Let’s face it, one of the perks of cruising is not having to deal with household chores. Cooking and cleaning are taken care of for you, but there is one chore that is almost inescapable on longer cruises… Laundry! I know from experience that even when I over pack, I still end up doing a load or two of laundry.
Doing laundry on a ship has had its ups and downs. I kid you not, I spent 3 hours trying to dry a load of laundry on the Magic. For the record, it was not overstuffed. My recent experience on the Fantasy has been nothing but pleasant, aside from my quest to find 2 available machines in the same location.
The 24-hour self-service laundrettes vary in size across the decks and fleet, but they all have the same basic features. Washers, dryers, irons, and a vending machine for detergent.
There are 7 laundry locations on Dream and Fantasy (deck plan):
There are 3 laundry locations on the Magic & Wonder (deck plan).
The worst part about doing laundry is finding open machines, or dealing with forgotten laundry. Out of courtesy to your fellow passengers, please make sure you check on your laundry. Don’t start a load and then head to dinner; this will just inconvenience others, and your clothes may end up in a pile on the floor.
Touch Panel Payment
There is no need to bring a roll of quarters; you simply swipe your Key to the World card to pay. Just select an available washer or dryer on the touch panel, swipe your KTTW card, and press the green arrow to confirm. It can take up to 30 seconds for the transaction to go through; just be patient. On the classic ships, there is a card reader on each of the machines versus a central panel on the Dream class ships. One complete load of laundry will costs you $4.00 ($2 to wash and $2 to dry [$1 each on the Wonder]); extra if you need to purchase detergent. In each location, there are detailed instructions posted on how to pay, wash, dry and iron.
We always bring ALL-IN-ONE sheets, but you can purchase detergent and fabric softener from the soap center for $1.00.
Make sure the machine you selected is powered on, there is a physical power button on each machine. Load the machine, close the door, add your detergent, and select a cycle:
|Program||Cycle||Water Temp||Duration (mins)|
|1||Heavy Wash w. Pre_Wash||194°F||77|
|6||Super Quick Wash||104°F||23|
Then, press the start button. This is the perfect time to set an alarm or make note of the time. When the washer is finished STOP will appear on the display. Press and Key button to unlock the washer door. This will take about 5 seconds.
Once you pay for an available dryer using the touch screen panel, check to make sure the dryer is powered on. Load the dryer, close the door, and elect a drying cycle:
Press start and set an alarm or make note of the time.
I tend to make a daily trip to the laundrette to iron clothes for dinner. Being quite picky about my shirts, I bring a bottle of starch to get that crisp look. Since I do not have to worry about flying, I just pack a regular aerosol can, but you can purchase a non-aerosol spray starch and pour into a travel spray bottle.
For safety, the irons are plugged into an outlet with a timed switch. There is a timer on the wall that you will need to rotate in order for the iron to heat up. If you are ironing for your entire family keep an eye on the timer otherwise it will turn off and you will be waiting for the iron to reheat. This may seem obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway, the use of the iron is free.
Onboard Full-Service Laundry and Dry Cleaning
So, if you are absolutely against stepping foot in the laundry during your cruise, but find yourself in needing to get your formal wear cleaned, you are not out of luck. You can take advantage of the full-service laundry and dry cleaning, available with pickup from your stateroom. Just call guest services to arrange for a pickup.
There are a few options you can choose from when sending your clothes out. Regular service will be returned by 5:30 PM the following day. In a hurry, you can request same day service with pickup by 9 AM with return by 5:30 PM for an additional 50% dry cleaning surcharge. If you are in a rush, you can select Express service with a 3 hour turnaround for an additional 100% dry cleaning surcharge.
Dry cleaning starts at $2 for ties up to $9 for a 3-piece suit. Laundry service starts at $0.75 for handkerchiefs up to $4 for pajamas. Just need your clothes pressed? That can be done at 50% of the current dry cleaning rate for each article of clothing.
I want to conclude with a few tips to make the chore of laundry less painful during your vacation.
- Buy/Bring a pop up hamper. This will give you a place in your stateroom to keep you dirty clothes and it will provide a nice way to carry your laundry back and forth from the laundry room.
- Think about using Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets which are great for traveling! Note: the 3-in-1 sheets are not longer being made and Purex. Purex has replaced these with Ultra Packs, but these are not a convenient and could break open and make a mess. Thankfully, my wife stockpiled these when they went on clearance.
- Make sure you take the time to read and follow the directions when using the washer and dryers, especially on the Dream & Fantasy. I witnessed almost 1 person a day on the phone to guest services trying to get the washer to start. I am not perfect, but I followed the posted instructions in order, and did not have any issues starting the washer or dryer. Maybe I was lucky, or maybe the instructions are right.
- Try to plan your laundry for off times like the morning of a port day. The afternoon and evenings are the worst, as are sea days.
- Please set a timer, alarm, or just pay attention to the clock. No one likes to do laundry on vacation, so be mindful to other passengers and arrive back in the laundry room when your washer or dryer cycle is due to finish. I posted the cycle times above and they can be found in each laundry room.
- Check the dryer lint traps; do not assume the person before you cleaned it after their load.