I recently went on my very first cruise… but before that, I knew nothing about cruises besides the pictures of beaches, pools, and fancy dinners posted by friends who just returned from a week at sea. And any time I searched on-line to see if I should bit the bullet and spend my hard earned money on an all-inclusive cruise rather than a ticket to Peru, all I found was positive accounts from happy travelers… I am going to give you a different sort of story than those I read. Let’s call it a better-rounded look at all-inclusive cruises. If you already know you love cruise, that’s great, cruise away, but if you are on the fence about wither they would be right for you, here’s what to know about all inclusive cruises.
Water Isn’t Free
This was probably the biggest shock I had on-board. The first hour I was on-board I learned that while you can get glasses of water at dinner, breakfast, and other places, the majority of your water will cost money. Water bottles are not include in the all-inclusive title, are not left in your room by your bed, and cannot be refilled at any point.
Drink Package is Forced
I don’t drink… pretty much ever. If I am at a wedding or some sort of big event, I may partake in a glass of champagne, but other than that, it’s a sober life for me. My husband, on the other hand, does drink and enjoys his beer. For that reason, when faced with the decision to buy a $450 pp drink package, our natural plan was for me to decline and my husband to accept. That is not an option though. One thing cruise lines don’t tell you is that if one person buys the drink package, the other person in the room has to buy it as well.
My friend always said that the cruise ships are so big that you never feel crowed… I am not sure if she was on a ghost ship or what, but I have to strongly disagree. There will be lines at the elevators, lines at the buffets, and crowds at the bars. It’s not a deal breaker but it is something to consider if you aren’t a people person.
Pool Chairs Go Fast
This goes along with my last point, if you want a nice spot to enjoy a sea day in the sun, you may want to set your alarm a little earlier. And this isn’t Mexico, they don’t allow you to throw your towel on a chair at 10 in the morning than head to breakfast.
I will give cruises this; the shows are pretty awesome. I went to the same show two nights in a row because it was that cool. So, look up the shows beforehand and book them. You don’t have to go, but you’ll have a seat in case you decide to.
They are expensive, they sell out, and they are in groups. If you want to go zip-lining through the jungles of Jamaica, you may want to budget for it. These excursion are pretty spendy, but you might not find a better price once you step off the ship. These adventure companies often work only with the cruise line directly, which means it is difficult to step off the ship on a port day and book an excursion last minute.
Time is tricky and if you don’t get it right, you may be watching the ship head out to sea from the docks of a foreign country. Be aware of ship time verse port time and know exactly when you have to be back and how long it will take to get there.
The best part about my cruise was that I went with a huge group of people. It made every night and day more fun because there were always people to hang out with. So if you are considering a cruise for a group, know that it will only increase the good times on the boat. This is a good guide for first timers and what to know about all inclusive cruises.
Look at the Schedule
There is always something going on on the ship, and it can really pay off to look at the daily ship schedule left in your room each night. There are so many things I would have missed if I didn’t look at the schedule, music in the park, yoga on the boardwalk, a surf completion… the list goes on and on. If there’s anything you take away from this list of what to know about all inclusive cruises, it should be this.
It is not For Everyone
I think it is perfectly acceptable to say that cruises aren’t for everyone, in fact cruises are not for me. That doesn’t make me a negative person, it just makes me aware of how I like to travel. You may read this list and think a cruise sounds like a good time and you would be right, or you may read it and think it sounds like it would be the best use of your vacation and would be right as well. That’s the thing about cruises, they are what you make them. Hopefully this guide for what to know about all inclusive cruises will help you decide if it’s right for you or not.