Carnival Tries Out New System to Stop Deck Chair Hogs
By Theresa Norton Masek
July 30, 2012 12:22 PM
Carnival Cruise Lines is trying out a new system to stop people from saving seats on pool decks and then not using them. This practice infuriates many cruise passengers, who often can’t find sun loungers for themselves because they are occupied by towels, books and other paraphernalia—but not people.
John Heald, senior cruise director now on Carnival Breeze, posted on Facebook that the ship is testing a new system to prevent seat saving. “The Carnival Breeze is the test ship for a new commitment to stopping this and we started today,” he wrote.
The new rules were posted on cabin TVs and in announcements Heald will make three times a day and during the morning show on television. “It was also placed on the Seaside Theatre big screen. So the message is loud and clear,” he said. “The big difference here is that we are now staffed and able to police this. Our crew will walk the decks and if they see a chair unused but saved with towels, books, shoes, baby Yaks or underpants they will place a sticker on the chair with the current time. Then, they will check 40 minutes later, and if the chair is still reserved and unoccupied, then they will remove the articles and take them to the towel station by the main pool making sure a note is left for the guests that they have done so.”
Heald said it was felt that 40 minutes was enough time for guests eat, get a drink, swim, use the bathroom and so on without losing their seat.
“This is step number one in a new drive to make this work, and once we finish the test here this cruise and next, we will make adjustments and then add to the rest of the fleet,” Heald wrote.
The message posted on cabin TVs says: “In consideration of all guests onboard, please do not reserve sun loungers. Towels will be removed after 40 minutes and kept in the Towel Station close to the deck 10 main pool. Enjoy your FUN day at sea!”
Reaction to the announcement was mostly positive, sometimes bordering on the ecstatic. Here is a typical reaction from the Facebook comments: “About time. Let’s hope all the other cruise lines follow suit. We often avoid cruises with too many sea days as that’s always the most difficult time to get a seat. We have seen chairs reserved for over half a day and then people come back, obviously after a trip, sometimes use the chairs, and sometimes change their minds and remove their belongings.”
One rare comment opposed the new procedure: “Have any of u ever waited 15 minutes in the buffet line, wandered around 5 minutes for a seat then eat, bathroom, wash hands? With this new 40 minute rule THEN you would come back to the Lido in 40 minutes and have your chair gone? DEFINATELY NOT cool.”