• Always or almost always included are stateroom accommodations, stateroom amenities (e.g., shampoo), meals, certain beverages, entertainment, onboard activities, supervised children's programs, access to the exercise facility, and of course, the ship transportation. In some cases, room service or dining at a special alternative onboard restaurant entails a relatively small add-on charge.
  • Sometimes included but sometimes not are port charges (what port charges cruise lines to dock), government fees and taxes, and transfers between the airport and the dock when air travel is purchased from the cruise line.
  • Usually not included are airfares, shore excursions, gratuities to the ship and the shoreside personnel, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (but they cost a little less than a hotel), optional activities, laundry, certain special offerings (e.g., gourmet desserts at an onboard sweets shop), Internet connections, and pre- post, and/ or land packages. Some cruise lines bundle pre- and/or post-cruise experiences , at one price, into a single package. Note: Very upscale cruise lines tend to include almost everything in their packages. Clients on such cruises get almost all drinks and maybe some shore excursions for the price they pay.
  • Never included are the cost for meals ashore, parking at the departure port, shopping, gambling, photos, ship-to-shore phone calls, medical services, babysitting services, personal services (e.g., massage or hairstyling), and travel insurance.

A cruise is generally an inclusive vacation. When people pay for their cruise experience, they know up front what the majority of their vacation will cost. Rarely is this so for other sorts of trips. For example, a family driving through southern Europe will probably know what the air, hotel and car rental costs will be. But the cost for food, drinks, gas, tolls, and entertainment is quite unpredictable. These items could easily add 50% to the cost of the trip.

The degree of cruise "inclusiveness," however, varies from cruise line to cruise line, from ship to ship, and even from itinerary to itinerary.