What’s included in my cruise fare? Know before you go!


If you ever wanted to cruise, but thought it would be too expensive, you might be surprised at what is included in your cruise fare.

  • Your stateroom accommodations
  • All of your meals and even snacks and ice cream onboard. Especially great for those with big appetites or teens! You can order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts, but within in reason and please use common sense.
  • Ocean transportation
  • Onboard activities and entertainment
  • Certain beverages such as milk, iced tea, lemonade, water (not bottled), and coffee/tea with meals. This varies between cruise lines.

What is not included in your cruise fare? Keep in mind that this is dependent on the actual cruise lines, which differ widely.

  • Port charges (taxes and fees) and taxes. Port charges are the taxes and fees charged by the various government and port authorities at the ports where your ship calls, the cruise line passes these fees along to the passengers. These typically cover the cost of docking and use of the port facilities; “parking fees” for your ship if you will. Certain government authorities impose a “head tax” on cruise passengers, which is used to maintain and improve the ports infrastructure.
  • Airfare from your home to the cruise port
  • Shore excursions
  • Alcoholic beverages: Consider purchasing the drink of the day and not getting the souvenir glass, which will save you money. Some cruise lines allow you to bring a bottle of wine onboard, but be aware that they do charge “corkage” fees to open the bottle at dinner.
  • Specialty beverages and food: Coffee, soda, ice cream, and other fee-based food or beverage items. If there is a price listed, then it is not free.
  • Specialty dining: You might be turned off to see that the cruise lines now offer specialty restaurants with price per person charges. However, some of the best food can be found at these restaurants and if you want to have a romantic meal with a loved one or are celebrating a special occasion, it can be worth it. Can you imagine going to a restaurant on land and paying only $25 per person for your appetizer, entree, and dessert?
  • Casino
  • Shopping: Gift shop or shops onboard expenses
  • Spa and salon
  • Photographs from the onboard photographers
  • Art from the art auction
  • Internet access
  • Telephone calls: Ship to shore calls can be expensive!
  • Laundry and/or dry cleaning
  • Medical services: Should you require medical assistance, this is generally not included and is another great reason to always purchase travel insurance.
  • Gratuities: Cruise lines have made it far simpler these days to allow you to prepay your gratuities or to add them to your onboard account. Porter gratuities before you get on the ship at the port are also not included.

Although the second list may be longer, when comparing a cruise vacation to a land vacation, cruises tend to be far more affordable. You can save even more money by booking your cruise in advance instead of waiting so why not book next summer’s vacation or holiday cruise now?