The all-inclusive cruise is becoming increasingly appealing. In fact, whether value-conscious travelers yearn to bask on a beach at a luxury resort or watch the sun set on the balcony of a premium ship, they hate to be nickel-and-dimed: They want to know upfront what the cost of their vacations will be.
Because there is no standard definition, the term "all-inclusive" can be deceptive. To assess the best all-inclusive deals on land or at sea, you need to know which costs are actually included in your package and which aren't.
Recently, AllThingsCruise took a look at all-inclusive cruising across 33 lines—including luxury ships, larger mass-market lines, and river cruises—to help consumers figure out what they will be getting for their cruise vacation dollar.
Their chart of some of the all-inclusive cruise amenities (which will be updated as policies change) can help you determine whether your upcoming cruise is all-inclusive in the ways that are important to you:
- Is airfare included?
- Are pre- or post-cruise hotel stays included?
- Are transfers to and from the port included?
- Is wine available any time?
- Are cocktails available any time?
- Are wine and cocktails available with dinner only?
- Are basic shore excursions included?
- Are all shore excursions included?
- Are gratuities included?
- Is a stocked minibar included?
- Is 24-hour cabin service included?
- Are specialty coffees, bottled water and soft drinks included?
- Is butler service included?
Based on my own experiences, I would add the following questions as well:
- Are premium spirits and wines included?
- Are self-service laundry charges included?
- Is there an upcharge for specialty restaurants?
- Are there extra charges for cooking, computer, and photography classes?
- How expensive is the Wi-Fi package (which is outrageously expensive on ships)?
"I frequently sail on smaller ships that include some, but not all, amenities and I am often confused by what I will be paying for and what not," explains Cynthia Boal Janssens, editor of AllThingsCruise. "So it was obvious that this kind of reference was needed, both for consumers and for travel agents."
This is a great checklist to start!