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What is an All-inclusive Cruise?

Aug 5, 2008
A cruise was originally very much an all-inclusive holiday, but it seems that the trend is moving increasingly towards more and more extras to be paid for, that are not included in the original price of the deal. Therefore if you want your cruise to be genuinely all-inclusive, you have to look carefully at what is included and check that the magic words "all-inclusive" are actually used.

Going all-inclusive frees you from the hassle of paying for everything when you get it. You don't have to constantly reach for your wallet. This does generally mean a more relaxing holiday experience, and if you have paid for everything up-front, there are fewer extras to add to the cost of your holiday, giving you a clearer control over your budget. Having paid one price you can relax and enjoy your holiday. It is for this reason that all-inclusive holidays are becoming increasingly popular.

However it seems that, despite the current trend towards all-inclusive holidays, most cruises nowadays are not all-inclusive. Most cruises include the meals and the on-board entertainment, but generally drinks, shore excursions, and snacks are paid for separately. For example, Norwegian include in the cruise fare accommodation, meals and entertainment on board ship, but some of their speciality restaurants have cover charges, and in addition to the standard dining programme, there are some la carte items that are only available at a surcharge. Alcoholic and soft drinks, spa treatments, indoor pool relaxation areas, some speciality exercise classes, laundry, internet access, and shore excursions are not included.

With Vivid Cruises there is more emphasis on the all-inclusive aspect, with cruises which include the connecting flights to get you to your ship and home again, any hotel accommodation that will be required on shore, all drinks, including selected wines and spirits, all on board gratuities and tips, all port charges and transfers. The only time you have to reach for your wallet is when you go shopping.

Another cruise line which specialises in the all inclusive cruises is Hebridean International Cruises, a company that runs two small luxury cruise ships. A cruise with Hebridean includes flights to and from the ship, all shore excursions including entry into the sights, all meals and snacks on board, including picnics and barbecues, fresh fruit, house wine and spirits, champagne, beer, soft drinks, tea and coffee. Use of onboard facilities, such as the gym and steam room, is also included. Port and passenger taxes are included, as are all on board gratuities, with the company actively discouraging tipping.

Thomson also offers all-inclusive cruising, and so does the Italian cruise line Costa Cruises.

It is worth bearing in mind that even if a cruise is advertised as all-inclusive, there may well be some things that you still have to pay for, such as spa treatments, and drinks to be consumed in your own cabin or state room. So before booking your all inclusive cruises, it is worth taking a good look at what is and what isn't included, and then you won't get any surprises.
About the Author
Cruise1st is one of the most leading digital media companies which provide major cruise lines specialised in all inclusive cruises, and it is also an internet as well as teletext trading division of Sunshine Cruise Holidays Ltd.
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