Cruise TipsWhat is Included with the Price of Your Cruise?

What is Included with the Price of Your Cruise?

included in cruise price
Pool aboard cruise ship

A lot of first time cruisers like to know what is included with the price of a cruise.  The greatest thing about a cruise is that there is just so much included, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money once you get on board.  In fact, the only extra thing you will have to pay for is tips, and even that can be automatically applied to your account with some cruise lines.  Usually this is about $10 a day, which is fairly customary.

A lot of these things are cruise line specific, so just take these tips as a general reference guide.

Here are some of the main things that are included with your cruise far:


Cruising is a food-lovers paradise, and you can eat as much of it as you want.  The buffet on the lido deck is free and the main dining areas allow you to eat as much as you want for the included price as well.  You really never have to pay for food at all if you don’t want to.  There are other restaurants on the cruise ships that will carry a surcharge from $10 – $35 a person.  But you can get great quality food in many other places on the ship, so if you are on a budget you can eat as much as you want and not feel guilty (not about the price anyway).



You can drink as much water, juice, coffee, and tea as you want, but any other kind of drink will cost you.  This is the case with most cruise lines anyway.  There are some ships that offer complimentary alcohol.  You can also choose to buy a soda card for around $6-7 a day which will allow you to drink as much soda as you want for the entire cruise.  All drinks that must be paid for have the tip included in the price and the charges are simply put on your room key card to make things simple.

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This one is pretty obvious.  You get to sleep on the ship for the included price as well.  Not every stateroom is the same though, and some of them will have nicer amenities than others.  Most of the time the room will come with soap, shampoo, and conditioner, and you will have a little safe in the room as well, so you can keep your valuables in there.  Some ships offer free self-serve laundry service, but most of the time you will have to pay for it.  You will also have towels in the room that you can take with you anywhere on the ship, but if you do not return them at the end of the trip your card will be charged.



Every cruise line and cruise ship is different in regard to the different activities it offers, but here are a few that current cruise ships offer and they are all free as well:  Ice skating, rock climbing, mini-golf, flowrider surfing, ping-pong, water slides, basketball, volleyball, zip-line and more.  More things are being added to cruise ships all the time and most of the time they are free to use.


Room Service

This has to be my favorite included aspect of a cruise.  You can get free room service with a variety of options on the menu.  Some cruise lines will only offer free room service until 11pm so make sure you order before that to avoid the charge.  Also, it is customary to tip your room service attendant with a couple dollars, so it may not seem entirely free.


Pools and Hot Tubs

There are a number of pools on board cruise ships, and there should be hot tubs through out as well.  The spa will have more private hot tubs and whirlpools, but you can spend as much time as you want swimming and soaking in the different pools and tubs across the ship.


Live Entertainment

There are nightly shows that you can see on your cruise as well.  There is no charge for these, and they are a major part of the reason why people love cruising.  The talent and quality of these shows is usually very good, especially with a newer and bigger ship.  Some ships (Royal Caribbean) have ice skating rinks and offer ice shows as well.  Shows can include everything from musicals to comedians and magicians alike.


Live Music and Games

All over the ship you will find musicians singing to any special request that people throw at them.  Often you will find places where people can sing karaoke style as well.  One favorite aboard ships are the contests though.  You can play trivia, have a scavenger hunt on board the boat or enjoy any number of other games and contests that are going on.  Just be sure to check your itinerary every day.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise TipsWhat is Included with the Price of Your Cruise?

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