Doing laundry while on holiday is never pleasant but unless you’re packing fresh clothes for each day and night away, its a virtual inevitability that you’ll need to do a load or two.
The same applies to cruising. In a world with ever restrictive airline baggage limits and cruise ports awkward to access on public transport, it’s no surprise people are preferring to pack light and “put a load on” than carry everything they need with them for their entire voyage.
Some cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises make life easy for their guests with onboard laundry facilities, while others, including Royal Caribbean, don’t provide such services, instead requiring guests to pay for each item that needs to be washed, dried or pressed.
So how can you avoid paying excessive charges for laundry on your next cruise? We have washed and dried some ideas you can take with you onto your next voyage.
Bring some laundry detergent
A small disposable container (do not use a snap lock bag) of your preferred washing powder will ensure you can use the onboard laundry facilities – if your ship has them. The same applies to washing liquid if that’s what you use at home.
Taking your own detergent will also not not subject your clothes to the commercial grade brands used by the cruise lines. It’s also particularly handy if you have sensitive skin that doesn’t like new detergents or scents.
Pack some pegs!
We have included this in a previous story about what to pack. Aside from exclusively used to hang up laundry, pegs come in handy for a variety of things while on a cruise. We’re including them here for anything that you may need to air dry.
Most ships feature a small retractable clothes line in the bathroom for anything you might not wish to send into the hot onboard dryers – at least if you’d like it back in the same size.
Turn up the heat on your shower for wrinkle free clothes
The design of cruise ship bathrooms incorporate a pretty tight seal around the bathroom, ensuring no steam escapes out easily. This is designed to ensure steam from your shower doesn’t set off the fire alarm and trigger an emergency evacuation of the ship.
By turning the shower on to the hottest temperature possible and closing the bathroom door, a fine steam will envelope the room and any wrinkled clothes you may have. Let them steam for 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature and just how wrinkled they are. Simply shake the wrinkles out once they have been steamed and you’ll have wrinkle free clothes.
Remove stains easily with a stain remover stick
It happens to most of us. Chances are the one night you choose to wear your favourite outfit will be the same night you’ll end up wearing a glass of red wine or some chocolate mousse.
To save your clothes from permanent damage, simply pack a stain remover stick. These cheap sticks full of stain remover concentrate allow you to quickly fix a stain without necessarily requiring you to wash the item completely.
Keep your eyes on your ship’s daily newsletter
It’s always wise to keep an eye on the daily newsletter delivered to your cabin each evening. Always loaded with numerous offers for duty free goods such as alcohol, electronics and watches, dotted among its pages you may also find a laundry special.
These deals can range from “as many items as you can shove into a bag for $20” all the way to a “$1 per item” bargain. These deals can provide significant savings if you do require the use the professional laundry services on your ship. Often, these will begin to appear after a few days, right around the time people start realising they may need to clean their clothes.
Pack a washing bag
Camping stores offer a wide selection of wash bags into which you can pour some water and detergent and hand wash a small load of clothes or undergarments.
This cheap option will freshen your items up, allowing you to cycle through them more quickly or wear them more regularly.
Pack items which can only be tumble dried
If you do require your clothes to be washed by the professionals, keep in mind that items will be placed in a commercial grade drier. These are designed to get extremely hot, which can result in the shrinkage of your items, especially if they aren’t tumble dry-friendly.
What have your experiences been like when needing to do laundry at sea? Easy or not?