The German cruise market is tipped to outgrow the UK to become the world’s number two, so maybe it was only a matter of time before an operator addressed the vexed issue of reserving sunloungers.
In truth, the practice of bagging the best-placed sunloungers on ships is a long-standing issue, not one reserved to our German cousins and it is the all-American line Carnival Cruise Lines that has brought in a new policy to stamp out the behaviour.
The Facebook page of John Heald, the popular cruise director of the operator’s newest ship Carnival Breeze, sets out the new policy and has attracted more than 700 likes from supporters of the move.
A test on the current Carnival Breeze cruise in which staff will police a new 40 minute use it or lose it rule will be rolled out to other ships if it is deemed to have worked.
Heald says: “We went with 40 minutes as we felt that this was a fair amount of time if guests get up to eat, drink, pee, swim or slide.
“The big difference here is that we are now staffed and able to police this. Our crew will walk the decks and if they see a chair unused but saved with towels, books, shoes, baby Yaks or underpants they will place a sticker on the chair with the current time.
“Then, they will check 40 minutes later and if the chair is still reserved and unoccupied then they will remove the articles and take them to the towel station by the main pool making sure a note is left for the guests that they have done so.
“This is step number one in a new drive to make this work and once we finish the test here this cruise and next, we will make adjustments and then add to the rest of the fleet.
“It has been noted by the beards who read this page how important this was to you and I have pushed hard to the most senior beards to get this done and my thanks to them for listening and acting.”
Typical reactions among Heald’s Facebook friends included: “this is an awesome thing... nothing more aggravating than to go out to the pool and see a bunch of lounge chairs with towels and no people.” - Patty Anderson
“Thanks for doing this. It's too bad your hard working staff will now have to work even harder to be "Deck Chair Police", but too many people take advantage of being deck chair hogs.” - Scott Lara
“Woo hoo, best news! Chair saver hogs are horrible. Can't tell you how many times I have watched empty chairs sit there all day with a hat, or a towel, while I had to stand because there were no chairs. Was really, really sick of it. I hope you apply this to the entire fleet.” - Barbara Garo Emmanouilidis
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