What’s Included on a Cruise: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re going on a cruise for the first time, you might be curious about what is included or “free” on a cruise. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various things that are included on a cruise and may even surprise first-time cruisers. From accommodations to food and beyond, we will cover all the essentials. We will also discuss things that are not included on a cruise and provide tips on how to plan and budget for any extra costs. Whether you’re sailing with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, or Norwegian, these tips will help you make the most of your cruise experience. Cruises are known for offering great value and including a wide range of amenities compared to other forms of travel. So let’s delve into what is included on a cruise and get you ready for your upcoming adventure at sea!

What’s Included on a Cruise

Whats Included on a Cruise: A Comprehensive Guide


When you book a cruise, your accommodations are included in the cost of your cruise. There are different cabin options available, ranging from affordable inside cabins to luxurious suites. No matter which type of cabin you choose, you can expect a comfortable bed, a private bathroom with a shower, and basic amenities. Your cabin will also be cleaned by a stateroom attendant either once or twice a day, depending on your preference or the cruise line’s policy.


One of the biggest perks of a cruise vacation is the food that is included in the price. There are several dining options available on a cruise ship, including buffet options, main dining rooms, and casual restaurants. The buffet offers a wide variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. The main dining rooms provide a sit-down meal experience with a menu that changes daily. You can enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner here. There are also casual restaurants like poolside grills, pizzerias, and Mexican eateries where you can grab a quick bite to eat. Late-night snacks and unlimited ice cream are also included on a cruise. Some cruise lines even offer free room service for those times when you just want to relax in your cabin.

Evening Entertainment

Cruise ships offer a variety of evening entertainment options that are included in the price of your cruise. One of the highlights is the Broadway-style shows that are performed onboard. These shows feature talented singers, dancers, and actors who put on dazzling performances. In addition to the Broadway-style shows, there are also guest entertainers who come onboard to provide even more entertainment options. You might see comedians, magicians, or musicians performing during your cruise. The evening entertainment on a cruise is sure to keep you entertained and provide a truly memorable experience.

Onboard Attractions

Cruise ships are like floating resorts, with a wide range of onboard attractions that are included in the cost of your cruise. There are thrilling zip lines where you can soar above the ship and take in breathtaking views. Water slides provide fun for both kids and adults, allowing you to cool off and have a blast. Pools are available for swimming and lounging, and hot tubs offer a relaxing soak. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone onboard a cruise ship.

Enrichment and Educational Activities

Cruises also offer enrichment and educational activities that are included in the price. You can attend destination seminars, where experts provide valuable information and insights about the ports of call on your itinerary. Lectures on various topics are often available, allowing you to learn something new while cruising. If you’re feeling creative, you can participate in art classes where you can unleash your artistic side. These activities provide an opportunity to expand your knowledge and enrich your cruise experience.

Fitness Facilities and Classes

Staying active while on a cruise is made easy with the fitness facilities and classes that are included in the cost of your cruise. You’ll have access to a fully equipped gym where you can work out and stay in shape. Many cruise ships also have a walking track where you can take a leisurely stroll or go for a jog while enjoying panoramic views of the ocean. Daily fitness classes are offered, ranging from yoga and Pilates to spinning and Zumba. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just want to stay active during your vacation, the fitness facilities and classes on a cruise ship have got you covered.

Pool and Beach Towels

Don’t worry about packing pool and beach towels for your cruise because they are provided onboard. You can find pool towels near the pool area, and beach towels are available if you’re visiting a cruise line’s private island. So, leave those bulky towels at home and save some space in your luggage.

Basic Drinks

While some beverages may have additional charges, there are basic drinks that are included in the cost of your cruise. You can enjoy a variety of juices, milk, coffee, and tea throughout your cruise. These beverages are available in the buffet, main dining rooms, and other dining venues onboard. However, soda, alcoholic beverages, and bottled or canned water may incur extra charges, so it’s important to be aware of the drink options and any associated costs.

Supervised Child Care and Activities

Cruises are great for families because they offer supervised child care and activities that are included in the price. Kids’ camps provide a fun and safe environment for children to play and make new friends. Trained staff members organize activities and entertainment tailored to different age groups. From arts and crafts to games and themed parties, there’s always something exciting happening for kids onboard a cruise ship. Parents can have peace of mind knowing that their children are in good hands while they enjoy some time for themselves.

Additional Costs to Consider

While many things are included on a cruise, there are additional costs to consider. Gratuities, which are tips for the crew members who provide excellent service throughout your cruise, are not typically included in the price and are usually added to your onboard account. Excursions, which are organized activities and tours at the ports of call, may come at an extra cost. Specialty restaurants, which offer a more intimate dining experience with unique menus, often have additional charges. The spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments and services, usually incurs extra costs as well. If you want access to Wi-Fi or if you plan on visiting the casino, these amenities may require additional fees. It’s important to budget for these potential costs and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise vacation.

Cruises offer an incredible value with a wide range of inclusions compared to other forms of travel. From accommodations and food to entertainment and activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy onboard a cruise ship. While there may be additional costs to consider, such as gratuities and excursions, planning and budgeting ahead of time will help you make the most of your cruise experience. So, get ready to set sail and embark on an unforgettable adventure at sea. Bon voyage!

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