The Sun offers periodic tours of the ships laundry. Susan had a conflict when our opportunity came, so I took the tour by myself. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed. The laundry area is staffed 24/7 with 6 men working each twelve hour shift. I was surprised by how small the area was. They have four large washing machines with 12 cycles which wash an average of 235 pounds in each load. When we submit a bag of laundry, each item is tagged with our room number, and all of our laundry is placed in one mesh bag to keep it separate in the washing machine. All guest laundry is washed at 85F and linens are washed at 140F. Items from the doctors office are sanitized at 185F. All laundry products are by Ecolab and contain no phosphorous so the grey water can be discharged directly in the ocean.
The clothes and towels are dried in four large industrial dryers similar in size to the washing machines. The sheets and pillow cases are dried and folded by one massive machine affectionately known as “The Mangler”. Clothes are hand pressed and folded, and the towels are hand folded. Steam was used for most of the pressing. Staff uniforms were pressed by placing them over an inflatable mannequin and shooting steam through them.
Bedsheets and towels are changed twice a day in some cabins (must be the owners suite) to every three days in most cabins. The sheets and towels last about 70 washings before they are discarded by incinerating them. The average life is about two to three months. The math doesn’t quite work for me, but no matter which numbers you use, it is a big consumption of sheets and towels. I never dreamed that the sheets starting our cruise would not make it to the end.
The estimated laundry load per day on our cruise is: 2000 towels, 500 sheets, 300 table cloths, 1500 napkins, 250 crew uniforms, and 350 bags of passenger laundry (laundry is free for everyone on this cruise).
This is how we receive the laundry back in our room. The underwear and socks are neatly folded, wrapped in paper, sealed with a sticker, and delivered in this nice white leather box. I am looking for a box for Susan to use when we get home! Everything pressed is hung in the closet on a hanger. We grouse about having to fill out the laundry list and take our tee shirts off of the hangers, but it is very nice not having to wash any laundry. The rumor is that the free laundry is costing Viking a lot more than they anticipated. In any case, only the most expensive cabins have free laundry on the next world cruise.