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Spotted: Royal Caribbean cuts cabin housekeeping from twice to once per day service

28 Feb 2023
Matt Hochberg

It looks like Royal Caribbean has implemented a change in how many times per day your cruise ship cabin will be attended by the housekeeping staff.

Panoramic cabin on Liberty of the Seas

For decades, Royal Caribbean has had stateroom attendants visit passenger cabins twice per day: once in the morning, and turndown service again at night.

That could all be changing in the near future.

Royal Caribbean is slowly changing over ships one at a time to once per day for non-suite cabins. Junior Suites and above will maintain 2 services per day.

Housekeeping change

Passengers have the choice if they prefer to have their stateroom attendants service their cabin in the morning or evening.

Royal Caribbean issued this statement regarding the policy change, "Royal Caribbean International is implementing a once-a-day cleaning service for staterooms across the fleet."

"Vacationers will still regularly see the familiar faces of their stateroom attendants, who will continue to do thorough cleaning, provide new towels, refresh amenities, and be available to guests for questions and stateroom requests throughout the cruise. Suite category rooms will continue to receive services twice a day."

Harmony of the Seas interior cabin

Based on posts on social media, the change to once a day housekeeping has already occurred on:

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Wonder of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas

There are rumors Symphony of the Seas will change over with the April 16th sailing.

Ovation of the Seas arrives in Sydney

It seems Royal Caribbean first made the change with cruises in the Asia and Australia cruise market, but the new policy has begun to affect North American cruises too.

Why the change?

Since Royal Caribbean has not commented or announced anything yet, guests are left to guess as to why Royal Caribbean is making the change now.

One cruiser reported that the change is necessary because stateroom attendants will be responsible for more cabins, thus reducing the total housekeeping crew members needed.

The cruise industry is no stranger to what the rest of the hospitality industry as experienced over the last 3 years: a shortage of workers.

Inside cabin on Liberty of the Seas

It's possible this is part of the impetus for the change.

Environmental concern is another rationale for the change.  In the Cruise Compass daily newsletter, Royal Caribbean says the change is done "in an effort to be more sustainable and to align with global hospitality trends."

Matching other cruise lines

Royal Caribbean is not the first cruise line to make this kind of reduction in the frequency of housekeeping.

Carnival Cruise Line changed to once daily cleaning in early 2022.

In December 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced its guests would get once-a-day service in order to consolidate crew roles while saving energy and water.

NCL said its change was a result of a shift in the hospitality industry, which includes airlines and hotels.

Speaking of hotels, cruise lines still offer significantly more service than their land counterparts. A a growing number of hotels and resorts cut back sharply on housekeeping services (some are no longer offering daily room cleaning at all; others only offer it every few days).

Cost-cutting or reducing waste?

Cruise fans have reacted wildly since the policy started going into effect. Some see it as a cutback, while others questioned why twice a day housekeeping was necessary in the first place.

On the one hand, twice a day cabin cleaning has been in place for decades, and survived many economic downturns of the past. On the other hand, is it really necessary to have every cabin cleaned every 12 hours?

It seems cruise fans have the same conundrum.

On the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards, there are plenty of thoughts on the change.

whitsmom wrote, "Once a day is fine for me as long as I have clean towels before I want to shower and the trash emptied.  I make my bed as soon as we get up anyway; however, I do want ice in the morning plus some for my wine bucket."

Maggie M will miss having the room attended to twice per day, "I, too, would miss the evening turn-down service with the compass (if they even print them anymore), and towel animals - especially if we took a nap during the day if it was a sea day or we decided to stay on the ship."

BrianB wrote about NCL's decision, "Pretty cynical to try and couch this as an environmentally-friendly action when it's just about profits. In my opinion, they're just gaslighting by claiming they're taking these actions because they want to help save our planet. They're doing this because they want to save expenses and increase their own profits."

Twangster thinks the change was almost inevitable, "When you lose $43B USD there are bound to be service adjustments.  It's well known they've had a hard time recruiting crew so yes, gratuity has increased as they've had to entice recruits with higher compensation. "

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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