Explained: Hotel Day Passes and Why You Should Get One on a Cruise

When it comes to cruising, there really are two different areas of your trip to think about.

First, there is the cruise ship and everything that comes along with it. That includes your cabin, the restaurants, entertainment on board, and even the ship itself. Cruise lines spend literally billions of dollars to make your time on the ship enjoyable and it shows. From ship design to expensive production shows, the cruise lines spare little expense to keep you happy.

All that is for good reason. You may not realize it, but the vast majority of your cruise is spent on the ship. In fact, on a week-long cruise with three stops, you might spend a total of about 24 hours in ports of call.

That means ports of calls are the other area you need to think about on your cruise. With so little time in port, you want to make the most of your day on land.

Typically, this means booking an excursion. Excursions can range from adventurous (scuba diving or off-roading) to the relaxing (hanging out on a beach). And one of the favorites among many cruise passengers is purchasing a hotel day pass.

View of Maya Chan

What is a Hotel Day Pass?

If you’ve never heard of a hotel day pass, don’t worry. They are simple to understand.

Think of a beach resort and all the amenities they offer — lounge chairs, pools, food, bar drinks, showers, lockers, and more. The only issue is that you have to be a guest in order to take advantage. Going to visit a place like Cozumel or Nassau means you aren’t going to be staying the night, so you can’t enjoy the hotel, right?

Not so fast. To increase their business, many of these hotels in tourist hotspots offer day passes. You pay a fee and get to enjoy all the amenities of the hotel, just as if you were staying there as a guest. And in the case of some hotels you can also get unlimited food and alcoholic beverages while you enjoy the day.

Why Are These Day Passes Popular?

Many cruise passengers love to sign up for hotel day passes while they are in ports of call. So why are they so popular?

One reason is likely their convenience. You simply pay one fee and your entire day — including food and drink — can be paid for. There’s no need to constantly shell out more and more money during your stay.

Furthermore, day passes offer a relaxing way to spend your time. If you’re simply looking for a nice beach to spend the day lounging and playing in the water — without having to constantly be on the go — then it’s tough to beat.

Finally, we find that most day passes offer great value for what you get. We’ve been to places right on the beach that have unlimited food and drinks that are around $50 per person. That also included use of kayaks, our own private palapa, showers, and more. Considering that lunch and drinks alone would cost at least half that amount during a normal day, it’s a small price to pay for your own private spot on the beach.

What Isn’t Included

With all the talk of what’s included in a hotel day pass, there are a few things you should know that aren’t included.

First and foremost, a hotel day pass does not give you access to a hotel room. So if you wanted to head inside for a nap or use a room, it’s not part of the deal. As well, there may be other upcharges or things not included. Not every day pass includes food and drink. Others can charge extra for amenities like kayak or watersports.

The good news is that most websites will lay out exactly what is — and isn’t — included in your fare.

If you’re interested in one of these passes for your next cruise, we have information on Cozumel resorts with day passes and Nassau resorts with day passes.

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