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Priya2

Smoking on Balconies

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Are there any areas of the ships where smoking isn’t permitted on the balconies? We have never cruised with FO before, but since they sail from Newcastle, which is about 10 miles up the road from us, it’s an attractive option for some destinations. We have so far sailed with Celebrity and Azamara. Both of which only permit smoking in one small area on the pool deck.  Someone was once smoking on a balcony on the floor above us and to the side. Despite the distance, it really stank. We’d love a balcony, but don’t fancy being surrounded by cigarette smoke. I’d value any feedback on the general issue.

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Posted (edited)

The only Fred balconies that are smoke free are the terrace ones on the prom decks of Black Watch and Boudicca.  Fred's other ships have no smoke free balconies.  We have had a terrace balcony for a long cruise when we got a very good price and liked it, but some people do not like them as they protrude onto the prom deck, so you will have people constantly walking past.

 

On the same cruise we did know a couple who had great problems with the smell of smoke in a suite - possibly coming from the air con or a cabin which had a lingering smell of smoke which had previously drifted into the cabin when a previous occupant had been smoking on the balcony.  The latter was Fred's excuse, but it did not sound convincing.  They were eventually moved, but a suitable cabin would have to be available if it happened to us, so it is not something we would risk.

 

Another word of warning - some of Fred's suites (e.g. Junior suites) do not have balconies, but are just big cabins.

 

Smoking is permitted in limited areas of the outside decks otherwise and you can avoid those areas and smoking is not allowed indoors anywhere.

Edited by tring

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Thank you. It sounds like it wouldn’t work for us. I’m really surprised that FO allow smoking around the ship like this. It seems very out of step with everyone else.

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5 hours ago, Priya2 said:

Thank you. It sounds like it wouldn’t work for us. I’m really surprised that FO allow smoking around the ship like this. It seems very out of step with everyone else.

 

They do not allow much smoking 'around the ship', just a small area to the back of the ships (I think something like one side of the back 'wing' of the ship on one deck only).  I have not heard of that causing problems to others as there is a lot of deck space on Fred's small ships, so it sounds a lot less of a problem to me than an area of pool deck on other ships.  The difference is Fred's balconies - the cynical part of me suggests that he may get hardened smokers prepared to spend the large sums of cash he charges for his balconies, so they can smoke on them.  I have not seen/heard of problems caused to other people if not in adjacent balcony cabins themselves.

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Thanks Tring. I worded my point badly. By ‘around the ship’, I was thinking of there being no areas with balconies where cigarette smoke can be avoided. Shame 😔

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Funnily I was researching and did a double take on balcony smoking reasoning that with smoking bans booking such cabins would be so that one could smoke. Smokers do no realise that non smokers can be very sensitive to the smell be it from next door above or below plus if someone smokes on the balcony it can waft inside as it cannot be policed that the balcony door is closed then the cabin will smell of smoke hard to remove for the next passenger. Smokers can be 'nose blind' and not realise the impact. Back in the day in recruitment I could tell a smoker or smoking household by the smell of the application form and envelope...... Think will try for window or porthole only and save some money rather than pay for a treat that could be ruined especially on a cruise with many nationalities not all as anti smoke as UK now is.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, newbiewaves said:

Funnily I was researching and did a double take on balcony smoking reasoning that with smoking bans booking such cabins would be so that one could smoke. Smokers do no realise that non smokers can be very sensitive to the smell be it from next door above or below plus if someone smokes on the balcony it can waft inside as it cannot be policed that the balcony door is closed then the cabin will smell of smoke hard to remove for the next passenger. Smokers can be 'nose blind' and not realise the impact. Back in the day in recruitment I could tell a smoker or smoking household by the smell of the application form and envelope...... Think will try for window or porthole only and save some money rather than pay for a treat that could be ruined especially on a cruise with many nationalities not all as anti smoke as UK now is.

 

You will find the vast majority of Fred passengers are British, with just a few other nationalities on board.  Fred though do have a high percentage of older passengers on the ship (and are well known for that).  Of course smoking was more common in the older generations, though the vast majority of passengers will not be smokers.

 

As I mentioned and explained above, the Terrace Balcony cabins and Terrace Balcony suites on the prom deck of Black Watch and Boudicca do not allow smoking on the balcony as that would be very near to the public area of the prom deck.  There is not much space allowed for smokers in the pubic areas and I find that really is a non issue, as all cruise ships have that as far as I know.  We had no problems on our terrace balcony cabin, even though smoking was allowed on the deck above - nor have we ever smelt smoke on the prom deck from the cabins above.

 

I do agree with you though and we would not book a balcony cabin, if that and cabins around allow balcony smoking.  In fact we would not pay the normal cost of Fred's balcony cabins for what is basically the same cruise experience .  It does give a sales niche for Fred though, as I do not know of any other line that allows smoking on Balconies.  I am asthmatic and also hate the smell of smoke. 

Edited by tring

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On Saturday my wife and I booked a 32 night cruise on Black Watch in November 2020 for our Golden wedding . We read the Terms  and Conditions to check their smoking policy as we both hate smoking, having lost relations to cancer because of it. Their Terms state "Smoking is allowed only in designated areas". No where did it mention balconies as a designated area.

I was looking on here and noticed a review which was very critical of smoking on the balconies.

I immediately rang Fred Olsen to seek clarification as there was no way that I wanted to stay in a cabin surrounded by smokers. No disrespect to them, but that is my choice.

Fred Olsen's position was that you have booked and accepted our terms and conditions so you can not cancel without loosing your £1850 deposit. This was done within 2 hours of our booking. They do not allow any cooling off period at all.

My travel agent escalated it but Fred Olsen were not prepared to even consider it.

So as it stands we either loose our deposit by cancelling or we pay the rest of the balance.

I am not sure how all of this fits in with their "Enjoyment guarantee".

Please read all of their Terms or you could be in for a nasty surprise !!

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Redjag, that is disgraceful! I wouldn’t give-up if I were you. There must be a regulator if the industry. Take it to them. Write to FO and threaten to take it to Watchdog and any other consumer TV programme and website. They won’t want too much bad publicity. The more I read about this issue, the more I know FO isn’t for us. Aside from this, they are very expensive for aging ships compared to other cruiselines.

 

Good luck. Please let us know how you get on.

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Posted (edited)

I am no great advocate for Fred and see the disadvantages as well as what we consider to be advantages (mainly certain itineraries) of Fred.  However I am a little perplexed to see where Redjag got the info re smoking on Fred.

 

I have just put 'smoking' into the search box on Fred's website and it immediately came up with this:-

 

https://www.fredolsencruises.com/faqs/on-board/where-are-the-smoking-areas-on-board

 

I then looked at a Fred brochure, which states in the T&C's "Smoking is only permitted on designated open deck locations and room balconies, except the Terrace Balconies (grades TS, TC and TK)".

 

The ship concerned does have smoke free balconies and I doubt they would all be booked at this stage (though I could be wrong), so I do not see why a change of cabin could not be considered, or if preferred a change to another cruise entirely.  Even with full conditions applied and no concession, I think the admin charge for a change would be pretty insignificant (possibly about £100) as I have asked recently about changing a booking we have.  I do not know of any other cruise, or even holiday company, that allows a 'cooling off period' after a firm booking is made in the UK, (though I think people from the US tend to have this facility).  Hence I see no reason why a cancellation should be granted.  Anchor fare bookings cannot be changed, but for a cruise so far in the future, anchor fares would not be available.

 

If booked through an agent, I am also surprised that the agent did not make it clear to the purchaser that the booking could not be cancelled without loosing the deposit, before the deposit was taken.

 

I would think that the "enjoyment promise" could be invoked if the current booking is continued with and problems were encountered when on the ship.  In that case Fred would do their best to find other suitable accommodation which is not a problem.  We have moved cabins a couple of times because of other problems on  Fred ships and, as I mentioned above, the people which we met on the UK to Mauritius cruise, were moved to another cabin where they did not have problems - in fact they got an upgrade out of it.  Fred's customer services on board are pretty good compared to attitudes we have encountered on other ships.  Not everyone in a balcony cabin smokes and we had no hint of a problem at any stage re our terrace cabin, yet we had seen someone smoking on the balcony of the cabin above from the prom deck.  Also we have never smelt any smoke at any part of prom deck from cabins on any Fred cruise.   

Edited by tring

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Please look at that Terms and Conditions on their website and then look under Smoking Policy. It states designated outside areas. It does not mention Balconies. I am not sure how many variations of their Tand C s we are expected to look at before booking.We consulted their website which I would expect to be enough.

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Redjag you could try asking for a change of cabin grade if really worried? Have just booked a Fred but balconies were all taken (luckily) TA feedback is generally a British cruise of a certain age so maybe fingers crossed by 2020 even less will smoke?  The new challenge is vaping which looks like smoking but hardly any odor yet are consigned to real smoking areas.

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Ah thanks tring just read a new bit on electronic cigarettes that i hadn't seen before so info is spread in different places. My OH will now be happier lol.

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Regarding Redjags booking, I think the problem lies with the TA.  When you pick the Balcony Grade cabin it states Smoking is permitted on room balconies. This is something that should have been relayed to Redjags.

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We did a month’s cruise on Black Watch across the Pacific, last year, and didn’t have any problem with people smoking. There didn’t seem to be many smokers, and as already stated, it is forbidden on the promenade deck cabins. There aren’t actually that many balcony cabins on the ship, and I can’t recall smelling any smoke from them. It’s also easy to avoid passing through the small designated smoking areas. Put it like this, we have had a lot more problems on land based holidays with people smoking on balconies, which drives my OH mad.

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On 3/19/2019 at 6:12 PM, Redjag said:

Please look at that Terms and Conditions on their website and then look under Smoking Policy. It states designated outside areas. It does not mention Balconies. I am not sure how many variations of their Tand C s we are expected to look at before booking.We consulted their website which I would expect to be enough.

 

It states that smoking is allowed in "designated outdoor areas".

In the list on the website, it gives Balconies as one of those outside areas.

 

It says 

"We operate a strict ‘no smoking’ policy in all inside areas. Smoking will only be permitted on room balconies (excluding Deck 7 Terrace Balconies on B..."

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Posted (edited)

We returned from Boudicca earlier this week and again had a terrace balcony which was fairly near the back of the ship.  No hint of smoke at all and nor have I ever smelt smoke anywhere on the prom deck, even before the terrace balconies were installed, so | do not believe there would be problems from a balcony above your own cabin.  The terrace balconies are great cabins as well and cheaper than any other balconies on Boudicca and Black Watch.

 

I spoke to the future cruise rep on board regards smoking on balconies, asking how well they book the balcony cabins were smoking is allowed (thinking this could be a unique selling point for Fred), but seems they have more problems with complaints about smoke.  It also sounds like they have some thoughts of changing the policy in the future, so smoking would only be allowed at the back of deck 8, which is a very small area with views down to the pool (which is at the back of deck 6) and is the current public smoking area on that ship.  Does not sound like the changes will be for a while though (she said within 5 to 10 years) and I would think it will depend on sales and problems encountered on board when people need to be moved to other balconies that are not experiencing smoke problems - I suspect there are quite a few as smokers are few and far between and I have been into other peoples balcony cabins that did not have any hint of smoke (I am asthmatic and pick up any hint of smoke when others do not).  I would expect the change to be when certain cruises are released though as I would not expect them to change the policy after some balconies had been sold with the understanding that smoking is allowed as they are now. 

Edited by tring

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I would never book a balcony on Fred Olsen because of the smoking policy as I would definitely be bothered by the smoke coming from next door's balcony or below me. Other people's smoke definitely travels and usually finds me pretty quickly.

As I love a balcony on my cruises, it therefore follows that I will not be considering Fred again whilst this policy is in operation.

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21 minutes ago, Scriv said:

I would never book a balcony on Fred Olsen because of the smoking policy as I would definitely be bothered by the smoke coming from next door's balcony or below me. Other people's smoke definitely travels and usually finds me pretty quickly.

As I love a balcony on my cruises, it therefore follows that I will not be considering Fred again whilst this policy is in operation.

I wonder if they lose more potential passengers than they gain with this policy. I suspect they do, since smokers are in the minority these days.

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2 hours ago, Priya2 said:

I wonder if they lose more potential passengers than they gain with this policy. I suspect they do, since smokers are in the minority these days.

 

I think that you are absolutely correct.

 

We have been lucky so far when we have booked a balcony, our neighbours have been non smokers. Those we shared a table with were not so lucky and having paid for a  very expensive balcony suffered smelly second hand smoke morning, noon and night.

 

Their experience would put me off paying for a balcony again.

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We have done over 30 cruises, always in a balcony cabin. Our first cruise wirh Fred wad in January and for the first time e we we booked an inside cabin because of the smoking policy. We managed perfectly well and have booked the same cabin again for a 28 night cruise next year. I know I would be affected by smoke from adjoing balconies so not prepared to risk it. We had a look at a cabin on deck 7 and it smelled of smoke inside the cabin. I don't know where it was coming from but it wasn't very nice. It wad a suite but didn't have a balcony.

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Just had a very unsatisfactory conversation with FO customer Relations rep. I had not realised the smoking policy and have booked and paid for a balcony cabin (not terrace, did not fancy them) some air against just A/C. I am very susceptable to smoke and my breating is affected. If I had known I would not have booked and taken the risk. This thread alerted me to it, you do not lookin T/C's for something you do not expect. Have cruised with several other lines and none of them allowed this.

 

My conversation with the Customer Service rep could be abbreviated to "tough" and if you want to take it further contact another department after asking for my comments to be escalated.

 

Needless to say I have joined the group on here that will not travel with them again.

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What, exactly did you think Customer Relations could do other than move you to a terrace cabin which you say you don't want.?

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29 minutes ago, nb125 said:

What, exactly did you think Customer Relations could do other than move you to a terrace cabin which you say you don't want.?

Pentlands did not say that Customer Service offered to move her/him. She was simply clarifying the type of balcony cabin booked. I have heard this frustrating experience several times before. The answer usually is it was there in the terms and conditions. On the one hand, that is a fair point, on the other hand, since other cruise companies, hotels etc have no smoking policies which include private balconies, overlooking this can easily be done!

 

I feel for you Pentlands.

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Posted (edited)

It's not a question of having to look through terms and conditions, it's there on the cabin description when you are going through the booking process.  I just don't understand why people would not check on the things that are important to them when travelling with a cruise line they haven't used before.

 

Also I didn't say they had offered to move them to a terrace balcony, just that there would be nothing else they could do.

Edited by nb125

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