Even though twice-daily stateroom cleaning has long been the standard in the cruise industry, how often you like your cruise ship stateroom cleaned by your cabin steward is a matter of personal preference. Some cruisers love the pampered feeling of a stateroom that is always clean -- when done by someone else. Others are perfectly happy to make their own beds and take a pass on daily cleaning all together. Those who love quiet time spent in their cruise cabin, may even find it intrusive.
What are we talking about when we talk about cleaning your stateroom? Usually, this involves your cabin steward cleaning and sanitizing the bathroom, emptying trash bins, replacing towels, making the bed/beds, vacuuming as needed, refilling ice bins, washing and replacing glassware and a general tidying of the room.
Evening stateroom servicing also typically includes an evening "turndown," which may involve changes made to the bed like removal of throw pillows or bed scarfs, as well as making up bunks or sleeper sofas when those are in use, plus closing any room-darkening drapes and similar mood adjustments one might expect in preparation for sleep. It's easy to see how those who travel with third or fourth guests in the same cabin that require a constant setting up and putting away of extra beds might really need twice daily cleaning to fully enjoy their stateroom.
As much as we all hate the dreaded phrase, "since the Pandemic", we cannot ignore the fact that things in the cruising world have changed (and continue to change) since the 2021 restart of the cruise industry.
Cabin cleaning schedules are one of those evolving onboard services, with some lines dropping the second daily cleaning all together. Spend any time scrolling through social media cruise groups for a bit and the topic will eventually percolate to the surface -- often generating a heated debate between those who feel cheated when cruise lines cut back on services and those who stand behind the efforts cruise lines are making in the battle to staff and supply their ships efficiently.
In light of recent changes, we checked with the major cruise lines to find out how often they are cleaning and what options you might have on your next cruise. Here's what we found.
Norwegian Cruise Line ignited the topic recently by starting a slow roll out of once daily cleaning services in all non-suite categories. Suite guests in The Haven, Norwegian's upscale luxury ship-within-a-ship concept, will continue to have twice daily cleaning. The move stings a bit because it comes on the heels of an increase in daily gratuities. The first ship to change was made aboard Norwegian Epic, with the final ship, Norwegian Pearl completing the transition to single-day cleaning beginning March 31, 2023.
Carnival Cruise Line changed to once daily cleaning in early 2022, and fans of that cruise line seemed to take it all in stride. One recent cruiser we spoke to said they were asked on embarkation day if they preferred morning or evening cleaning and were happy with the level of service throughout their cruise.
Royal Caribbean has made no formal announcement regarding a change from twice daily cleaning to once per day across their fleet, but guests onboard Quantum of the Seas, currently cruising in Australia and New Zealand, were notified via the daily bulletin that daily housekeeping would be reduced to once daily for all room categories lower than Junior Suites.
"In an effort to be more sustainable and to align with global hospitality trends, we will be adjusting our stateroom services to 1 time per day", read a statement provided to passengers.
Other mainsteream lines like Holland America, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Virgin Voyages all continue to offer twice daily stateroom cleaning. Royal Caribbean's sister line, Celebrity Cruises, has a twice-per-day stateroom cleaning policy, but offers a bonus of additional Captain's Club loyalty points for those who opt in pre-cruise to their "Go Green" program, which involves once daily stateroom cleaning and an evening turndown service.
In addition, Disney Cruise Line, which offers a premium, family-friendly cruise experience, still offers twice-daily stateroom cleaning.
Those who strongly prefer twice-daily cleaning, obviously still have options, including cruising with premium and luxury lines or in suites on mainstream lines that have switched to once-daily cleaning.