August 15, 2012

struth! Everyone wants their place in the sun

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says a major bane of cruise-goers could soon be a thing of the past – on Carnival ships at least.

Because they're trialling a system to stop early-rising passengers "claiming" deck-chairs by putting towels, books, clothing and other personal items on the best-positioned ones, and then going away and not using those deck-chair or sun-bed for sometimes hours.

Crew aboard the company's new Carnival Breeze in the Caribbean have begun "policing" deck-chairs by putting stickers showing the time they've noticed them "reserved" with personal items, but not being occupied. After 40-minutes if still unoccupied, staff are removing the items, leaving a note explaining what they have done, and advising where the items can be re-claimed.

A spokesman said reserving deck-chairs or sun-beds and not immediately using them had long been of concern. "Once our trials aboard Carnival Breeze are completed we will make any necessary adjustments and roll it out fleet-wide," he said, adding that 40-minutes grace had been chosen as that was thought long enough for guests to duck-away for something to eat, take a swim, get a drink or go to the toilet.

And not surprisingly, Carnival says reaction in the first fortnight has been "overwhelmingly positive" amongst those who've often been deprived for hours from enjoying their place in the sun.

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