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Old May 2nd, 2013, 10:45 AM
green_rd's Avatar
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Question Are All-Inclusive Cruises really "All Inclusive"

We were looking at cruises the other day and noted that one all-inclusive line (tips, boozes, shore ex) was running a special that included upgraded air and OBC.

This made me think, why do I need on board credit? What items are not included on an all-inclusive cruise? Here are somethings that come to mind:


On a shorter cruise I could probably walk off the ship happily without spending an extra dime on board. But for a longer cruise or a cruise that is part of a longer trip I'm thinking my all-inclusive cruise would not be.

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Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:23 AM
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it depends on the cruise line. The bargain cruise lines and mid-cruise lines (carnival, RCCL and NCL) all the food and most non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price, however there are the daily tips (which are added to your tab) alcoholic beverages, pull tabs, casino, soda (that's right, sodas aren't included in the free drinks), pictures, some of the alternative dining options (purely optional) internet access, and shore excursions (you can get to shore, but no line I know of pays for the excursions).
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 11:57 AM
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On higher end cruises such as Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea "almost" everything is included.

What is not included are things like high end wines. The cruise line will supply you with a number of drinkable but lower end wine choices. If you want the higher end vintages you will pay for them. It is the same with certain specialty liquors. The very expensive brandy is not included.

The shore excursions that are included are limited to a certain value. The additional shore excursions, such as a private driver, anything that requires a flight, etc. are additional charge. This is probably where you will use your onboard credit.

Overall, the luxury lines can be a great value for those who sail in suites on mass market lines. If you are an inside cabin type of cruiser then the additional cost may not be worth it.

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Old May 2nd, 2013, 12:32 PM
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Mike, that was a good explanation.

Thanks for the info.

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Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:10 PM
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In some instances it can be close to breaking even between a suite on a mainstream line and going with upscale cruises. Here is an article Paul wrote about 18 months ago about this.
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 01:46 PM
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We really loved our Paul Gauguin cruise because everything was included, except for the shore excursions. But it included all the alcohol and they had a area in the back of the ship where you could go water skiing, get a kayak, etc., which was great.

We also love river cruising because beer and wine are included, as well as the excursions.

But as for these special rates that include 'free airfare', they really don't. If you call up and ask what the rate is without the 'free airfare', you'll get a lower rate than if you want the 'free airfare'. So, if it's free, how come the rate is lower? As your mother taught you, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Last week when we priced out a cruise for a client with the 'free airfare' and then without it, once we added independent air, it was cheaper to book the cruise without the 'free airfare'.

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Old May 2nd, 2013, 07:42 PM
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As I have experience over one hundred nights on Regent after they went "all inclusive," let me tell you what I have spent our shipboard credit on:

facials and massages for my wife

personal trainer for me

Johnnie Walker Blue

shore excursions that are extra cost (only ones $149 or less retail are free)

very expensive wine (Dom Pergnon etc)


boutique (lots of jewelry, purses, jackets)

There is always a use for shipboard credit.


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Old May 3rd, 2013, 08:22 AM
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I guess while main stream lines are accused of "nickel and diming" cruisers the nickels and dimes on higher end lines are a little larger Like I said I could probably walk off a shorter luxury cruise without spending an additional dime. My needs don't include high-end wine.

Pete that is a good point about "free" air. I know I have seen both rates published in some cruise brochures. I usually like to have a little more flexibility that to have some flight assigned to me by a cruise line.

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