Explained: What Are Chair Hogs… And How to Deal With Them

If you are looking around the Internet, reading cruise blogs, message boards, or watching videos, then you might have heard mention of “chair hogs.”

It doesn’t take much searching around to find article after article talking about these people and how much of a nuisance they can be.

But if you are a first-time cruiser — or just someone who doesn’t keep up with all the ins and outs of the industry — then you might be confused about what exactly chair hogs are and while they are so reviled.

What is a Chair Hog?

First things first, if you don’t know what a chair hog is, it’s a person who “reserves” a deck chair in a prime location… and then go off to do something else on the ship.

Hogged chairs on a cruise deck

Typically the chair hogs strike early in the morning (often before breakfast), heading down poolside to get the best location possible. They will usually set out their towel on the chair they want, leaving it for literally hours while they head around the ship. Sometimes you can come down to the pool, sunbathe, take a swim, and read a book — all without seeing the person who claimed a chair with their towel.

Obviously this causes a lot of problems for other passengers and isn’t very considerate. When someone hogs a chair, they take up prime real estate on the deck that essentially goes wasted. There are some cases where a chair will simply stay empty (except for a towel “holding” the chair) all day.

Is Every Chair With a Towel “Hogged”?

The problem with chair hogging is that not every lounger that has a towel and no person is “hogged.” In fact, the cruise lines allow you to reserve a chair for a short amount of time (usually around 45 minutes) so that you can do things like head to the bar for a drink or run back to the room for something you forgot. Meanwhile, there are some people who simply put their towel down and go hit the hot tub or waterpark on the ship. The chair looks empty, but someone is actually using it.

In other words, don’t just assume because a chair has a towel in it that someone isn’t nearby or only gone for a short bit. It’s best to look for an open lounger.

What Do I Do With a Hogged Chair?

If you find a chair with a towel on it — and no one has been around for some time — what’s the proper etiquette?

First things first, don’t simply take someone’s stuff and toss it aside carelessly, even if they haven’t been seen all day. It’s not a good way to go about things and is likely to cause an argument if and when the other person returns.

Instead, if you suspect that a chair has been hogged for an extended period of time, let the staff know. They will then explain their policy on savings chairs and look to enforce it if needed. The good thing is that this takes all the pressure off of you to be the bad guy when it comes to enforcing the rules.

If the staff won’t do anything, then politely and neatly set the other person’s stuff aside. Should they come back, simply let them know the situation and offer to move to another chair if they would like. Above all, keep things civil — there’s no sense in ruining your vacation over an argument about a chair.

What Are Cruise Lines Doing About the Issue?

One bit of good news is that cruise lines are well aware of the issue and know it’s an annoyance to many passengers. In fact, at least some cruise lines have taken some action against seat-saving chair hogs.

For instance, Carnival has at least in some cases they have had staff put time stamps on seats that have been saved but aren’t being used so that they can keep track of how long a chair has gone unused.

Still, these sorts of policies seem to be used sparingly — leaving chair hogs to be a problem across every cruise line.

Have you encountered chair hogs? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. I mentioned to the staff about the empty chair, and they brought me a chair of my own. I sat, swam, and sunned in my chair and never saw anyone sit in the empty chair.


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