What About All Inclusive Cruise Packages
One of the advantages of booking all-inclusive cruise packages is knowing what your bulk cost is up front. You don’t have to budget for certain amenities as you go.
On the downside, many things are not included. If you haven’t planned for those, your one-price cruise will turn into a large balance due at the end of your cruise.
While some cruise lines are offering true all-inclusive packages to customers such as Regent Seven Seas, they are a select market. Most cruise passenger will decide on what add-ons to select to add to the comfort of their holiday.
Here is what you need to know to make the most of all inclusive cruise packages.
What Are All-Inclusive Cruise Packages?
In most cases, all inclusive cruise packages are ones that allow you to pay one price for the accommodations, meals, most non-alcoholic beverages. It also covers onboard entertainment as well as taxes and port fees.
Depending on how you booked your cruise, it may also include airfare and hotel reservations.
You can often add packages on to basic all-inclusive cruise packages. For example, you’ll pay more for a suite with a balcony. You may also wish to add on an alcoholic drink package.
Other options may be available such as adding on excursions and spa treatments.
Understand What All-inclusive Means
All inclusive cruise packages are overall good deals. Your basics like food and entertainment are covered. Though, understand that they are not truly all inclusive. Some items cost extra.
Specialty restaurants, for example, don’t fall into the package with most cruiselines except when cruising on a luxury cruise line such as Seabourn or Crystal Cruises. And, if you’re craving a Diet Coke at midnight but didn’t opt for an add-on drink package, you’ll end up adding charges to your account.
The cruise line will issue you a ship’s card that you use for everything on board. You don’t need cash while on board. That makes it all too easy to splurge on a massage or a poolside cocktail with that card in your pocket. Remember though, that card draws your credit card.
Bring Your Own Camera
Many cruise lines place photographers all over the ship. You will find them at the entrance when you board and every time you depart the ship. They pop up in restaurants and during activities.
If you can politely decline these photo opportunities, you will save quite a bit of money. Take your own pictures. Pack your own camera, and lots of batteries if needed. Most cell phones take great photos these days. Ask guests to take family photos for you.
Some people look forward to the formal dinners and the portrait photographs that the ship offers. If that’s your thing, enjoy.
Many people feel that the price is worth it to have family portraits as keepsakes. They are expensive, but you can budget ahead of time.
Pick Your Beverage Package Carefully
You can skip the beverage package if you can be happy with the complimentary tea, coffee, and water offered. Though, many people prefer to purchase one so that they are not so limited.
Cruise ships offer various beverage packages. With a package, you pay one price and drink as much as you want. The packages vary in price and options.
This is a good deal if you’re going to drink enough to make it worth the cost. If you only plan on one glass of wine at dinner, an alcoholic beverage package may not be worth it. You can’t get partial refunds. Nor can you share a package with someone else. Remember, the cruise line also adds a service charge to the package at the end of the cruise.
note: when sailing on 5 star premium cruise lines all drinks are included!
Consider Gratuity in Your Overall Budget
Evan the drink packages include the gratuity. Gratuities can add up. In fact, Norwegian Cruise Line recently increased the gratuity rate on all of its ships.
They increased the daily rate on the ships by one dollar. Adding packages also adds to your gratuity fees.
Private Tours Are Less Expensive
Cruise lines charge more for shore excursions than the same excursions booked privately. Most passengers stick with the cruise line booking because it comes with the guarantee that they will get back to the ship on time.
If you are considering a private booking, check with the booking company. See if they offer the same guarantee of getting you back on time. If so, it can be beneficial cost savings.
Skip the Specialty Restaurants
Your meals in the buffets, main dining room, and select restaurants are included in your cruise fare. Specialty restaurants are not. It can be fun to experience a fancy meal.
Though, think about how it will affect your budget and decide if the extra courses are worth it. If you decide to enjoy the experience, check the menus. See if breakfast or lunch would be more affordable meals than the dinners.
Do Your Own Laundry
If you are taking an extended cruise, you may want to use the onboard laundry service rather than packing extra bags. Know that laundry and dry-cleaning services will be much more expensive than what you are used to.
Some ships offer laundry facilities where you can do your own laundry for a lower fee. Better yet, bring your own laundry supplies. Use your cabin’s bathroom sink to hand wash small items.
If you spill wine on your dry-clean-only suit, you will happily take advantage of the ship’s dry-cleaning service. For rinsing out your swim trunks, though, the do-it-yourself option is much more budget friendly.
Take Advantage of Free Activities for Kids
Cruise ships have babysitting services, day camps, and nighttime programs. All of these cost extra. Many parents feel it’s worth the expense for kids and parents to have separate adventures for part of the cruise.
To help with the cost, remember that there are tons of free activities for kids. They can play in the game rooms, basketball courts, mini golf, water slides, and more. You can take turns chaperoning to give you and your traveling partner some alone time.
Select Your Personalized Cruise Experience
Hopefully, this article shed some light on what all-inclusive cruise packages are and how you can maximize your options. All inclusive more or less means “included basics” with add-on packages to fit your style and budget.
Please visit our blog for more tips and articles about cruising.