Liners trial lounger police
You've seen it before, a towel on a sun lounger with no-one in sight. Aside from a stamp of your foot and looking longingly at the primo poolside parking plateau there hasn't been much you could do - until now.
Similar to parking inspectors, Carnival cruise ships are now trialling the use of "team monitors" to keep tabs on loungers' occupancy with a view that cruisers "use it or lose it", London's Telegraph reports.
With a sweep of a marker by the seat police, a 40-minute countdown begins for that unoccupied deckchair to then be made available to the masses.
No longer will precious sunlight hours be stolen with a flick of a towel by 6am seat-savers or glute-resting gluttons.
Instead bags and towels are being removed from the lounger and taken to a retrieval station with an explanatory note being left in their wake.
The result: deckchairs have been returned to their proper use once more, according to the Carnival Breeze ship's cruise director John Heald, who posted about the new policy on his Facebook page.
"The message is truly getting to the guests as this morning at 9am there were 81 empty chairs around the main pool and that as you will all know ... is remarkable," he posted.
"As of 10:30am this morning we only had 2 bags of removed items from chairs. That's just 2 chairs that went over the 40 minutes and had reserved chairs and gone back to bed or elsewhere."
His ship, which cruises Europe and the Caribbean, is the only one currently implementing the system, but he says all the guests have been appreciative and commenting on the action.
But Heald told USA Today that the new policy eventually will roll out fleetwide.
"Once we finish the test here this cruise and next, we will make adjustments and then add to the rest of the fleet," he said.
However the same courtesy is not being extended to cruise ships in Australia, with Carnivals Groups' P&O Cruises saying that it just isn't necessary.
"The problems with control over the use of deckchairs is confined to the sun-deprived northern hemisphere. It's never been an issue here among the Australians and New Zealanders," P&O Cruises spokesman David Jones said.
"With our locally owned cruise ships and ops here we don't have the same problems to contend with; sunbathed Kiwis and Aussies are so used to being in the sun that they don't have as much demand on deckchairs as some others."
Sydney Morning Herald