We're going on Liberty in September, Eastern (St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee). I understand that someone said before that they no longer have the pool towels in the cabins, (our last cruise on Mariner was 2008) but you can get them on the pool deck with your sea pass card. Are we allowed to remove the towels from the ship for say Labadee, or do they have them on shore? As long as they are returned to the ship, is there a policy that states that towels cannot be removed from the ship? We want to go to Maho beach in St. Maartan. This question is more along the lines of packing lightly-don't want to take up baggage space with large towels if we don't have to. Dave, is there a link that you may have?
You check out the towels on the pool deck and then they are yours for whatever you want to do with them. Take them ashore, hide them, make your own towel animals, have your photo taken with the towels, etc.
Seriously, you check out towels and take them ashore with you. It is what they expect you to do. Towels are not available ashore. You could theoretically check a towel out on day 1 and not return it until the last day and they won't care. They have your cruise card info and will simply charge you for the towel if it isn't returned by debarkation day.
You have to go to the towel hut and exchange used towels for a new one. You don't need to go through the cruise card deal again, just swap it out.
It became necessary because of their large ships. The beach towels were becoming a hassle for the cabin attendants to deal with, plus the thefts or "lost" towels. It simplified the process. All towels are managed through the huts. On the Elation last week - Carnival still puts towels in the cabins but if you want to get a clean one you went up to the pool deck and changed it at their towel hut. Otherwise you'd have to wait until the next time your cabin was serviced which could be a while. And on the Elation, if you didn't have a towel with you and wanted one, you had to sign it out at the hut with your card.