The topic of this post is a question that sometimes even seasoned cruisers ask, particularly when sailing on a new type of cruise or itinerary. Cruising is a great, easy peasy vacation option. Not only do you wake up in a exciting new destinations each morning, but you also have tons of inclusions, and depriving on the type of trip, sometimes even than on a typical land-based getaway (excluding all inclusive).
Here, I’ll go over what is typically included on a cruise, from children’s activities to the theater.
In this post, we’ll discuss:
- Drinks, Meals, & Room Service
- Theater & Shows
- Fitness Center
- Sundeck & Pools
- Live Music, Bars & Lounges
- Kids Clubs
- Daytime Activities
- Art Exhibitions & Auctions
- Ice Cream
Whether you choose an inside, oceanview, or veranda stateroom, or a suite, your accommodations will always be included within the cost of your cruise fare. Depending on the type of room you select, your cabin will most likely (if not definitely) include a private bathroom with good storage space, a sitting area, a flat-screen TV, and basic amenities like hair dryers, & toiletries in the shower.
I definitely recommend choosing a veranda, offering a lovely & private outdoor space to enjoy your morning caffeine of choice as you watch the sun rise over the ocean or while enjoying pre-dinner cocktails as the sun sets into the horizon. Staterooms and suites are sometimes, on certain ships and cruise lines, available to suit solo travelers, couples, families, or those who require accessible rooms with wheelchair access and modifications.
Although spa services are not included in your cruise fare (ie: massages you would book and pay for), you can do a few things to enjoy the spa better. 1 of those is to book special staterooms (see tip below) or take advantage of the spa’s public amenities which varies by cruise line.
If you’d like to use the spa a lot on your trip, ask your travel agent to check for spa stateroom ships, spa perks, etc.
Tip: If you LOVE the spa, check out Celebrity Cruises’ AquaClass, conveniently located by the ship’s spa. Staterooms feature eXhale bedding, top quality bath amenities, a personal spa concierge service, in-room fitness amenities, healthy room-service menu options, and even a yoga mat. Also guests in this type of stateroom receive complimentary dining at Blu restaurant, unlimited access to the SEA Thermal Suite or The Persian Garden, and complimentary Fitness Classes.
Drinks, Meals, & Room Service
“Are drinks included on a cruise?” is one of the most common questions asked by people who are new to cruising. On every cruise vacation, you’ll find cocktails, wines by the glass, liquors, beers, spirits, frozen drinks, sodas, specialty coffees, juices, and bottled water are always available but rarely included, unless you go for a cruise with a beverage package or an inclusive fare that includes them.
Main Dining Room
Every meal is part of the package. Whether eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner to late-night snacks, the only thing you’ll need to worry about is choosing which lovely dining venue to enjoy! With a tremendous selection of choices for everyone, whether casual, upscale, sweet treats or comfort food, the dining options is one of the best things about cruising!
If you wish to try something different, there’s also a selection of especially delightful specialty restaurants, but those do come at an extra cost.
When you’re on vacation, especially on a sea day, a nice sleeping in with breakfast in bed is always enjoyable. Maybe you prefer a romantic dinner for 2 on your private veranda? Room service is often complimentary on most cruises within certain times of the day.
While taking a typical land vacation, you’d expect to pay anything from 15-25% service charges in hotels, bars, restaurants, & cafes, but when you pre-pay your gratuities or pay on board, that covers all your dining staff, waitstaff, room steward, and other staff who service you during your cruise.
Tips: Once in awhile, a cruise line might include gratuities, or offer it included as a promotion. Also, feel free to give cash tips to any service member who seemed to go above and beyond if you feel they’ve earned it!
Many cruise fares and promotions are now including Wi-Fi as part of the cruise since most people like to stay connected. You may have to add this on to many cruise lines, just ask your agent about best values.
Enjoy fascinating performances at the theater every night without paying a single dime (except specialty entertainment options on select cruise lines). The entertainment on board takes place inside the onboard theatre and is just as revolutionary as the modern ships sailing.
Some cruise lines, like Celebrity and Holland America to name a few, offer performances like the American Ballet Theatre, Lincoln Center Stage, music-focused shows, and even performances by Cirque-du-Soleil! The theater or other venues are also one spot for live standup comedy shows. Grab a drink, bag the best seat you can find, and prepare to laugh your way into the evening.
If you want to take your chances at the Roulette table or the slots, entry to casinos is included on a cruise, meaning you won’t have to pay to get in, though, you will still need to pay to play. Today’s cruise ship casinos offer familiar games, tournaments, & plenty of choices with hordes of slot machines & table games.
If you want to stay fit while you cruise, or maybe just attempt to burn off the calories you’re consuming with all the amazing food, most if not every cruise ship features a nice & modern fitness center. There’s no cost to use & they tend to be equipped with the latest workout equipment. If you find yourself needing the motivation, the fitness center’s floor-to-ceiling windows om most ships offer endless ocean views that are sure to help! There’s also a running track on deck, usually up high for amazing views, if you prefer outdoor exercise.
Sundeck & Pools
Sundecks sometimes might feel like a high-end private beach club, but there’s no fee to access them. Grab your bathing suit, a cover-up, & sunscreen then head to your ship’s sundecks and pools, which are included within your cruise fare.
Sometimes you’ll notice there’s live music & games by the pool. Soak in the hot tub or take in some child-free relaxation at the adults-only area like the Solarium or other names for different ones, complete with pool and sun loungers.
Live Music, Bars & Lounges
Whether the beats are Latin, jazz, Ibiza anthems or classic quartets, you’re in for a lot of fun onboard if you love music! Access to onboard lounge bars and nightclubs are included on a cruise, and there’s live nightly entertainment to enjoy all throughout the ship. Enjoy a live guitarist, test out your karaoke skills, DJs, late-night dancing, and lose your inhibitions dancing.
What about the kids? Many cruise lines are family-friendly and offer programs for children of many age groups. They are usually open daily and include a fun-filled schedule of activities like arts and crafts, themed parties, sports tournaments, treasure hunts, & even calming meditation sessions.
Older kids usually have “cool” dedicated tween or teen areas, depending on their age. Your older child can take part in cooking classes, silent disco parties, and more!
You’ll never get bored on a cruise – there’s so much to do!
You could take a cooking class, practice your archery skills with a lesson, learn bar-tending skills at a cocktail-making experience, learn during an expert-led talk, enjoy a movie, take arts and crafts classes, play bingo, challenge yourself in trivia sessions, enjoy a leisurely game of croquet, compete in a golf contest, play a Bocce game, or compete on the basketball court.
Tip: Some extra special activities on Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Solstice, you can watch a Hot Glass Show, where molten glass is shaped into beautiful art. (There is also a fee if you decide to take part in a Hot Glass Class to create your own! But seriously how cool is that?!)
Art Exhibitions & Auctions
If you love art, pencil in a visit to cruise ship’s art gallery, and you guessed it! Exhibition admission is included on a cruise. Cruise lines usually partner with large art dealers, such as Park West Gallery, to offer an amazing and unique art collection. Usually, you’ll receive a complimentary glass of Champagne as you watch their live auction & browse artwork that’s on display, like works by some of the biggest names in art, such as Salvador Dalí, Yaacov Agam, and Pablo Picasso. You’re also likely to find a fun and thought-provoking collection of art in public areas around the ship.
A sweet scoop of ice cream or 12 is an essential part of any vacation, whether you’re on land or at sea. On most cruises, this refreshing snack is available for free on the lido deck area. Choose your cone, your favorite flavor, a topping, & enjoy it on the sundeck.
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