All-Inclusive Cruises Aren't Always Worth It If You Don't Take Advantage Of One Perk

Sometimes you just want a set-it-and-forget-it kind of cruise, which is exactly what an all-inclusive package is meant to accomplish. The last thing some vacationers want is to worry about how much they're spending on drinks, food, gratuities, excursions, etc. While it can be a bit eye-watering to see the price of everything up front, it's better than feeling like you're being nickel and dimed throughout your trip and having to take out your wallet constantly.

When it comes to guilt-free cruising, this is where all-inclusive packages shine. But how do you know you're really getting a good (or even great) bang for your buck? It should go without saying that you need to read the fine print thoroughly. Before you buy an all-inclusive package, you should understand what exactly is included in it and be realistic about how much you would spend if you didn't purchase it. But how do you go about making that decision? Let's help you weigh your options.

All-inclusive packages offer a guilt-free cruise

There you are, sitting poolside before breakfast and feeling a hankering for a mimosa when a nagging little voice enters your thoughts: "Do you really need a drink at eight in the morning? It's kind of expensive anyways." Hardly the way to spend your vacation, right? With many all-inclusive cruise packages, you can wave this dilemma goodbye. You get your mimosa, your quiet time by the pool before the nieces and nephews come around, and some peace of mind — it's already paid for.

Many packages come with far more than just unlimited (or near unlimited) beverage packages, though. Most commonly, these packages often include unlimited access to cruise ship Wi-Fi, credits for shore excursions, special dinner packages, and gratuities for the crew. Some cruise lines also throw in fitness classes, unlimited premium desserts, laundry services, and spa treatments.

While you may question whether you "need" to spend the money on these things if you were paying for it out of pocket and piecemeal throughout your cruise, purchasing an all-inclusive package eliminates the guilt factor. Additionally, packages that include an unlimited amount of anything (drinks, desserts, classes, etc.) are likely going to make the cost worth your while.

When an all-inclusive package isn't worth it

For the most part, all-inclusive cruise packages are going to center around the beverage offerings. Depending on the package, this could include unlimited drinks; up to 15 drinks per day per guest; or any drinks priced under a certain amount. The reason these packages revolve so much around alcohol is mainly due to the fact that alcoholic beverages on cruises can be incredibly expensive, and people often want to drink on vacation (and without spending a small fortune). By purchasing an all-inclusive package that also has a beverage package rolled into it, guests can really feel like they're getting their money's worth.

However, if you're not a big drinker or don't see yourself having more than a few drinks a day, you may want to do a little cost-benefit analysis. Is your all-inclusive package still worth the cost if you don't drink? You'll want to be honest with yourself about how often you'll take advantage of the other credits and activities included in your package. If you see yourself mostly hanging poolside with bottled water and not doing many activities on or off board, save yourself the money and just pay as you go if something catches your eye.