Take THAT, Deck Chair Hogs

July 31, 2012 | By | 9 Comments

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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    9 Responses to “Take THAT, Deck Chair Hogs”

    1. Carolyn
      July 31st, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      What a terrific idea…if they enforce it. It’s about time something was done about these greedy selfish people. Love it!!!

    2. Nancy Hanck
      July 31st, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

      We see chairs being saved before dawn as we are heading to the Fitness Center & then breakfast. they have remained vacant for hours!!! Good plan with the dots–then if an hour passes—pile all their “stuff” in a centralized area & let them retrieve them there. Good job Norwegian!!

    3. Bahamas Cruise Liners
      August 1st, 2012 @ 12:56 am

      Great idea, yes as I think dot-tagging system is definitely work. Providing locker to the passengers is good for the cruise, by this passengers get satisfied by the service & they didn’t worry about their stuff.

    4. KJL
      August 1st, 2012 @ 8:53 am

      thats fine, but what about us who like to lay in the sun, get hot and go sit by the pool or go on the slide or go eat lunch? I am in the pool cooling off and then when I come back 35 minutes later,no chair? that is not fair. Those who just place towels on them and then not come back for 1-2 hours, fine, take their stuff, but those of us that want a chair to come back too after lunch or a cool off in the pool or on the water slide, that is not fair to not have your chair there. I am on and off my chair all day on at sea days, but never leave it for more than 45 minutes, so every 25 minutes I need to go back and sit for 5 and then I loose my spot at the pool. That is crazy. We are on a cruise to enjoy,not be stressed and watching a clock every minute to be sure no one takes my stuff. I don’t like stressful vacations, and watching a watch or clock on vacation is not what I do!!!

    5. lredwards
      August 1st, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

      I LOVE this idea. I’ve read similar ideas here on CC about putting timers on chairs, etc., but I think the dot system is simple enough it might work.

      Here’s a question that has always plagued me: Everyone on CC hates chair hogs, yet chair hogs still exist. I’m sure if you pulled all cruisers with at least one cruise uncer their belt, they would say the same thing. Who are the chair hogs then? Are people being hypocritical and chair hogging while at the same time proclaiming they hate it when OTHER people do it? Or is it just the new cruisers who don’t know the unspoken code of lido deck (or “spoken” in very small type on signs on the deck).

      Anyway, I hope these new methods work.

    6. Eugene Harack
      August 5th, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

      This will be our second cruise on the Epic and I couldn’t take the Chair Hogs I mean I really
      couldn’t believe peoples bad habit, and where this Greed came from is scary.To get up hours before everyone else sneaking around to put your stuff till you care to come back I can’t believe that the industry has let it get this bad. We booked a Haven Suite so no dot’s for us. How civilized. There should be no dot’s for anyone, just GROW UP and don’t be so GREEDY and Share like we were taught in KINDERGARTEN!!!!

    7. Constant Cruiser
      August 6th, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

      I have been on many cruises where I watch on person in a group drop flip-flops on one chair, then a book on the next, then a towel on the next and so on. They may return in 2 hours to claim their chairs.
      I think that the 30 minute tag method is great! If you stay in the pool for more than 30 mins, well then maybe you don’t need a deck chair?
      I am skeptical about enforcement. I really doubt that the policy will be enforced evenly.
      My biggest pet-peave is when people eat in the buffet line. Yuk! You would think that when a passenger stabs a sausage with his own fork and stuffs it right into his pie hole (at the buffet)the staff would speak up? I have never seen it.
      It seems as though cruise staff is hesitant to call out passenger bad behavior out of fear of offending them.
      Whether it’s chair or sausages, I would like to see progress.
      I will hold my breath.

    8. Amy
      August 9th, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

      very nice i like it

    9. John
      October 20th, 2015 @ 8:10 am

      If you feel that you’ve been denied a deck chair and the staff don’t actively enforce the line’s policy, significantly reduce your gratuity!! Even with prepaid gratuity you can get some returned. I bet if passengers routinely did this, you would see crew actively enforcing the rules of the cruise line.

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