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

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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!

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