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Paul Motter July 31st, 2012 06:26 PM

Carnival's System to Stop Chair Hogs
Carnival's System to Stop Chair Hogs
by Paul Motter

Carnival just started a system to recover deck chairs from people who save them surreptitiously


"Hog" is pretty derogatory word, but "Chair Hog" is the term cruisers use for people who "reserve" deck chairs by going to the pool area in the early morning hours and placing a book on the best chair available.

Not a very nice word but it accurately reflects how regular cruisers feel about these people and apparently for good reason. Often these chair hogs have no intention of even using the chair until after lunch, and in some cases people report that they come along after the chair has been sitting empty for hours and they just pick up the property that was "holding" the chair and walk away.

The problem is one of identifying which chair is actually in use, and which one has merely been usurped. Typically, any deck chair containing any kind of property is regarded as "in use," but that is actually not true at all in far too many cases. And even though all cruise lines have a policy against "saving" chairs in such a manner, the rule is almost never enforced because there is no way an empty chair can tell you if it has been wrongfully usurped, or if the occupant is really just away for a short time.

BigMac July 31st, 2012 06:51 PM

This has not been a problem for me. I applaud Carnival for trying to address a known issue.

Trip July 31st, 2012 07:02 PM

As we are early risers,and out by the pool, we have seen the hogs drop whatever they have bn the seat to save the chair, & often, an entire row,as it must be a written law, that if you cruise as a group, you must tan as a group...:cool:

When asked, I tell the truth,.the seat has never been occupied....please have a seat.

I applaude Carnival, and, if it works, it will be a miracle!

Donna July 31st, 2012 08:01 PM

I sure hope it works, there is hardly a cruise where you don't see this practive. Yea, it really gets me when I see not one or two together "saved", but many....Don't they think of others. I don't need a chair so close to the pool, I can walk, not a problem.

BunkoBabe July 31st, 2012 08:01 PM

I have been very fortunate and not encountered this problem.
On a brighter note, I received this email today. IT’S TIME TO PACK YOUR BAGS.

The ship will be docked and ready when you and your party arrive. Your
fun-filled journey begins as soon as our cruise staff welcomes you aboard and shows you to your stateroom.

heathermyers402 - YouTube

Waiting4acruise July 31st, 2012 08:06 PM

I hope this works.

Paul Motter July 31st, 2012 08:33 PM

Heather - you crack me up with your "get packing" jingle.

I love to see people excited about their upcoming cruise. Its fun just to know you are going on one - its gets the blood moving, the heart pounding, the adrenalin flowing...

BunkoBabe July 31st, 2012 09:31 PM


Originally Posted by Paul Motter (Post 1440786)
Heather - you crack me up with your "get packing" jingle.

I love to see people excited about their upcoming cruise. Its fun just to know you are going on one - its gets the blood moving, the heart pounding, the adrenalin flowing...

Thank you, Paul. I know I demonstrate such silliness, but I truly have lots of fun cruising. I have even more family coming along this year. I hope to make this a family tradition.

PeterFLA July 31st, 2012 09:49 PM

Removing one's property from a deck chair after 10-15 minutes in practice is inconsiderate. Many people go into the pool for more than said time to enjoy the water and relax, swim laps, or enjoy their families. Many, many people also go into the hot tub and happily enjoy this poolside activity for 20 minutes or more. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these activities beyond 15 minutes--in fact it's quite normal and routine. When people pay to enjoy their time at the pool, they should not have to worry about the pool police or anyone else claiming their belongings which could be quite valuable.
Of course, there are people who abuse this, but your proposed solution is neither reasonable or practicle. This proposal could easily lead to hundreds of people being improperly inconvenienced and disturbed. It would be a daily nightmare for the customers and the staff--a daily nightmare.
A 40 minute trial is more reasonable and if it turns out that what is gained is not worth the confusion and bad will, then it may be best to work out another plan or revert back to what is current as a perfect solution may not be possible--in other words, a utilitarian decision for all affected parties.

tmacdon July 31st, 2012 10:18 PM

GREAT for carnival,, this is a real problem,, cannot believe people are that ignorant,, of course when one does it , all will do it,,

Paul Motter July 31st, 2012 10:29 PM

Well Peter...

It looks to me like you only read half of my proposal.

I said they can stay in the POOL AREA AS LONG AS THEY WANT - in the pool, hot tub, hot dog stand, whatever, and leave their belongings on their chair as long as they want.

They can come and take a chair and sit freely if a chair is empty - the only time they need to get the verification card is if they want to leave belongings on a chair alone. Then they have to commit to not leaving the pool area for more than 15 minutes, but as long as they are in the area their belongings can stay in the chair all day.

The point is to eliminate the people who claim chairs and then leave the pool area. And I think 40 minutes too long a time to wait to verify their intentions. Furthermore, while a "card/number" system may seem cumbersome, so is the process of taking property of off chairs without any proof at all of who it belongs to - which is what Carnival is proposing now without the card/number system I am proposing.

The bottom line is that people have the right to enjoy anything, but they have to BE THERE enjoying it, they can't stake a claim to a chair they are not using. That is just plain rude.

I think asking people who want to use deck chairs to remain in the pool area (with 15 minute breaks allowed) is perfectly reasonable. Anything longer outside of the pool area and frankly I don't see why they should have the right to keep a prime seat location.

Also you are overlooking a facet of the system I thought was too obvious to even mention - that if you are there with family & friends they can vouch for an empty chair - so most people will not have to worry about the verification system. They only people it will really affect are the people we all want to stop - the "chair hogs" who save chairs in absentia.

Honeybear July 31st, 2012 10:30 PM

I have never sit in a lounge by the pool, there was never an empty seat! I LOVE this idea! :D

aerospace July 31st, 2012 11:08 PM

If the deck attendant spent all day calling out deck chair numbers I would go do trivia lol.

Why not just have an area where you can rent your chair for the day for $5-10 and other areas that are free? Rented chairs are red, they write your stateroom number on a piece of tape and you put it in the chair you like. You can rent your chair at 6am and not use it all day if you want, but every other chair not in use gets cleared frequently.

Gene C July 31st, 2012 11:49 PM

40 min is ok once attendant has put time slip down it's noticeable if people return to for lost and found I would guess that guest should be required to show S@S card to retrieve property.if a carnival towel those are interchangeable and if personal you know or should know it well enough to describe.As far as expensive items left on chair how many people are going to be out of sight or not have someone keep an eye out?That's a crap shoot on their part! :!:

Gene C July 31st, 2012 11:52 PM

getting subsribed to thread

Trip August 1st, 2012 12:31 AM

In my opinion, the crux of this issue is the, early morning, book, shoe, and tanning lotion droppers on the lounges,which they never come back to for hours...

Once the morning gets going,and the chairs fill in, there is less eyeballing of how long people are out of a seat they have been in all morning.

A long row of saved lounges, on a hot day, empty for hours, should be punishable by walking the plank!;)

belgique August 1st, 2012 01:17 AM

I spend a lot of time at the pool. I swim a lot, read, talk. On sea days, I rarely leave the pool area except for a trip to the lunch buffet, which only takes about 20 minutes, at most.

I think the 40 minute rule is a good one, if it can be enforced. I've seen too many chairs "reserved" with books or towels for hours. If someone new comes looking for a chair, I usually tell them, "No one has been there in hours". It's up to them. whether or not to remove the items.

In our resort town, the police "mark" tires with chalk to enforce 3 or 4 hour parking limits in public lots. Why not mark pool chairs?

BigMac August 1st, 2012 09:44 AM

Peter, they don't start a clock because you got out of the chair.
This is if your leaving the area.
Agreed 15 min is not enough time but something needs to b done.

zydecocruiser August 1st, 2012 12:15 PM

The Carnival system is brilliant and seems to be working.

As for people lingering in the vicinity of the chairs - in the pool or whatever - surely they glance over at their possessions now and then and can easily notice a sticker on the chair.

JoeMo August 1st, 2012 01:11 PM

A giant step forward, but not the end of the journey.

PeterFLA August 1st, 2012 04:13 PM

Paul: To state that a GUEST has to stay in the pool area is not realistic or reasonable. Haven't you ever gone down to your room to get another book, a pair of forgotten sunglasses, or even to use your own toilet?
The pool area is large. When the new, full-time attendent calls out your number at one end of the pool area and it's not possible to hear, is that fair to the GUEST? And yes, considering the hundreds of people who are at the pool area at any given time and the constant turnover, you would have to have AT LEAST one or more employees there to administer your multi-facited plan. It would be a constant, daily ongoing nightmare to administer and enforce. Remember, new GUESTS arrive on the ship regularly. It's not like you have the same guests on board year round who would fall in line with the plan.
Paul, I'm sure that I poke more holes into your elaborate plan but time does not permit at the moment. Besides, you're a nice guy and I like you and I know from experience that your intentions are noble. The simpler the better and Carnival's plan may work. If not and they go back to the way things were, that's okay too because it's really not that big a deal. It happens in the dining areas, theaters, etc. There is plenty of room for everyone and some people are always going to be disappointed and even angry that they don't have a better seat. So lighten up, mind your own business, find another seat, stop whining, and enjoy yourself. Life and the cruise is too short!

Paul Motter August 1st, 2012 04:14 PM

I just personally have to disagree with the 40 minute rule - it is just too long.

I don't see why a person should have the right to claim any chair (and some are far better located than others) and then get up and walk away from from the pool area entirely for 40 minutes or even longer anytime the feel like it.

That just makes no sense to me. If you leave the pool area you are done with that activity as far as I am concerned.

Now - if you have relatives still there that is different - under my system they can hold up your card for you and vouch that someone in your group is still in the vicinity. Then you keep your chair. (Carnival's system did not address this issue).

What I want to stop are the people who show up for just a minute and claim two chairs and then leave. They should not have the right to even 40 minutes - I only gave them 15 in consideration for people who insist on using their own cabin restroom or want to retrieve a book.

But I see no valid reason why a person should be able to keep a chair all day, and all he has to do is show up every 40 minutes. My system allows tracking of people who leave, and at 15 minutes people are not likely to keep coming back just to "renew" the ownership.

The main thing is that deck chairs are not like any other seating - they are typically used as a base for pool activities. But if the good chairs are taken then other people are out of luck. Why should someone who wants to sunbathe at the pool have to wait 40 minutes for a chair while that person with the ideal chair in is the buffet eating an entire meal?

They have left the pool area for a substantial period of time - give up the chair.

Trip August 1st, 2012 07:01 PM

While I like the intellectual idea of this, in theory I don't think it will survive long...I do give them credit for trying, since John had said many times, they cannot, o,r will not police the pool.

On paper, ideas can look great, in practice, well, not so much.

Donna August 1st, 2012 07:37 PM

It is just too bad that the regular honor system doesn't work. I have never gone to the pool before breakfast and "reserve" a chair. I have always found one when I went to the pool, may-be not an ideal spot, but still?? I just wish everyone would practice the same consideration of others.. Pretty much the same in the theater...

zydecocruiser August 1st, 2012 07:47 PM

I still think it will make a dent, and if the pool people don't check often enough I will be putting my own stickers on them. rofl

Paul Motter August 1st, 2012 07:48 PM

Reserved seating works for a wide variety of circumstances - Broadway theaters, restaurants, etc.

It is just a matter of keeping track of who is where. As long as you are in your seat all is good - but if you want to leave to you have momentarily "check out"

Is it not the same with a restaurant? While your friends are there you are checked in even if you leave, but if no one is there and they don't know what your plans are for coming back - you are checked out, whether you leave a book behind or not.

It's just a matter of them caring enough to police it.

The fact is that there are a certain number of pool "bullies" (if you will) who know how to stake their territory and want to keep the system as it was. They are the ones protesting the loudest. I would be willing to bet the vast majority of currently unasked people would fully understand the need and the procedure for a system of tracking deck chairs with no problem at all.

To me this is one of those cruise paradoxes. If certain deck chairs came with certain suites people would never stand for it. After all, everyone has equal access, etc...

But currently deck chairs are going to the early risers who know the trick. And as this gets more publicity even more people are going to start reserving chairs from the first thing in the morning on all ships without a system - just because they can.

The systems are coming to all ships eventually because once something gets started there is no stopping it.

lhp August 1st, 2012 08:20 PM

I think the fact that any cruise line has to come up with a "system" to combat this practice shows just how ignorant the traveling public has become.

how sad.....

Paul Motter August 1st, 2012 09:31 PM

That is a good point LHP...

But the fact is that there are people who learn how to take advantage of situations to their own benefit and so they do it. The "honor system" is pretty much a dead concept these days.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where too many people are always looking for the angles to get a leg up on everybody else.

And the cruise lines have LONG resisted having to treat their guests like kids. There are reasons why they don't discipline kids onboard (its the parent's responsibility), for example.

But at some point you have to do things you don't want to do because in the end it makes the experience better for a greater number of people.

Like if someone was just standing in the buffet line eating all the bacon the chef put out - and never moving on - at some point someone would speak up.

And they should.

conway scott August 2nd, 2012 10:06 AM

I so hope this system works. On my last cruise on the Miracle the new serenity area had new deck chairs and soft chairs. It was very nice but there was very liminted numbers of seats because the new chairs where larger than the old deck chairs. People would set up shop on these chairs early in the morning and prevent anyone else from using them all day whether or not they were there. The crew never enforced any time limited.

Its sad that adults act like spoiled children that feel entitled to having their way at the expense of all others.

Thank you Carnival for addressing this problem.................

PeterFLA August 2nd, 2012 11:44 AM

ANOTHER EXCELLENT TOPIC FROM PAUL--This was another timely and provocative article. I enjoyed it and found it informative like so many of your articles. You have an excellent site. We appreciate being able to be involved. Thanks, Peter Richard

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