Let’s face it, one of the joys 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, especially on longer cruises… Laundry! I know from experience that even when I over pack, I still end up doing a laundry. Some of you may recall reading this before, you are not experiencing déjà vu. This article is a much needed update to our 2013 Disney Cruise laundry article. In the last few years, the laundry situation onboard changed a bit, such as a bump in prices, new procedures to purchase laundry services, and most importantly the introduction of a much needed notification system to alert guests when their washers and dryers are finished.
Doing laundry on a ship has had its ups and downs. First, you are doing chores on your vacation, that is never fun. Secondly, finding an open washer can be challenging unless you go out of your way to wash clothes at really odd times. The latest notification alerts certainly makes this chore much easier, and machine turnover time is much lower as fewer guests forget to return!
At the time of publication, 1 complete load of laundry will cost you $4.00 (as of January 2020 – $2 to wash and $2 to dry); extra if you need to purchase detergent, fabric softener, or dryer sheet from the Soap Center for $1/each.
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, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.
Below you will find the approximate locations for the self service launderettes including the approximate number of machines in each location. If anyone can help fill in the blanks, or provide an update, please drop me an email, or let me know in the comments below, I lost my notes from the last cruise on the Dream.
There are 7 laundry locations on Dream and Fantasy (deck plan):
There are 3 laundry locations on the Magic & Wonder (deck plan).
Touch Panel Payment
One of the major changes since the original article is the updated touch panels in each laundry room. The touch panel offers additional information such as how many washers and dryers are available in each location across the ship. However, it does take some time to see this information as the screen cycles this information for each location rather than a static scoreboard display with all locations in a single view, I think this information would be an extremely useful addition the the Navigator App eliminating the voyage across the ship searching for an available washing machine. Sometimes, arriving to a launderette 30-seconds late could result in losing out on an open washer. The laundry rooms are not for the faint of heart, send your best player.
There is no need to bring a roll of quarters; this is a cashless system. Simply tap your Key to the World card to on the touch panel and you will be given the following options: Purchase E-Tokens, View My Purchased E-Tokens, and Return Unused Laundry E-Tokens. The last option, to return, is great when you have extra E-Tokens and no more laundry. I find it better to purchase more up front and return any unused. Saves going back and forth between a machine and the touch panel kiosk. Any time I can shave off time in the laundry room is more time I can spend on vacation.
When purchasing or viewing, you can choose to share the E-Tokens with other guests in your stateroom. An amazing option for when you tag team laundry duty while bouncing around to different onboard activities.
We always bring ALL-IN-ONE sheets, but you can purchase detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets from the soap center for $1.00 each using the E-Tokens purchased from the touch panel kiosk.
Washer & Dryer Instructions
In each launderette, there are detailed instructions posted on how to use the washers and dryers.
In addition the step by step instructions on machine usage, you will find a chart showing the various program cycles. Cycle times are approximate, bu the washing machine cycles range from 12 to 57 minutes and the dryer cycles are all listed as 45 minutes.
I don’t think I’ve ever bothered with any other cycles other than the normal wash at 105ºF.
Washing Machine Cycle
|Mode||Program||Water Temp (ºF)||Cycle Time (Minutes)|
|P5||Super Quick Wash||105||23|
|Mode||Program||Temp (ºF)||Cycle Time (Minutes)|
Here is a brief video of the process of checking available E-Tokens at the kiosk and starting a washer. The machines in this launderette has a much easier cycle selector than listed on the posted instruction sheets.
Laundry Notification Alerts
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 by backing up the machines, and your clothes may end up in a pile on the floor. I told you the launderette is not for the faint of heart which is why I try to plan ahead to wash clothes during less busy times, which really varies based on itinerary.
I am not a big user of either the Navigator App or the Wave Phones, but I will give credit were credit is due. The Navigator App and the Wave Phone really come in handy when you are doing laundry. You will receive a notification alert from the app and as a text message on the Wave Phone to letting you know the cycle is finished with a pleasant reminder to empty the machine as soon as possible. Hands down, the addition of these notifications made the chore of doing laundry on a cruise much easier as machine turnover time is much lower with fewer guests forgetting to return in a timely manner! Even with the new notifications, I still set a timer on my watch for about 5-minutes before the time listed on the machine, because I am not accustomed to using the Wave Phone, and I requently leave my phone in the stateroom.
I tend to make a daily trip to the laundrette to iron clothes for dinner. Being quite picky about my shirts, I travel with a bottle of non-aerosol spray starch to get that crisp look. Full disclosure, I tend to get lazy about this part after a long day ashore.
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. Your nautical milage may vary, but I’ve encountered some irons with the water reservoir glued shut. Luckily, there is often a water spray bottle in the launderette, not the most ideal way to steam out wrinkles, but it is better than nothing.
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 $2.50 for ties up to $11 for a 3-piece suit. Laundry service starts at $1.00 for handkerchiefs up to $4 for blouses. Just need your clothes pressed? No problem, there is a press only option, 50% of the current dry cleaning rate for each article of clothing.
Depending on where you live, you may find it cheaper to send your clothes out for dry cleaning on the ship. In my case, sending my tux or suite off to be dry cleaned is far cheaper onboard than it is at my nearest dry cleaner. I will often send out my tux before dinner on the first evening to ensure it is back for formal night at the standard rate. As a word of caution, if you have items with special care instructions, either write it on the form, or don’t send it out. I had wrinkle free shirt ruined when they pressed it. Totally my fault, I didn’t even think of it when I sent it out with my suit. (No, I didn’t contact guest services, it was 100% my fault.) On the other hand, I’ve received clothes back with missing buttons replaced, and even a previous small tear sewn closed!
There is one more item on the laundry service form, the garment bag for $10. If you wish to keep the DCL garment bag you will be charged $10. The garment bag is found in your stateroom closet along with the laundry service form, usually attached to a hanger. The DCL garment bag measures approximately 19″x25″ and features a draw string closure with the Disney Cruise Line logo, and Laundry Bag text embroidered in blue. Not a the worst way to spend $10 on a cruise.
Tips for Doing Laundry on a Cruise
I want to conclude with some tips to make the chore of laundry less painful during your vacation.
- Bring a pop up hamper. This will give you a place in your stateroom to keep you dirty clothes organized, and provide a convenient way to carry your laundry back and forth from the laundry room.
- Consider using a 3-in-1 laundry sheet, years ago we purchased what seems like a case when we found out they were being discontinued. Although, it appears other brands now offer them. We prefer these over pods or detergents that could break open in our luggage during our travel to the ship. Additionally, they are lightweight and easy to pack.
- The best time to do laundry is an off times like the early morning of a port day when everyone is focused on getting ready to go ashore. Afternoon and evenings are the worst, as are sea days. This however, will vary depending on your particular itinerary.
- Please set a timer, alarm, or just pay attention to the clock/Wave Phone/Navigator App. No one likes to do laundry on vacation, be mindful to other passengers and arrive back in the laundry room a few minutes before your washer or dryer cycle is due to finish.
- Bring a trash bag. In the event you have wet clothes from an excursion or swim suits on the final evening, a trash bag will keep the remainder of your luggage dry when you pack on the final night. Bonus tip about trash bags, I put a contractor size trash bags in the front of our suitcases in the event it is pouring when we are in a situation where we are outside with our luggage and it is pouring.
- If you ignore everything else, PLEASE, PLEASE CHECK THE MACHINES BEFORE YOU LOAD YOUR CLOTHES. Make sure someone didn’t leave a bright red sock in the washer you plan to was lights, and most importantly, check and if necessary clean the dryer lint traps; do not assume the person before you cleaned it after their load. A full lint trap will impact the drying of your clothes.
Unless there are major changes, I do not expect to write another update on onboard laundry until we sail the Disney Wish in early 2022.
Have any questions about doing laundry on a cruise? Ask away in the comments below, or share your experience and tips.