8 Clever Ways to Outsmart Chair Hogs On a Cruise Ship

how to beat chair hogs on a cruise

Sharing is caring!

One of the best parts about cruising is lounging by the pool, soaking up the sun, and enjoying a delicious cocktail. However, there is one common problem that can quickly ruin this amazing experience: the chair hog.

Typically, chair hogs are early risers who save lounge chairs with towels, books, and personal items. They will often leave their chairs unattended for hours, making it hard for regular cruise passengers to get a lounge chair.

To be fair, people do this at hotels and resorts, and it’s annoying no matter what!

Although deck attendants are supposed to take care of chair hogs, they rarely do. However, there are some strategies you can use to outsmart chair hogs and secure a pool side lounge chair.

Tips to Outsmart Chair Hogs on a Cruise Ship

1. Wake Up Early

cruise ship lido deck and pool

Getting a good chair on the lido deck can be a real challenge on a busy sailing. However, by waking up early, you should be able to secure a lounge chair by the pool.

How early? It’s unfortunately not uncommon for chair hogs to be out very early, especially on sea days, placing towels on chairs. In fact, I’ve seen towels being placed on chairs just after sunrise!

Beat the Chair Hogs

While each cruise ship will be a bit different, typically heading to the Lido deck around 8:00 am or earlier is the best way to guarantee a poolside chair. You can even grab a coffee and breakfast, head to the lido deck, and eat in your lounge chair.

If you’re determined to secure a chair, you’ll need to outsmart these chair hogs and get there before them!

Afternoon Benefits

If you’re not an early bird and you prefer to sleep in, you can always wait until the afternoon. Typically, the pool deck begins to clear up around 3:00 pm, and you can get a well located deck chair.

Taking advantage of the quiet pool area in the afternoon certainly has its benefits. The pool deck will be less hot, less crowded, and much more peaceful!

2. Talk to a Pool Attendant

Chair hog Royal Caribbean

If you’ve noticed someone leaving their belongings unintended at their chair for over an hour, you can always talk to a pool attendant. Cruise lines don’t permit chair saving, and once the pool attendant is notified, they may remove the chair hog’s belongings.

Typically, the pool attendant takes personal belongings to the towel desk, where they can be retrieved at a later time. If the chair hog’s return to their chairs, you can always inform them that the pool attendant removed their belongings.

Although this may be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s not your fault. The cruise ship does have rules and it’s everyone’s responsibility to follow proper cruise etiquette.

3. Go to the Pool on Port Days

Sun Princess

If you want to enjoy a relaxing day by the pool, why not skip a port day and stay on the cruise ship?

When cruise ships are docked in a port of call, most cruise passengers get off the ship. This means you will have most of the cruise ship to yourself, which is super relaxing.

Port days are the only days on a cruise where you won’t have to worry about chair hogs. The Lido deck will be quiet, and you can easily secure a deck chair by the pool.

Furthermore, you will get more attentive service, you won’t have to wait in line for food, and the cruise ship will be much more peaceful.

Related: 50+ Must-have Cruise Essentials from Amazon

4. Get a Chair Further Away from the Pool

Regal Princess Retreat Pool chairs

It’s no secret that securing a chair right by the pool can be a big challenge, especially on a sea day. However, if you venture a bit further away from the pool, you will typically find many empty lounge chairs, giving you the freedom to choose your perfect spot.

Sure, you may not be right by the pool. However, getting a lounge chair further away from the pool has certain advantages.

For instance, you will be in a quieter area since you’re further away from the pool, and there will be fewer kids. You’ll also have more choice over your chair location, so you can choose whether to lay in the sun or shade.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to find a pool that overlooks the ocean, which is an amazing experience. Unless you plan on spending a lot of time inside the pool, getting a lounge chair farther away is likely better choice.

If you prefer to escape the crowds, search for those deck chairs that are placed between two main pools or towards the forward or aft of the cruise ship.

5. Talk to Other Cruise Passengers

One of the best ways I’ve gotten a chair close to the pool is by talking to other cruise passengers. Sometimes, cruise passengers save a chair for their friends or family members, and they don’t mind if you use it temporarily.

In fact, on a recent MSC cruise, I couldn’t find a chair by the pool, and a married couple noticed that I was looking for one. They told me that they were going for lunch, and we made a deal that I would use their chair while they ate lunch, and I’d give it back to them once they returned.

This was a win-win situation as I enjoyed the lounge chair while they ate lunch. Furthermore, once they returned, more chairs opened up, and I could get a lounge chair for myself.

Sometimes, talking to the other cruise passengers is the easiest solution. Most cruise passengers are friendly and let you use a lounge chair they’re saving until their family member or friend gets there.

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

6. Book an Exclusive Area

Booking an exclusive area is a great way to guarantee a lounge chair and a more relaxing experience. Holland America’s The Retreat, Princess Cruises Sanctuary, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Vibe Beach Club have limited spaces, guaranteeing an exclusive area and lounge chairs for cruise passengers.

Although these exclusive areas come with an extra cost, they certainly have their benefits. Typically, you’ll get enhanced bar service, private hot tubs, and comfortable seating, and it will be calmer since there are fewer people.

Since there are enough lounge chairs for everyone, you won’t have to worry about obnoxious chair hogs!

It’s important to note that day and weekly passes for these exclusive areas are popular and book up fast. If you plan on spending a sea day in an exclusive area, book it immediately on embarkation day since there are limited spaces.

Related: 10 Things that Cost Extra on a Cruise but Are Worth the Splurge

7. Rent a Cabana


Renting a cabana is a great way to avoid chair hogs and have a home base. Available on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess, poolside cabanas are a great option for those who want to enjoy their private space.

Typically, daily cabana rentals are available, and the price may vary depending on the cruise line. When you book a cabana, you’ll have access to your private seating area, a dedicated server, special menus and more comfortable seating.

Cabanas provide a private retreat away from the crowds, offering a more relaxing and exclusive environment. Furthermore, they are shaded, which is useful on a hot day at sea.

Related: 12 Smart Ways to Escape the Crowds on a Cruise Ship

8. Book a Suite

If you’re looking to splurge on your next cruise, consider booking a suite. A suite offers the “ship within a ship” concept, which allows you and other suite guests to have access to exclusive areas.

Many cruise lines offer private sun decks and, in some cases, pool areas for suite guests. This exclusive area will have plenty of lounge chairs available, meaning you won’t have to wake up early to beat chair hogs.

Since there is only a limited number of suite guests, these exclusive areas will be much calmer and more peaceful. Whether you book The Haven with NCL, or Yacht Club with MSC, sailing as a suite guest certainly has amazing benefits.

As a suite guest, you may also have access to other benefits. These include priority boarding, exclusive restaurants, and even 24-hour butler service.

Although not having to deal with chair hogs is nice, and sailing in a suite has many benefits, this comes at a much higher price. If a suite fits your budget, it’s a great way to have the ultimate cruise experience.

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

Related & Popular Posts:

Clever Ways to Outsmart Chair Hogs on a Cruise
Please PIN to save to your cruise vacation board

Final Thoughts on How to Beat Chair Hogs on a Cruise Ship

Although chair hogs are a nuisance on cruise ships, you may also encounter them when you are at a resort or a hotel. However, by using these strategies, you will outsmart them and no longer have to deal with them.

What’s your strategy for outsmarting chair hogs? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


If you enjoy this post please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please feel free to share on Facebook or Pinterest (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising with his family since he was four years old and has been on more than 30 cruises. As a frequent traveler, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like from a young person’s perspective. Ethan also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com.



  1. Douglas Herbin
    June 9, 2024 / 4:57 pm

    One of the most unpleasant experiences I had on a cruise ship was checking out. I was ordered to vacate my cabin about two hours before I was able to leave the ship. I would have much rather stayed in the cabin until I was able to leave. I felt as I was being herded like a head of cattle.

    • June 17, 2024 / 6:07 pm

      Unfortunately leaving the ship just isn’t as pleasant as coming on, but I hear you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.