You’ve decided to take an ocean cruise. Great! What’s the next step? You’ll need to decide where you want to go and the cruise line and ship to take you there. Cruises start at 3-day sailings to the Bahamas, to 7-day sailings to the Caribbean, to 180-day sailings around the world! And don’t forget sailings to Alaska, through the Panama Canal, to the Mediterranean and more. The possibilities are endless!
Now that you’ve decided on your cruise, you have to pay for it. But what exactly is included in your cruise fare, and what will you have to pay for once you’re on the ship? These things are important when trying to budget for your vacation.
The list below includes things that are included on most ocean cruises. Some luxury cruise lines do offer more inclusions, but the list below is for most of the major cruise lines. And if you’re going on a river cruise, that’s a whole different vacation! River cruises offer many more inclusions than ocean cruises, for a more all-inclusive experience.
What you’re paying for with your cruise fare:
- Your room. The fare will increase with the type of room you choose. The least expensive is an interior room. This room is on the inside of the ship, with no windows. The more expensive options include ocean view rooms with a window, balcony or verandah rooms up to fabulous suites that can be the size of an apartment!
- Your food. All of your basic food is included in your cruise fare. You will have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and everything in between! Most cruise lines offer snacks or even meals throughout the day, so you definitely won’t go hungry on your cruise. And don’t forget the ice cream machines that are available throughout the day! You’ll also find other snacks like sushi or midnight buffet options.
- Your beverages. Some beverages are complimentary. Most cruise lines offer coffee, tea and lemonade or punch complimentary throughout the day. Disney is the only cruise line that offers sodas at no extra charge.
- Entertainment. Each night the cruise line will put on a show. These shows are amazing and should not be missed! In addition to the nightly shows, there will be many other types of things to keep you entertained. From comedians to hypnotists, trivia and bingo, there are many ways to spend your time on the ship. Some things, like bingo or mixology classes are an additional fee, but you can enjoy most at no extra charge.
- Kid’s Clubs. All major cruise lines have clubs for your kids from the ages of 3 up to 17. There they will be able to enjoy movies, crafts, games and other activities at no extra charge to you. Sometimes you will be hard-pressed to get your children to leave the fun! If you have children under the age of 2 or 3, depending on the cruise line, childcare is available at an additional cost.
- Port fees and taxes. Your cruise fare includes all port fees and taxes.
What’s not included:
- Excursions. Each port will have tons of excursion options for you. Try zip-lining, a catamaran cruise, historical and cultural tours, or snorkeling, scuba diving and more! You can pre-purchase these before you leave or decide once you’re on the ship. But if there is something that you really want to enjoy, be sure to book that before you sail.
- Specialty dining. While your main dining options are included in your cruise fare, every cruise line now offers specialty dining that you might want to try. These specialty restaurants offer wonderful cuisine, and I highly recommend trying at least one on your next cruise.
- Alcoholic beverages. If you’d like to enjoy a pina colada by the pool or a glass of wine at dinner, you will have to pay extra for those. Most cruise lines offer drink or wine packages that you can purchase that may save you some money on your drinks but be sure to budget for your alcohol.
- Specialty beverages. If you need your morning cappuccino or mocha on your cruise, be prepared to pay extra. Also, most cruise lines offer smoothies or other specialty drinks that are not included in your cruise fare. And don’t forget sodas! If you’d like to enjoy a Coke or Sprite on your cruise, you will have to pay extra for those. Most cruise lines offer a soda package for purchase.
- If you like to gamble, be sure to bring some money to enjoy the casinos onboard your cruise ship.
- Spa treatments. There are many options for tranquil spa treatments onboard your cruise ship. You can enjoy a facial, massage or mani-pedi in the beautiful spa areas on each cruise ship, but you’ll have to pay extra to relax.
Now that you know what is included in your cruise fare, you just have to decide when to go. And don’t forget to contact your Wishes & Dreams Travel Consultant to help you make the most of whichever cruise you decide on!