Monday, July 23, 2007

From the smoke and mirrors department:

Royal Caribbean announced that they will expand their nonsmoking policy on most of their ships to include all staterooms and at least one lounge. Smoking is already prohibited in restaurants, entertainment venues and hallways.

Update from CND: We pointed out in today's article that we think this is a dumb idea, because it will probably disappoint most people who care about either smoking or nonsmoking. We think Royal Caribbean should have either left things as they are or gone completely nonsmoking.

Most people will assume that it makes the ship pretty much nonsmoking. In reality there are a lot of places on the ship where people will be smoking, so nonsmokers who expect to be able to avoid smoke are going to be disappointed. Just as happens most places which restrict smoking, the rules are going to offend many smokers who see it as their right to smoke where they are comfortable and it's convenient, so they're going to be unhappy.

The rule about not smoking in staterooms is going to be particularly hard to enforce for several reasons we discussed in the CND article. When someone does smoke there, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible to completely deodorize the room, to the level a nonsmoker would expect, in the short amount of time available on turnaround day. It will again set up the nonsmoker for disappointment if he's expecting a nonsmoking cabin.

Royal Caribbean says their new wellness program was the "driving force" behind the changes. If that's the case, it would have made sense to bite the bullet and declare the entire ship nonsmoking. Nonsmokers would have been thrilled, and smokers would have avoided the situation by simply booking somewhere else. Instead, it would appear that Royal Caribbean realizes (from Carnival's experience with nonsmoking ships) that a fleet of nonsmoking ships is not economically feasible, so instead they want to try to make everyone happy and in the end, probably will make no one happy.