Carnival Cruise Line Makes a Move That’s Firm With Guests

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Carnival Cruise Line has quietly updated its onboard FAQ to include the enforcement policy about reserving sun loungers.

This move, which now implements a tagging system to prevent excessively saving seats, follows a recent trend by the cruise line of instituting new policies to curb unacceptable behavior on its ships.

Sun Lounger Policy

According to Carnival’s website FAQ: “Carnival has a system designed to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy equal access to sun loungers by preventing seat saving in outdoor deck areas.”

Frequent cruisers are very familiar with seat-saving tactics, which often include using a towel, flip flops, piece of fruit, or other item to “reserve” a chair by giving it the appearance of being in use, when in reality, the person who put the item on the chair may not return for hours to actually use the chair.

Guests reserving sun loungers or deck chairs for long periods are often referred to as “chair hogs.” Reserving chairs can be a source of great frustration on a cruise, especially when deck space may be limited and available chairs scarce, particularly on sea days.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship Deck
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Now, Carnival Cruise Line is seeking to cut down on chair reservation incidents with a monitoring system, and taking steps to ensure guests are aware of the policy.

According to the cruise line’s website, “team members monitor sun lounge usage and if they observe a seat that contains a towel or personal belongings but appears to be unoccupied, a notification is placed on the chair indicating the current time.”

That notification may be a piece of tape or other small sticker that will not damage belongings, but will be a visual clue that the absentee guest has been noted.

“If the chair remains unoccupied for 40 minutes, the contents are removed and held for the guest’s safekeeping,” the policy continues.

Typically, crew members will collect personal items and hold them at the nearby towel station for guests to reclaim.

Not a New Policy, But New Notifications

This is not a new policy for the cruise line, but enforcement has been haphazard in the past, with experienced guests reporting that many times, no enforcement at all is visible and chairs will remain “claimed” for hours without consequences, despite crew members passing the chairs regularly.

This can be troublesome for other guests who may want to use a deck chair but don’t feel comfortable removing another guests’ personal items, in case such actions might trigger unpleasant incidents.

Carnival Cruise Line is taking steps to be sure guests are more clearly aware of the policy, however. Now, multiple techniques are being used to alert guests to the policy.

Chair Hog Notifications
Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

Signage is clearly posted in deck areas, and the announcement is posted on the Seaside Theater poolside LED screen at regular intervals. The policy is also noted on the Carnival Hub app, and cruise directors are beginning to make regular announcements over the ship’s loudspeakers to remind guests of the policy.

At the moment, there is no fine or other listed consequence for guests who flaunt the policy, but such changes are possible as the policy becomes more well-known and enforcement more widespread.

Other Recent Guidelines

This move follows Carnival Cruise Line’s other recent moves to curb poor onboard behavior to ensure a more welcoming, friendly atmosphere available for all guests.

In early September, the cruise line implemented a late night curfew for guests 17 years of age or younger, in the hopes of minimizing poor behavior from unsupervised children. If young cruisers are accompanied by adults, the curfew does not apply.

After several highly publicized altercations on different ships in early summer, Carnival Cruise Line also implemented a fine for poor behavior on board, and guests who violate the cruise line’s code of conduct may need to pay additional costs incurred by the line.

It remains to be seen what consequences may be possible or effective to curb chair reservations.

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