How long is too long when it comes to leaving a deckchair unoccupied?
Whether you’re by a pool in a holiday resort or on the deck of a cruise ship, there are few things more frustrating than traipsing up and down a line of deckchairs and sun-loungers only to find most of them ‘claimed’ with towels, sun cream and reading materials. It’s a chore made even more frustrating when after repeated passes there is no sign of the claimant anywhere.
In such a situation, you’re left with few options but can be forgiven for feeling slightly aggrieved. After all, you paid for your cruise just like everybody else, and therefore you should benefit from the amenities and facilities in the same way as everyone else without having to embark on a dawn raid of military precision in order to poach a good spot ready for when the sun rises.
It’s a topic that has become increasingly ‘hot’ in recent years, but it appears that some of the major cruise lines are now stepping in to ensure fair deck chair usage for all guests.
Carnival is trialling a new “use it or lose it” formal policy on their new vessel, Carnival Breeze. Under the new directive, Carnival’s staff will place a sticker on any occupied lounger or chair that has been claimed but with no occupant, leaving note of the time.
After a period of 40 minutes – and if the claimant hasn’t returned – the line’s staff will remove the belongings and place them in one of the towel stations so that they can be picked up later. Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director, John Heald, used his Facebook page to comment on the stating “We went with 40 minutes as we felt this was a fair amount of time if guests get up to eat, drink, pee, swim, or slide”.
The policy will be tested on the Carnival Breeze initially but following a trial period will more than likely be rolled out to the rest of Carnival’s fleet.
NCL quickly followed this news by announcing that it has always been their fleet-wide policy to ask guests not to leave a deck chair unoccupied for more than 45 minutes. Other lines including Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and Princess all have informal directives in place, with allotted time-of-absence periods ranging from 15 minutes on busy sailings to whatever constitutes a “reasonable amount of time”.
A short jaunt around various cruise-related message boards will tell you that this is not a problem solely on bigger, family-orientated cruise lines and in many cases can actually be worse on luxury cruise ships due to the size of the decks and the space available – especially when there is a high demand for chairs and loungers that are in the shade.
Silversea Cruises is another line that doesn’t have an official policy in place, although a brief conversation with them confirms that sun-lounger etiquette is something their attendants try and pay attention to. It’s a more softly-softly approach, but Silversea stressed that they do make a point of requesting that guests take their belongings with them if they are planning to leave the deck for any length of time.
It remains to be seen whether other cruise lines will follow Carnival’s lead in rolling-out a formal deckchair usage policy and much will probably depend on the response garnered from guests during this trial period. However, it’s hard to see how such a widespread motion won’t be successful – after all, surely everyone would prefer the extra few hours unbroken sleep over waking up at 6am and wandering sleepy-eyed towards the deck with a rolled-up towel and yesterday’s newspaper.
Have you had any issues regarding deckchair/sun-loungers on a cruise ship recently? If so, let us know in the replies.