What's included when I book a cruise holiday?

If you've never thought about booking a cruise before, it's good to know what amazing value you get from your holiday!
Food Options
On every cruise you can find on our site, food is included as standard. Not just breakfast, lunch or dinner, but all your food, right down to that mid morning brunch, or mid afternoon nibble, through to a midnight feast after an evening's entertainment!
Cruises are full board, with lots of different food outlets, ranging from cafes and snack bars, to restaurants and buffets, with everything in between. Generally you will have a buffet restaurant and some snack options included, serving food from breakfast until midnight or maybe even later, in different locations around the ship.
On many ships there are a large selection of eateries, with some 'speciality restaurants' serving dishes and cuisine from all over the world, to an almost Michelin star level. These venues require a cover charge to dine. The food quality is superb, and the charge is nothing like you would pay back home for similar standards. You will also usually need to book for these.
Quite often, reserving a dining package before you go will cover the charge for several speciality restaurants at a discounted rate, so it's definitely worth logging into your cruise planner / personaliser once you've booked to see what the latest deals are!
Drinks onboard
Drinks, from tea and coffee to soft drinks, water and alcohol, as with any other holiday, are widely available. Depending on what type of cruise holiday you are after, you can choose a cruise line with an All Inclusive drinks option included, or you can choose a cruise where some non alcoholic and all alcoholic drinks plus speciality teas and coffees are purchased on board. On all ships, standard tea and coffee, water and sometimes fruit squashes are available in the buffet restaurant. From this level upwards, depending on what you choose to drink, you will pay using your onboard account, so if you are planning on having more than a couple of drinks a day, you might want to upgrade by purchasing an All Inclusive package to include these. Both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks packages are available, but it's worth bearing in mind that if one person in a cabin wants all inclusive, then the cruise line will most likely insist on everyone in the cabin buying a package. Alternatively, when you book go for a cruise line with a free All Inclusive package, either as standard or as a special offer! Once onboard you can choose to upgrade to a premium drinks package if needed, which has a greater choice and more top shelf brands.
Day trips and shore excursions
In every port, the team onboard will organise day trips to see the exciting destinations at their best! You can book these day trips, called shore excursions, in advance, or alternatively when you arrive onboard check out the 'shore excursions' desk or your onboard planner. Very few cruise lines include these in the cost of your holiday, so it pays to plan ahead. Sometimes you may be better to book before you travel in order to get a discounted price, book a shore excursion bundle, organise your excursion with an excursion company, or even head out on your own if you know where you want to go. One thing to remember though: If you book a cruise line excursion, the ship will wait for you if you are delayed. With an alternative excursion provider, make sure you are covered in the event of a delay so that your tour guide will get you back in time, or take you to the next port of call to board!
One thing everyone can agree on - cruise ships provide a huge amount of entertainment options! From cafes, bars and pubs, to lounges, theatres, casinos and shows, there is plenty to keep you busy morning, noon and night! Music and theatre performances are a daily occurrence, with larger ships even performing full Broadway shows, most of which are included in the price of your holiday. Wander around the ship in the evening and you will find music in the bars, pianos in the atrium, singing in the lounges... refer to your onboard guide which is published daily to see what's on today! Of course the usual suspects like Karaoke, pub quizzes and bingo games are always around, plus some ships even produce TV onboard, filming game shows, talent contests and even Masterchef at Sea programmes that you can join in with as an audience member or contestant for your fifteen minutes of fame!
Most people who haven't tried a cruise holiday yet have no idea how much there is to do on a cruise ship: depending which cruise line and ship you choose, the possibilities are endless! From your standard swimming and sun lounging, gyms, kids clubs and arcades, to sky diving and surfing, virtual reality escape rooms and bumper cars, ice skating and trapeze lessons plus everything in between, there are so many things to do on a cruise that the most difficult bit is choosing what you want from your ship. In the same way a holiday village, resort or a spa operates, many of the options are free, some come at a charge and specialist treatments like a spa day are always payable, so do your research before you travel.
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