Cruise Critics Rejoice Over New Chair Hog Policy

Cruise Critics have been rejoicing over an announcement that Carnival Cruises is cracking down on one of the biggest complaints of cruisers – choggers (chair hoggers) and the not so fine art of chogging (chair hogging).

Any of you veteran cruisers and Cruise Critics are familiar with the unpleasantries of chogging. You’ve ventured up to the sun deck bright and early at 8am only to find that every single sun lounger has been reserved by a towel, t-shirt, sarong or a pair of flip flops. You then pass by the same chair after lunch only to find that the articles on the chair remain untouched by the elusive chogger who could be anywhere from the buffet to the casino. In a Cruise Critics poll of the “worst onboard evildoers” choggers ranked as the #2 offenders (with rude children ranking as #1).

In a new policy first announced on Senior Cruise Director, John Heald’s Facebook Page on July 30, 2012, Carnival Breeze guests are only allowed to save a deck chair (sun lounger) for a maximum of 40 minutes. The crew will monitor the use of sun loungers by placing a sticker with the current time of day on each saved (but vacant) chair. The crew will continue to monitor the vacant chairs and if they find a chair which has been unoccupied for over 40 minutes they will remove the guests personal items and leave a note advising the guests that they can collect their belongings from the towel station. John Heald explains, “We went with 4o minutes as we felt that this was a fair amount of time if guests get up to eat, drink, pee, swim or slide.”

The initial response by passengers on board and Cruise Critics worldwide has been extremely positive which raises hopes to roll out this policy to the rest of the ships in Carnival’s fleet. What about the other cruise lines? Cruise Critic reports that Norwegian Cruise Line has also made an attempt to banish the choggers by implementing a similar sticker system which allows guests to reserve a chair for a maximum of 30 minutes.

As a former shipboard employee of another cruise line I say “Well done!” On a sad and disturbing (yet a tiny bit funny) day during my tenure on board, the cruise line was forced to kick a passenger off the ship and ban him from future cruises after an altercation in which this man (allegedly) hit another passenger with his walking stick during a dispute over a saved deck chair. Yep, two grown adults broke out in a fight during a argument over chogging. (I feel like I should say “allegedly” but nearly all areas of the ship are covered by security cameras and I think it’s safe to say our security staff did their due diligence on this one.) This man, who had always appeared to be a sophisticated gentleman, was one of our most frequent cruisers and most loyal of guests. But we put the safety of our passengers first on board the ship and you just can’t go whacking other guests with your walking stick – not even with good reason, much less for chogging. Unfortunately this old man let his temper get the best of him.  As far as I know, despite sailing with us dozens of times in the past, he was never allowed to sail on board our beautiful ships again.

So how about these new chogging policies? Let’s hear it cruisers. Love it? Or hate it? Have you been the victim of chogging? Are you a closet chogger? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any other cruise complaints let me know. I lived and worked on board for four years and spent several years working for the cruise lines shoreside. I have a few hundred cruises under my belt so I might be able to provide some insight or advice. I’m a huge fan of cruising and an ambassador of the industry. If you haven’t yet sailed on any of the seven seas then give cruising a try. Go ahead, spoil yourself.

Photo Credit: gbrunett on flickr

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