You'll come across them on almost any cruise line, lurking on your bed when you return to your stateroom in the evening. Towel creations are somewhat of a cruise staple, lovingly created to give passengers a little giggle. They range from the simple to the simply unbelievable, and although cheesy, are a beloved feature of the cruise life.
Not satisfied with our own pictures and memories of these cabin-dwelling critters, we want to see the best towel friends that Aussie and Kiwi cruisers have come across during their travels. Send us your best images using the hashtag #towelfriends on our Cruise Sale Finder Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter. Read on to find out the origins of these spectacular terrycloth beings and take a look at the masterpieces found on cruise ships across Australia and New Zealand.
A history of towel friends
Our collection of towel beings, while impressive, is far from the most elaborate seen around the world. Stingrays, lobsters, life-sized humanoid figures - the variety is mind boggling. But how and when did this tradition start?
Wikipedia tentatively attributes the trend originally to Carnival Cruise Lines, posing that towel friends may be the descendents of napkin friends. They've even published a how-to book instructing passengers in the art. "Carnival Towel Creations" is available for purchase in the onboard Fun Shops and also from their online store.
Towel friends soon became a hit, prompting the majority of major cruise lines to join in on the fun. Nowadays, expect to be greeted with a terrycloth creature upon returning to your ship cabin in Holland America, P&O, Royal Caribbean and other fleets. Stewards work hard to create new and interesting creatures everyday.
A recent post on the Cruise Sale Finder Facebook page uncovered a few more gems. Here are some which caught our eye! We hope to see plenty more #towelfriends in the coming weeks, so be sure to share them on our social media channels with the hashtag!
This suave bird knows what cruising is all about. He's just kicking back with the schedule for tomorrow, to see whether any of the activities on offer sound appealing. Spotted by Kim on Explorer of the Seas.
Peeking out from behind a pillow, this adorable little fellow appears to have been fashioned from a flannel. Spotted by Leisa on the Pacific Aria.
There were many elephants among the towel friends posted on the Cruise Sale Finder facebook page, but this handsome fellow took the cake. He was spotted by Anne on the Pacific Pearl.
This enigmatic creature, possibly a dog, was spotted on the Zaandam by Ros during an Alaska cruise. Holland America's signature pillow chocolates have been pressed into service as big, sparkly eyes.
A lotus flower is a tricky piece of towel origami, so it's no wonder this engineering marvel is on display in a public area. This was spotted by Lisa on the Explorer of the Seas.
These towels are more than just friends, it's safe to say. Emma spotted them during her honeymoon aboard the Pacific Dawn.
P&O's distinctive stripy towels make an appearance with this towel friend. Whatever it is, it has an impressive snout and equally remarkable ears. Spotted by Alesha on the Pacific Pearl.
Occasionally, one towel friend isn't enough. They might get lonely. Michelle spotted this menagerie during a port day on the Carnival Legend. The third one back from the front looks like he's had a few too many cocktails.
Create your own
A towel friend you've made yourself isn't quite the same as one you encounter after a fun day of cruising, but if you're lonely without them between holidays, you too can master the art. Youtube is a good resource for this, and in fact there is an entire channel dedicated to it: TOWEL CREATION. Here is the tutorial for one of our favourites, a towel turtle friend.
Additionally, learn to fold towels into friends during your next cruise. Many lines offer towel folding classes onboard, so keep an eye out in the daily newsletter. You'll find lessons aboard Carnival while Royal Caribbean combines towels with napkins in an all-in-one fabric origami workshop. And you never know - ask nicely and your room steward might even give you a private lesson.
Be sure to send in your wonderful creatures from your cruising adventures! Comment on our Cruise Sale Finder Facebook page or post them to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #towelfriends. We'll feature the best ones in our newsletter and on our social media channels.
I have enjoyed visiting as much of the world as possible over the years. Europe and the Mediterranean are personal favourites, but there is so much to see very close to our little Australasian corner of the globe- one of my top travel experiences was snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles in New Caledonia! Cruising is a fantastic way to see it all, and we hope to make booking a cruise easier for both first-timers and old salts. From ship tips to destination news and views, we will keep you up-to-date. Happy cruising!