When guests retire to their cabins after a day of shore excursions or onboard activities, there is usually a pleasant surprise awaiting them.

In one of cruising’s most charming traditions, there is often an adorable towel animal (or sometimes an entire menagerie) on their beds – carefully created by their cabin stewards.

Now, those cute and cuddly tokens may be in jeopardy, thanks to environmentalists who maintain they waste water because they have to be washed.

Norwegian Cruise Line, known for its amazing new ships and specialty dining,  is trialling the removal of towel animals on some ships as well as reducing the number of times cabin stewards make them.

The only time you’ll get them is if you ask.

A spokesperson from the line said, “We are committed to being a responsible corporate citizen by fostering a culture of awareness and respect for our world’s resources. Our mission is to continually improve our sustainability culture through fresh innovation, progressive education and open collaboration.

“As such, from time to time we explore opportunities to expand our efforts. In this instance, we are assessing the impact of reducing the number of towel animals we showcase aboard a few of our ships. We understand that many of our guests enjoy them as part of the experience of cruising with us so towel animals remain available upon request.”

Family oriented cruise companies like P&O, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are famed for them and it is believed that Carnival was the first to pioneer the craft.

It is unclear of the origin of the famed towel animal but it has become a time honoured cruise tradition and the stewards fashion animals like turtles, dogs, snakes, kangaroos, monkeys, dinosaurs, elephants, crocodiles, rabbits and more.

Cruise Passenger put the question to our Facebook group and asked whether they supported the move.

Billie Joe posted a picture of a rabbit from his cruise saying: “You know you’re on a cruise when you find the little critters around your cabin. Won’t be the same without them.”

Others like Freda Williams reflected on the impact that the towel animals might have on the environment.

“I love them and I get the impression the stewards get pleasure from making them. I hadn’t ever thought of the laundry aspect,” she wrote.

Robert and Ann Furber said that while the towel animals were fun, the cabin stewards already had enough on their plate.

Here’s a look at some of Cruise Passenger’s reader’s towel animals: