Trying to sift through the slight differences between various cruise line packages can be a headache, but this article by Travel Weekly provides an excellent summary of what is included in all of those ‘inclusive’ offers.
For a company like Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, which this year made a concerted effort to go after the higher-end river cruise and markets its offering as a “six-star” product, its all-inclusive pricing covers almost everything except for international airfare (this is a given for all cruise lines) and port charges.
As part of its rebranding, in 2014, Uniworld decided to also include gratuities in its pricing, as well as unlimited beverages onboard, not including top-shelf wines and spirits.
Another line embracing all-inclusivity is Scenic Cruises, which covers gratuities, unlimited beverages and port charges in its prices.
Viking Cruises also includes port charges in its prices. But Viking’s prices do not cover gratuities or unlimited beer and wine — Viking offers complimentary beer and wine with lunch and dinner.
AmaWaterways does not include port charges in its prices. Ama’s prices cover unlimited beer and wine with lunch and dinner, and do not cover gratuities.
Avalon Waterways’ prices exclude port charges and gratuities, but include unlimited wine and beer with dinner, and sparkling wine with breakfast.
Tauck’s river cruise prices cover gratuities, unlimited beer, wine and premium spirits, and port charges (the only line besides Scenic to include all three). Most meals are included, save for occasionally during a pre or post-cruise hotel stay when the ships are docked in larger cities where guests have free time to explore on their own — Tauck might not include a lunch or a dinner here or there to allow guests to have a meal in town, according to a company spokesperson. Tauck also includes some onshore meals in the cities and towns on the itinerary.
It’s the difference between the size of the bar tab or no bar tab at all, and some elements, like port charges, that are either part of a commissionable price or not. The differences are admittedly often slight and do not detract from the overall rally cry about the inclusiveness of river cruises in general.
To learn more about River Cruising, contact your travel agent today.