When you book a cruise, it’s important to know exactly what’s included in your cruise fare and what will be added on to your bill at the end. Working this out can help you to choose the best value cruises, as some include a lot more extras than others. It tends to be that the more expensive cruises include more, but this isn’t always the case.
Every cruise will include accommodation and meals. These are the basics. The cheapest cruise cabins have no windows, but you can choose more expensive cabins with windows or balconies. Meals are served in the main dining room and each ship also has a more causal buffet-style restaurant. The food on cruise ships is usually excellent, with three-course gourmet meals being the norm.
Aside from the main restaurant, most cruise ships have speciality restaurants where you can pay a supplement to dine. Some are led by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver or Guy Fieri. Others offer a particular cuisine such as teppanyaki, sushi or steaks. On luxury cruise ships, speciality restaurants are often included in the cruise fare.
Only the most luxurious of cruise lines, such as Regent Seven Seas Cruises include unlimited drinks in the cruise fare. However, on most cruise ships you can buy a drinks package which will change your cruise from full-board to all-inclusive. If you don’t have a drinks package, drinks are billable, except for things like tea, coffee, squash and water. Individual drinks can be expensive, so if you like to drink a lot, then all inclusive cruises offer good value for money.
Entertainment and activities
Most of the things you can do on a cruise ships like swimming pools, hot tubs and waterslides are free as charge. When it comes to the really cool stuff like zip lines and laser tag, some cruise lines include this free or charge but others charge a fee for each go, so it’s definitely important to check this before you book. Likewise, with the stage shows, whilst most are free to attend, there may be some special performances like Cirque du Soleil which have an extra charge.
All of the family-friendly cruise ships have kids’ clubs which are free to attend from after breakfast until late in the evening. After around 10pm, you may have to pay a babysitting fee should you wish your children to be looked after.
Internet connection is chargeable on most cruise ships. WiFi packages are available to buy.
Tips, also known as gratuities, are charged to say thank you to the cruise ship staff. On American cruise lines, these are usually added on to your bill at the end. You can tip extra to certain members of staff if you wish. On European cruise lines and ultra-luxury cruise lines, the tips are often included in the upfront cruise ticket cost.
So, it’s important to be mindful of what’s included in your cruise. What seems like a cheap deal can sometimes leave you with a large bill. Luxury cruises, on the other hand may look very expensive, but it’s possible to end your cruise with nothing more to pay, which is a great feeling.
This article was provided by Jenni Fielding, who writes for Cruise118.com