We are asked a lot of questions here on River Cruise Advisor, but one that comes up the most frequently pertains to a feature we’d never really given a lot of thought: What onboard laundry services are available?
As it turns out, it’s a simple question that proved remarkably tricky to answer.
On deep-ocean cruises, laundry is typically offered for a fee. This involves placing your laundry in a bag outside your stateroom for pickup in the early morning. It’s sent to be cleaned and returned the same day or the next afternoon, depending on the services offered (some cruise lines charge extra for same-day return). But oceangoing cruise ships are significantly larger than their river-based counterparts; with extremely strict height and draught conditions to adhere to, river cruise ships have a real juggling act going on behind the scenes as space is at a premium.
What we discovered is that while laundry services are typically offered onboard, drycleaning is not – though you can have your clothes pressed. Do not bring an iron with you; these are a fire hazard and can be confiscated.
Here’s a quick rundown of the current laundry facilities available on each of the major river cruise lines, taken directly from their websites:
AmaWaterways: Laundry services are available on board for a fee. Price lists are available in your stateroom. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned on board.
Avalon Waterways: Laundry service is available on board for a modest fee. Check the price list in your stateroom. Clothes cannot be dry cleaned on board. For safety reasons, we ask that passengers do not iron their clothes in the staterooms as this is a safety hazard; the laundry service will do pressing for a fee.
Scenic Tours: There is not a self-serve laundry facility; however complimentary laundry service is included.
Tauck: Laundry service is available (limited); ironing available.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises: Uniworld offers free laundry service in many of its higher-end suites across its fleet. Additionally, most Uniworld ships even have their own self-service laundry facilities for passengers to use; only River Royale, River Baroness, Douro Spirit, and River Victoria lack this feature in the European-based fleet.
Viking River Cruises: Laundry service is available on board; unfortunately clothes cannot be dry cleaned.
Knowing you can do your laundry onboard allows you to bring fewer items of clothing on long voyages – and that means more room in your luggage to bring home those all-important souvenirs.