What’s included in a cruise?

When you’re working out whether a cruise is good value for money or not, it’s important to consider exactly what is included in the ticket price, and what you’re expected to pay extra for. This isn’t always straightforward, as what’s included can vary by cruise line.

The standard inclusions

Every cruise will include accommodation, meals, entertainment and activities.

Accommodation: Cruise ship accommodation varies from inside cabins with no windows, to those with windows, balconies and the highest grade of suites which have separate bedrooms and living rooms.

Meals: Each cruise ship will have a main dining room which serves sit down meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a buffet restaurant which is open around the clock.

Entertainment: Cruise shipshave live entertainment in the evening such as Broadway-style shows, live music, magicians and comedians. There may also be entertainment in the daytime too.

Activities: Facilities vary by ship with all cruise ships having basics like swimming pools, hot tubs, gyms and libraries. The newest family-friendly mega ships however, have a whole host of amazing things included such as bumper cars, zip lines, escape room games, skydiving simulators, virtual reality trampolines, laser tag and more!

Childcare: Family-friendly cruise ships have kids’ clubs where children of all ages can be entertained by the youth team from morning until evening.


Things that attract an extra charge on cruise ships are usually salon and spa treatments, the casino, bingo, arcade games, fitness classes, and cookery classes.

Cruise ships usually have specialty restaurants where you can enjoy a special dining experience such as Jamie’s Italian or Guy’s Burger Joint. Room service may be complimentary or chargeable depending on the ship and the time of day.

Moreover, some cruises may also have booking offers for parties and celebrations, where you may get some special activities and entertainment. For instance, they can organize an adult night for bachelors or bachelorette parties with Wilmington exotic dancers (or from elsewhere), strippers, etc. These types of services could be on-demand, so it can be better if you discuss such things with a cruise company.

Special entertainment such as Cirque du Soleil shows may also attract a charge, as may certain activities such as go-karting or virtual reality games. The free childcare often ends around 10 pm, but late-night babysitting may be available for a fee. Wifi packages are also available to purchase.

Cruise lines charge gratuities or tips. Whilst European cruise lines often include these in the ticket cost, American cruise lines tend to add these to your bill at the end.


Most cruises only include basic drinks such as tea, coffee, water and squash free of charge. However, pretty much any cruise can be made all-inclusive by adding a drinks package. Many different drinks packages are available, from those which are just for soft drinks, right up to premium drinks packages covering every type of drink you could imaging. Otherwise, you’re free to pay for drinks individually.


If you need to fly to the cruise port, it can be a good idea to get a fly-cruise package deal which includes your cruise, flights, a pre-cruise hotel stay and transfers. This can often work out cheaper than buying all the different bits separately.

Luxury cruises

Luxury cruises usually include more in the ticket price than the mainstream cruise lines. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for example, is an ultra-luxury cruise line which includes more than any other. The idea behind this cruise line is that guests leave the ship with nothing else to pay at the end. Included as standard are flights, luxury hotels, transfers, unlimited shore excursions, all speciality restaurants, unlimited drinks and mini bar, gratuities and wifi.

So as you can see, what’s included in your cruise fare can vary and it’s important to make sure you’re clear on what’s included before you book your cruise to avoid any unwelcome surprises when you receive your bill at the end.

This article was provided by Jenni Fielding on behalf of Cruise118.com