ocean.

  3. Only throwing cigarette overboard presents a hazard.

    I’d gladly pay $250 cleaning fee (and I don’t smoke) to be upwind from your balcony.

  4. Smoking is banned because a majority on board don’t like the smell. Has nothing to do with it being a fire hazard. Millions of cruises were conducted safely when smoking was permitted – inside and on deck.

  5. How dangerous can smoking on a balcony be? Ask my neighbors. On a cold night, a neighbor’s guest put out his cigarette butt on the railing, then tossed it in a wet planters box. Residents were notified minutes later by a passer by. The 12 unit complex was completely engulfed in 20.

    Add higher temps, wind, and ashes blowing back on board…

    I am with the author.

  6. I totally agree on the smoking ban not just on ship balconies but also hotel balconies.. The balcony on the floor above us at an upscale $$$ hotel had a group smoking cigars and of course the ashes etc came into our balcony because of the wind. I called the front desk and was told the guy above us rented the whole floor for his company and was a super elite member of the hotel brand… Nothing done and luckily nothing caught on fire. Just ashes and cigar smell for us…. At checkout I mentioned t again and they told me nothing could be done ..So much for NO Smoking on the whole hotel area…


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