An End to the Fight Over Deck Chairs?

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— Courtesy John Heald/Carnival Cruise Lines
You better be back by 9:40

Getting a prime deck chair on a cruise can be a contact sport, with travelers resorting to extreme tactics like rising with the sun to stake a claim. And there's nothing more frustrating than when shipmates lay out towels and books, just to then saunter off to breakfast, the casino, or the spa.

Cruise directors at Carnival heard that same complaint over and over, and decided enough was enough. So they launched a program on the new Carnival Breeze to keep cruisers from hogging the chairs. Staff members are being assigned to monitor seating areas by placing stickers on the unoccupied chairs marked with the current time. If you aren't back in 40 minutes, your belongings are removed and a note from the staff is left behind. As reported in USA Today, cruise director John Heald said "We went with 40 minutes as we felt that this was a fair amount of time if guests get up to eat, drink, pee, swim or slide." If the program is a success on the Breeze, the 40–minute policy will be rolled out on the line's other ships.

What do you think of the new policy? Should deck chairs always be first–come–first–serve? Or does this put an end to one of your biggest cruise complaints?

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