While cruising can be among the most relaxing vacations, there are some aspects that can also be annoying.
Particularly, it can sometimes feel like even though you’d paid for a cruise, you’re always spending more once you’re on the ship.
In fact, onboard spending is big business. In Cruzely’s analysis of onboard spending reported by cruise lines, the amount spent once on the ship for an average cruise was around 35-40% of the cruise fare.
Celebrity Cruises — the luxury brand that’s part of Royal Caribbean — offers a new way of doing things that should make those people happy who normally get annoyed by the extra costs.
The cruise line offers a program All Included. This program is a more “all inclusive” way of sailing where your gratuities, wi-fi, and alcoholic drinks are all included already in the cruise fare.
That can potentially save you from having to spend hundreds of dollars extra once on the ship. As with most things cruising, however, there are often questions about how new policies like this one work. We’ve laid out everything you need to know about Celebrity’s Always Included program below.
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What Is Celebrity’s All Included?
This program is a different way of doing things from Celebrity Cruises. Under the offer, passengers have a choice of paying extra and receiving their shipboard gratuities, the Classic Beverage Package, and wi-fi service included automatically with their cruise fare.
If a passenger prefers, there are options for a “cruise only” fare at a lower rate. Or they can book the All Included fare and not worry about having extra charges for things like drinks or gratuities once on their cruise.
How Much is Always Included Worth?
With this offer, you get tips, a drink package, and wi-fi included in your fare instead of being an out-of-pocket expense on the ship. So what’s that actually worth?
Currently, Celebrity has a daily gratuity charge was $17.50 per person, per day for most cabins (suites were charged more). The Classic Drink Package was $89 per person, per day with the additional 20% gratuity included, for a total of $106.80. The basic wi-fi package costs $20 per person, per day.
That comes out to a total of $144.30 per person, per day.
So for a couple sailing on a week cruise, this comes out about $2,000 over the course of the entire trip that they won’t be spending once on the ship.
How Much Extra Is the All Included Offer?
There’s no such thing as “free” in cruising and that includes the All Included deal. With this offer, you have your choice of either the basic “cruise only” fare or the higher-priced All Included price.
We searched a number of cruises to compare the prices for the same cabin with the offer and without. What we found is that the price difference will vary, but you can expect to spend between $80-$120 more per day, per person for All Included.
For example, we found one 7-day cruise sailing in a balcony cabin at a base price of $949, or $1,549 per person with All Included. That’s an extra $600, or around $85 per day.
Another 6-day cruise had an interior cabin for $394 per person as the base fare, but $870 for All Included. That’s $476 extra, or about $80 per day.
You’ll want to check the prices for your specific cruise. But if you planned on buying the drink package and wi-fi, then anything priced below $145 per day makes it worth the price increase.
Is This a Limited-Time Sale?
Every so often, you’ll see cruise lines offer something similar to this program as a special deal to get passengers to book. That’s what makes the Always Included program different.
This is not a sale or special deal — it’s a long-term change for the cruise line. If you sail Celebrity, you should be able to take advantage of this offer on your cruise.
Which Drink Package Is Included?
Celebrity offers two drink packages. There’s the Classic Beverage Package and the Premium Package. With this program, the Classic package is included with your fare.
This package covers drinks up to a menu price of $10. Normally the package costs $89 per day, plus 20% gratuity, for a total of $106.80 per person, per day. This package covers many typical liquors and cocktails, about 15 types of beer, and also soda, premium coffee, bottled water and more.
If you want more drink choices, you can upgrade to the Premium Beverage Package, which covers drinks up to $17 per serving, for an additional $24 per person, per day.
Which Internet Package Is Included?
Celebrity offers two different Internet packages: Basic and Premium. The “Basic” package allows web browsing for things like checking email and social media. The “Premium” package offers streaming capability, as well as things like Facetime, social media posting and more.
With the Always Included program, you get access to the “Basic” package for each person.
What About Upgrading the Offer?
Under the All Included program, the drink package offered is the “Classic” package and the wi-fi offered is the “Basic” level of service. What if you want to upgrade to a higher-end drink package or better wi-fi?
In that case, you have the option.
To upgrade to the Premium beverage package, Celebrity says you may do so via the cruise line’s online cruise planner, up to two day before the cruise departs. There’s an upcharge of $24 per person per day, which includes the gratuity.
If you want to upgrade to the faster Premium wi-fi service, then the process is the same. In this case, there is an upgrade charge of $15 per person, per day.
Does Everyone Have to Buy the All Included Offer if One Person Does? What About Kids?
Yes, when booking there is no option to select the offer only for some guests. All passengers under a reservation will either be under the All Included offer if selected, or the cruise-only fare.
Keep this in mind when budgeting. If paying extra for the offer to get the drink package, and someone doesn’t drink, it might not be worth it.
So what if you have kids or someone else that doesn’t drink? In this case, Celebrity points to the non-alcoholic drinks available in the package and suggests that kids will still be charged for the upgraded package, although obviously won’t be served alcohol.
Is All Included Worth it?
So is the All Included offer worth the extra money? We suggest looking at a few factors to decide if it’s worth it for you.
As mentioned All Included comes with a higher price tag. That price isn’t set in stone. In our searches, we found the price bump to be between $80-$120 per person, per day. Given that the value received is roughly $145 per person, per day, it is a deal in that aspect.
But would you buy the packages otherwise? If not, then All Included might not be worth it.
For gratuities, having them included in the cruise fare is a nice perk as it’s something you’d pay for anyway. As for drinks and wi-fi, the value depends on if this is something you’d normally splurge on during your cruise or not.
If you’re not a big drinker, then it could be that you’d be better off without the program. However, you can still benefit from not having to worry about your drink bill (even for non-alcoholic beverages) at the end of the trip.
Same goes for the wi-fi access. Many people like to use cruises as a way to escape and prefer not to have access. Even so, with All Included, you’ll end up paying for it in your cruise fare.
For those that normally keep their onboard spending to a minimum, then it’s possible you’ll end up paying more for your cruise than you normally would. However, if you’re someone that enjoys having drinks and Internet access, then you likely come out ahead.
Either way, it is a nice feature to have these amenities included, giving you fewer onboard expenses to worry about while enjoying yourself on the ship.
More on Sailing Celebrity:
- Celebrity Cruise Gratuities (Tips): Full Guide to Cost & How They Work
- Worth It? Celebrity Cruises Drink Packages Explained (Prices, What’s Included, and More)