How Much Clothing Can You Stuff in a Cruise Ship Laundry Bag?

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a pile of clothes on a bed

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Whether you’re a “take everything home clean” sort of traveler or a “wash everything after getting back home” sort, one of the nice perks you can get with status in a cruise line’s loyalty program at some point is a free bag of laundry. They also run special deals toward the middle-end of the cruise for discounts on laundry service. But how much clothing are we talking about getting done per bag?

a bag with a label next to it

Every cruise line will have their own pricing, award levels in their loyalty program and even the size of the laundry bag may differ slightly. Some cruise lines even offer self service laundry facilities! On NCL you are entitled to 50% off 1 bag at Gold, and 1 free bag at Platinum or higher. The laundry specials are worth taking advantage of if you haven’t reached the status level to get it free because otherwise the pricing is per piece of clothing and can add up quickly! We were disappointed to find that even at Diamond status with MSC we will not be entitled to any free laundry services.

a white bag with clothes in it

Another good thing to keep in mind is the type of laundry bag placed in your cabin may depend on the type of cabin you have booked. On NCL there is a standard paper laundry bag but if you’re in a suite it is a fabric, drawstring laundry bag. We compared and they each will hold the same amount of clothing items, but the paper one would either have to be left open at the top or covered with a second bag, hopefully not resulting in being charged for 2 bags! If you have only the paper one you could kindly ask your room attendant if they could get a fabric one for you, especially if you have at least Gold status.

a paper with a list of cleaning materials

So how much fits in there? We found that we could generally fit a pair of jeans, shorts, and 2 pairs of dress pants along with 8 or so shirts, a couple of bathing suits and several under garments and socks. That puts our experience at somewhere between 30-40 items, so it really is quite a bit and really helps reduce how many items it’s necessary to pack, maybe even allowing you to go all carry-on only! When all of your clean clothing is returned you will find tiny little yellow (generally, although we have also had pink ones) identification tags stuck to the inside collar or waistband of each garment. These can be challenging to remove carefully if the fabric is fragile but generally they come off without damaging the garment. Another good thing to know is they generally don’t get out spots, so throwing in some of these handy Shout wipes to address spots before handing off your laundry can give you a better end result!

a plastic bag of laundry

We have been extremely pleased with the laundry services provided onboard and have never had an item lost or damaged. Even with our recent 21 day back to back cruise we only needed to pack roughly 7 days worth of clothes due to having 1 bag free each for each of the 2 cruises. What has your experience been with laundry services onboard? – René

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Rene. You didn’t note the most important hint. Always roll the clothes when putting them in the bag. Probably get at least 20% more in

  2. And I always bring a roll of clear packing tape to secure the paper bag and strengthen any slight tears when paking in the rolled clothes.

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