ABOARD THE CELEBRITY EQUINOX—One of the few complaints that passengers had about Celebrity Cruises’ last new ship, Celebrity Solstice, was that there weren’t quite enough deck chairs to go around—at least on those sunny sea days when everyone, it seems, wants to be out by the pool.
And, indeed, the ship and its new sister, Celebrity Equinox, have a bit less deck chair space per passenger than is standard, due in part to the much-ballyhooed, half-acre “lawn clubs” with live grass atop both vessels.
But part of the problem, Celebrity executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo tells USA TODAY, was that passengers often were unaware of pockets of open chairs around the ship.
The line’s solution, to be announced in coming days: New “chair concierges” who will help passengers arriving at Solstice and Equinox pool decks find a spot.
EquinoxPoolDeckSpeaking to USA TODAY during this week’s inaugural events for the Equinox, Lutoff-Perlo said the new chair concierges (if that, indeed, is what they’ll be called; executives also have been throwing around the term “pool concierges” internally) will keep tabs on where chairs are open so they quickly can lead passengers to the right place.
Lutoff-Perlo, who oversees Celebrity hotel operations fleetwide, says the line also is getting more aggressive about stopping passengers from “saving” unoccupied chairs for long periods.
Lutoff-Perlo says the chair shortage issue only has come up on Solstice on the sunniest sea days in certain warm-weather destinations where a large percentage of passengers want to be on deck at once, and the level of complaints hasn’t been all that great.
Still, the issue is big enough that the line also has made a design change to Celebrity Equinox—widening and lengthening the Solstice Deck at the front of the ship to allow for 100 extra deck chairs.
At a press conference Thursday on board the ship, Celebrity president and CEO Dan Hanrahan also noted the line has tweaked its Lawn Club areas to encourage more passengers to relax there on sea days instead of in the deck chairs around the pool.
“There (now) are quite a few deck chairs up on Solstice Deck, and I think the changes with the lawn have helped quite a bit,” he says. “We’ve been able to mitigate quite a few of those (chair) complaints.”