We’ve covered the topic of deck chair hogs quite a bit. They came in second in our poll about the worst onboard evildoers, and there are countless threads on the Cruise Critic message boards lamenting their very existence. But, really, what’s being done about it?
We recently stumbled on a related thread, and at long last, it seems at least one cruise line is experimenting with methods of controlling the rampant reserving of prime poolside real estate.
Norwegian Cruise Line has reportedly begun placing blue dots on abandoned chairs with towels, flip-flops and other personal items on them. The time of placement is written on each dot, and security officers come around later to check the dots. Chairs that remain unoccupied are cleared of all contents.
We definitely think this is a step in the right direction, but we just have one question: is it working?
Norwegian hasn’t yet responded to our request for information about the dots, but we reached out to those who cruise with the line to see just how powerful those little stickers really are.
smilz, the blue dot thread’s original poster, fills us in: “There was simply nowhere near enough chairs for the passengers. We saw at least 100 people laying on their towels on the deck. To deal with the shortage, the security officer would put a blue dot on the towel or chair with the time and come back to see if the chair was still unoccupied. He would then remove the items. We saw a woman come back from the pool dripping wet only to find someone else in her chair and her stuff including her towel gone. DH got up to use the restroom and 3 minutes later there was a blue dot on his towel!”
“So happy that I might add a blue dot to my signature,” added member sdmike, who seems to have started a wave of blue dot supporters.
Others report that, while they haven’t seen blue dots specifically, Norwegian is employing variations of the same concept on different ships.
“We were on the Jade last month and they were tagging chairs,” says Cruise Critic member cowtowngals. “It was very effective, although people still ran up first thing in the morning and tried to claim their chairs. They were some angry when they came back hours … later and found their spots gone along with their stuff. They had a couple of crew members who went and put orange tags on the chairs. They marked the time they put them on and it said if the chair was not in use 30 minutes later it would be freed up. They were very good at following the time line. It was also a great way to get a chair because you just had to follow the tagging guy and take a chair when he cleared the stuff away.”
racingfarmer, who snapped the photo above, says yellow dots were used instead. He witnessed the operation being slightly less effective: “I spent an entire day sun up to sun down on the upper deck pool deck of the Epic in February. I only saw them dotting chairs around 7:30 am and only saw the policy enforced one time.”
So what about the other lines? Royal Caribbean, for one, has a policy that if a chair is vacant for more than 30 minutes, items are removed, but there is no specific method in place for enforcing that policy.
Additionally, Carnival has rolled out a similar idea on its newest ship, Carnival Breeze. Under the policy, which is being tested for possible implementation fleetwide, passengers have 40 minutes from the time of sticker placement to either get their butts back in their chairs or move their stuff.
However, it seems that the simplest solutions might just work the best: “I still wish they would provide a locker or cubby for shoes and a cover-up if you just want to take a quick swim or watch the kids swim,” says cruiserjt. After all, any policy is only as effective as the crew’s willingness to enforce it.
So what do you think? Will the dot-tagging system work? Do lines, in general, do a fair job of reprimanding chair hogs? What other solutions do you think are feasible? Leave your comments below.
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