During the maiden voyage of the Norwegian Escape I had the opportunity to visit a space on the ship, which normally never is accessible to the passengers: the laundry room.
To understand the importance of the laundry space down under in the ship, it is necessary to know what a giant the NORWEGIAN ESCAPE is. She has a capacity of 4,200 guests, which are being taken care of by 1,742 crew members. That is a floating town of almost 6,000 inhabitants (sheets!), with several swimming pools (towels!) and 28 different places for food (napkins!).
In other words, it is not a laundry room, it is a laundry factory.
Amidst a massive number of linen, supervisor Cristian Gonzalez from the Philippines explains that the laundry department works 24/7. There is a day crew of 10, with him as supervisor, and a night team with 12 people and 1 supervisor.
Supervisor Christian Gonzalez near one of the big laundry machines
Each day they have to handle 20,000 pieces with a total weight of two tons. Some items come in by thousands, like napkins and towels. There is also a huge amount of single pieces, such as the private laundry of the passengers. Each single sock or t-shirt has to find its way back to the owner.
A lot of attention is also put into the separation of sensitive laundry, such as medical linen or galley uniforms. Cross contamination is not allowed.
The work is very labour intensive, in spite of the fantastic machinery.
Christian Gonzalez demonstrates the suit cleaning machine. The jacket is blown up as a balloon, and comes off totally wrinkle-free..
Very impressive was the towel-folding machine, which I had the opportunity to test myself. You just put towel by towel on the lower belt and within a second the towel comes out perfectly folded.
Put the towel on the belt
Then we watched the napkin machine.
The clean napkins need to be wrinkle-free
The napkin team in action
One of the fellow colleagues learns the tricks of the bedlinen-folding-machine
I was grateful for the opportunity to visit this no-daylight area of the ship where almost everything has to come out shine and bright. Leaving a laundry bag in my stateroom will never feel the same anymore. Respect for this team!
Ship: NORWEGIAN ESCAPE, Norwegian Cruise Line
Text and photos: Mike