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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

Canada Cruising and a Name Contest

Cruising to Canada usually means one of two things. You’re en route to Alaska (west), or you’re going to see fall colors (east). If you’re sailing out of New York or Boston, it’s September or October and you’re off to see the brilliance of a Canadian autumn.

That’s part of the problem. In the eyes of the cruise lines, fall foliage is — as the French would say — the raison d’être for cruising to Canada.

“”We have to get beyond this idea that the colors of the leaves is the only reason to come,” Dan Hanrahan, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said at a cruise symposium, “but the cruise industry can’t do that. We can sell the brand and the itinerary, but we’re not the ones to convince people to come beyond that.”

He is right. There will be 20,000 or so fewer people cruising Canada (east) this year, and tourism officials in Quebec are trying to find ways to bring them back. They could start with the rich history of the mighty St. Lawrence River and its gulf, where the country was claimed for France by Jacques Cartier, who thought he’d sailed far enough west to find Asia!

* * *

Either Norwegian has run out of ideas for names of ships, or it’s seizing on a clever campaign that fits today’s climate of social media. NCL is inviting the public to submit names, for two ships that are due to be launched in 2013 and 2014, in partnership with USA Today.

Contestants can enter by clicking here and submitting (often) a name that starts with “Norwegian” for one of the ships only, from now until August 14, when the contest ends. Winners will be announced in September, and the prize is a trip for two to the naming ceremony for the first ship.

Norwegian doesn’t say so, but the prize must include some kind of inaugural voyage (even a short one) because the winners receive “balcony stateroom accommodations.”

Clever but…wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the winners went to the ceremony of the ship they named, which can only happen if the same entrant names both ships?

* * *

Ever wonder why somebody who’s blind would go on a cruise?

Wonder no more. Just click on this link and take a few minutes to read the story of Patty and Terry Horvath, written by Ellen Creager of McClatchy-Tribune News Services.

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