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A cruise ship is a place for relaxation, a haven to get rid of your worries and simply…well, flush them away.

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Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

But hold on a minute! There’s one thing Carnival Cruise Line would really prefer if you didn’t send down the cabin toilet: wet wipes.

This includes wet wipes that are advertised as “flushable” and safe for septic tanks.

John Heald Addresses Plumbing Issue

John Heald, Carnival’s Brand Ambassador, recently shared a creative and informative social media post to highlight this danger to cruise ship plumbing.

He describes a fellow passenger who meticulously wiped down every surface on the airplane.  This reminded him of a message about this handy household item: 

Anyway, this lady has reminded me to talk to you once again about wet wipes,” Heald writes.

While convenient, flushable wipes pose a significant challenge for shipboard plumbing systems.

Despite clear warnings in the bathroom and on the stateroom TV, passengers continue to flush wipes, leading to blockages that require unpleasant intervention. 

Carnival Celebration bathroom.  From Cruise Fever video tour of stateroom

Heald avoids graphic details but highlights the inconvenience caused.  He states that the blockage “results in Luigi having to put on the long glove and shoving his arm up a pipe full of the devil’s dumplings so that the toilets in that cabin section will start flushing again.”

Heald’s post cleverly contrasts the current popularity of wipes with simpler times. 

Of course, back when many of you reading this were children you never had wet sodding wipes,” Heald reflects, adding some colorful commentary on using spit to make homemade wipes.

However, the key message remains: wet wipes and shipboard plumbing don’t play well together.  Heald concludes with a polite but firm request: 

On behalf of Luigi the Plumber,” he advises, “can I ask you not to put these into the toilet and flush. If you use them for any reason, drop them in the sanitary bags and let your stateroom attendant know and they will dispose of them.”

I’ve been on behind-the-scenes cruise ship tours where the guide will talk about the water treatment process and how wet wipes are one of the biggest issues they deal with. 

The problem is that toilets back home are perfectly capable of dealing with wet wipes and regular toilet paper.   So, some travelers are just used to using them everywhere they go.

But cruise ships are built differently, and wet wipes can cause major problems and headaches for the crew.

No one wants to have plumbing issues on a cruise, never mind a stopped-up toilet when there are no other cabins available on the ship. 

The toilet paper on a cruise ship is indeed thin.   But if everyone follows the rules with what they should avoid flushing down the toilet, it will ensure everyone can have a great getaway at sea.

Other Items to Avoid Flushing

A few other things you should not flush down a cruise ship toilet (some of these should not even have to be mentioned but here we are):

Feminine hygiene products
Diapers
Cotton swabs
Hair
Bandaids
Food scraps
Cigarette butts
Coffee grounds
Dental floss
Contact lenses
Anything not toilet paper or human waste
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