Although mainstream and premium cruise lines include meals, some drinks, and entertainment, they aren’t truly all-inclusive. If you want to pay once and not have to worry about spending another penny, we’ll share with you the truth about which cruise lines are all-inclusive.
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Do you ever feel nickel-and-dimed by the cruise lines? You pay for your cruise fare, plus the taxes and port fees. Then you have to add on the automatic gratuities.
But wait, what about the shore excursions? Extra. Beer, wine, cocktails? Extra. A glass of soda? Extra. It can start to add up fast!
You may have steered clear of the ultra-premium and luxury cruise lines, thinking that they’re just too expensive. But if you’re planning on doing a shore excursion in each port, and drinking more than just water and iced tea, some of the more inclusive lines can be a good option.
But which cruise lines are the most all-inclusive? We break down exactly what the major ultra-premium and luxury cruise lines include in your cruise fare, for even the lowest stateroom category!
(For this review, we’re focusing on ocean cruising on traditional cruise ships. Yacht cruises, river cruises, and private charters will not be compared.)
Ultra-Premium Cruise Lines
Ultra-premium cruise lines are the next step up in luxury from premium lines like Princess, Disney, Celebrity, or Holland America. They tend to offer more included amenities as well as a better staff-to-guest ratio.
Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises is a relative newcomer to the world of cruising, having launched in 2007. Azamara focuses on more immersive cruises, with late-night or overnight visits at many of its ports of call.
Dining on Azamara is notable for its “Destination Immersion” program, with cuisine inspired by the ports visited. The main dining rooms and casual dining eateries are complimentary, but there is a charge for specialty dining venues. Room service is also free.
Select standard spirits, international beers and wines as well as bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas are complimentary throughout the ship.
Gratuities are included, with the exception of gratuities for spa services.
Other Azamara perks include free self-service laundry rooms, and a shuttle service between the port and local communities in select locations.
What really makes Azamara stand out in the ultra-premium category is their free “AzAmazing Evenings” event on most voyages. Passengers are escorted to a nighttime event once per cruise. The evenings feature local cultural activities and performances.
Founded in 2002 in Miami, Oceania Cruises is known for its longer-than-average sailings. The shortest cruises offered are seven days, with most in the 10-14 day range. Oceania offers a wide variety of ultra-long voyages, up to 200 days!
In addition to its main dining rooms, Oceania cruises offer complimentary specialty restaurants for all passengers. Jacques Pépin, the TV cooking show host and celebrated cookbook author, has been Oceania’s Executive Culinary Director since 2003.
Complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day.
Oceania does not offer any complimentary alcoholic beverages, but still and sparkling waters, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas are free for passengers.
WiFi is free of charge on Oceania sailings.
Round-trip airfare is included in the cost of your fare, as is in-port shuttle service where available.
Oceania offers an extensive variety of complimentary fitness classes. Classes include sunrise stretch and relax and yoga on deck. More intense programs are available, including Boot Camp, full-body strength training, and core conditioning,
Viking Ocean Cruises
Long known as a river cruise company, Swiss-based Viking launched Viking Ocean in 2015. Viking Ocean features sailings in Northern Europe, the Baltic, North and South America, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. As with their river cruise division, Viking focuses on the culture of their destinations, so time in port is often longer than average.
All of Viking Ocean’s dining options are included in your cruise fare. Alternative restaurants, including the five-course Chef’s Table experience, are free of charge. Room service is free and offered round-the-clock.
Viking offers complimentary house wines, beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. Specialty coffees, assorted hot teas, and bottled water are always free.
All staterooms have a balcony. Viking Ocean’s ships are set up so there are no inside staterooms. Complimentary in-room movies-on-demand is available, as well as free WiFi.
Complimentary self-service laundry rooms are available to passengers.
Viking Ocean offers one complimentary shore excursion in each port.
Luxury Cruise Lines
Luxury cruise lines focus on personalized service and all-inclusive upscale dining. Their smaller ships provide an even more intimate cruise experience than the ultra-premium cruise lines. Prices can be significantly higher, but far more amenities and services are included in your cruise fare.
Crystal Cruises, founded in 1988, is headquartered in Los Angeles. In addition to their elegantly designed interiors, Crystal is known for its very low passenger-to-crew ratio, resulting in a decidedly uncrowded experience on board.
Crystal Cruises’ passengers can enjoy one complimentary specialty dining meal per cruise, including Umi Uma by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. On voyages of 14 days or longer, each guest will have two complimentary specialty dining reservations. Passengers on a Full World Cruise receive unlimited specialty dining. Room service is complimentary.
Fine wines, Champagne, premium spirits and specialty coffees are always free of charge on all Crystal sailings.
Gratuities are included for housekeeping, bar and dining staff (including room service). Gratuities are not included for spa and salon staff.
Other free perks include unlimited WiFi and complimentary self-service laundry rooms.
Shore excursions are not free on Crystal, with the exception of their “You Care. We Care.” voluntourism program. At select ports of call, a limited amount of passengers can sign up to volunteer in the local community. Transportation is provided. Programs include planting trees, assisting at a food bank, and helping the elderly or people with disabilities.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, based in Miami, Florida, specializes in smaller, more intimate ships with all-suite accommodations. RSSC’s cruises visit over 300 ports worldwide.
All dining is complimentary on Regent Seven Seas, including their specialty restaurants. Complimentary 24-hour room service is available.
In addition to a free welcome bottle of Champagne, RSSC offers free unlimited beverages including cocktails, wine, coffee beverages, teas and hot chocolate.
In-suite refrigerators are replenished daily with complimentary soft drinks, beer, and bottled water.
Pre-paid gratuities are complimentary for all passengers.
Unlimited fitness classes are available at no charge. Classes include yoga, Pilates, and aerobics.
Free unlimited WiFi is available (one login per suite, one device at a time), and free movies-on-demand are offered.
Self-service laundry is free of charge, with detergent provided.
Regent Seven Seas offers free unlimited shore excursions in each port. Passengers can participate in more than one shore excursion per day if scheduling permits.
Airfare to and from the embarkation and disembarkation cities is complimentary for all passengers. Free roundtrip Business Class airfare is offered on intercontinental flights. Free roundtrip Economy airfare is offered for domestic flights from the U.S. and Canada. Complimentary ground transfers between airport and ship are also available.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn, an ultra-luxury cruise line based in Seattle, Washington, operates worldwide. Cruises range from short seven-day sailings in the Caribbean to around-the-world journeys featuring exotic ports of call.
Seabourn’s ships are all-suite, and every suite is oceanfront (offerings include balcony or ocean view). Guests are welcomed by complimentary Champagne upon arrival to their suite.
Each suite has a complimentary bar and refrigerator, stocked to your particular preference.
Dining at all restaurants is complimentary on Seabourn, and they have a partnership with Thomas Keller, the only American chef to have two three-starred Michelin restaurants.
If you choose to dine in the privacy of your suite, room service is complimentary.
To complement the world-class cuisine, premium wine and spirits are also included in all fares, both during meals and at open bars throughout the ship.
For those who need to work off all of the delicious food, fitness classes, including yoga and Pilates, are free of charge.
Tipping isn’t required or expected at all on any Seabourn cruise.
A unique perk of Seabourn Cruises is their complimentary “Massage Moments” on deck. Passengers lounging on the pool deck are treated to short massages by the ship’s therapists.
Silversea Cruises is an ultra-luxury cruise line headquartered in Monaco. Silversea is a pioneer in all-inclusive cruising since the launch of its first ship, Silver Cloud, in 1994.
Sailing to over 900 ports throughout all seven continents, Silversea has the most diverse group of destinations of any cruise line.
Silversea’s ships are all-suite, most with balconies. All suites have complimentary butler service. Each suite’s mini-bar is stocked with guests’ preferred beverages, including wines and spirits.
Champagne is served as passengers are escorted to their suite.
Gourmet dining is included in the main dining rooms, but there is a fee for specialty restaurants.
Wine and premium spirits are complimentary at meals as well as in all bars and lounges. Specialty coffees, bottled water, and soft drinks are also free.
Gratuities are included on all Silversea cruises, except at the beauty salon and spa.
On Silversea Expedition cruises, expedition activities are free. Expedition cruises, which visit locations inaccessible to most cruise ships, operate on purpose-built ships designed to navigate remote waters.
Which cruise line is the closest to all-inclusive?
After a careful study of the major ultra-premium and luxury cruise lines, we’re going with Regent Seven Seas. This cruise line offers 11 out of our 12 included services and amenities – the most of any cruise line in the list. The only service RSSC doesn’t include is a butler for every class of suite.
Have you ever cruised on an ultra-premium or luxury cruise line? Or are you considering taking an all-inclusive cruise? Do you feel that the included services and amenities are worth the premium price? Let us know in the comments below!
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