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The Curse Of The Lounge Chairs

Here’s a problem to which there is no solution…

Loungers.

The problem isn’t so much the loungers as the towels. People drape towels on pool-side lounge chairs like “reserved” signs, and you dare not remove a towel, in case it’s owner is watching. The problem is that the towel can sit on the lounger for hours, all day even, and hotel loungersnever be touched. It’s there, of course, because the people who make the deposits want to reserve that chaisse lounge for when they want to sit there…if they want to sit there.

What you often have is a long ling of lounge chairs covered in towels, many with no people.

People on cruise ships have long complained about this. Other than posting a sign warning people that uninhabited chairs can only remain so for an hour, as some cruise lines do, there is no solution. To hire lounge police is too costly and a waste of crew time.

But it’s not just on cruise ships. In fact, there’s a warning for the cruise industry.

During our recent visit to an all-inclusive resort — you’ll read more about that next week — we discovered the sight you see in the photo. We saw people emerging from their rooms at the crack of dawn, draping a towel on a pool-side lounge chair, and disappearing. While we didn’t keep score, in many cases it seemed the chairs were inhabited only by towels for hours on end.

And if you look carefully at the photo, you’ll see large “towel pins” being used to hold the “reservations.” When you have something that’s designed specifically for holding towels on vacant loungers, you really do have a problem.

Is there a solution to these devices of bad manners?

If you know of one, many people would like to hear it.

Today at portsandbows.com: Anthem of the Seas officially Royal Caribbean's

Golden Princess
7 nights
May 2, 2015
Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Vancouver
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.princess.com

One Deck Chair…Why Not Four?

There’s an old joke about a man who’s sprawled across three loungers on the deck of a cruise ship. He is warned by the crew that he must move or risk being “arrested” by the cruise cops. The man lays there looking up in silence.

Finally. the removal squad is called. Again, the man is warned. Again, he is silent.

Deck chairs“Okay, buddy, what’s your name?”

“Charlie.”

“Where are you from, Charlie?”

“The top deck.”

At least Charlie had a reason for taking up three deck chairs. Often that’s not the case on cruise ships. Often, PWCs (Passengers Without Class) take ownership of several chairs at a time and leave others looking for a place to suntan.

Full disclosure: We’re not really from the deck-chair crowd so from a personal standpoint this doesn’t usually upset us. However, we’ve talked to many people who are understandably distressed when they can’t find a place to sit amidst empty chairs “belonging” to somebody else.

Friends told us of an incident on the Celebrity Reflection. This is not a problem on one ship nor one cruise line…it’s something crew members have to deal with and not alienate the people who pay their salaries.

On the Reflection, a man had four chairs that were unoccupied. Our friends were with another couple. When they first asked, he ignored them. Finally, they said:

“You’re not supposed to take chairs you aren’t using?”

“What’s it to you?” he replied.

Begrudgingly and eventually, he gave up only two of his unoccupied-but-reserved chairs. He admitted to nothing, not even bad manners. They didn’t know his name, but it wasn’t Charlie.

Charlie wasn’t rude.

Today at portsandbows.com: October start for Amber Cove

Norwegian Pearl
7 nights
May 17, 2015
Seattle (return): Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, Ketchikan, Victoria
Inside: $529
Cost per day: $75
www.ncl.com

Cruise Chair Cops Bound to Multiply

As the world of the deck chair is changing, we are left to ask this of cruise lines:

What took so long?

For years, we have seen books sunbathing on deck and lounge chairs by the main pool on a cruise ships. We've seen shoes, catching some rays. And towels, Even clothes. All of these items are stand-ins for the people who have believed they can be used the way reserved signs are in theaters and restaurants. In fact, there have probably been "reserved signs" placed on deck chairs, too.

Cruise lines blissfully ignored this agitating habit, presumably because they didn't want to risk alienating customers but possibly because it was going to be an expense to monitor whether the owner of the latest Danielle Steel novel was just away swimming or had gone for lunch. (By the way, we spend so little time on deck chairs and loungers that this is not a personal issue, but we can see that it is for many others.)

This summer, two cruise lines took the chair by the straps and tried to do something about it.

First, Carnival tested putting "chair cops" to work on the Breeze. Stopwatches in hand, they timed absenteeism. Forty minutes free, then you pay…by having your Danielle book and whatever else you used to make a reserve sign swept away (to a safe place) for you to pick up upon your return.

About the same time, Norwegian ran a similar test on the Star. Those results aren't in, but Carnival's are, and "all cops on deck" will apply to the entire fleet of 24 ships as quickly as possible. No doubt this will but just be fleet-wide but industry-wide.

What's next?

How about chair meters, in which you insert coins to reserve the lounger for "x" minutes, so that you park your body just like you do your car?


Emerald Princess
12 nights
October 26, 2012
Quebec City, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, New York, Charleston, Fort Lauderdale
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $83
www.princess.com

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