Carnival Mardi Gras

What is a Deck Chair Hog?

It’s your first morning on board one of today’s brand new cruise ships and everything is perfect. Your stateroom was pristine and you woke up to the bright Caribbean sunshine basking your room in a warm glow. Nothing, and we mean nothing could get in the way of this perfect day, right?

You strolled onto the lido deck full of smiles only to have your joy extinguished like a candle in a monsoon.

Every. Single. Deck Chair. Is. Taken.

Few things can derail your cruise vacation like a lack of places to sit back and enjoy the day with a Mai Tai and a great book. (Editor’s Note: or Porthole Cruise Magazine!)

What’s more frustrating than the lack of chairs is the fact that most of the chairs are empty, just a towel or a bottle of suntan lotion resting cheekily on the seat, daring you to take action and sweep them to the side in favor of superior comfort. Is that good cruise etiquette, however? Perhaps the chair’s temporary owner is simply using the restroom or refreshing their lemonade at the bar. The fight when they return might not be worth the five minutes of comfort after you swipe the chair.

Deck Chair Hog

Empty chairs are a premium on a cruise

What is a Deck Chair Hog?

Anyone up early on a cruise ship is in for a fun, early morning tradition known as the deck chair races. Each morning, intrepid cruisers hell-bent on bronzing like Greek Gods rush out on deck to stake their claim to not just one chair, but a whole row. Filled with magazines, empty drinks, towels and sunscreen bottles, these ghost chairs are perpetually taken but never being used. Unless the Invisible Man decided to take a break from whatever it is he does and take a cruise, then those empty chairs look mighty inviting.

RELATED: Hit the Deck – Chair Hogs

When on board a cruise ship, no commodities go faster than deck chairs, especially ones in primo locations near the pool or other deck-side amenities. You didn’t book a cruise vacation to sit in an upright chair at a deck table all week, so what’s a person to do when comfort proves elusive?

The best move if you can’t beat them? Join them! That doesn’t mean wake up early to grab chairs and then go back to bed. Grab your last hour or two of zzz’s in the chair you’ve just secured. If you’re grabbing chairs for others, try to motivate them to do the same!

What’s your strategy for dealing with chair hogs or making sure that you always have a spot to relax?  Is is bad cruise etiquette to swipe those chairs for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!