You’ve got a butler. The fine dining’s covered. Sarah Loughlin explores the extra charges that can still crop up on an all-inclusive luxury cruise.
What do you give the cruiser who already has everything? That’s the dilemma of luxury cruise lines chasing a well-heeled client who just expects a butler, champagne on ice and a restaurant run by a celebrity chef.
All-inclusive has become the latest catchcry. But all-inclusive fares may still end up costing you more than you think.
It would be unreasonable to assume absolutely everything would be included on a journey of several weeks. Of course, basics such as dining, beverages, entertainment, and activities shouldn’t really attract extra charges unless it is clearly spelt out in advance.
With some ships, however, your level of inclusiveness may depending on your cabin choice, while with others, passengers across the ship will be charged for selected products and services.
Different aspects of luxury cruising appeal to different passengers, and so you may find the extra costs are for services you wouldn’t use anyway.
As with all-inclusive packages on land, companies have to draw the line somewhere. A charge on a particularly popular celebrity restaurant on your second night may have more to do ensuring every passenger gets a chance than the money, for instance.
Here’s how these high-profile luxury lines interpreted all-inclusive in their offering:
Crystal cruises added unlimited alcohol and soft drinks to their fare in 2012, and they are now improving the offering once again in line with the multi-million-dollar refurbishments on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.
“For years now, Crystal has delivered on the promise of all-inclusive travel. But the new Crystal goes much further. The new phrase of All Exclusive describes Crystal’s mission and communicates something bigger, bolder and unprecedented – by sea, river, land and air. It’s exclusive access to the seemingly inaccessible and custom experiences that come with trusted experience.” Karen Christensen, Senior Vice President & Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, told Cruise Passenger.
Currently passengers get 60 minutes WIFI per day, but this will be unlimited from October 2017. Shore tours are among the products not included in your all-inclusive Crystal Cruises fare. Having said that, Crystal does offer a complimentary shuttle from port to town if it is not within walking distance, so there is a free option if you want to explore on your own.
Other chargeable extras include valet services for laundry and dry cleaning (complimentary if you are in a penthouse), spa services (plus 18% gratuity), selected vintage alcoholic beverages, wine pairing dinners in the Vintage Room (roughly $1000USD per person). Additionally, while one visit per speciality restaurant per person is included in your fare, extra visits are charged at US$30 per person.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
While Regent market themselves as the most inclusive luxury cruise line, with benefits such as airfare from selected airports, hotel stays (with certain cabins) and transfers to the ship included, there are still some extras that you will have to fork out for. Regent offer a selection of shore excursions as part of your fare, however, the Regent choice shore excursions are not included. All spa treatments come at an extra cost, plus gratuity. Gratuities are included for housekeeping, bar, and dining staff, but not for spa therapists, an 18% tip will be automatically added to your room bill. Gratuities for local guides and selected vintage alcoholic beverages are also not included.
It may come as a surprise that, family owned Italian cruise line, Silversea charges guests for two out of the six dining options aboard Silver Spirit. Le Champagne the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea (also available on Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Cloud), and Seishin an Asian fusion restaurant (exclusive to Silver Spirit) will both set you back US$40 per person. While you will have to pay extra to enjoy the selected speciality restaurants, every cabin aboard Silversea ships does come with a sea view and its own butler service.
Other chargeable extras include shore excursions (transport from port to town included), and spa services (plus 18% gratuity), selected vintage alcoholic beverages, selected fitness classes.
Seabourn Cruise Line
If you want to check your emails to see what has been going on back on dry land, it will cost you extra. Wi-Fi aboard Seabourn ships costs US$0.04 per minute, with onboard packages available which make it slightly cheaper if you know you will be using the internet a lot. Internet can be accessed via the onboard computers or on your personal device.
Other chargeable extras include spa services, shore excursions, selected vintage alcoholic beverages, gratuities, and valet services (including laundry, pressing and dry cleaning).