Coming Clean – One of the greatest resources on board is a well-equipped laundry.

Monday Mantra

A Clothes Call….A Clothes Call…A Clothes Call…

Coming Clean

One of the greatest resources on board is a well-equipped laundry.

When I design a cruise ship, it may not have a water park, a myriad of alternative dining venues, all-suite accommodations, or butler service, but it will damn straight have guest laundry rooms. I’m thinking big, extravagant laundries, one on each deck, equipped with 10 Electrolux stainless-steel front loaders with a whole bunch of wash cycles and heavy duty 1200-rpm spin speed and an equal number of dryers. I’ll go with Rowenta irons, and I’ll install a dozen recessed, wall-mounted ironing boards and offer free detergent and spray starch.

You can see I’ve given this a lot of thought.

With airlines charging more and more for checked baggage and greater restrictions on the size of carry-ons, most of us have given up our three-changes-per-day cruise wardrobes and are traveling lighter. And if we’re repeating outfits after days under the hot Caribbean sun or an August trek through Pompeii, laundries are as vital on a cruise ship as hand sanitizers. (Maybe some other time, I’ll devote an entire blog to The Stinky Cheese Man, a guest who never changed his shirt once during a 15-day Mediterranean voyage.)

I’ve been a fan of guest laundries for as long as I’ve been cruising. Even if I never touch the washers (which is rare, since I’m convinced that half the underwear packed in luggage somehow disappears), who among us doesn’t need — usually desperately — an iron? That linen dress may have looked lovely on the hanger but after two days in the Samsonite, it’s begging for spray starch and the hottest setting. If a guest laundry is available, you can bet I’ll be toting a crumpled garment to it at about 5 p.m. each night of the cruise. Once, when the water wasn’t hooked up in the laundry rooms during the inaugural of an ultra-premium ship, I even found myself filling the steam iron with Evian. Now that was a decadent laundry experience.

Sometimes the dryer alone comes in handy, like the time the heavens opened just as I was sailing down the Thames approaching London. This was a cruise “bucket list” experience — “Rule Britannia” blasting through the sound system, the Tower Bridge opening to welcome us — and there was no way I would let a little rain — well, a lot of rain — chase me into the ship’s interior. But, as soon as we docked alongside HMS Belfast, off I was to change out of my drenched clothing and take it down the hall for a spin in the dryer.

So here’s to all the cruise lines that offer guest laundries on at least some of their ships! I tip my hat — my very clean hat — to each of you!


— Judi Cuervo


What shipboard amenity is a must-have for you? Tell us in the comments below!

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.