The next time you sail on a Royal Caribbean Oasis Class cruise ship, there's likely one change you may notice on deck 4.
Since the start of the year, Royal Caribbean has quietly begun converting over its Jazz on 4 venues into a non-smoking casino room.
Jazz on 4 was a dedicated room for jazz music, where a band would perform most nights of the cruise. During the day time, Jazz on 4 would mostly remain unused, but it was sometimes used for private events as well.
There's been no formal announcement from the cruise line, but cruise fans were alerted to the change when the jazz club was closed on recent sailings.
On Oasis of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas, Jazz on 4 has already been converted over to a casino room similar to the Golden Room first offered on Wonder of the Seas.
In the Royal Caribbean Club Royale Facebook group, Ed Thomas posted photos of the new space that opened on Oasis of the Seas this week.
He counted 40 slot machines, a blackjack table and a three-card poker table.
Over on Harmony of the Seas, the changeover occurred earlier this month. Johnny Travalor shared photos of the new space.
It's not clear yet if the change has or will happen on Allure or Symphony of the Seas, although Symphony of the Seas is in dry dock in Cadiz, Spain currently and the work could be occurring in conjunction with that effort.
When Wonder of the Seas launched in 2022, Royal Caribbean opted not to include Jazz on 4. Instead, it had The Golden Room, which is a non-smoking casino annex. It was speculated this decision was based on the fact that Wonder of the Seas was originally intended for the Asian cruise market, where gambling is more popular than in North America and Europe.
When Royal Caribbean changed plans to keep Wonder of the Seas in the United States, they decided to keep the VIP room.
Cruise line executives at the launch of Wonder of the Seas admitted they weren't sure whether or not the concept will be a hit with Americans, but it seemed worth a try.
One big change guests may notice about this new spot is the lack of smoke.
The room is designated non-smoking, which is a big deal for Royal Caribbean. The cruise line has historically allowed smoking in the main casino.
The debate over allowing smoking in the casino has been contentious over the years, with many cruise ship passengers voicing their opinions on the matter and it's left Royal Caribbean in the middle.
At a question and answer session in June 2022, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley talked about the issue of allowing smoking. He
admitted, "smoking in the casinos is a bit of a conundrum."
"The dilemma is that there are many people who do want to smoke in the casino. I know that's not a popular response, but it's it's the truth."
"I'm not judging anyone or anything, but there's a large group of people who do want to smoke in the casino."
He explained, "Every, I would say every couple of years, we do test this and we take one or two or three ships we ban smoking in the casino. And the result is less people go in the casino and that that's the reality of it."
Not the end of jazz on Royal Caribbean
Jazz music lovers should take solace in the fact the end of the Jazz on 4 venue does not correlate to an end to jazz music onboard Oasis Class ships.
Starting with Wonder of the Seas, the jazz performances were moved from Jazz on 4 to Central Park. On some nights, the jazz band also performs in Music Hall.
There are evening performances near Park Cafe, similar to the sets that would have occurred in the former venue.
A new jazz club on Icon
If their new ship is any indication, Royal Caribbean isn't done with jazz music quite yet.
Royal Caribbean thinks this venue will be the perfect place to enjoy live jazz performances at a table, or while strolling in the park.