Cruise NewsNorwegian Cruise LineCruise Line Begins Phasing Out Towel Animals on Cruises

Cruise Line Begins Phasing Out Towel Animals on Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line has begun to phase out towel animals on cruises.

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Cruise Fever first heard about this when several readers reached out to us who are currently on Norwegian cruise ships.

As part of the cruise line’s green initiative, towel animals will only be made if requested by the passenger.  For now, this will only apply to select cruise ships.  This change is being made to reduce unnecessary laundry at sea. Many towels that make up the animals go unused and have to be washed. It will also give the room stewards more time to clean staterooms.

A cruise tradition, room stewards typically make towel animals during turndown service. From monkeys hanging from the wall to dogs on the bed, cruisers love coming back from dinner to see what their room steward made for them.

We’d love to hear from you. What do you think of this trial phase being tested by Norwegian Cruise Line?  Do you love your towel animals or do you understand why the cruise line is making this change?

Leave a comment in the comment section below.  Also, what’s your favorite towel animal that you ever received on a cruise?

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsNorwegian Cruise LineCruise Line Begins Phasing Out Towel Animals on Cruises


  1. My wife and I love the towel animals! It’s always fun to see what we walk in our room to see next. The best we had on our last cruise was a monkey hanging. Don’t stop the practice!

    Cruises are expensive and somewhat exotic vacations. From my first cruise as a teenager until now, I’ve only watched the cruises become less and less exotic. My first cruise at 17 was a Sitmar (Southern Italian Mariners, now owned by Princess Cruises) cruise and the midnight buffets were one of the highlights of the trip. i just haven’t been on a cruise in the last few years that offered that. It’s just sad to see the special amenities that make cruises awesome go away.

  2. There are certain things that people remember about cruising and the towel animals are one of them. I understand trying to limit the laundry, however, it is so nice to see the animal on your bed when you get back from dinner. I would vote to keep the tradition

  3. NO!!!! Don’t get rid of the animals 😢😢😢😢😢 I LOVE my animals 🥰🥰🥰 This is a tradition that SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AWAY!!!!!!!! I always use my towel the next day after I photographed them.

  4. I understand both sides, however, I do enjoy all the animals when returning back to our cabin.

    It’s tradition so I vote to keep them.

  5. I love the towel animals and I do use the towels the next day if not that night. I’ll use the towel before using the regular towels so it can save the stateroom attendant from putting extra towels/cloths in my room. It’s definitely a part of the cruise experience so I hope it doesn’t go away and that it can be requested at the very least.

  6. Love the towel animals .
    Towels can be reused as they are clean or they can use the same towels during the whole cruise to make the animals without using new ones if people don’t use those towels or want to . There is no need to launder those towel again until end of cruise if not used . They don’t need fresh towel to make animals . Just think if you use same towel for length of cruise how much water and fabric softener and detergent you can save if not laundering it . They always say to reuse the towels more than once but the problem is they are the same color all white so it gets hard to tell sometimes who is who because they all look like that why lot of people may not use same towel again but if two or more people are sharing a cabin , it may help distinguish them by having different color ribbon like stripe at one end in white towel so more people will be willing to reuse the towel for more than one day. Most people do anyway at home.

  7. It is sad that they are planning on d/c the towel animals. Loved coming back to my room and seeing what they made that evening. The dog was my favorite with the sunglasses. It sad that NCL is now nickel and diming you for every little thing. It no longer has become a reasonable cruise when everything gets tacked on. Will really have to consider whether I will continue to sail with NCL when other cruise ships do not.

  8. Towel Animals? Not interested! Nobody “needs” them, rather, it’s a vanity issue. Maybe David is onto something … towel animal on embarkation day! Hey, if you want a towel animal, ask your cabin steward or stateroom host to provide them nightly. Feel free to give them a few extra dollars for enlightening your day, and making your cruise more memorable.

  9. I think it still would be a neat idea to do it on embarkment day only. It is such a great feeling when you enter your stateroom and have a little friend there to greet you. And also ask passengers to please use them during their stay.

  10. Keep them!! Just make a green note,maybe on the back of the door and explain to please use the towels and why. This is a cruise tradition.the little chocolates on our beds are gone.don’t take our animals too!!!

  11. I’ve just done the Bahamas Cruise on the Escape this is my 1st cruise. Absolutely loved going back to my cabin in the evening wondering what animal towel would be waiting for me.
    Thank you James

  12. I have been cruising since 1992 and it seems like all they do every time I turn around is take take take. Pretty soon cruising will be no more special than staying in your average hotel. No more chocolates, on the pillows, only servicing cabins once a day, charging for dinners and shows, etc…now no towel animals??? Soon we will have to cook our own meals and make our own beds!

  13. That’s a bummer. We just got off a RCCL cruise and we only got 3 animals, which was disappointing. The best one we’ve ever gotten was on Royal, not sure what it’s called, but it was one of those bug things from Men in Black. It was sitting on the couch with it’s legs crossed, wearing my glasses and holding the remote. It was awesome!

  14. I’m happy this has not happened on Carnival, hooked on cruising the beautiful Caribbean and Bahama seas.

  15. NCL and Carnival no longer get my business anyway because they have water downed the whole cruise experience in so many, many different ways. After 3 NCL trips and 5 Carnival trips I spend my money elsewhere now and have for the last 4 years. In fact, I will have nothing to do with any of the Carnival “Brands”.
    They are crooks and fools and I have enjoyed steering so many cruisers away from them and to other lines after their BS antics with my last reservation with them.

  16. While it may sound reasonable to use the excuse it is environmentally friendly, we all know that is a crock of …… cruising has become more and more impersonal. Between adding gratuity to your daily bill and charging for room service, now no animal towels!!! No one has to work for a tip which in turn means no one has to be friendly and cordial. The last cruise I was on I didn’t even know my room stewards name because we never saw him/her in the whole 7 days we were on the cruise!!!
    There is no eye contact with people (where there used to be a hello/good morning by everyone) bartenders don’t need to rush or be friendly because the tip is automatically added to that bill as well. If I wanted to be ignored by people and treated as a commoner I would stay home!!
    And for those wondering, yes I did write everything on my survey of the cruise ship not that they care!!!
    Highly disappointed with the cruise industry over the past several years

  17. Are you kidding me. I am going on my 5th cruise this June with Norwegian. Please don’t do that. We love a different animal every day. We pay so much on our cruises. And more is taken away every year. I hope I see them on the Gem this June.

  18. We asked our steward on a recent cruise on the Getaway and he wouldn’t make one for our 8 year old granddaughter on her first cruise. She was and we were very disappointed they wouldn’t do it when asked.

  19. NCL always try so many things freestyle cruising and other things. I am a Sr. Room Steward and worked with them for 15 years. During the recession of US they eliminate our position and offer us a lower position.I feel like they don’t care about their staff even i am a member of a crew talent show for so many years if they want to eliminate us they can do it, even how hard and dedicate myself to them. Until i decided to work with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. I don’t think its a good idea to eliminate the towel animals in every stateroom. Thats the highlight of the cruise and guests are always happy to see them on their beds especially if their cruising with their kids.

  20. I love the towel animals and yes, a lot of time they get ruined BUT we do use the towels then. NCL is so expensive already, they shouldn’t cut this. It adds to the fun of a cruise.

  21. I think this is a great idea to think someone on board ships cares enough for all passengers that he is willing to place these animals on each bed for the passengers to enjoy…Please continue this trend ,I just came from the Pride of America and every day there was a different animal in my cabin which my wife and I loved very much indeed.she loved the monkey so much she left it there for week as a reminder of her feelings for this ship..Please do continue this as we appreciate everything these cabins members do for us.

  22. The. Raise industry as a whole is finding more and more ways to alienate their customers. Carnival has done away with the traditional deli and moved to pre-made sandwiches, removed table cloths from the dining room tables, removed lobster front the menu on shorter cruises, added more and more up charge dining venues. They haven’t announced the elimination of towel animals, but it is only a matter of time until they follow NCL’s lead. Cursing was once an elegant and magical experience the cost cutting has ruined the spirit of cruising. It is time to find a new source of the magic.

  23. Towel animals are a tradition on cruises, I for one loe trying to guess what animal I will have when I return to my cabin. My children use to like seeing them. My daughter would collect them all in her cabin throughout the cruise and leave them on the couch. We would take a picture of her with them all at the end. Not hapy because if they are requested, then an extra tip will be suggested.

  24. We r going on the getaway next week and our grandkids are looking forward to them. Maybe we’ll just ask our steward. U can’t change tradition

  25. Cruising is a luxury and the prices of the cruise reflects that as well. I look forward to my towel animals every night as well. Cutting costs so they can actually just clean more rooms. This is sad.

  26. First free room service and now towel animals. The things that make cruising feel special are slowly drifting away! It makes me sad!

  27. We just got off the NCL and I must say that we did miss the animals. It’s always fun to see how creative the steward is.

  28. Towel animals are part of cruising. Sounds like they are being stingy and trying to find places to cut cost. Where will they cut next?

  29. Most people fly to take a cruise on a plane using thousands of gallons of fuel to get on a ship using thousands of gallons but the extra towel is what’s harming the environment?

  30. From the sounds of it, it’s no different to the majority of hotels. You only get a clean towel if you request one (you can argue if this is more for environmental, time-saving, or cost-cutting, but it is normal now in hotels), and towel-animals every night is incompatible with this. Yes, it’s sth. we all got used to, but I, for one, wouldn’t want to see either cruise prices go up, cruise ships remaining so polluting, or the (already over-worked) crew wasting time on sth. so frivolous.

  31. I love my towel animals. I like to come back to my room and be surprised by the towel animals. My favorite is the little mouse.

  32. it’s all about the all mighty dollar, make room Steward work more and not receive tips for customer feeling like they are just being lazy, wrong choice, keep the animals coming, it makes the Cruise fun!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. I personally love the towel animals that are made. I look forward to them when I come back from dinner. I also understand the reasoning behind the cruise line thinking that it takes away from them working but it’s that personal touch they offer to show their appreciation of their cruisers on board that really make the difference. The room stewards are the greatest and I believe they enjoy doing it also.

    Lou Ann D

  34. We’ll see tomorrow. We leave on Norwegian.
    We love seeing what the animal is going to be on our bed.
    I hope they don’t stop making them.

  35. I’m going on my first ever cruise and it’s a Norwegian Mediterranean cruise celebrating my retirement Sept. 1st and the towel animals were something I really looked forward to experiencing. I’ll be so disappointed if they’re missing.

  36. For all the money we pay for a cruise we want our towel buddies. Plus the kids love them!

  37. I love the animals – I originally thought this was an April Fool’s day joke but than found out they were not kidding. I love NCL but also love the towel animals. It is a really nice touch. Don’t kill the animals.

  38. A fun part of the cruise experience for me is coming back to our stateroom and finding a charming towel animal on our bed. I always take pictures of them and enjoy the chocolates included. While I understand the reasoning behind eliminating them due to the extra work involved, I think it’s a shame and I will def miss those monkeys, elephants, frogs, rabbits, etc. 😞

  39. The line about environmental concerns is a rouse to help eliminate what the bean-counters see as unproductive time regarding room Steward efficiency. Think about how many man-hours are spent every week per-ship when it comes to making these truly cute and appreciated nightly cabin-adornments. If they were truly concerned about the environmental impact, they would simply request the passengers understand the towels on their bed each night are also there to be used between the time the guests retire for the night, until those very towels can be replaced by the cabin-steward the next morning. That would solve everything.; but that’s not what this is about at all.

    This is just one more thing the “suits” now running the cruiselines don’t understand about what makes this style of vacation special.


  41. I’ll be so sad not to have them anymore! I love when the monkey is hanging or a dog is chilling on my bed with my sunglasses on.

  42. I’ve heard that with this new time-saving policy, NCL can reduce their number of cabin stewards by 1.4%. Or they could continue making towel animals and and put one less towel in the bathroom, so the towel animal will get used.

    • On the NCL Dawn right now and we we’re wondering why we haven’t had any when we return to our room at night. We’ve always used our towels the next day. We miss seeing them every night.

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