How to Get Away With Smoking on a Cruise Ship

Whether you are looking to sneak a smoke in outside designated areas or perhaps get away with smoking weed on a cruise ship, we have covered some of the ways passengers have tried to get away with doing so.

We have also covered some alternative options, so you can get your fix, or reduce the desire, with less or without any smoke.

Remember, though, breaking the rules isn’t without risks – going against ship regulations may have its consequences, and whatever you do always remember the health and safety of other passengers onboard.

Using Designated Smoking Areas

The reality is, if your smoking cigarettes and cigars, you don’t need to get away with it.

Designated smoking areas are specific sections on a cruise ship where smoking is allowed. 

These areas are purposefully allocated and clearly marked to ensure passengers who smoke can enjoy their habit without disturbing non-smoking guests. 

Smoking areas may be indoors or outdoors, depending on the ship’s layout and policies. 

Indoor smoking areas often include casinos or designated cigar bars, equipped with special ventilation systems to manage smoke. 

These locations also often have additional amenities such as comfortable seating, ashtrays, and sometimes even drink service, creating a relaxed environment for smokers.

woman smoking on cruise deck

Outdoor smoking areas are generally sections of open decks, typically downwind to avoid bothering non-smokers. They are strategically positioned to prevent smoke from entering the ship’s interior spaces or nearby cabins. They are equipped with ashtrays and often have some form of shelter to protect smokers from adverse weather conditions.

These areas are not just for cigarette smokers but also often accommodate e-cigarette users and, sometimes, cigar smokers.

Pros: Abiding by the ship’s regulations removes the risk of any penalties or infringements. It’s a hassle-free and legitimate way to smoke.

Cons: The number, location, and availability of these smoking zones may be inconvenient. Some smokers might find them crowded, noisy, or exposed to elements, detracting from their smoking experience.

No smoking sign on table

Balcony Smoking

Cruise ships typically ban balcony smoking due to fire risk – a real concern for cruise lines. 

Even a partially lit cigarette dropped on a balcony or flicked onto a lower deck can spark a blaze.

 Moreover, the ban ensures passengers’ comfort, as many don’t appreciate smoke wafting over from adjacent balconies, not to mention the anxiety of potential fire hazards nearby. 

However, there are still a few cruise lines that allow balcony smoking

Pros: You are in a private space, away from the crowds, enjoying the sea view while smoking.

Cons: Despite the appealing prospect, smoking on the balcony is banned on almost all cruise ships due to fire risks. 

Smoke can also disturb neighboring passengers, and overlooking decks or CCTV cameras can detect any rule violations, leading to penalties.

Cabin Smoking 

Smoking in your cruise cabin might seem attractive due to the privacy and convenience. 

However, cabins are equipped with sensitive smoke detectors and setting one off can lead to immediate attention from security. 

Smoking in cabins is prohibited on most cruise lines in all forms, (although some may allow electronic cigarettes) due to fire safety, with penalties for violation ranging from cleaning fees to fines or even disembarkation in serious circumstances.

Besides, the persistent smell of smoke can disturb nearby passengers as well as future passengers staying in the room.

Pros: Your cabin is a private, enclosed space, away from other passengers, providing an illusory sense of security.  However, 

Cons: Smoke detectors in almost every cabin can detect cigarette smoke, triggering an alarm. Violating cabin smoking policies can lead to cleaning fees, fines, or even expulsion from the ship. The only known exception to this rule is Costa Cruises, which allows e-cigarette vaping in cabins.

No smoking areas on cruise include cabins
No smoking in cabins

Smoking Weed on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships have a strict no-drugs policy, and this includes marijuana, regardless of its legal status in your home country or the ports visited.

 Attempting to sneak weed onboard or smoke it can lead to serious repercussions. 

Not only is the distinct odor of cannabis likely to attract attention, but if caught, you may face expulsion from the ship, potential legal issues in the next port, or even a lifetime ban from the cruise line. 

However, some people still try to bring weed on a cruise, and then have to work out a way of getting away with smoking it.

Pros: There are no real advantages to smoking weed on a cruise ship due to its illegality.

Cons: The distinctive aroma of cannabis can attract unwanted attention, and getting caught may lead to severe consequences such as expulsion, potential arrest, or lifetime ban from cruising. 

Additionally, luggage is usually thoroughly searched upon boarding, making the smuggling of cannabis onboard extremely risky.

woman smoking roll up

Bathroom Smoking

Choosing the seclusion of the bathroom for a smoke might cross the minds of some cruisers, given its relative isolation and potential for privacy.

Initially, safeguard any garments in the vicinity, ensuring they’re outside the bathroom to prevent the absorption of the lingering smell of smoke.

Run a warm shower, to generate steam, which can help mask the distinct aroma of smoke as they merge. An active extractor vent is essential, serving to help disperse the smoke.

Next, place dampened towel at the base of the door to seal any spaces beneath the door, trapping the smoke within the bathroom.

While smoking, aim the ash towards the sink of running water to immediately wash away any traces.

When you’ve finished, use a fragrant air freshener, perfume or deodorant to hide any smoky odors.

Remember, though these measures may help reduce the chances of detection, they do not guarantee it, and breaking ship regulations carries potential repercussions.

Pros: The bathroom is a seemingly private, enclosed space that might seem ideal for containing smoke.

Cons: Bathrooms often contain smoke detectors, and the lingering smell can be detected by the cleaning or maintenance crew. Improper disposal of a cigarette could also pose a fire hazard. This method is strongly discouraged due to its violation of the ship’s rules.

Damp towel at base of bathroom door
Damp towel at base of bathroom door

Delta 8

While Delta-8 THC is increasingly sought-after due to its perceived gentler effects compared to its cousin Delta-9 THC, it’s important to note that its presence on cruise ships is strictly forbidden. 

Pros: Delta 8 products might provide the desired effects for users without the potency of regular marijuana.

Cons: Despite its lower potency, cruise lines categorize Delta 8 in the same bracket as other marijuana products. Consequently, the use or possession of Delta 8 is completely prohibited onboard, reflecting the ban on marijuana substances in general.

Ways to Get Away With Smoking on a Cruise Ship

These are some methods passengers have reportedly used to get away with smoking on a cruise ship.

Using One-Hitters

A one-hitter is a small, discreet smoking device that holds enough product for one inhalation, hence the name. Its small size and quick use make it a favorite among some smokers.

One-hitters are easy to conceal and use, making them less likely to draw attention.

Although they’re discreet, using one-hitters still violates cruise ship smoking policies. Detection can result in penalties similar to those of other smoking methods.

Smoke Buddy

The Smoke Buddy is a personal air filter designed to reduce secondhand smoke and eliminate odor. The user exhales smoke into the device, and it releases filtered, odorless air.

A smoke buddy might help reduce the chances of detection in a closed space by minimizing smoke and odor.

Despite its effectiveness, using a Smoke Buddy doesn’t negate the fact that you’re violating the ship’s smoking policy. Detection could result in penalties.

No smoking area

What Happens if Caught Smoking on a Cruise Ship?

If you don’t break the rules, you don’t need to worry about being caught. 

Ignoring the smoking policies of a cruise ship can have significant consequences, which can adversely affect both your vacation and your pocket.  

Fines and Cleaning Fees

If you’re caught smoking in a non-smoking area, especially in your cabin or balcony, you may be slapped with a hefty cleaning fee. 

This fee is used to deep-clean the room to remove any trace of the smoke smell before it can be used by the next passenger. 

Depending on the cruise line, this could range from a couple of hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Eviction from the Ship

In severe cases or repeated offences, the cruise line might decide to remove you from the ship for being a potential fire hazard.

This means that you would be left at the next port of call and would be responsible for your travel arrangements back home. 

The cost of the remainder of your cruise would not be refunded.


Alternative Smoking Options

If you’re a smoker who enjoys the feeling of smoking but don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a smoking area, there are a few alternatives you could consider:

Nicotine Patches or Gum

These products provide a steady supply of nicotine to your system without the need for smoking. They can help reduce cravings and are a popular choice for those looking to quit smoking.

Nicotine Inhaler

 These devices allow you to inhale nicotine in a manner similar to how you would smoke a cigarette. However, they do not produce any smoke, so they can be used in many places where smoking is not allowed.

Tobacco-Free Nicotine Pouches

These pouches are placed between your gum and lip. They provide a steady supply of nicotine without any smoke or tobacco. They are discreet and can be used anywhere.

Smokeless Tobacco

Products like snuff or chewing tobacco can provide a nicotine hit without the need for smoking. However, these products have their health risks and are not universally accepted.


If its weed your concerned about getting away with smoking, you might consider edible alternatives.  Although beware luggage is scanned and can be checked


While there may be ways to circumvent the smoking regulations on a cruise ship, the risk of penalties, including hefty fines, removal from the ship, or a permanent ban from the cruise line, makes it advisable to adhere to the rules.

Cruise lines have designated smoking areas for a reason, and these should be the only places where smoking is attempted. 

Enjoy your cruise responsibly and respect the rules and regulations to ensure a pleasant and penalty-free journey.

Of course some people are still going to try and smoke and we’ve just covered some of the most well known methods.

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