One of the reasons we really wanted to get to Elite status in Princes' Loyalty Programs was so we could get free laundry. So after 150 days or 15 cruises you too can get laundry done, or you could book a full suite as they get it too.
In every cabin you will find a laundry paper bag (note suites get a cloth bag) and a laundry form. It is up to you to fill out the form. Trust me the first few times I didn't fill out the form and felt horrible when I found out that our cabin steward was itemizing our clothes without saying anything to us (we tipped him well that trip).
You need to fill out your name, cabin number, date and note that for the free laundry you only get next day service. If you want quick service you will have to pay for it. But normally it takes just one day to get the laundry back, but be warned if there are a ton of Elite members on board it could take much much longer. Case in point, our South America cruise where the ship was at least a third elite was taking up to four days for items to come back.
Back to the form... itemize your items. Now there are two columns, one is for cleaning and one is for laundry. Princess (nor most other cruise line) do professional dry cleaning services like you get at home. This is because of the harsh chemicals needed to do dry cleaning and Princess' Environmental policy. Now they called it Professionally Cleaned Service and it seems to do the trick in a bind.
After we have filled out the form we like to add up each column item total and mark it at the bottom of that column and then we add both columns and circle the number in the special instruction area. The reason we do this is so we can easily check our items when they come back. Numerous times we have not had the right number of items returned. This is also an easy way for your Steward to check the total number too when they return your clothes to you.
When the main laundry gets the clothes they mark each item of clothing with a small tab, that has a unique number, on all your clothing items. These tabs are sticky and are usually placed on the zipper area of pants, hem or neck of tops. Sometimes they use a safety pin to pin the tab on more fragile items. Note that this tab will often leave a ink mark that seeps onto the cloth and so far nothing I have done at home has made it go away. One cruise they kept putting the tab in the front hem of shirts so the ink mark that remained was right in the middle of the shirt. I had to actually mark on my form do not put tab in front of shirts place at neck. Socks, bras and underwear are often washed in a mesh bag with your tab stuck to the mesh bag; however I have seen then stick tabs on our socks/underwear at times too.
If you are really wanting to get a mark out of your clothes I suggest pre soaking or using some kind of stain remover before putting it in the laundry. 9 times out of 10 the stain will not come out any ways. But no worries, take the item home and wash it at home and the stain will probably come out then.
Be warned the ship's laundry is not caring and loving to your clothing items. Do not put in anything you wouldn't be okay having destroyed. In the past few years we have noticed a dramatic increase in small holes that seem to appear in our clothes after they have been returned. Here is a shot of my Tommy Bahamas pull over that came back from the laundry with three little holes in it. I didn't notice these holes till after I got home and I have no idea what causes this. If I would of noticed this on the ship I would of taken the item to the Purser's desk for some compensation.
I have heard of some horror stories of items that have come back from the laundry with stains, rips, missing, you name it. One time we got someone else's swimming trunks.
The ship states that if you have a problem with your clothing that you have to report it within 48 hours after delivery and that you must have the laundry ticket. They are not responsible for colors running, fading or shrinking (running of colors is a big problem we have encountered). Shrinking is a big issue too but that may have to do with the dessert I ate and not the laundry. Also Princess will reimburse you for your item, but they will only reimburse you to a maximum of ten times the amount charged for cleaning the item.
Note if you have any problem with your laundry items that have been returned your first person to check with is your Steward. They will often be able to rectify any issue easily or direct you to the appropriate person, so start with them.
Laundry on Princess is hit or miss, and seems to have gotten a lot worse since we started getting things done there. We still love the service and we still use it but I am much more cautious of what I put in and do a lot more of my own laundry either by hand in the sink or at the passenger laundry.
Overall it is a great service and I am glad I have it.
To read more about Passenger Laundry facilities on board click here.