THE LAUNDRY QUANDARY: ONE MAJOR CRUISE BUGBEAR

First night dress is seldom this uniform

First night dress is seldom this uniform

I don’t know about you, but there are few things I dread as much as unpacking when I first board any ship. Partly, because I am encumbered with a serial compunction to over pack in just about every category, but mainly because, however carefully I fold and pack my stuff, it always comes out bearing more wrinkles than a Zsa Zsa Gabor look a like convention.

And, without fail, that invokes a sense of mild panic in me. Oh God, please spare me from the eternal curse of the infernal crease. Inevitaby, these prayers go unanswered, save for the sound of what I presume to be muted, celestial snickering.

How often have you flown halfway across the world, embarked on a ship, and found that your first choice of clothes is unwearable? And, because embarkation day is the busiest of the entire cruise for the hard working hotel staff on board, your chances of getting stuff pressed at short notice are not the best.

The old days of self service laundry and ironing rooms are largely gone, and everything revolves around a dedicated, on board cleaning and ironing service that generally picks up stuff from your rooms in the morning and returns it, gloriously crease free, by late afternoon. It’s convenient, the prices are generally not excessive, and of course it is hassle free. For most of the cruise, that is.

Of course, the luxury lines are a very different creature. With more personalised service and numbers in the low hundreds, it is usually no problem to get any items of clothing properly ironed, and quite quickly. But on the mega ships, with the numbers in the thousands, many of us simply don’t like to impose on what we know to be a very busy crew.

That’s especially true of the Brits, of course. We’re simply too polite about such things, really. We don’t like to impose. We would rather suffer in silence.

In the absence of the universally banned travel irons, often our only hope is to resort to the age old option of hanging the offending garments in the bathroom, and praying to God that the steam from the shower will make those creases drop out like sixties hippies from a California campus. It is anything but ideal.

Please, please, dear cruise lines, take pity on us feckless foreign travellers, who cannot pack tidily to save their lives, let alone the lines of our favourite shirts and pants. And ladies, by all means, if you have any constructive hints to pass on, please do so. We need all the help that we can get.

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