Each Cruise’s Line’s Policy on Saving Lounge Chairs, & How to Get Around It

by SharonKurheg

One of the scourges of the airline industry are “gate lice.” Those are passengers who stand by the gate even when their boarding group or zone hasn’t been called yet.

a group of people standing in a line

The cruise industry has its own scourge, and they’re called “chair hogs.” These are people who grab lounge chairs first thing in the morning, mark them as “MINE!!!” with a towel or whatever else, and claim them for the rest of the day, even if they only use them for a little while.

a deck with chairs and a cruise ship in the backgroundWith many, MANY more people than lounge chairs per pool, not surprisingly, people hate chair hogs.

Cruise lines get involved

Over the years, as verbal altercations about saving lounge chairs have increased into petty revenge (this one’s my favorite) and the occasional fisticuffs, many cruise lines started making official rules for lounge chairs access.

Each cruise line’s policy

Note: There are dozens upon dozens of cruise lines out there. We’ll focus on the most popular ones that sail out of the U.S.

Carnival Cruise Line

Seriously, their “fix” for chair hog is great. Every cruise line (and hotel/resort) should take notice and copy it. What’s even better is that the the policy is reiterated by the cruise director, signage on outdoor decks, om the poolside theater screen and in Carnival’s app. That way no one can really use that they “didn’t know” as an excuse.

Celebrity Cruises

From their FAQ: Pool, deck and theater chairs may not be reserved, except in cases of disability.

Along with this, there are onboard notices that say, “In consideration of all our guests, unattended personal items will be removed after 30 minutes and safely stored for your protection. You may collect them at the Guest Relations Desk.”

Disney Cruise Line

Disney has no official policy about lounge chairs on its website.

Holland America Line

HAL has no official policy about lounge chairs on its website. However I’ve heard that, similar to Celebrity, they do have signs: “Please do not reserve seats. Towels left unattended for more than 30 minutes will be removed.”

Norwegian Cruise Line

From their FAQ: Pool, deck and theater chairs may not be reserved.

The FAQ is, obviously, VERY vague. But anecdotally, I’ve seen people say that crew will allow property to “hold” a lounge chair for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. But without any sort of formal written policy,…? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

MSC Cruises

From their FAQ: Sunbeds are available free of charge for all passengers, although they cannot be reserved. Guests are kindly requested not to occupy deck-chairs and sunbeds with personal items during any long absences (more than 30 minutes).

Princess Cruises

Princess has no official policy about lounge chairs on its website.

Royal Caribbean

From their FAQ: Pool deck chairs are only available on a first come, first served basis and cannot be reserved. We want to ensure that all guests have a great time at the pool. If a pool chair is left unattended for more than 30 minutes with no signs of any guests returning, our crew will remove any belongings and place them in the lost and found.

Virgin Voyages

From their Onboard Policies page: In fairness to all our Sailors on board, we think everyone deserves a spot in the sun. If you leave any items unattended on chairs or loungers for more than 40 minutes, we will remove it and safely store it in lost property located at Sailor Services on Deck 5 Mid.

I have personally seen the crew follow this policy.

How to get around it

So as you can see, some cruise lines have an official policy, some don’t.

For the cruise lines that don’t have a policy about chair hogs, I guess you can go ahead grab a lounger chair for all day and be a selfish A-hole. 😉 Just don’t be surprised when someone calls you that to your face LOL

But for cruise lines that do offer such policies and follow up with same, people still have a few options:

Easiest: don’t save a lounge chair

Lounge chairs, by both name and design, are made for lounging. If you’re not lounging on it, and if all you’re using a lounge chair for is to put your stuff somewhere, stop being an A-hole and put your stuff on the ground (or anywhere else where it doesn’t affect what others can/can’t do), like other responsible people. Easy as that.

Most dangerous: move someone else’s stuff

If people know someone’s stuff has been on a lounger for hours on end, many have not been above moving their stuff “for them.”

You can tell the pool attendants and hopefully they’ll move their stuff for you (a photo with a time stamp might help your case).

Offers the most exercise

It’s mainly the chair lounges closest to the pool that are the ones people want to claim. The ones further away, out of sight of the pool, or even on a different deck (read: nowhere near the pool) won’t have so many problems with people wanting them.

Most expensive: rent a cabana/casita

If having “a place for your stuff” is so important to you, some cruise lines rent such things. Some call them cabanas, some casitas, some use other names. But for a varying amount of money (again, depending on the cruise line), you can have “your space” all day or perhaps even for the entire cruise. Based on the cruise line, you’ll potentially have guaranteed shade, lounge chairs, possibly a certain amount of drinks, and maybe even an outlet so you can charge your phone.

Sneakiest: move chairs

This one is a little shady, but virtually all the rules only talk about using 1 lounger for X number of minutes. So save your lounger and 15/30/40/45/60 minutes later (whatever the time frame is for the cruise line in question), gather your belongings and move to another lounge chair. Remember that the timer starts again when you claim the newer chair.

And if you can’t find a lounge chair because they’re all taken by other chair hogs, well, now you know what it feels like.

Smartest: go later in the day

Chair hogs start early in the morning, but are usually finished by mid-late afternoon. You should find more open/unused lounge chairs around that time. That way you’ll have less chance of

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