Cruising is all-inclusive
This means that almost everything is included at a fixed price that you know in
advance. Here is what's typically included in the cost of your cruise at a price
that is generally lower than a comparable land-based holiday:
Transfers from airport to ship and ship to airport.
Three main meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Special children's
menus are available.
Three buffet meals per day (breakfast, lunch and midnight). Some ships add
a fourth buffet for late-nighters at around 1:30 a.m. Many ships also have afternoon
snacks or traditional high teas.
24-hour room service on many ships. Some new ships are adding 24-hour pizzerias.
All shipboard facilities, including casino, pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym, on-board
lectures, card rooms, an unending variety of organised games and contests and
Supervised children's activities offered on a daily basis. Good to know if
you are bringing along a child.
All entertainment, including: Broadway and Las Vegas-style shows, lounges,
nightclubs, movies, dancing and more...
Visits to more ports of call (depending on length of cruise).
There are a number of expenses that are not generally included in the cost
of your cruise, which you also need to be aware of. These include gratuities (a
suggested amount is $7.50-$9 USD per day per person, or $52.50-$63 USD per passenger per
week for a 7-day cruise, paid at the end of the cruise); port charges and government
fees (approximately $125 USD per person for a typical 7-day Caribbean cruise, but
varying in price depending on destination); shore excursions (discussed below);
items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, casino, boutiques, etc.
More on value
From a financial perspective, cruising makes good sense. But it isn't just the
consideration of how to spend one's holiday dollar that is important. Cruising
stretches the holiday dollar because of what you get for what you spend.
Take the dining experience, for example. Dining on a cruise ship is the equivalent
of going to the best-rated restaurant in town. At every meal you will find fine
China, crystal, and silver, impeccable service, and excellent cuisine. If the
food is not gourmet, it will most certainly be presented and served as if it were.
And there are no limits on quantity - you can have as many servings of whatever
you like as often as you like. There is simply no comparison to the value one
finds in the dining experience aboard a cruise ship, especially when compared
to taking the family out to a typical family restaurant, or even to a restaurant
at a land-based resort.
Intimacy, relaxation and fun
Although modem telecommunications never really isolates a ship at sea, there is
the perception among cruise passengers that they are truly "away from it all,"
with no outside responsibilities to intrude on their vacation. This lends itself
to an almost immediate tension-free environment.
Cruise passengers "wind down" more quickly, further encouraging an easygoing
approach to new acquaintances and new situations. The abundance of fresh air,
unending expanses of sea, and an infinite canopy of stars overhead each night
surely helps to enhance the cruise experience.
While space on a cruise ship is ample, providing solitude and privacy to those
who seek it, one tends to become more familiar more quickly with fellow passengers.
The reality of "being in the same boat" means that one is likely to keep running
into the same people again and again, or at least feel that they look familiar.
No other form of vacation can make this claim.
The cheerful attitudes of cruise personnel are another factor in putting passengers
at ease as they step on board a ship. Most cruise ships have developed guest services
to a high art. Friendliness is virtually institutional aboard most vessels, giving
passengers the sense that they are truly valued as welcome guests. Nowhere is
this better exemplified than in the modern day Cruise Director - a bundle of happiness
and energy whose sole mission is to bring people together for a good time.
Destinations are another reason for the renaissance in cruise travel. Chances
are that wherever you want to go in the world, there's a cruise to take you there.
Whether for escape, adventure or a thirst for knowledge, visiting exotic destinations
is a collective fantasy that appeals to everyone.
As demand for cruising continues to rise, new destinations and itineraries
are constantly being added.