In Defense of Deck Chair Hogs

April 27, 2012 | By | 51 Comments

We’re used to making sweeping generalizations that everyone hates deck chair hogs, but it stands to reason that if everyone hated them, there would BE no top-ship swine in the first place. So, maybe people who hog chairs don’t know that they’re doing it … or maybe they just don’t care.
We recently came across a thread on the Cruise Critic message boards, presenting a defense of those who commandeer loungers on the sun deck and pointing the finger at those who sleep late and, therefore, miss out on claiming prime poolside real estate.
Boards member LuckyZ, who started the thread, says it’s time to turn the tables on those who complain about not being able to snag a seat. “Okay, here it is. I’m getting sick of all the Chair Hog threads and want to start one that gives the other side of the story,” he begins.
He goes on to compare those searching for loungers to a “pack of wolves” and regales us with the story of the time his wife’s empty chair was nearly stolen when she got up to use the bathroom. It’s actually happened on several occasions, he contends.
pj woods agrees: “If I want to spend 30 minutes with my children in the pool I expect my seat to be there when I get back. If I get up and take the kids to grab a burger and come back to my seats to eat, I want my stuff left alone.”
Member INTERLINER13 shares a personal experience dealing with the deck chair police: “I left my seats for 34 minutes … when we returned the seats were gone. I actually took a picture just before leaving. Now I knew it was 34 minutes, but would someone else really have watched the seat and taken it over after 4 minutes?” (Many lines have policies stating that items left unattended on deck chairs for more than 30 minutes can and will be moved.)
Those who defend the holding of chairs raise the following question: has the blow-back to deck chair-hogging gone too far?
lizjoemom looks at it from both sides: “Are there chair hogs? Yes, most definitely. Are there chair bullies who steal your chair when you leave for a few minutes? Yes, most definitely. Turns out that rude is rude no matter which side of the fence you live on!”
What do you think? Are there legitimate cases of the deck chair justice squad being a little too overzealous? Be sure to leave your comments below.
Want more on this topic? Check out:
Cruisers Speak Out: Deck Chair Hogs
Blog: Deep-Seated Anger
Message boards: A Note to Chair Hogs
Message boards: Confessions of a Deck Chair Hog
Message boards: So Chair Hogs Don’t Have Rights?
Message boards: Deck Chair Hog Photos
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    51 Responses to “In Defense of Deck Chair Hogs”

    1. Marlene
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

      I don’t have a problem with chairs held for 30 – 40 minutes while you go get some lunch or go into the pool or to get a drink at the bar. What I do have a problem with is people who apparently throw towels on their chairs the night before to reserve them or get up at 6 a.m.and reserve a chair but you don’t see them in the chair until 10 – 11 a.m.

    2. Jim
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

      There is absolutely no reason for hogging a chair. If you are gone for more than 30 minutes, I will take it. Period. If you want to leave your chair and come back to it, the answer is simple – come back within 30 minutes. If you can’t do that, then you don’t deserve your chair. If you have kids to tend to, or you will be gone longer than 30 minutes, then find another chair upon your return. That’s what my wife and I did. You can be that polite too.

    3. Gene Millsaps
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

      30 minutes is reasonable. Some kind of limit is appropriate, and the cruise lines serve us better by publishing and enforcing their rules.

    4. Kona
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

      I see both sides. I’ve only been on one cruise and have #2 coming up. We never scouted out a chair and always got lousy spots or none at all. I’m trying to figure out how to approach next time. Do we get chairs and check in on them every half hour?

    5. Carolyn
      April 27th, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

      I think 30 minutes…no problem. What I take exception to is when I get to the pool at 7:30 in the morning there are rows of chairs with towels, books etc. on them and the scoundrels don’t show up til at least 10:00am. That is very selfish. A thousand hits with a wet noodle for you. You know who you are:(

    6. Michael
      April 30th, 2012 @ 10:09 am

      If you are in your chair it is yours. If you are not in your chair it is not yours. Even thirty minutes is too long to make such prime real estate unavailable to everyone else while you are off doing something else. Maybe five minutes to go to the bathroom. That’s it.

    7. Ken
      April 30th, 2012 @ 10:41 am

      I read all the time about this being such a problem, but I have never had a problem finding a chair on any of the 3 cruises I have taken to the Caribbean, Bermuda or the Mexican Riviera.

    8. Sandra Pickett
      April 30th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      I think when you want to go and sit by the pool or out on deck that is when you try and get a seat.If you have no intention on using that chair for an hour or more it is rude to go and claim it for yourself so its there when you feel like using it.We always let the chair go if we are going to eat or do something that is going to take a chunk of time.If its a quick bathroom break or we are taking a quick dip that is a little different.

    9. LKYGSR
      April 30th, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      This does not fully represent “the other side of the arguement”, rather it simply puts focus on an “occasional occurance”. The real gripe about chair hogs is when they tie up a seat for HOURS, not 34 minutes. If you wish the other side of the arguement to have merit, I suggest getting the folks who think it’s OK to tie up a non used chair for hours to step up and explain.

    10. Chris
      April 30th, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

      The poster who wrote about going into the pool with his kids misses the point. His chair will have more than a towel on it and people will know it is being used.

      The issue is when there is just a towel and it is being held by a hog.

      I think everyone needs to have a little courtesy and understand that ships are no designed to have everyone using the pool at once and therefore is you leave the pool area you should not expect to have you seat held.

    11. cheryl
      April 30th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

      Do you leave your belongings in the buffet restaurant all day, knowing that you’ll be hungry later and wanting to ensure that your preferred table is there, reserved just for you?
      No, of course not, that would be silly (and not allowed since it is a shared space that others may want to use).
      So why is it okay to do that on the deck or anywhere else on the ship?
      When you’re done in the sun, take your stuff with you.

    12. Andrew
      April 30th, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

      I think the Four Seasons really has this worked out. They have pool attendants that tell you when you arrive that they will only hold a chair for one hour. If you are gone more than one hour, they collect your items and you can pick them up at the cabana. If they run out of chairs they start a wait list. Everyone knows the rules and no one is disappointed. I wish the cruise lines could model this system.

      I stayed at the Four Seasons Maui for a week. They were completely full and we never had a problem getting a chair.

    13. Linda
      April 30th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

      People shouldn’t leave stuff on chairs and be gone for over an hour to eat or whatever. I saw a couple leave their towels and magazines on 2 chairs and then left… over an hour later when I left, they still didn’t come back! But since they left magazines, no one touched them.

      It’s also the staff’s fault for not enforcing the rules and removing the towels.

      I also don’t see why people can’t throw their used towels in the bins when they leave instead of leaving them on the chairs, so people can actually find empty chairs!

    14. Andrewxo1
      April 30th, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

      I feel like getting lunch with your kids or going into the pool or bathroom is one thing, but i agree that it is the earlybirds who hog it till 10 or 11 just so they can get breakfast and sleep more. My beach timeshare has a problem with this so they have added numbered stickers to the front pole of all of there chairs. Two workers walk around with an ipad that has a map of the pool area and sections that were numberd off. There is also a time table on the ipad, and each chair has a specific stopwatch on this table. After 30 min. the alarm goes off for a certain chair and the ladies find that chair and either take away the items, or if there are people sitting on it, they will restart the timer. This system works great. It makes you check up on your lounge every so often to make sure the workers didnt clean it up. At a different pool they are starting to give out passes to timeshare owners (one per family member) that allow them to walk down to the pool in the morning and place plastic blue passess with thier last name around the front bar and save that lounge till 10. after ten people can take it. Then there is a green pass from 11:30 till 1 for lunch. this works pretty well, but if cruises start doing the first plan there would be no more chair hogs ever!

    15. BaleKFekete
      April 30th, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

      I have to admit the whole idea of the Chair Hog, or CH for short, is troubling me. I’ve fallen under 60 days to go for my very first cruise, and I’m excited beyond words. However, I’m traveling with my family (5) plus my folks (another 2)…and I’m worried we won’t be able to sit together. I really do hope I’m getting worked up for absolutely no reason and there’ll be plenty of seats to go around. Otherwise, lucky both myself and my eldest son are early risers. ;)

    16. lf
      April 30th, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

      There needs to be a cubby or locker area, where people can keep their shoes, towel , suit cover, and book when they go to the pool. Many people put their stuff on a chair because there is no where else to put it! I don’t want to store my towel on the ground with my flip flops. I am forced to look for and find a chair. it is a simple solution.

    17. Betsy
      April 30th, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

      Chair hogs have gotten totally out of control. They think because they got up early and threw a towel on a chair, they “own” that chair for the day. I was out by the pool at 8AM on my recent cruise, sitting on my chair reading, and watched an area of 10 chairs with nothing but towels on them. When I left my chair at noon (taking my towels with me), the same 10 chairs were still unoccupied. How unfortunate that there are people that feel so “priviledged”! Please use the chair, and when you are done, remove the towel so that someone else can use it. A little consideration is in order here. What’s so hard about that?

    18. hawktalker
      April 30th, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

      I think overall, the 1/2 hour rule is reasonable. IMO, simply throwing a towel over a chair should NOT constitute \reserving\ a chair. If you are in a pair or a group, have one person designated to watch the chairs while the others break, and rotate back. This has worked well for my fiancee (soon to be wife) and I. If you must leave a chair unattended for a short time, leave something more than a towel, even if only a magazine or paperback book (nothing valuable)

    19. Tom Gauldin
      April 30th, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

      The solution is to take the unattended chair to a different location and use it, leaving the “belongings” on the deck where the chair had been.
      +A solution that could be even better would be to slyly slide the “belongings” under an adjoining chair that is already occupied by someone else. Since the chairs are identical and since the locations are almost the same, the other person is who will be confronted by the angry person and you’ll have a front-row seat to watch the fight.

    20. Scott
      April 30th, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

      I wish cruise lines would install poolside storage cubbies. Many times I go to the pool by myself and have little interest in lounging in a chair for an extensive period. Instead I plan on being in the pool, a hotub, sitting on the wet area around the pool, etc. There is simply no place for me to put my pool bag other than a deck chair. Leaving it on the pool deck means it will get wet or kicked around. A poolside cubby would suit me well.

    21. Robert
      May 1st, 2012 @ 7:24 am

      From recent experience on Royal Caribean’s Allure of the Sea’s: If you did not have a deck chair by the Beach Pool’s main seating area by 7AM on sea days you never would! Now there was secondary seating available around that pool that became available throughout the day! There usually was one attempt to police the chairs fairly early to prevent people from coming out at 6AM & not returning untill 9AM or 10AM but that was it! So in my opinion the best defense is a good offense!

    22. Robert
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

      I definitely have a problem with people holding their chairs recently I was on a cruise April 7th to the 14th when at 6 AM there was not a chair to be had on sea days. Come on now I would scope out chairs that were unattended for an hour or so, then I would get the pool attendant and ask him to enforce the Carnival 45 minute rule and reluctantally they would. If someone did show up I would politely say when I came up on deck the pool attendant was removing the belongings from hogged chairs. I would direct them over to the towel bar. It works everytime.

    23. Charlie
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

      I wish the cruise lines would just add more chairs – and I liked the idea of cubbies. Seems to me that people just want to relax somewhat close to the pool(s), so why not provide enough seating?? Maybe a few less lounge chairs and more upright chairs would save some space…

    24. j miller
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

      Put your bottom in that chair and use it or lose it! Going to the bathroom is one thing, but to camp out all morning, afternoon or day is hogging. It is called courtesy to others who paid for their cruise too. If you paid for a deck cabin, use it if you want to sun all those hours. 30 Minutes tops to go to the bathroom. Want to eat? Vacate and find another place later. Maybe if you can’t find one you will understand why the rest of us are upset.

    25. Catherine Ewer
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

      I was just on a 8 night cruise aboard the Navigator of the Seas. My husband and I went to cool off in the pool for 15 minutes and when we came back these 2 old ladies were sitting in our chairs. They actually threw all our stuff in a pile on the floor. They looked at us and said, \you were not sitting in your chairs\. And the same thing happened to us at the Windjammer Cafe. Our food was on the table and I went to get some water and my husband went to get something else and they sat in our seats. Be aware of the little ole ladies!!!!

    26. Marliroo
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      Why not just take the stupid chair with you when you go get lunch?

    27. Marliroo
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

      They say that the worse part of committing a crime and being sent to jail is not the jail, but the people who you have to share it with.

    28. kristine jessen
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

      i’m a first time cruiser sailing on carnival dream may 19th. i have already purchased a tiny hello kitty notepad to put on my lounge chair which will tell you where i went, EXACTLY when i left, and how long i expect to be gone. if it’s longer than 30 min, there will be no hello kitty note because i’ll take my stuff with me !! i may be fat, but i’m no HOG.

    29. kristine jessen
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

      i’m just spitballin’ here, but i’m thinking marliroo might be one of those “little ole ladies” another poster warned about!! lol

    30. Teresa
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

      I don’t think there is a other side of the story. Those examples are not the problems people get mad at. I have gine on a dozen cruises. All sea days I am up and looking for a chair between 7:30 and 8:00 to read and enough the sun etc until about 11 when I head to trivia or something. I never can get a good chair at that time because people have “claimed” them. The majority (90%) go unoccupied the whole time. That is hogging and there is not other side. My last cruise I loved what happened. It was nice until about 9… started clouding up and by 9:30 I moved over to the side to be under the deck as it was going to start pouring. I sat there for the next hour and watched people’s books, magazines and towels get drenched.

    31. Bill
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

      The worst I have read about are people re reserved two sets of chairs all day long. One set in the sun and one set in the shade.

    32. Curt
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

      I have several solutions for the problem. If you have your chairs, let one person at a time go to the bathroom or lunch. The other can save the empty chair. If you want to eat together, let one person bring lunch back to the chairs. If you’re looking for a seat, pick two chairs with towels and sit down. If the people don’t come back in 30 minutes, the chairs are yours. If they come back sooner, you can always get up, apologize and move. You can even offer to bring them fresh towels.

    33. John G
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

      We don’t need “cruise crew time cops”…that would drive up the cost for everyone. We need the idiots to stop tying up chairs for hours when they know they’re not going to use them. Grow up chair hogs – you are rude, crude and stupid.

    34. Jen
      May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

      We haven’t cruised a lot however chair hogs have been present every time. We found two solutions. First, just get a balcony room, yes, it’s more expensive but worth being away from the rabble when you need space. Second, it’s amazing that everyone is obsessed with poolside. Why not sit away from there? We have found some wonderful spots in different places where hogs don’t exist quite as much. Sun is sun,and it can be soaked up from just about anywhere on the deck of a ship.

    35. Robert
      May 3rd, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

      Sitting in sun not my cup of tea but I usually swim early and surprised at how many chairs are already hogged at 7:30 in the morning. Why not make “parking discs” available if someone wants to leave a chair for a short time. Set time when you are leaving and if not back in half an hour chair is fair game for anyone else. No disc and chair is forfeit.

    36. Preston
      May 4th, 2012 @ 12:53 am

      Lots of comments talking about how guests will leave their towels overnight reserving their seats, This is horribly wrong ! so wrong that i think i would stoop low enough to take the towel home at expense of their sail and sign, you are responsible for your towel, think this would be a good lesson to not do that next time. :D

    37. Sharon
      May 4th, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      In defense of the chair hogs, I can’t swim so it’s appreciated to have a dry seat. If I leave the chair to use the rest room or get something to eat 15 – 30 minutes, I don’t want to sit a wet chair because the previous user didn’t take the time to dry off. I’m with Charlie, Jen and Robert on their ideas as well. :D

    38. Cathy
      May 4th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

      I completely agree with Jen. Why the need to be poolside? I always find a chair in a great spot on the deck above the pool. There are always chairs to be found up there.

    39. Bianca
      May 6th, 2012 @ 1:14 am

      Why sit by the pool with a lot of kids shouting and crying all day when there are so quiet and nice spots on other decks ? If I want to sit near the adults only pool , there is always a deckchair available . We never had this problem on the cruises we went so far .

    40. Gwenn
      May 6th, 2012 @ 8:17 am

      I agree with the poster who said if people who are leaving the pool area completely would take their towel with them, it would eliminate a lot of hogging. Also, as I read these comments, most of us seem to have a problem with those who put towels down to save a chair at 7:30am and not come back till 10. I have seen this myself several times. Perhaps towels should not be available to them unless at least one member of the party is actually using the chair. My sis and I always eat first then look for a chair. Sometimes we eat poolside so our chairs are occupied. Either way, pool attendents and better rule enforcement should be a consideration as this is a major problem for many cruise lines

    41. Chris
      May 7th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

      There should be no saving of unattended chairs AT ALL!

      You can save a chair for up to 30 minutes, HOWEVER, someone in your party must be present at all times! If you are on the cruise by yourself, you may ask a neighbor to save it, but again only for 30min and they must be present at all times. Otherwise, it’s considered NOT BEING USED.

      I recently was a on cruise and I couldn’t believe all the people that saved chairs – I thought it was BS. Hardly a sole around yet a 100+ chairs were left empty with towels on them.

      If I was cruise owner I would enforce NO CHAIR HOGS –

    42. Chris
      May 7th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

      I like the chair disc timers – wonder how you could make that work.

    43. Lenore
      May 10th, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

      while this is of the worthiest complaint issues, there is no need. Taking action is the best communicator. There is nothing at all wrong with the suggestion to remove any towel you please and settle in. I do it all the time. Only one time has someone come in search of “their” saved chair (about 5 minutes after I sat down). I got up and moved to another, which was also hogged (saved). I have otherwise NEVER been disturbed on this issue! I don’t think the chair hogs have the nerve! I think they swipe up their towel and slink away unnoticed, as they should. Chairless….

    44. alicia stetzer
      May 15th, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

      personally i find it humorous to see how worked up people get about the horrors of chair hogging. while i’m on a cruise i am in my happy place, and it would take some serious issues to get me that upset. my family loves sitting in the \prime\ seats on the pool deck right up close to the pool, and to do so we get out there early in the morning. we’ll keep those chairs all day as long as we are actually at the pool all day. now if i feel like taking a swim, grabbing a drink or using the restroom, i dont think that gives anyone the right to pounce on my chair and squeeze themselves in between the rest of my family. if someone in my group decides to go watch a movie or participate in one of the lounge trivia games, they’ll take their things with them to open the chair to others. call me crazy but that seems fair to me. if i happen to sleep in one morning and the \prime\ chairs are all taken, guess what? i’ll find a spot a few decks up where there are plenty of spots – maybe just not as close to the action. i would much rather sit my butt in a far-away chair and catch some rays than circle the pool deck like a vulture, snapping at people about how rude their husbands/grandmothers/uncles are for not using their saved chairs. enjoy your passive aggressive laps around the pool deck – i’ll be enjoying my miami vice on the top deck :)

    45. Kim
      May 18th, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

      Of course you find it humerous, #44 Alicia Stetzer, above. YOU are one of the many chair hogs! Read the OTHER 43 comments in addition to yours, Alicia! We don’t care for you inconsiderate chair hogs! Why don’t you just \sit your butt in a far away chair and catch some rays\ as you put it, so that we don’t have to deal with the likes of your kind in the first place?! That would be awesome and assist the rest of us with getting in our \happy place\, too. Passive agressive?? You chair hogs certainly are!!

    46. Kim
      May 18th, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

      Thank you, Lenore #43, above! You are absolutely correct! I guess most of us have been too nice and are concerned about offending others that we didn’t think of that. You are brilliant and I’m going to do exactly as you’ve suggested on my next cruise! I may even cruise more often now that I’ve discovered (thanks to YOU!) a great way to handle the rude chair hogs! Truly, chair hogs are THE most annoying – sometimes the ONLY annoying – part of cruising, but they are plentiful enough and the staff is spineless enough that they can definitely sour an otherwise wonderful vacation. Thanks, Lenore! I owe you big!

    47. alicia stetzer
      May 22nd, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

      well i think it’s safe to say we’ve left passive aggressive and entered aggressive territory, kim. i didn’t realize it was considered hogging when you are actually using the chairs – maybe that’s where we differ. you see a person in a chair and visualize a hog, i see a person in a chair and see a person who paid for their cruise, just like i did, and managed to sit down before i did. why should i get upset about that? when cruising devolves to the point of people elbowing each other to get to the prime chairs at the crack of dawn, then setting up their colostomy bags so they don’t have to ever leave to go to the bathroom, that’s when cruising is officially no longer for me. in the meantime, i’ll enjoy my chair – while i’m using it – and hope i haven’t booked a trip concurrently with one of the severely angry people acting out here.

    48. Tom Pecena
      May 25th, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

      Sitmar cruises had the best system. The deck stewards (always in a starched white jacket and black pants regardless of the temperature….always classy) met you as you arrived, escorted you to a chair, spread a towel out and fastened it to the chair and had another towel rolled up as a head cushion. Then took your drink order. After a 30 minute absence, he would clear the chair for whomever came next. What service they offered. Now days, unless you are ordering alcohol, its almost impossible to get bar service. I have been told, even after ordering drinks and tipping well, that for a water I would have to go to the bar!

    49. JoelP
      May 25th, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

      Most people use a pool towel to save their seats…If the ships raised the deposit to say $100 each I doubt very much if anyone would leave one on the chair & I can’t think of anything else somebody would use to save a chair that they wouldn’t want to be taken while not in the seat!

    50. Erin
      April 10th, 2013 @ 8:49 am

      Here is the picture: I get to the pool with my 6 year old and want to relax and sunbathe while he plays, but I cannot find a single chair to sit down becuase out of 100 chairs, they are all taken, but only by about 15 actual people. The rest have towels and belongings. Who has the priority? Me? The person actually there to use the chairs for what they are designed for? Or the chair Hogg? Who is out doing something else and using the chair to hold their towel for whenever they come back in about an hour or so. I think if everyone used the chairs when they were actually there, and took their stuff when they leave, we would all have plenty of places to sit. But until that happens, I am not about to sit my pregnant but on the ground so someone can have a place to put their towel and a chair to come back to just in case they feel like it. I will move their stuff. If the cruise line has the rule of 30 minutes, I will stand and watch for 30 minutes, if no one comes, I will sit. I have no problem with confrontation.

    51. Dan B
      August 20th, 2015 @ 1:48 pm

      I love the lounge/chair hogs. Think of their towels and flip-flops as place holders for you (especially the early morning risers–they’re not going to be back anytime soon)! When you get to the pool and notice a bunch of empty hogged chairs, put them on a 45 minute timer. If they don’t return within that time (and they usually don’t), promptly remove their stuff, or have pool staff do it, and the seat is yours! Kind of cool if you don’t get caught up in the hype. Tell them that some “other couple” gave up the seats to you to avoid any difficulties…

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