August 31, 2012
(July 31, 11:08 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Lines is the latest to announce it will make every effort to put the brakes on chair hoggers (derisively known as "choggers"), who claim chaise lounges by the pool even though they're not using them, in a new pilot program.
The test effort, first revealed on John Heald's Facebook page, and later confirmed by the line, allows passengers to leave their loungers for no more than 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, chair-saving devices like towels, magazines, flip flops and articles of clothing are removed. It is taking place only on Carnival Breeze.
"Carnival Cruise Lines has recently begun testing a new system designed to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy equal access to sun loungers by preventing seat saving in outdoor deck areas," Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen told Cruise Critic in an e-mail.
In this iteration, outdoor deck area crew monitor sun lounger usage and when they see a seat that contains a towel or personal belongings that appears to be unoccupied, a notification sticker with the time of day is placed on the chair. If the seat remains empty for another 40 minutes, the contents are removed.
According to Gulliksen details of the new system are being widely broadcast to passengers "via public address announcements by the cruise director, signage in outdoor deck areas, messages displayed on the Seaside Theater poolside LED screen, as well as notices in 'Fun Times.'"
Passenger response, Gulliksen added, has been "overwhelmingly positive" about the test program. Similarly, response on Heald's Facebook page and on Cruise Critic message boards has been wholeheartedly affirmative.
Lovefuninthesun seems to speak for just about everyone with this comment: "Love it -- hope the pilot is successful and they are able to quickly roll it out on the other ships!"
Carnival's Gulliksen said the line will evaluate the pilot over the next coming weeks "for potential expansion to other ships in the fleet."
Carnival isn't the only line that's putting this method to the test. Norwegian Cruise Line has also been experimenting on its ships with a similar sticker system, allowing items to be removed from chairs after they've been unoccupied for more than 30 minutes.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor