17 Things That Are (Likely) Complimentary On Your Next Cruise Vacation

(Story by Bryce Sanders)

Cruises might be the original all-inclusive vacation. Yes, they charge for drinks and land packages. They have specialty restaurants. There is still a lot of stuff included as part of your basic cruise fare. Are you taking advantage of these opportunities?

Editor’s Note: For a comprehensive list across many cruise lines, All Things Cruise has a great chart here that covers:
• 24 hour cabin service
• Stocked in-cabin mini bar
• Wine anytime
• Specialty coffee
• Bottled water
• Soft drinks
• Transfers
• Gratuities
• Cocktails anytime
• Wine & cocktails dinner only
• Airfare
• Pre or post hotel
• Basic shore excursions
• All shore excursions
• Butler service

Some of Bryce’s complimentary items listed below might overlap with the chart.

1. Deck chairs. You wake up. Find one you like. Settle in for the morning or afternoon. Watch the world go by while being cooled by a continuous breeze. Look for other ships on the horizon. Look for dolphins or whales.
2. Gym. It’s probably better than any hotel gym you’ve ever seen! If it’s high up, it’s likely got great views. It’s rarely empty. It has professional staff.
3. Meals. This one’s obvious. You have at least three per day. Maybe extras like afternoon tea or a midnight buffet.
4. Room service. This might vary by ship. Open the desk drawer in your cabin. There should be a binder including a room service menu.
5. Breakfast in bed. They do this on Cunard. They probably do this on other lines too. Before turning in, fill out the breakfast order form and the time you want it delivered in the AM. Be sure to have a robe handy when there’s a knock on the door.
6. Laundry. Many decks have complimentary, self-service laundromats. How much easier would packing be if you knew you could wash your clothes during the voyage? How much easier will returning home be if you unpacked clean clothes?
7. Soft drinks. Not soda or cappuccino, but juices, lemonade, coffee and tea. The huge buffet restaurant, open long hours, usually has self-service machines.
8. Evening shows. Back home, you pay for entertainment. You go to plays, shows or concerts. The entertainment is complimentary shipboard.
9. Parties. There’s usually a captain’s welcome cocktail party. You enter the room, passing waiters with trays of wine and champagne glasses. Take one. They are complimentary.
10. Live music. Your ship has lots of lounges and clubs. From early evening to late night, there are bands or single musicians playing. There’s likely a dance club with a DJ too.
11. Orientation tour. How will you find all this complimentary stuff? There’s usually an organized tour run by the ship’s staff early in the voyage.
12. Newsletter. How can I get organized? Figure out what’s going on? What will I do first? You get a ship’s program delivered to your evening each evening. Plenty of time to plan the next day.
13. Singles groups. Ships have figured out single people go on cruises. “Love Boat” probably had something to do with it. They should have meet and greets for single aboard.
14. Port lectures. It’s your first time here. You might never pass this way again. The ship should have port orientation lectures. Your ship’s program should include a written guide and a map. These are complimentary. Organized tours are extra.
15. Library. You’ve got lots of time at sea. They should have an attractive library with comfy seating, magazines and plenty of books. It’s a good place if you want to read or think big thoughts.
16. Games. The ship has a large staff that organizes ping pong tournaments, bingo, trivia games and lots of other complimentary activities. The ship is big. It’s rare you will discover them by accident. Read your program.
17. Smiles. The ship is staffed with pleasant people. Your cabin steward and waiter will learn your name. They will smile and greet you when they see you approaching. Smile back. It costs nothing.

Sure, there are many things on board that come at a cost, but there are so many things built into your fare.

Story courtesy of Bryce Sanders

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