Remember, that when you are at port, roughly 75-80% of the guests disembark to enjoy the island experience. There will people who have signed up for excursions and who will have received tickets with details of where they meet and what time they leave. The majority of the people, who did not make plans, get up and get off the ship as soon as the gangway opens for the remainder of the ships guests.
If you do not feel the need to rush with other people who are excited to get out and start the day, a way to avoid a busy time at breakfast in the buffet or to avoid line ups entirely as you disembark for the day, consider sleeping in a bit and enjoy the room service you ordered the night before. Then you can make your way to the buffet for any other little snack you might want and then leave the ship in a relaxed and casual manner.
If you don’t have an excursion, you might want to just spend the morning or afternoon on shore and then have almost exclusive use of the ship until others start to arrive 1-2 hours before the scheduled time for departure. Just by making a few simple changes to your timing, you create a much more relaxed environment to enjoy your cruise.
You will discover that your daily newsletter arrives every night, placed on your bed or counter top by your stateroom attendant. It provides details of all the ship board events that will take place the following day. This gives guests the option of either scheduling their day completely, moving between activities the ship has planned or to simply take advantage of the hot weather and blue skies by lounging on the deck all day.
On the sea days, life on-board has an entirely different flow to it for both the guests and the staff. When you are on vacation, you don’t expect to have to get up early to start your day of relaxation, but in some circumstances, this is exactly what you have to do. It is really all a matter of personal preference.
Many guests use their lounge chairs on deck as their base for the day, with children, friends and spouses, alternating “keeping their spot” as everyone rotates between activities or going for lunch and snacks. It is considered extremely bad etiquette to hold several chairs for friends or family who only end up using them a few times during the day and the Cruise Lines actually have individual policies about “holding a chair’.
Be assured that on a cruise ship, there are many lounge chairs on deck, enough for all the guests on-board to use. Like any other type of seating, some have better locations than others. There is a wide variety between: shaded, sunny, sheltered and exposed locations. As well, our own personal preferences play a role in where we like to congregate. If you are flexible, you will NOT have an issue finding 2 lounge chairs together, even on the busiest of sea days, but if you are looking for a prime location then expect to get up early.
If you expect to find 2 lounge chairs together in the full sun, on the Pool Deck, which is by far the most popular location due to the high degree of activities, music and entertainment, then claiming your preferred selection by 7am is not uncommon by seasoned cruisers. On the other hand, if you want a quieter location to simply enjoy the peaceful ocean and sun, you can easily find that too. For the busier locations, many guests will bring pool towels, books and other personal items to claim their lounge chair space and then leave the area to get breakfast or even go back to their rooms. Once other guests start to arrive to enjoy the sun and entertainment, people notice when chairs have been left unoccupied for any period of time.
The ships policy about `saving chairs`is very important to understand when it comes to leaving your lounger for any extended period of time, especially during the busy sea days. If I arrive on deck at 11 AM and come to 3 empty chairs beside someone and am told that they are occupied by members of their party who have gone to lunch, the cruise line does not expect me to confront the guest with the information that I have seen the chair vacant for 2 hours. Instead, it is expected that I find a deck attendant, I point out the vacant chairs to them, how long they have been empty and advise him I would like to sit there.
The seat is now marked in the same way a car is when parking limits are enforced. If the guest does not return in the specified time frame (normally 30-60 minutes), the deck attendant will come remove the items, to be held in a secure location, and you can then take over occupancy of those chairs. If the prior guests arrive and advise you the chairs were being held for them, you can say the chairs had been empty long enough for the deck attendant to remove their things.
Remember, a crew member will not simply take a chair away from someone, simply because they are not there. The bar staff can not assist you, you must go to a deck attendant and they will follow the policy they have in place in regards to wait times and securing of private property. The deck is a public venue and all guests must adhere to the rules of their particular cruise line. If common sense fails, then there is a policy to ensure everyone has the same information.
Also, do not be afraid to ask someone if an empty chair is free or if you can use it until their party returns. Do not hesitate to find a deck attendant to start the count down on chairs that do not have a person on them, when you feel someone is abusing the privilege of saving a lounger. Be mindful that if you are saving a seat for someone, then you take turns coming and going if you plan to actually use the location for the entire day, or be prepared to give up your place to another person who will.
Or you can avoid the hustle and bustle of the the entire ship and book a Stateroom in an exclusive enclave, such as `The Haven`which is found on the Norwegian Epic. Then you can enjoy your private retreat that service wise on on par with a 5 star Luxury Resort at sea, while still being able to enjoy all of the amenities the ship has to offer.
If I see someone looking for a place in the sun and my spouse has gone to the shops to buy a t shirt and then to get something for lunch and I am out reading on deck, I always offer the use of his chair, until he returns. Remember, you are sailing with a large extended cruising family and a ship full of people who might just become your close friends by the end of the voyage. Simple courtesy and kindness goes a very long way and people remember good deeds. Plus, it helps to teach others on how to be kind cruisers as well.