Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cruise Travel: Laundry At Sea

While packing for our Alaska cruise aboard Holland America Line's Westerdam, one of my concerns was heavier than usual luggage. Jeans, sweaters, and other cold weather gear weigh more than shorts, tee-shirts, and bathing suits and each 26" suitcase was soon very close to the 50 pound limit imposed by the airline. So close, in fact, that we added a 22" suitcase for the shoes and toiletries that are real weight hogs.

To further compound our hefty suitcase woes, we were staying in Seattle for two pre-cruise days and one day after the cruise. So, we counted the days, figured out what we'd need for half of them and planned to use Westerdam's laundry service mid-way through our trip.

Unfortunately, with the introduction of Holland America's Vista-class ships, self-service passenger laundry facilities were dropped from the ships' features.

Fortunately, when our cabin steward left a laundry list and bag, I noticed that "Laundry By The Bag" was an available option. Rather than pay per item, which would have totaled $40, everything we could fit into the bag was washed and folded for $20. That included a pair of jeans, two knit turtleneck pullovers, and numerous pairs of socks and undergarments.

Not a bad deal at all. The Westerdam laundry did the work while I enjoyed my time on board without having to bother with a not-so-relaxing task. After all, who goes on a cruise to do laundry?

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