What is Included in My Cruise Fare?
We often get asked if cruising is affordable and a good-value holiday option. Our answer? A resounding YES!
While some cruises are more expensive than others (like luxury cruises), and others have more inclusions than others, there are cruise holidays to suit every taste and budget. In general, your cruise fare includes your accommodation on the ship, onboard activities and entertainment, your main meals onboard, plus transportation from port to port. You will know your basic holiday cost before you go, and will just need to budget for a few extras like alcoholic drinks and shore excursions.
Your standard cruise fare includes your chosen accommodation. Most cruise lines advertise their basic "lead in" cabins, which are the cheapest options available for your inside, outside, balcony and suite cabins. But, there are lots of different levels of cabins offered above this, each offering different amenities, layouts and so on.
However, no matter which cabin you choose, you will have a cabin steward that attends to your cabin each day, offering a turn down service, cleaning of your room at least once a day, refreshing the mini bar if required, bringing you fresh towels and so on. So, not only is your accommodation included - but you also don't have to worry about lifting a finger to keep it clean and tidy.
You will certainly not go hungry on your cruise! Your cruise fare includes all of your main meals from day to night. Most cruises have a buffet area where you can get breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or, you can choose to dine in the main dining room for a three-course sit down meal. Both of these options are included in your cruise fare, and sometimes you also have additional options to choose from like 24 hour pizza, an outdoor grill or room service. A lot of ships these day do have other dining options, but these "speciality restaurants" normally come with a small fee attached.
Limited beverages are included in your cruise fare, usually just fruit juices, water, soft drinks and basic tea and coffee with your meals. Should you want a speciality coffee, this will usually be extra, and any alcoholic drinks will be charged to your cruise account unless you have purchased a drinks package or an "all-inclusive" cruise fare that covers alcoholic drinks.
Onboard Activities and Entertainment
Not only will you not go hungry on a cruise, but you will also not be bored, with ongoing activities offered throughout the day and night. Some activities, like select classes, fitness sessions, bingo and spa treatments, may include a fee, but there is LOTS on offer that is included in your cruise fare, so you won't need to spend a cent extra to keep busy and entertained if you don't want to.
These activities range from swimming and relaxing in a hot tub, and taking part in contests and games, to dance and golf lessons, and karaoke. There are also loads of live shows and evening entertainment on offer free of charge, including Vegas-style shows, live musicians and bands, comedy shows, movies, dancing in the nightclub or deck and pool parties (usually themed).
Child and Teen Programs
Travelling with your kids? Most mainstream cruise ships offer free organised child and teen programs that will keep your kids happy and entertained all day long. These programs are usually categorised by age and include age-appropriate activities like pool games, video game contests, face-painting, karaoke and pyjama parties. Some cruise lines also offer babysitting services in the evenings, sometimes for a fee.
So you've eaten too much and want to work it off? You don't need to do stair runs to keep fit on your cruise - you can use the state-of-the-art fitness centres free of charge. These usually include fitness machines and a weights area, and a spa or steam room to relax in after your workout. There are also often fitness classes on offer, like aerobics, yoga or pilates, but these usually come with a fee.
So what isn't included?
There is plenty included in your cruise fare, and you could go your entire holiday without spending another cent, and come back well fed, relaxed and happy. But, there are few things on board that you will need to pay extra for if you wish to experience them. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Spa treatments
- Alcoholic beverages and speciality teas and coffees
- Speciality restaurant dining
- Fitness classes
- Shore excursions
- Onboard shopping
- Transport to meet the cruise
All onboard expenses are charged through your room key card to your cruise account, and you can nominate a way to pay this - either by credit card, or you can set a cash limit and stick to your budget that way. But, you can also go your whole holiday just experiencing the free elements of the cruise. It's completely up to you what you spend, but at least when you book your cruise you will know that your basic accommodation, food, entertainment and transport from port to port are taken care of.
So now you know what is included in your cruise fare, but do you know what else you can expect on your cruise? Find out more here!