Readers Respond to P&O Sunbed Scandal

March 11, 2008
Yesterday's news of the sunbed war and Captain Wells' comment aboard P&O Cruises' Oceana seem to have set a few of you thinking of ways to tackle this continual problem.

According to yesterday's home page poll, 62 percent of you believe that the best option to combat sunbed saving is to have a system in place. So what will it be? A timed system? Charging a deposit for towels/chair? Here's what you suggested:

Member Weegl thinks one idea is to have staff manage the empty beds by "tagging" them in some way with a time card: "As they (staff) do the rounds, if 20 or so minutes have passed since being tagged, the items on and around the bed will be put in a basket and held at the towel station for retrieval. Once a system is put in place that is reliable and produces specific outcomes that are defendable then chair hogging will subside."

Joan Alexander agrees: "This is a major problem both on ships and land. I do not know where these 'morons' come from or whether or not they were taught 'good manners' growing up, but they had better smarten up and realize that the world does not revolve around them. Both ships and resorts are going to have to assign a member of their staff to monitor (no longer than one hour) towels or other paraphernalia left on the loungers and remove them if no one returns at the end of the hour. And if clients do not like it, stay home. As long as everyone Gets on the bandwagon and does the same thing, there will be no problems."

Rafael Copa tells us that Norwegian Cruise Line implemented a method last year that made getting a chair no problem at all: Charging $25 if you lose your towel. "They placed pool towels in your room and if you lost it you would be responsible to purchase the towel for $25. You could exchange it any time pool side for a fresh one or leave on the bathroom floor and your steward would exchange for a fresh one. Amazing how no one left their towel pool side unattended for more than a few minutes ... At the end of the cruise the concierge asked our group how we liked this new policy. I told him we loved it. He said this was the first sailing they had tried it. I loved it and hope it done this way on all their ships! Kudos to NCL [for] resolving this problem. "

And what about Captain Wells? Was his "Germanic behaviour" comment out of line? Not so, according to member Goldryder who posted on the Cruise Critic message boards:

"The sunbed thing with the Germans has been a standing joke in the U.K. (and Germany) for decades. A lager advert got pulled some time ago for not being PC, but everyone who sees it, thinks it is funny. If the Germans can laugh at themselves, maybe some cruise passengers should learn how to as well. Life is way too short to take life so seriously."

Fiona Bould was onboard the 77,000-ton, 2,016-passenger Oceana last Christmas and claims to have witnessed "sunbed hogging" firsthand but also backs up Captain Wells: "Captain Christopher Wells did lots of appeals then over the loudspeaker to try to stop it, he did it in a joking sort of way which we thought funny, I remember he quoted a character from a book 'Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby', and told us to be thoughtful of our fellow passengers. I personally think he should be applauded for his actions, not reported to the court of human rights."

Do you agree? Do you have any other suggestions? E-mail us.

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Sunbed Savers Spark Controversy on P&O's Oceana

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor