Are cruises all inclusive?

04 Jul 2022, by Joanna Whitehead

Are cruises all inclusive?

Dismiss any misconceptions you may have about cruising - today’s cruise expeditions are truly diverse, whether you’re looking for adventure, to indulge, be entertained or simply unwind. But are cruises all inclusive? From family-friendly voyages to LGBTQ+ friendly sailings, we’ve selected our favourite luxury cruise operators and taken a look at what’s included in the price.

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When it comes to cruising, Silversea responds to the question, “are cruises inclusive?” with a resounding yes. As the pioneers of all-inclusive cruising, you can expect to eat, drink, explore and indulge to your heart's content during your time on one of their boutique-style luxury ships. Sailing to over 900 destinations, on all seven continents, Silversea specialises in off-the-beaten-track itineraries, adventurous destinations and experiences, and are experts in making your fantasy holiday a firm reality. 

Accommodation is spacious, offering ocean views, with most including private verandas. Elsewhere, gastronomes can expect culinary fireworks with a top-class selection of cuisines and dining experiences to suit all and every taste. Consistently recognised for their exceptional excursions, Silversea has been named Best Small Ship Cruise Line for 12 years by Condé Nast Traveller

What’s included? 

  • Door-to-door executive transfers for seamless travel from home to ship and back again
  • 24-hour gourmet dining, including premium alcoholic beverages
  • Award-winning entertainment
  • A complimentary shore excursion each day
  • Butler service in every suite, in every category

What’s not included?

Silversea does not provide for the care, entertainment or supervision of children, so this isn’t the best option for families. 

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Celebrity Cruises

Designed to smash any preconceptions you may have of cruising clean out of the water, Celebrity Cruises takes the concept of luxury cruising to new heights. Michelin-starred dining and the best choice of wine at sea, a sleek and stylish design, and a slightly younger demographic than many other cruise operators make for a unique and memorable cruising experience. 

Visiting more than 300 destinations around the world, health-conscious travellers are also well catered for with all vessels boasting state-of-the-art fitness centres, basketball courts and half-ship jogging tracks, while other activities include dance classes, wine tasting, painting and themed lectures. And as the first cruise operator to legally recognise and host a same-sex marriage ceremony onboard, Celebrity Cruises is renowned for making LGBTQ+ travellers feel right at home. 

What’s included?

  • Drinks, meals, wifi and tips on every cruise
  • A wide range of entertainment, including theatre, music and comedy 
  • Casino entry
  • Daytime activities, such as movie screenings, cocktail-making classes, arts and crafts classes, and golf competitions
  • Sun decks and pools

What’s not included

Spa facilities and treatments (payment options include a day or single week pass).

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Established in 1840, Cunard pioneered the golden age of cruising, with iconic historical figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant comprising former guests of these elegant liners. Described as “floating palaces on a human scale”, Cunard prides itself on opulence, with their flagship RMS Queen Mary 2 featuring lavish art deco interiors. 

Ideal for special occasions, guests on Cunard cruises can expect to dress up for dinner, with strict dress codes enforced, creating a real sense of occasion, while ballrooms and theatres add to the glamour. Evening entertainment is top tier, with West-End calibre theatrical productions, live music and ballroom and sequence dancing to participate in. Expect traditional white-glove service, elegantly appointed accommodation and a welcome dose of old-fashioned cordiality. 

What’s included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food 
  • Traditional afternoon tea each day
  • Activities, including group dance classes, guest-speaker events, deck games, quizzes, movie screenings, access to sports and gym facilities, open-air pools and library
  • Entertainment, including live music, theatre performances and Cunard’s famous Gala evenings 

What’s not included

Spa treatments and drinks packages.

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Arguably one of the best luxury river cruise operators in the market, Uniworld sails to spectacular destinations in Europe, Asia, Egypt and Peru. With an average capacity of just 120 guests, expect an elegant and intimate cruising experience with outstanding service and one to 2.3 crew-to-guest ratio, one of the highest in the river cruise industry. 

Uniworld takes pride in its “no request too large, no detail too small” promise, so expect to feel well-looked after on one of its voyages. Sailing by river offers all the benefits of a traditional cruise, plus the addition of inland travel, with Uniworld offering enticing shore excursions, plus the highest degree of all-inclusive benefits on the rivers. Are cruises all-inclusive? With a few exceptions, such as spa treatments, the answer is an encouraging yes. 

What’s included?

  • Unlimited premium spirits and wines
  • Delicious five-star, farm-to-table cuisine
  • Onboard entertainment and enrichment, including local musicians and dancers representing their local culture
  • Onboard fitness centre and wellness classes
  • All scheduled airport transfers

What’s not included?

Spa treatments. There are also no special arrangements or child-friendly activities either onboard or onshore for children aged four and under.

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Sailing to over 300 destinations across more than 100 countries on all seven continents, Princess is an excellent mid-priced operator and a solid choice for first-time cruisers. At over 1,000 feet, Princess is home to the largest balconies at sea, in addition to a whole host of enriching activities and entertainment options, including movies, magic, music, comedy and more. 

As well as activities such as stargazing and dance classes, Princess works with locals in each destination to bring you experiences that are authentic to the region, such as Mariachi bands in Mexico, ukulele lessons in Hawaii, and traditional Maori performances in New Zealand. Attracting a wide range of ages, Princess Cruises are a great choice for an extended family getaway. 

What’s included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • Room service
  • Fitness centre access

What’s not included?

Alcoholic and soft drinks, tips, shore excursions, and some exercise classes. 

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Royal Caribbean

Cruises with Royal Caribbean are an excellent choice for families with young children and offer a plethora of different activities for all ages, including their year-round Adventure Ocean programme, one of the cruise sector’s leading youth schemes. As well as water parks with cannons and sprayers to keep youngsters entertained, travellers of all ages can try their hand at rock-climbing walls, surfing simulators and zip lines, with Royal Caribbean's sports activities’ showcasing the best at sea. High-octane entertainment options include high-dive and synchronised swimming shows, stilt walkers, classic Broadway productions and DreamWorks characters for the kids, meaning you’ll never be short of things to keep you occupied. The big entertainment onboard corresponds to the gargantuan size of their ships, with their Allure of the Seas vessel accommodating nearly 5,500 passengers. 

What’s included?

  • Accommodation
  • Most meals onboard
  • Entertainment, including shows, nightclubs and more
  • Fitness facilities
  • Most children’s activities/groups (excluding 6-36 months)

What’s not included? 

  • Dining in speciality restaurants
  • Shore excursions
  • Spa and salon services
  • Internet access
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tips
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Inclusions are correct at the time of print on 5 July 2022. Please see the cruise line websites for up-to-date information. 


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