HomeInspirationCruisers10 Things You Don’t Know About All-Inclusive Cruises

10 Things You Don’t Know About All-Inclusive Cruises

All-inclusive cruises are wonderful in most regards. The only drawback is they are not really all-inclusive. While most food, entertainment and accommodations are included, today’s cruise lines are offering more and more items for which you must pay extra. Cruising is still a good bargain, but the term all-inclusive is not accurate any more. You pay for extra amenities, but the tastes of today’s traveler have changed, and they want more than the casino and Broadway-style shows. While no cash registers are onboard, and you cannot pay cash for anything, you might be lulled into a false sense of security. When you board, you must offer a credit card to which all onboard charges are billed. You are issued a ship’s card that is used for everything onboard — from a soda at poolside to a meal at a specialty restaurant or spa treatment.

Photos

Ship’s photographs, as well as paraphernalia for a camera, are expensive. Bring your own camera, with lots of batteries, and take your own pictures. Photographers are stationed at the entrance when you board, at the exits when you depart the ship at every port, at meals in restaurants and around the ship for various activities. Learn to “just say no.”

Photos

Comments

  • K-Bro

    Very Important information for first time cruisers, but I’ve never heard a cruise referred to as ALL-INCLUSIVE. You can still cruise for minimal additional charges on your bill, because there is always something free to do onboard and the main dining hall is usually pretty amazing. No need for speciality restaurants.

  • Al

    K-bro’s right. All inclusive is not used in any cruising cie, as best as I can recall. ALL tips included here are true. There are charges for all of the above. Again K-Bro’s right for the food, the main dining hall offers food that is quite acceptable and enjoyable. Although, to have been of many cruises, the specialty restaurants are a cut above. (I remember the Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano of the Pinnacle Grill of Holland of America). One last tip; many cruise cie offers to peruse your bill on the tv or (if the technology does not permit) they give out a summary of the daily spending in an envelope in your room. Worst case, ask the clerk at the main desk. I can’t stress this enough, always keep an eye on it. 10$ planter’s punch are common on the sundecks. After a day of many of those with your significant other, you can easily spend a 100$ of booze and that, before the evening. Hope you got the 100$ memories to go with it.

    • Chezza Mp

      Thanks Al for your additional tips here ;)

  • Mike Dornfest

    Carnival Valour not only sucked but the excursions were over priced and lacking of any real entertainment. The Kids club was a complete joke and did nothing to give we adults any me time. They had all these family days where you had to spend time with your kids. Hell, I do that at home.

    You were lured into getting a soda package and told you can’t bring your own by the travel agent yet I seen many people bringing cases of soda with them and not being stopped.

    All in all, for what I paid for, I could have spent two weeks at Atlantis or other resort.
    A Cruise gets boring after you’ve eaten everything and gone down the slide the first day. Anything after that is just boring as hell and your trapped.

  • jorg

    Very True! We had an AMAZING time on Royal Caribbean’s OASIS ship- absolute luxury! Cost for ticket $1000 each all inclusive except for what they say in the article….bar bill at end of 1 week…$2000. 2 dinners at upscale restaurant with 2 bottles of wine for 2 people …$ 400. Oh well, still had FUN!

  • Cruise Pax

    Going on a cruise isn’t for everybody, but they can be great. One thing not mentioned here is to check how long you are in port for, some you are all day, some for only a morning, some are over night! Read up before booking so you don’t get dissapointed when the ship has to leave at noon.

    As for these 10 points there are ways of getting around anything which might put you off……

    Tours: Yep you can find the same tour less expensive on land, however you can spend valuable time in port walking around trying to book and then waiting for the departure. And if you book onland, the ship WILL leave if it has to and you’re not back…though they might give you a SHORT grace period IF they can.

    Tips: At the end of the cruise, when paying your bill, you can cancel ANY tips off the bill. As an alternative, you can just give cash to crew who you feel deserve it (though none of that will go to the backroom staff/cooks/cleaners…). Just check at the front desk at the start of the cruise though, some companies work in different ways.

    Photographers: Yes they are there all the way through the cruise, but if you want great high quality photos they are there for you. And if you don’t want the photo, don’t buy it! It’s free to have them taken.

    Kids Centers: Depends on the cruise company, but most have centers open for the kids most of the day for free. You only need to pay extra babysitting charges if you want to go drinking/have alone time after 9/10/11pm

    Laundry:There will be washing machines for passengers to use, normally it’s only two dollars for a load. On a seven day cruise I might only use them once or twice.

    I like going on cruises, but like any holiday you have to read the small print. Hope this helps!!

    • Tracy Simmons

      When I worked for Princess Cruises from 2001-2003, the room stewards and waiters were paid approximately $50 a month by the company. The rest of their pay came from the “tips” that were added onto people’s bills at the end of the cruise. If passengers cancelled their tips then the room stewards and waiters had not only worked for those passengers for basically nothing, but in the case of the room stewards, they often had to pay another crew member to help them on turn-around day, as it was usually very difficult to get all the the rooms cleaned in time for the next passengers. It used to absolutely disgust me that the people who worked the hardest, 7 days a week, 12-18 hours a day, for 9-10 months, were paid the worst. Most passengers didn’t know that the tips weren’t just “extras” but actually their real salary.

  • racdula

    Cruising is the most reasonably priced way to enjoy a holiday, make new friendships, eat to sustain ones self, not incessantly pig-out.

  • john simone

    A $25 dollar cover charge at a steak restaurant, where you can have three main courses if your gut can handle it is equivalent to a $100 meal on land.

  • JIAM

    New York, NY cleaned themselves up years ago and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Why can’t these other cities hire all the extra police like New York did.

  • mary swanson

    My husband and I are not the cruisers they want. We don’t drink.

  • Hippy

    Nothing on this list was ever ‘free’ on cruises. With the exception of tipping, which has ALWAYS been standard on cruises, everything a passenger needs is prepaid; accommodation, transportation, food (a ridiculous abundance of it), and plenty of entertainment. Also, cruises have never advertised themselves as ‘all-inclusive’ unless they are; all-inclusive cruises are available – they just cost a LOT more than the regular ones because none of the free services provided are actually free. Cruising remains one of the most economical ways to travel; compared to a land-based holiday, what it included on a cruise almost always costs less than the same amount of time on land.

  • disqus_ELMzoRSQEF

    how do single people travel with out paying for an extra person ie twin cab. That seems an unfair penalty. They advertise prices but disguise the pp min twin

  • Claire Desat

    I used to be a Ships Photographer and just thought I’d comment that we were paid NO salary by the Cruise Company for our time. We worked 7 days a week for usually 6 months and were paid solely commission, (not very high), for our sales.
    I believe the photos we took were far superior to anything the passengers would take as I had developed many of their photos in the onboard lab.
    They were beautiful memories of a holiday fo rmany people plus we had chances for professional studio shots on formal nights. Also we did portraits in a casual sense of families on other days of the cruise. They were a reasonable price compared to shots in a studio on land.
    Before you tell everyone not to have photos taken think abut someone’s livelihood and that you may have actually bought a beautiful photo. There was never an obligation to buy, but why not smile for the camera.
    For the record I have never encountered so many miserable people in the time I worked on ships (1 Year) 90% of them!

    • Dr. Science

      Perhaps they’re miserable because they’re on vacation, trying to relax… and at every turn they have someone gouging them for more money, citing that it’s “their livelihood!”. Get a better job, leave the vacationers to relax…

    • Beard

      Your frustrations should be directed at the cruise ships slave-labor compensation, not customers that are dont want to fork out dollars for what you consider to be a ‘reasonable price compared to studios’…if your getting such few sales, then your prices and/or pictures are not appealing.

      If your compensation was so lousy then you should never have accepted the job. I can understand trying it out for awhile, but why remain there for 1 year if you found it to be that bad after the first or second paycheck ?

      I think its a far stretch to claim that when you take someones picture that they should be considering ‘your livelihood’. People are there to have fun… not be drawn in how your paying your rent.

    • fauxtog

      Why do people stay (against their will)? Because they cannot afford to get home and will be penalized if they break their contract. The pay is poor across the board with the crew split between those that do it for fun and those that do it because they do not have any other option.
      I did this job for five years and had a great time, I have travelled all over the world and met the very best and also the very worst people.
      I comment because regardless of what you think about cruise ship photographers I have in my five years taken portraits for four generations of women, a couple celebrating their 70th anniversary, a first-time cross atlantic family reunion including 3 generations, a families 25th & 50th wedding anniversary party… not to mention the last portraits of the dying and the searching through the thousands of photos that we take for guests that have died onboard so we have something for their family…. and I’m sure those photos are not just appreciated but treasured long after they have forgotten what they spent the rest of the money on and I will always be proud to be part of that.

    • Escapebeat

      What photography/photo shoots are you talking about?? You take 100′s of photographs on digital cameras and then select the very best!! Is it really an art??

    • Andrew Bruce

      gotta admit the pros onboard really do know how to light and pose the subject for a superior shot ab

  • Moreboomplease

    This is a very misleading headline. I knew these things. Secondly, he wasn’t describing an all inclusive cruise. There are some that include even liquor in the cost of the fare. But even these don’t call themselves all inclusive. Among other things, he describes dry cleaning services as being the same or more than land based. I found the only time I’ve used dry cleaning it was less than at home.

    • Bob

      There are all inclusive cruises they are more expensive like Azamara cruises for example

  • Larry

    How hard is it to put all of this on one page instead of having to click “next” every time?

    Oh I know, it’s because you want to spam us with new ads on every single page.

    Won’t be coming back here.

    • Katl

      yep. most stupidly annoying way to do a one page article.
      Might have been interesting but 10 pages of ads is 9 pages to many.

  • Beard

    Great place to over price condoms for those that didn’t bring any or run out early…

  • binkyspop2

    Face it…you’re not a passenger. Just a customer undergoing an onslaught of pitching. I’ll take a land vacation any day!

  • Andra

    Any traveller not expecting these 10 things to be included in a so-called all inclusive fare is naïve.

  • Robert Johnson

    May be that cruise operators might be less greedy than when I quit. One operator’ purser said he wouldn’t give me my debarking passport until I paid him the 10% tip. Another operator crowded 1000 passengers into the ship’s small theater to wait an hour for port authorities to permit debarking while the next trip’s passengers were boarding

  • Chuch Panu

    Stuart Smith,

    I have got to say that this is one of the most irritating things i have read in a very long time. You clearly seem to have a personal issue with cruises. I cannot begin to understand what message you were giving out. Its pathetic.

    Most people who go on cruises especially with leading ‘brands’ will have been given enough information and literature to make sure that they know what they are in for. Its the peoples choice and preference to take up those options.

    Cruise vacations offer an absolute bargain for what they are and especially how reasonable they can be. Like any other good business there has to be additional ways in which additional revenue can be sought to ‘improve’ the business.

    I suggest the next time you pick and industry to ‘slate’ do your homework as in this case you have made yourself look like an idiot.

    @chuchpanu:disqus

  • LaQuandra Williams

    Went on a cruise in 1997,

    it was great, free spa, lovely tables by the pool, free leather bags, great food, friendly staff and free guided tours.

    then went on one in 2004.
    pretty good, tours were now $80-$120 dollars, bags were canvas, friendly staff, expensive soda, the “good” food cost extra.

    then went in 2010.
    tours were not $300 minimum, bags were as thin as tissue, had to get three, rude staff, terrible food, it cost $20 just to sit by the pool (not kidding).

    I will never go a cruise again.

  • Phil Zamagias

    What a miserable article! The point is that cruise ships are not land-based and have different cost overheads. It’s the same on planes. Choose your cruise line and you can have a marvelous holiday without being ‘ripped off’ with extras. I was surprised to find on-board cocktails cheaper than I would get at bars at home; perhaps taxes and duties are not levied in international waters. Much of what gets charged as an extra is in the category of options for many people. For example, I don’t understand why people bother to pay extra to go to an Italian restaurant on-board when the dining rooms offer such spectacular food anyway. If you want the ‘experience’ – pay for it and enjoy it. If not, no biggie. I got a portrait photo on-board and yes, it was expensive and very nice but compare that with having to get dressed and go to a studio. Who has time for that? The spa treatments can also be had for reasonable prices on ‘shore days’. Again, there is the convenience factor. You are on vacation and have the opportunity to do things that you normally wouldn’t have time for. I am about to go on another Princess cruise and would highly recommend them. As I gain more experience of what I really want, rather than just trying to get everything ‘for free’ I am enjoying the experience more than it seems my fellow travelers are (apart from the seasoned travelers). Relax, sit back and enjoy the last bastion of romantic travel.

  • racdula

    There’s only one thing you need to know about Cruising and that is; it’s enjoyment and great value, all the way! OK, so it’s two things.

  • Ian Pichler

    I am taking my family on our 3rd cruise in a weeks time. I looked into shore excursions on line, and through a travel agent friend, and it turns out, that the excursions we wanted, were cheaper through the cruise line, than anything else we found. My Wife, and my Mother are getting manicures on board (they wanted a little pampering and “us” time). I looked into the costs on board as well, as doing at home, the cost on board is $5 more per person, than to have it done here. That added cost is well worth it in our opinion. I have been on a cruise where every time we turned around, there was a waiter putting a tray of drinks in our face (we don’t really drink). We won’t cruise with that line again.

    I think this article is a little helpful, in that it informs first time cruisers to think about how they may be spending on a holiday, but I don’t think it should be taken as “gospel” truth either.

    I have never found any of the photographers to be pushy or rude, with their requests to take pictures, and never once felt pressured into buying any. I like the idea that we have the option to get some great family photos, with everyone in the picture. Unlike the pictures we take ourselves where there is usually a family member (either my wife or myself) missing, because someone has to hold the camera. I have also found that the cost of just buying the print isn’t really that expensive, especially if you compare the cost to buying one at a major tourist attraction, and purchase a photo of you on one of their rides.

  • Tilly

    Don’t book a ship excursion, try a local taxi, they are wonderful especially if there are 4 of you to share the cost.

  • craig01

    Great value, awesome entertainment.

  • waynemansfield

    Just did a “Fully Inclusive Tour” of Canada and Alaska with the Australian tour group APT…

    The coach part was GREAT everything except “free time” was included and of great value.

    The Cruising part with Holland America was a rip off.. everything was extra… even coca cola!! The ships stopped at “seasonal towns” where the shops were either paying a commission to the cruise lines or the cruise lines owned the shops… and genuine Alaskan souvenirs were made “In China”. and NOT cheap.

    Tours were expensive with very little under $100 and some $300 a day each.

    A cruise in Russia the previous year had everything included – drinks as well.

    So, I would say that the terminology is what is lacking… rather than claim to be “inclusive” say that this gets you a bed, meals and “iced tea.”

    Will definitely be checking the fine print next time… it came as a shock that it would have been an extra $200 a day each to get the same value as a European cruise… we would have done it different.

    [The expensive Gold Leaf Rocky Mountaineer was GREAT value - a brilliant 2 day adventure!! but we knew what we were paying for and got that and more!! So, it is NOT about the money, it is about the expectation.]

  • Cynthia Sealy

    I cruised with Holland America on the Zuiderdam to Alaska with my best friend about 4 years ago. It was the most incredible experience I had ever had. The buffets were fabulous – fresh croissants and fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning and a huge selection of other really tasty food…the sit down restaurant had fancier food and was very good – just a bit fussy for me…and for $25 each, you could eat at the premium restaurant which was semi formal – where you were served caviar and your choice from the menu – and to have that meal at a land restaurant would easily cost $100 or more, so at $25, it’s a bargain!…I don’t drink, so that wasn’t an issue, and pop and juice were included. The excursions were expensive – but they were a once in a lifetime experience – helicopter ride over 4 glaciers, landed on one, and went dog sledding on the glacier, float plane tour over Misty Fjords National Park, the Coach ride to the Yukon, then taking the Narrow Gauge Railway back to port – they were things that I’ll probably never have the opportunity to do again. The service on board was PHENOMENAL, and although I had high expectations – those expectations were surpassed many times over. You don’t have to spend money on board to have a great time – unless you choose to – the shows were great and very enjoyable and they had workshops on board that were free and I took advantage of them and I learned a lot, had lots of fun and met some fabulous people through them that I still keep in touch with. Yes, the tip was added on at the end – but when you have great service, they deserve that tip. The staff went above and beyond several times, and blew me away with the personal service – at the toast station when she asked me if I would like another bagel – because she had toasted one for me the previous morning and remembered what I had…, and the guy at the ice cream bar noticed the one time I didn’t have my camera hanging around my neck and commented on it…and one night I went to the customer service desk (the same floor our stateroom was on) to ask where I could plug my laptop in and when I went back the next night to ask for an extra blanket – they remembered my name – absolutely blew me away! I don’t care who you are, that is AMAZING customer service! With 2000 other guests on board…to remember that stuff – simply awesome!, and when I commented on it to them…their response was “it’s our job”…Whether it’s their job or not – that is IMPRESSIVE! They deserved the tip – every single one of them. The guys who did the cabin were terrific, and all the way around it was it was an incredible experience, and I really look forward to cruising again – next time hopefully with my boyfriend – and if at all possible, Holland America is definitely my FIRST choice!

    • Dave&Sandy

      Diana – Couldn’t agree more! We sailed on the Zuiderdam as part of a SCENIC Tour of western Canada in 2011, which commenced with the Rocky Mountains Express Train. The 7 day trip with HOLLAND AMERICA was spectacular, and the service was wonderful. Although all tips were included, we gave extra to our cabin staff when we departed the ship, because they were exceptional! The first day we sailed from Vancouver we were sitting on our balcony sipping DOM PERIGNON champagne as we sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge just on a spectacular sunset. The great attraction to the cruise was the fact that one could pre-order and pay for all the excursions, beverage requirements, additional fine dining restaurant charges etc. leading up to departure for Canada, and well before boarding the ship.
      We are looking forward to our next HOLLAND AMERICA Cruise (To be yet organised).

  • Diana

    My husband and I are getting ready for our fourth cruise on Princess Cruise Line. I can’t say anything about other companies as we were so pleased with Princess after our first experience, we just stuck with them. The 10 items listed in the article as not being inclusive are accurate and I think it is good for those thinking about a cruise to be aware of these charges. We love cruising for many reasons. I think the fact that we are going on our fourth cruise with Princess speaks for our level of satisfaction with the service, food, and amenities. Another bonus is that we are able to know in advance what we will be paying. We book our excursions in advance; we know how much is put on our tab for tips every day (in our case, in a mini-suite, it’s $12.00 a day each); we know how much we drink; and we know how much extra tip we’ll leave for our room steward. But, for us, the most important aspect of cruising as opposed to a non-cruising all-inclusive is the fact that we are sea. We’d be glad to be on a two week cruise that went in circles the whole time. If you love being on the ocean, then I recommend you consider a cruise.

    • Elizabeth Leonelli

      Hope you do not get sick, If so you will be quarantined, treated badly and provided a healthy Bill for your medical service no matter how paltry they are. If they need to forfeit your cruise for another one, they will cut it short and offer you a 20% coupon. Really, I wish you better luck than I had.

  • my2cents

    Its interesting that this is how it can be perceived from a passengers side, after working on a cruise ship for almost 5 years and seeing people getting 7 days of meals 3 meals a day of restaurant quality food, accommodation, entertainment, and experiencing up to 5 different countries in that 7 days all for as little as $699 or for $100 a day , its astounding that, that isn’t seen as value for money, its almost like you expect more. That is such a great deal and it barely covers the cost of the ships running, so yes where they make their money is on “additional” items. I have worked for both “all inclusive” cruises which for 7 days cost approximately $4000, but they include spa treatments, no surcharges for restaurants, free room service, full beverage service, tours, the only thing you pay for is shopping, but again its $4000 upfront or was when I was working. To ask for the same service for $699 you are just not going to get it. You get what you pay for and you can guarantee if your cruise was a bargain, you are going to pay for it once your on board. I can tell you as someone who has done private cruises for celebrities, all inclusive cruises, and bargain cruises, the one similarity is that passengers when they walk on the gangway seem to get this real sense of entitlement and their manners disappear. Its such a shame, and not all people are like it, but there were a lot. I love cruising, but I am always mindful that these people don’t work for me, they are doing their job, and if you are nice to them, the rewards are 10 fold.

    • Caeruleus Barbatus

      I think the problem is that cruises have a disconnect between how they’re marketing themselves and how they’re actually delivering services. Cruise holidays were traditionally expensive ways to have a vacation, and were well known for their luxury.

      Of course, they haven’t actually changed that much, and they’re very much sticking with the luxurious image, but advertising cruise trips as inclusive (when they aren’t), or budget (with hidden fees and charges) is a good way to piss off customers. A consumer often forms a budget in their mind about how much they’ll spend, and it’s very stressful and unpleasant to be pushed beyond that budget.

      It’s also interesting how most of the happy customers on this board went with more expensive, actually-included services, which more or less reinforces my point. The hidden service fee model, to me, seems like one that’s guaranteed to generate dissatisfied customers.

      Of course, there also has to be some reality check from the customer side. In the same way that if you went on a holiday to land-based location, you wouldn’t just add up the accommodation and airfares and say, well, that’s my budget.

    • Devon Babin

      Are you serious? You sound like a puppet of the cruise industry. If you are, try doing a better job at not being so obvious. If you’re not, your’e entitled to your opinion, but I completely disagree.

      • Janet Kierdorf

        cruising, like everything in life depends on what you bring to it. If you are looking to “get your money’s worth”, then your whole focus is on money, not experiences. If you see this as the adventure it is, steaming off to distant lands, fun in the sun, relaxation or romance, then your positive expectations will let you see the value in the experience. I have cruised many times, and if you look at the per day cost, you wouldn’t find anything of the same quality in any other vacation.

  • Fivish

    We went on a free one day taster at Southampton. Shown around the ship for some hours then lunch. 17 classes, a dozen or so extra cost dining rooms, expensive drinks, loud music everywhere, expensive Bond St style shops and very poor food. Don’t think so.

  • ShibumiMC

    I read this expecting some shocking discoveries. Strictly ho-hum. Been on one ocean cruise only and never expected any of these things for free. Don’t people read the ads and cruise brochures?

  • Urlo

    Never been on a cruise and not sure I will go.
    Somehow, it seems passengers are like sheep.
    Get off the ship, visit your destination, lineup to get back on the ship.
    Line up at the buffet. Repeat experience the next day.

    • jasper

      Urlo – the excursions all sound fine (bear in mind they are a costly extra) but the time you actually get to spend at the destination can be as little as 30 minutes because of the coach travel, the port times for the ship and (often) the afternoon departure time for the ship.

      We spent 1 hour in Brugges and 1 hour in Honfleur – total price £140. Value for money – I think not?

  • oolloo

    I definitely would not advise booking a cruise on the Costa Concordia.

    • jasper

      Certainly not a starboard cabin – Apologies to those who suffered.

  • njlouch

    To be fair, after going on a P&O Cruise last year, I’d call this “10 things you really should expect from any all inclusive holiday” – come on, you expect to pay extra for the extras. As for visitors being like sheep – couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Devon Babin

    So, essentially, cruises are rip-offs. That is what I’m getting from this “article”.

  • alan

    we were very disappointed, food canteen style, no where to sit in any bar, just too many on board for the limited facilities, never again.

  • ls

    Most cruises don’t advertise themselves as all-inclusive because they aren’t. This article makes it seem like they are out to gouge the passengers, when I have in fact had worse experiences at all-inclusives in the Dominican and Mexico.

    I went on a Mediterranean cruise through Celebrity and had a fantastic time. Myself and the people I went with bought the extra “premium drink package” which worked out to about $50 or so dollars a day. Some days we did’t hit it, some days we exceeded it, but it all worked out in the end.

    The service and food were amazing so it was well worth the tips added on at the end. As for the photographs we did splurge on a couple of them because the photos were indeed gorgeous, but we were never once pressured into buying them, same with the spa service. I went in to inquire having a couple of my nails fixed and when I decided against it, the staff did not push, simply said that if I changed my mind to feel free to come back at any point.

    We had one night at one of the “specialty” dining and I had one of the best steaks I have ever had there. Dinner cost us approx 35/person for a 4 course meal, not a horrible price by any means.

    We did excursions at almost every port and they ranged from 35-100 dollars depending on the tour. Well worth the money to have the transportation, see the sites we wanted to see and have the assurance of making it back on time.

    We loved it so much that my same group plus a few extra people are cruising again in the next few months, through Celebrity again, this time to the Carribean. We managed to find a great deal when we booked the cruise that gave us a significant percentage off the standard drink package, which we upgraded to the premium for an extra 100/150 dollars, well worth the money having seen some of the bills that friends have racked up without one.We decided to skip the excursions with the exception of one group one in Barbados.

    I highly recommend cruising, you can make them as cheap or as expensive as you want, the only thing you need to be aware of is what cruise line offers what to suit your wants and needs.

    • jakesdad

      I’m glad you enjoyed yourself but I have to say our one experience w/Celebrity could not have been more opposite! don’t know what they’ve changed (this was 2002) but they charged for soft drinks which were 20 oz bottles at time. they did offer an unlimited soft drink package which I, being a Diet Coke addict, promptly bought for something like $35 (for a 7-day). when I went to actually USE it I got a nasty surprise (actually several): 1st, when you showed the soft drink plan card the attitude of the server immediately did a 180 (from smile/friendly to: “oh, you’re one of them…”). next, it turns out that on the soft drink plan you don’t get the 20 oz bottle, you get a 6 oz plastic juice cup from the fountain gun. finally, since the fountain gun is apparently only used for people on the plan they never bother changing the syrup & don’t care when you complain b/c they aren’t getting tipped on it.

      anyway, that was only one of a myriad of problems we had. it was bad enough I actually looked in registering celebritysux as a domain! prior to that we’d been on 4 Carnivals together, all of which were better & since having the kids have done 5 Disneys (doing 6th in couple months) & will continue doing them as long as we can afford!

  • quiltsalot

    I have been on 5 different cruises since 2001 and loved every one. The food is plentiful and unless you go to a specialty restaurant it is free. The service is wonderful and if you treat your servers right they will make sure you have the vacation of a lifetime. The entertainment nightly is mostly good and there are plenty of things to do on board that don’t cost anything.

  • jakesdad

    didn’t see parking on that list? if you live driving distance (we do) it’s ~$120 to park for a 7-day Disney in Port Canaveral (can’t speak to others – we’re loyal Disney cruisers for last 6 yrs & about to take our 6th w/them). not outrageous & in the scope of what you’re spending not material but one more thing someone on a tight budget may not be expecting.

  • june

    We Cruise twice a year, compared with hotel prices you just cant compare ,I was never interested in cruising, but now I am hooked, we book when cruises have there sales or just watch out for good prices, I have not been able to fault the food on any of the cruises and usually get a drinks package or we have often had drinks within price of cruises, also if you book early Cruise Car Parking is free, never paid in 6 yrs for parking in Southampton , for those of you who havnt cruised take the plunge and try a cruise you be pleasantly surprised .,

  • James Vogel

    You need to do some more research here. There are Cruise lines that are All-Inclusive for most things actually. RCCL, Carnival, Norweigen are not considered ALL-Inclusive in my opinion. You would have to use Regent sevens seas, Crystal, Oceania, etc.

  • jasper

    My wife and I went on a four-day Cunard cruise – it was very good but so many expensive extras.

    Watch out for the swiped credit card when you board, ostesibly to allow you to pay for everything at the end of the cruise. We had a ghost £350 on our credit card account that took nearly a month to clear.

    Apparently, Cunard entered this ‘nominal amount’ at the beginning of the cruise to cover what they thought we might spend. – only the threat of legal action by us moved them to remove this charge – the credit card company could do nothing. You have to keep awake – the bigger the company, the greater the possible fraud.

  • Katie08

    My husband and I travel independently all over the world four or five times a year and in addition regularly cruise in various parts of Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific about once or twice a year. We love all types of cruises but, particularly, like small ship cruising and river cruising. We have been on some wonderful cruises (most of them), however, our most recent cruise on the SUN PRINCESS was a big disappointment! We, together with a couple of our friends, recently went on a cruise circumnavigating New Zealand on the SUN PRINCESS. Whilst the food was OK and we could not fault the standard of entertainment, we soon discovered that the Princess lines treat their customers rather shabbily.

    First of all, we were over two hours late departing Sydney without any apology from the captain; Secondly there was a horrible stench of sewerage throughout the corridors and decks of the Ship that was noticed by passengers. We had a balcony State Room and whilst the stench was not present in our room (thank God), the problem was NOT addressed throughout the course of the cruise.

    In addition, whilst we could not fault the on-board Jamaican hostess (she was delightful), however, we noticed that three of the British entertainment hosts were incredibly arrogant and very rude to many of the passengers – there was one incident where the sales of Jackpot Bingo tickets were advertised as being on sale to 1.30 pm but they shut down the sale at 1.00 pm which angered a lot of passengers … when they complained, the British hostess argued the point and was extremely disrespectful to passengers.

    What was really disgraceful was when the FINAL JACKPOT BINGO game was played (with a prize of over $6,000). With less than 40 numbers called (a very rare occurrence), there was a quiet “Here!” heard and some guy claimed the prize with an UNREGISTERED TICKET!!! This looked very suspicious and dodgy to the rest of the room and many passengers, myself included, wanted an explanation as to HOW someone could win a prize on an unregistered ticket when ALL legitimate tickets had to be registered to play! We were just “fobbed off” by one of the British hostesses who scoffed at the passengers’ concerns. When my friends and I got home and queried this (in writing) to the Passenger lines, we are STILL awaiting a response – none since last December when we returned back to Sydney! I firmly believe that such big cash games MUST be INDEPENDENTLY AUDITED … many passengers believe the game was fixed and the prize went to a member of staff. The Princess Lines have yet to explain and disprove any level of perceived corruption here.

    Another point of contention was that it took a totally unsatisfactory FOUR HOURS to empty the ship of over 1,000 passengers from the Tender at Akaroa .. there were long queues of people waiting to board only three Tenders in operation. Once again, no explanation – no apology. Also, there was high wind at Napier and, therefore, we could not dock .. whilst most people understand the risks, as we were speeding away from the port of Napier, no one knew what was going on and it took the Captain over an hour to finally explain to the passengers what was going on. As many of the passengers were elderly, there was a lot of confusion as to WHY we were not going to visit the port of Napier which was on our itinerary … an on-board explanation of what was going on, in a timely fashion, is just plain courtesy and would have allayed a lot of concerns.

    My husband and I will NEVER EVER travel on another cruise with the PRINCESS LINES again and I certainly would NOT recommend any Princess cruise to anyone. It is my understanding that the Princess lines have now been taken over by Carnivale. Years ago, back in 2001, we took our three children (then aged in their late teens) on a fabulous cruise around the Caribbean on Carnivale and had an absolutely wonderful time on board the Triumph (which Ship, we believe, has had a few problems of late). However, I do remember it took only 1 hour to unload over 3,000 passengers from The Triump compared to the FOUR hours it took to unload only 1,000 from the Sun Princess!

    • Dave&Sandy

      I can go one better Katie08 – The drinks are now TOTALY INCLUSIVE on the SCENIC Boats! My wife and I did the Bucharest to Amsterdam last year onboard SCENIC CRYSTAL, and it was all TOTALLY INCLUSIVE! Cocktails before dinner, a choice of three different red or white wines with dinner (depending on where on the river you were – Regional wines were offered, and they were the best the country had). A liqueur after dinner in the lounge – No problem! The only time we put our hands in our pocket was to give an extra tip to our cabin staff who looked after us so well, from the people who made up our stateroom, to the butler who served us Moet champagne when we felt like it (At no extra cost). A wonderful trip, and we are booked to do it again (South of France) in 2015. Roll on Paris and the South of France!

      • Katie08

        Thanks for the information, Dave & Sandy. My husband and I are definitely going to book another Scenic Tour throughout France now. If you are looking to do something REALLY unusual, I can highly recommend one of the best cruises we have EVER been on which is the ARANUI 3 cruise around the jaw dropping beautiful pristine MARQUESAS ISLANDS which are located 1,000 kms north of Tahiti. The ARANUI 3 is a CARGO SHIP that has 4 large STATEROOMS with balcony (costs more but it is worth it). The ONLY ships that visit these magnificient islands are private yachts and the ARANUI 3 … there are NO large cruise ships because they cannot navigate the ports. The ARANUI only takes 100 passengers and entertainment is provided by the heavily tattoed Marquesas Islander crew. This cruise lasts for 14 days and visits 10 of the most beautiful islands on earth. When the ship arrives in each port, all the locals come down to personally welcome the crew and passengers and you are invited to travel around the island in their four wheel drives. ALL the food, drink and excursions are included in the price – the excursions are incredibly diverse ranging from horse riding, four wheel drive trips, snorkelling, hiking, picnics with the locals providing delicious, fresh foods and entertainment. Travelling on the ARANUI 3 is so interesting – they carry everything from cars to cattle to the people of the Marquesas. It is like no other cruise you will experience …. a marvellous unique journey visiting some of the most beautiful places on earth. Sailing into the Bay of Virgins was one of the most memorable experiences I have had and we have travelled the world. The Bay of Virgins with the sunset shining on the weird rock formations that jut for thousands of feet straight out of the luminescent, aquamarine waters with the backdrop of dense jungle, the friendly smiling hospitality of the local villagers will stay with you forever.

  • Katie08

    If you want to have an ALL-INCLUSIVE Cruise, my husband and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Scenic Tour Cruises! A couple of years ago we cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest on the Main Canal, the Rhine and the Danube Rivers stopping at some of Europe’s most beautiful historic cities. It was one of the most efficient and BEST cruises we have EVER undertaken. Scenic Tours is an Australian run company and I cannot fault them in anything. EVERYTHING is included … ALL the EXCURSIONS (where they provide you with lots of OPTIONS), ALL the food, the entertainment .. you just need to purchase your drinks. The excursions were FIRST RATE. The cruises only take an intimate 100 people and the food is gourmet quality and the staff were first rate, incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. All the rooms are STATE ROOMS with their own external balcony (not like some of the Juliet balconies provided on the competitor ships). SCENIC TOURS offer, without doubt, the best European river cruising available – offering cruises throughout most of the rivers from Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltics down throughout France, Spain, Italy and across to Turkey.