My wife and I just returned from cruising on Carnivalís Victory from June 12-19, 2005. On this cruise we noticed the following: The large blue beach towels are still provided by the cruise line for use on the beach and pools. These towels are still collected by the room stewards in the evening, but instead of replacing them that evening with clean towels, they now do not replace them until the following morning after 8am.
Although this can be annoying if you are planning on getting off the ship early (such as going to the beach in the morning), we assumed that the purpose of this change is to reduce the amount of chair-saving by the pools.
We did notice that the available chairs on the first sea-day was much lower than on subsequent sea days.
I am not sure whether this is the intended reason for this apparent change (we never noticed this before) or whether it is limited to the Victory, but we just wanted to share this with everyone.
You can "rent" the towels at the pool for free as long as you return them. You give them your sail and sign card so they know how many you take. We found this at first inconvienent but now find I like it alot. The towels are nicer than the ones they used to leave by the pool and now there is no leaving towels on chairs and leaving the pool area and others not knowing if the chairs are taken or not. It really cut down on the chair confusion. And the process was easy and quick.. Even after 18 cruises I find I like changes - sometimes at first I'm real sceptical but this ended up being a good change.. Debbie