Tips for Doing Laundry on a Cruise

Laundry in laundry basket

Everyone who takes a cruise will produce laundry like any other vacation. So, I have compiled several tips on doing laundry while on a cruise. The major factor is the length of the cruise. You will produce more laundry on a longer cruise and will therefore cruise lines will offer options while short cruises might not. Therefore, it becomes a matter of strategic packing depending on the length of sailing.

3 or 4 Night Cruises

If your cruise is going to be short, that is 3 or 4 nights, the best option is to bring travel laundry bags with you onboard ship and put them in the closet. They are usually small, so it would make sense to have one per person. Since the cruise is short, there will be very little laundry compared to a full week or longer.

5 to 7 Night Cruises

Five to seven night cruises are a little longer and will possibly produce more laundry than expected depending on your lifestyle. In this situation, you have more choices including: bringing it all home with you, having it done on board, or hand washing some items in your cabin’s bathroom sink (based on need).

9 or More Night Cruises

If you’re planning on taking a cruise for more than a week (7 days), you’ll definitely need to do some planning ahead of time. Either you’ll be bringing multiple suitcases of clothes with you or you’ll need to plan for multi-use. The best approach is to be lean and plan accordingly.

However, you will get to a point in your cruise where you will need to retire your wardrobe to the laundry pile. The question is how you will approach the necessity to wash or see the pile grow. With this in mind, here are the options you have to dealing with the situation.

On-Board Laundry Service

The good thing is that since you have more time on board, there might be a “all you can fit in the bag” offer. In other words, on a certain day of the cruise (usually midway) you can opt to fill a bag with as much laundry as you can stuff into the provided bag for a $25 – 35 flat fee. It will then be cleaned, folded and brought back to your cabin within a day or two.

If you don’t opt in for this deal, the costs to have laundry done by the ship will add up fast as each item will cost you a minimum of $2. That’s right, your simplest items might end up costing more than buying new while in port. Therefore, I’d do my best to avoid paying the a la cart laundry bill.

On-Board Launderettes

Depending on the cruise line your sailing with, they may or may not have the option of guest launderettes available. Many lines don’t have them for safety (or simply just so they can make more money). If they do have the option, it will cost approximately $4-6 per load (wash and dry). This option is definitely the most cost effective compared to the prices to send your laundry out to get done.

If you know that the ship you’re going to be on has laundry facilities, consider bringing your own detergent and dryer sheets from home as they will cost you more to purchase at the vending machines on the ship. Detergent pods are great for this purpose as a few can be put into a zip sandwich bag along with dryer sheets. rather than dealing with boxes of powder.

TIP: Launderettes tend to get busy at the end of the a cruise, they will get mobbed as everyone will be trying to do wash to avoid bring it all home. So, try to hit them at an off time. (Your cabin attendant might have some insight as to the which launderettes are closest (sometimes the deck above or below you) and the best time to use them.

Hand-Washing In Your Stateroom Sink

If all you have is a few small items to wash that can be hung to dry over night, one can simply wash them in the sink, roll them in a towel to get most of the moisture out, and hang them to dry. If this works for you, consider packing single use laundry detergent packs.

This option works fine for items such as t-shirts, socks, underwear, and some other items. In fact, if you do plan on doing this often, consider investing in clothing designed for travel that dries quickly and does not require pressing. Usually, two or three pair of these types of items will get you through any trip.

Post Cruise Options

If you were not able to get your laundry done onboard ship, you will either be taking everything home with you and then face a day of doing an endless amount of laundry afterwards (Great way to get back from a lovely vacation!), or you’ll be searching out a launderette to get it done.

If you’re one to wash before going home, you’ll need to visit a nearby laundromat for a few hours. Or, if you will be staying at a hotel and extending your stay, inquire whether or not the hotel has guest laundry facilities that you can use.

Cruising does produce laundry, but it doesn’t need to ruin your trip. When preparing for your cruise, keep in mind the cruise line you’re sailing with and then strategize your packing to reduce the amount of laundry that you will be producing.



Stephen is a travel content creator including writing and video. He is also an independent travel advisor specializing in cruises and Disney destinations. He has enjoyed traveling for as long as he can remember. He has always enjoyed traveling and doing so with friends. He's visited the Caribbean, Europe and various cities across the United States. His favorite choices of vacation are cruises and Disney World. He is also a digital business coach and social media consultant. that helps people make money doing what they love online and get paid from it. In his spare time, he enjoys playing, writing music, and reading.
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