A cocktail in the evening, an ice cream cone by the pool – all without additional costs. Passengers are increasingly opting for all-around carefree packages from all-inclusive cruises. Even though the “normal” price may be lower than the all-inclusive offer at first, an expensive parting gift in the form of an invoice could await you at the end of the cruise. Other expenses that are not calculable beforehand, like gratuities or drinks, usually come up. Thus, chances are high that an all-inclusive package reduces the overall cost of your trip.
“All-inclusive” does not always mean that everything that you can do on board is included. Differences primarily arise when it comes down to drinks, culinary services, internet access, and gratuities. Many cruise lines offering all-inclusive packages include restaurant visits in the cruise fare but charge extra for specialty restaurants. The same goes for exclusive drinks. However, some cruise lines almost have all additional services included in the package, especially luxury cruise lines like Crystal Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Azamara. Even if you do decide to go on a cruise without booking an all-inclusive package, you can still add various services, such as beverage packages. This way, you still get to choose your drinks without having to think about extra costs.
Which cruise lines offer all-inclusive packages? Are meals, drinks, Wi-Fi, and onboard activities included or are they offered for an additional cost? We took a look at the all-inclusive offers and put together a summary for you.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Passengers on a voyage with Norwegian Cruise Line can personalise their holiday and get more of what they really want thanks to the cruise line’s Free at Sea programme. The free perks programme gifts Norwegian passengers with up to five benefits. The free beverage package includes non-alcoholic beverages, bottled or draft beer, wine by the glass, and an assortment of spirits and cocktails (valued up to $15 USD). The credit for free shore excursions applies to each port of call visited on your journey, including the port of debarkation. Be aware that the shore excursion credit cannot be applied to ports of embarkation. The free specialty dining package offers guests up to five free meals at the onboard speciality restaurants. Furthermore, 20% gratuities on the speciality dining package are also included. Enjoy a free Wi-Fi package to share your best holiday moments with your friends and family back home. Wi-Fi can be accessed throughout the ship. Whether friends or family members, your third and fourth guests sharing a stateroom with you get to enjoy reduced rates on select sailings.
How many free perks you receive depends on which stateroom category you’re staying in. Passengers in a studio or inside stateroom will benefit from one free perk. If you upgrade to a higher category, you can customise your cruise holiday even more. Guests in oceanview and balcony staterooms or mini-suites can choose two of the five perks. If you want to receive all five free perks, you must book concierge accommodations, a suite, or The Haven.
Crystal Cruises offers various services with its All-Inclusive Crystal Experience on both the Crystal Serenity and the Crystal Symphony. Not only do they include non-alcoholic beverages, but they also offer champagne and premium spirits as well as afternoon tea in the elegant Palm Court. Regardless of which ship you’re on, you can decide among a wide range of restaurants. Guests receive one complimentary visit to Prego, Silk Road, or the Sushi Bar. Butler service, 24-hour room service, gratuities, entertainment, and shows are all included.
Guests in Penthouse Suites enjoy special services. A private butler provides you with star treatment, from unpacking your luggage to ironing your clothes. Crystal Cruises provides many opportunities for further education for those who enjoy reading while on vacation. The luxurious ships offer interactive courses and workshops for art studies or digital film. Furthermore, on many cruises, you can sit in on presentations from experts out of the fields of science, politics, and art. Additionally, guests have access to saunas, whirlpools, the Feng Shui-inspired wellness area, and fitness classes, such as yoga, pilates, spin-cycling and tai chi, without any additional costs.
Azamara’s three luxury cruise ships, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, and Azamara Pursuit, are not only crossing the world’s seas, but they are also exciting passengers with their culinary and wellness options. The cruise fare includes services, such as dining in the main restaurant and buffets, non-alcoholic beverages, house wines for lunch and dinner, a selection of spirits, and certain beer, cocktails, and wine. Visits to the fitness centre, spa, and fitness courses, including yoga and pilates, are also complimentary. Other services free of charge include a shuttle at the harbour (if available), 24-hour cabin service, and butler service for guests booked in suites. Gratuities on board are included as well. The AzAmazing Evening events are very special: They include concert visits or culinary events ashore. Each passage can participate in one AzAmazing Evening for free. Return transfers from the vessel, shore excursions, and visits to the specialty restaurants for non-suite guests, however, are not included.
Other than the outstanding service and exquisite gastronomic options on board, the destinations are what makes a cruise with Seabourn so special. All five vessels are completely outfitted with spacious oceanview suites. Numerous offers on board and various excursions are part of every cruise – from shopping for fresh ingredients with the chef at local farmer’s markets to talks from experts of the various world heritage sites you will be visiting. As the official cruise partner of UNESCO, Seabourn offers their guests exclusive guided tours. With Seabourn, food and drink are included, even caviar, champagne, and fine dining from star chef Thomas Keller. Passengers especially appreciate the included gratuities because they are one of Seabourn’s foundations of personal service and special ambience, which makes passengers feel like guests on a private yacht.
Aboard the vessels of Silversea Cruises, you can look forward to suites with sea view, exquisite food, and butler service. Other benefits of the all-inclusive luxury cruise packages include free Wi-Fi, premium wines and spirits, an in-suite mini bar, exclusive restaurants, and 24-hour in-room dining. The crew-guest ratio is almost 1:1, which always ensures attentive and personalised service. The cruise fare includes gratuities for the service staff but not for treatments in the beauty salon or spa. Events and tours are only included on expedition cruises with everything you could ever want from interesting talks and zodiac rides to snorkelling, diving, and hiking trips.
The shipping company with the six-ship strong fleet focusses on excellent cuisine as well as an immersive travel experience through longer times at port. While a standard Oceania Cruises trip will incur additional costs, booking the OLife Choice package will treat you to more services. OLife Choice includes the drink package House Select, which includes champagne, wine, and bottled beer for lunch and dinner. Furthermore, free Wi-Fi is available: Owner’s, Vista, and Oceania Suite guests receive free access for two devices per suite. Besides that, you may choose one of the following: free shore excursions, a free drink package, or onboard credit. The number of free shore excursions depends on the overall duration of the trip. For cruises up to nine days, between ten and 13 days, and more than fourteen days, you get four, six, and eight free excursions, respectively. The additional services of OLife Choice can be booked by any cabin.
Uniworld River Cruises
Uniworld River Cruises focusses on putting the passenger first. Its personalised industry-leading service reflects its goal of providing unique and unforgettable experiences. For passengers staying on board the European fleet (except Russia and Portugal), service from in-suite butlers is included in the cruise fare. These butlers go above and beyond and create special memories for all guests. Some luxurious amenities are included as well. Bath and body products by L’Occitane and Hermès await guests travelling in any of the staterooms or suites aboard any European cruise. Your specific cruise determines the extent to which dining, excursions, and other experiences, such as transfers and gratuities, are included. Beverages are generally included, and the cruise line also invites you to the captain’s welcome and farewell receptions. Furthermore, Uniworld River Cruises wants to make its guests as happy as possible, which is why the cruise line’s motto is “No request too large, no detail too small.”
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated in May 2019.