Carnival’s new policy to deal with “Choggers”


(that means ‘chair hoggers’ if you didn’t already know!)

We all know the problem, you arrive down at the pool after a leisurely breakfast to find all the seats by the pool taken. But the majority have just got a towel, or a pair of flipflops on them. You walk around the corner, and sit on a seat to await a seat to come free. However, a couple of hours later, the towels, flipflops and books are still there, but no people have appeared! So, what do you do?

It appears that the etiquette of the pool on board a ship is very similar to that on dry land. Those who get up early enough feel that it is their right to reserve a chair for the whole day, in case they feel the need to use it for an hour or so in the afternoon?

However, Carnival Cruise Lines have decided that their cruise members should not have to put up with these chair hoggers – or ‘choggers’ as they are commonly known.

They have decided to enforce a new test trial on Carnival Breeze that gives passengers the chance to reserve their loungers for 40 minutes and no longer. After that time, anything left on the chair such as magazines, towels, articles of clothing to indicate it is in use will be removed. They are trialing this initially on Carnival Breeze.

“Carnival Cruise Lines has recently begun testing a new system designed to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy equal access to sun loungers by preventing seat saving in outdoor deck areas,” Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed.

Crew working in the outdoor deck areas will monitor the lounger areas and if seats appear to be unoccupied with personal belongings on them, they place time and day stamped notification sticker onto the chair. When they complete their rounds and return after 40 minutes plus, if the seat is still empty the contents are removed.

This new system is being made widely known to passengers, with broadcasts over the public address system, signage in the areas affected and messages given out at the Seaside Theatre.

So far, response to the test programme has been overwhelmingly positive. It appears everyone feels it is a good idea – but if this is the case, who are the ‘choggers’ in the first place? It seems to be a classic chicken and egg conundrum, people leave their towels on loungers to reserve them because there are never any seats by the pool when they want them. . . but the reason there aren’t seats by the pool is because they are all being reserved by people not using them!

Lets hope this pilot programme is a success and they can roll it out over the other ships in the fleet.

A similar programme has been introduced on the Norwegian Cruise Line as well, with a sticker system indicating the time that loungers were noticed to be unoccupied. This cruise line is only allowing you 30 minutes though to return to your seat or lose it.

Who knows, if the system works, and then maybe it could also be cascaded out to benefit dry land holiday makers who have to deal with the same ‘choggers’ problem.


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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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