All Inclusive Cruising: An All Inclusive Holiday?


The All-Inclusive Holiday – doesn’t it sound inviting?

The Cruising industry has been built on the foundations of the “all-inclusive holiday” and it is probably one of the reasons why cruising is so popular!

All Inclusive Cruising – What does it mean?

You pay one price before you go and everything is included….. Right?



You can step on-board your ship and have a fun and satisfying holiday without spending an extra cent.

But No:

Cruise-lines will promote extras you can pay for to take your holiday to the next level… and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that little bit more out of their experience?

Its human nature to want more!

Of course these extras are all optional, so it is possible to cruise without any additional spending if you want to.  You may read stories of people who proudly state they didn’t spend a cent on their holiday and good on them if that’s what they enjoy!

The Key is not to confuse “All Inclusive Cruising” with “Everything is Included Cruising”.

It is worth noting that there are a few super-luxury cruise-lines that visit Australia that actually are “everything is included”.  Think Regent Seven Seas, Silverseas, Azamara, Seabourn – you will be paying a top-tier price for these cruises, but you can leave your wallet at home.


Your All-Inclusive Cruise Holiday will include the following things no matter what cruise-line or ship you choose:

  • Accommodation, including private bathroom.
  • Daily Servicing of your room.
  • All Main Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) in selected venues. Usually at least 2 different venues will be included – an a la carte restaurant and a buffet style restaurant.
  • Some drinks – just the basic tea/coffee, water (from a dispenser, not bottled), juice at breakfast, lemonade on some ships.
  • Various (not all) Entertainment and Activities.
  • Use of Swimming Pools, Spa Pools.
  • Entry into Bars, Pubs, Nightclubs.
  • Kids Club.

Bonus for Loyalty?

If you cruise enough you may also be entitled to some added inclusions courtesy of Ship Loyalty Programs.  Once you have a few cruises under your belt you may like to investigate the benefits to being loyal to a particular brand (if that’s your thing).


A couple of these items may seem mandatory for a good holiday but they will cost extra, so bear in mind these additional costs when you are budgeting for your holiday.

DRINKS - even if you don’t drink alcohol, chances are you might enjoy a specialty coffee or soft drink during your holiday.  You will need to purchase your drinks on a drink by drink basis or buy a package for your drinks.  Either way, you pay.

WIFI/INTERNET – Although many hotels these days include complimentary WIFI, you will have to pay for it on a cruise. You will need to sign up for a package (many different options on offer with varying costs) if you want internet access while you are on the ship.

LAUNDRY – whether at the self-serve laundrette (if available on board) or having it done, there will be a cost.

EXTRA FOOD – There is certainly no shortage of included food on any cruise-line, but you may want to partake in one of the specialty restaurants (often associated with celebrity chefs) that will attract a surcharge.  Depending on your ship, you may also have to pay extra for things like ice-creams, snacks from certain outlets and room-service menus.

EXTRA TAXES – Some ships (not all, so check with your cruise-line) have additional taxes on top of advertised prices.  Just be aware of this especially with your drinks bill.


From time to time cruise lines will run promotions that package some “extras” into one nice neat bundle, further enhancing your “all-inclusive holiday experience”.

These offers are worth looking out for as you might get a great deal compared to paying for extras separately.

Common packages might add on “Free” drinks packages or WIFI or specialty dining.

Do a little homework though – you will usually pay more for your package price than you would for just the standard inclusions.  You need to make sure the deal you are getting is a savings for you compared to what you would normally spend!!


There are some great optional extras available on every ship, all designed to enhance your holiday (or take your money from you depending on how you feel about it)!

Every Ship will have different options, and these are usually advertised in the Daily Newsletter outlining all the activities available for a given day (both paid and included).

Some Things you might want to pay extra for:

  • Shopping.
  • Spa Treatments.
  • Cocktail making classes, Liquor Tasting.
  • Some adventure type activities.
  • Some fitness classes.
  • Professional Photographs.
  • Art Auctions.
  • Bingo and Casino.
  • Shore Tours.


My Advice:

When you are deciding what cruise to take check what extra costs may be applicable to the sort of holiday you want.  Get an idea of what is included and what you might want to pay extra for.

Make the most of the included portions of your holiday, add on a couple of extras to take your experience up a notch, and have a fantastic time!

The web-sites of each Cruise-Ship Company are a great place to get information on inclusions:

P&O What's included

Royal Caribbean What's Included

Carnival What's Included


All Inclusive Cruising - You Decide.......

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