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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From Sea to Shining Sea

When is all-inclusive not all-inclusive? When the term is used in cruise advertising. Thanks to a chart developed by All Things Cruise, we can now compare apples to oranges.

For example, it's a common misconception that your cruise price includes alcoholic drinks. Au contraire, Pierre. The chart shows that drinking isn't free on most ships, nor are gratuities and land excursions usually included in the base price.

Studying the chart, which compares the offerings of more than 30 cruise lines, leads to several interesting conclusions. Smaller ships tend offer more "freebies" than large ships do. For example, as ATC notes, the only amenity included on Carnival ships is 24-hour room service. Meantime, AMA Waterways and European Waterways, which operate small river-cruising vessels, include both land excursions and wine and cocktails with dinner. Scenic, Seabourn and Silversea appear to be the most generous in terms of their included amenities. Of course, these lines do have a more expensive base price. But as you realistically budget for a cruise, it is important to know how much extra you will need to pay in order to have the experience you expect to have, without being nickel and dimed.

As the embed code for sharing this information resulted in a chart containing cruise ship cabin-sized font (read teeny-tiny), please click here for a reader-friendly grid.

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