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What is a Deck Chair Hog?

It’s your first morning on board one of today’s brand new cruise ships and everything is perfect. Your stateroom was pristine and you woke up to the bright Caribbean sunshine basking your room in a warm glow. Nothing, and we mean nothing could get in the way of this perfect day, right?

You strolled onto the lido deck full of smiles only to have your joy extinguished like a candle in a monsoon.

Every. Single. Deck Chair. Is. Taken.

Few things can derail your cruise vacation like a lack of places to sit back and enjoy the day with a Mai Tai and a great book. (Editor’s Note: or Porthole Cruise Magazine!)

What’s more frustrating than the lack of chairs is the fact that most of the chairs are empty, just a towel or a bottle of suntan lotion resting cheekily on the seat, daring you to take action and sweep them to the side in favor of superior comfort. Is that good cruise etiquette, however? Perhaps the chair’s temporary owner is simply using the restroom or refreshing their lemonade at the bar. The fight when they return might not be worth the five minutes of comfort after you swipe the chair.

Deck Chair Hog

Empty chairs are a premium on a cruise

What is a Deck Chair Hog?

Anyone up early on a cruise ship is in for a fun, early morning tradition known as the deck chair races. Each morning, intrepid cruisers hell-bent on bronzing like Greek Gods rush out on deck to stake their claim to not just one chair, but a whole row. Filled with magazines, empty drinks, towels and sunscreen bottles, these ghost chairs are perpetually taken but never being used. Unless the Invisible Man decided to take a break from whatever it is he does and take a cruise, then those empty chairs look mighty inviting.

RELATED: Hit the Deck – Chair Hogs

When on board a cruise ship, no commodities go faster than deck chairs, especially ones in primo locations near the pool or other deck-side amenities. You didn’t book a cruise vacation to sit in an upright chair at a deck table all week, so what’s a person to do when comfort proves elusive?

The best move if you can’t beat them? Join them! That doesn’t mean wake up early to grab chairs and then go back to bed. Grab your last hour or two of zzz’s in the chair you’ve just secured. If you’re grabbing chairs for others, try to motivate them to do the same!

What’s your strategy for dealing with chair hogs or making sure that you always have a spot to relax?  Is is bad cruise etiquette to swipe those chairs for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

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15 Comments

  1. The premium for a good deck chair, makes one realize the value in having a balcony room or suite. Nothing is less appealing than being amongst a herd of
    greedy people squandering deck chairs. No thank you, I’ll be enjoying my privacy on my own balcony.

    • I always have a balcony too, but you can’t lay out in a lounge chair on a balcony (unless you get a large aft balcony with lounge chairs). And the sun isn’t always on the side your sailing.

  2. Some astute cruise line will come up with the idea of pre-reserving a deck chair. Give you a sticker with your name on it and you automatically have first dibs at that chair. It would be worth $10.00 a day for the convenience. Also, as the poolside staff to monitor for “chair squatters” and clear away their towels, baseball caps and suntan lotion after a period of time.

  3. Wait 5-10 minutes if no one shows up, ask a deck steward to remove the items from the chaise. All cruise lines have rules against such hogs and the deck stewards should be enforcing the rules or refer to their superiors. If there is flagrant problems, contact the front desk then sometimes a comment might be issued in the daily briefs sent to all cabins. Going to the front desk might help especially if you have a suite or are one of the top tier cruisers.

  4. I believe it is certainly within your rights to take over a chair that has not been occupied in a long time (hour or so). On some cruise lines the staff is now taking towels from chairs that obviously have not been used in a long time. There are signs posted as to this. More cruise lines need to police the deck chairs for the good of all. If pax want to have a deck chair then put their booty in it. Case closed.

  5. Rude ” chair squatters” can also be people who left and didn’t take their towel to the return stand. Simply ask the poolside staff to clear away the towel and relax. If someone comes to ask about ‘their towel’ you can always leave with a confrontation. Books, suntan lotion, baseball caps, etc… I would likely leave

  6. If you notice a deck chair has been vacant for 30-45 minutes, it should be within your rights to ask the deck steward to remove the articles that are ‘occupying’ the chair and allow you to be seated. The deck steward may be in for a backlash from the greedy, inconsiderate person, or you might get the backlash. A conundrum.

  7. been there done that people are insensitive when it comes to these deck chairs they rise early and stay all day long terrible have been on many cruises in my lifetime but this seems to be getting worse

  8. Sweep the stuff away and sit down. If they return and complain, deny all knowledge of same.

  9. I don’t believe that it should be up to the passenger to police the deck chair hogs. The poolside staff should be on the look-out for people placing towels, hats, etc on the chairs and then leaving. If the pool staff were vigilant, they could/should remove those items and they should be the ones to have the “confrontation” with the chair hogs when they return to find their things assembled at the side table. If cruise lines policed this matter a little more astutely, passengers would soon get the message that chair “reserving” doesn’t work and they might soon quit trying but as long as hogging works, the practice will continue!

  10. i totally agree with the answer of many people If you have waited maybe 10 or 15 minutes,the deck steward must remove the items and take them to a designated area. no ifs but or whats
    thecruiseline must enforce this rule
    same rule must apply for areas designated ADULTS only (over 18) no children under 18 charge a modest fee if needed (5 or 6 dollars daily)

  11. Keep in mind that under normal circumstances I am the friendliest, most courteous man you ever want to meet and in general treat people how they treat me,,however, After 30 mins. It’s clear the person or persons are self important and likely from N.Y.. after that grace period I have the deck Steward remove the empty drinks and trash only. I consider the left Items an amenity to be enjoyed by avid cruisers, claim the seat, seats or lounge chair or chairs, put on the hat and suntan oil and delve into the reading material utilizing any page marker as now my own. Should this action be met by an irate and argumentative person I am known to have NO filter and fear no one. I dont always win but I enjoy the struggle.