Booking A Cruise Break? Here’s What’s Included In Your Total Tariff


Whilst the majority of contemporary cruise lines would insist their holidays fall into the all-inclusive bracket, frequent cruise-goers would contest this. Sure there are a handful of things included in the advertised rate, but passengers hoping to drink and eat without once dipping into their travel money are sadly mistaken.

That’s not to say cruise holidays can’t be cheap, however. Eat in main dining areas and avoid overdoing it at the cocktail bar, and you can enjoy a high seas holiday that remains firmly within your budget.

To help you cruise within your means, here’s a comprehensive breakdown of what’s likely to be included and what’s not on your next seafaring voyage.

  Included (Free) Not Included (Fee)
Food Food served in main dining areas – including buffets and selected speciality restaurants – is inclusive. Dining venues included in the fare include Royal Caribbean’s Windjammer Café, Princess Cruises’ International Café & P&O Cruises Australia’s Ligurian Restaurant. The majority of small, speciality restaurants are not included in the final fare and charge a variable per person cover charge. Eateries not covered by the cruise tariff include Royal Caribbean’s Jade Sushi, Princess Cruises’ Crown Grill & P&O Cruises Australia’s Cafe Jardin.
Alcohol Alcoholic drinks are not included aboard the majority of cruise lines, however, they may be offered for free at special events, such as P&O Australia’s Captain’s Greeting or Celebrity Cruises’ art auctions. To find out more about free alcoholic drink availability on individual cruise lines, check out our guide to cruise line alcohol policies. Beer, wine and spirits incur additional charges in all restaurants, bars and dining areas. The price of alcohol varies from line to line, but passengers will typically pay around US $3 – £5 for a bottle of beer, US $3 – $8 for a glass of wine and US$3 – $8 for a spirit and mixer. Drinks packages are available on most cruise lines.
Water & Soft Drinks Tap water and selected juices are available free of charge in main dining areas. Fresh juice is occasionally available for free in main dining areas at breakfast. Speciality fruit juices, smoothies and other premium soft drinks incur additional charges – as does bottled and sparkling water. Typically, a bottle of water will cost US $1 – $3 and soft drinks US $1 – $3.
Tea & Coffee Standard teas and coffees are available for free in passenger cabins and in main dining areas. Iced tea is also included in the fare on most cruise lines. Speciality teas and coffees, such as cappuccinos, espressos and flavoured tea, incur additional charges in bars, restaurants and cafes. On average, cruise lines charge US $1.50 – $5 for coffee and similar prices for tea.
Childcare Kids clubs and group activities for infants and teens are available throughout the day on the majority of cruise lines. Royal Caribbean & P&O Cruises Australia operate flexible kids club programmes free of charge on most sailings. For parents looking for a little quiet time, cruise lines give you the option to book in-cabin childcare on an evening and nursery time for toddlers and babies during the day. Typically, cruise lines will charge US $10 per hour for the in-cabin babysitting service.
Spa & Fitness Facilities Gym and fitness centre access is normally included in the total cruise tariff, as is access to steam and sauna facilities within the spa. Fitness classes such as yoga, aerobics, palates and zumba are charged at a per session rate, whilst specialist spa treatments – such as manicures, massages and pedicures – are also chargeable on a per spa visit basis.
Entertainment Entertainment – including shows, games and activities – is available free of charge on most cruise lines. Complimentary theatre performances include Royal Caribbean’s Aqua-Acrobatics shows, whilst free games and activities include dance classes, rock climbing, mini golf and basketball on most major cruise lines. Whilst most entertainment is complimentary, passengers will need to pay for casino play, bingo, arcade games and other specialist activities.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the above information is accurate, it’s important to check exactly what’s included in your total cruise fare before you travel to avoid unsolicited bills.

For more hints and tips on cruising, including destination guides and general travel advice, be sure to check out the rest of the Cruise1st Australia blog. Alternatively, if you’re interested in booking a cruise holiday, visit our homepage to browse our complete range of upcoming holidays and cruise offers.

Header image sourced via Royal Caribbean Press Centre. Credit: Royal Caribbean

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