August 27, 2014 | By Collette Peck
To all cruising aficionados:
I am happy to report that I’m finding more and more cruise lines listening to their travelers who are sick and tired of being “nickel and dimed” once they get onboard a ship. Cruise lines are starting to offer a more truly “all inclusive” experience.
Many of the premium brand cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland America are offering daily beverage packages and when you book in certain categories or have a particular status with the cruise line, many other amenities are also included. However, you still have to carry around your key card when being served, and you still have to purchase shore excursions separately.
Luxury cruise lines such as Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Crystal, Seabourn, Paul Gauguin and the new Viking Ocean Cruises include all or most of these options. Let’s take a more detailed look at a few of these small luxury ocean cruise ship options.
Regent Seven Seas leads the way with the all-inclusive luxury cruise product. Included in your cruise: luxurious suites, unlimited shore excursions, specialty restaurants, unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, open bars and lounges, plus in-suite mini-bar replenished daily, pre-paid gratuities and transfers between airport and ship.
Paul Gauguin, a ship built solely to sail the islands of Tahiti and the South Pacific, offers a truly all-inclusive experience – not only do they include in their pricing the round trip air from Los Angeles, but once onboard all your gourmet meals, beverages, bottled water, hot beverages, select wine and spirits, and don’t forget gratuities are all included. They also have a marina off the back of the ship that has paddle boards, kayaks and snorkel gear that are all included.
The brand new Viking Ocean Cruises offers a private veranda for each stateroom, shore excursions in each port, cultural enrichment on board, a variety of dining options, complimentary restaurant reservations, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner service, specialty coffees and teas, wi-fi, self service laundry, and 24 hour room service — all included in one price.
So for folks that have sailed many premium brand ships and find that the bill that greets them at the end of the cruise is more than what they paid for the cruise, it might be time to upgrade your cruise experience to one of these luxury cruise lines.